Bird report – Osprey Invasion
Submitted: October 14, 2010
Bird watchers and curious onlookers were fascinated to observe a massive influx to St. Kitts of one of the majestic birds of prey, the Osprey.
While driving on the South East Peninsula road, directly opposite the construction of the Christophe Harbour project by the Great Salt Pond, eighteen Ospreys were counted in the trees on both sides of the road in a distance of no longer than a half a mile, and one was flying for a total of nineteen. This ad hoc count occurred on Thursday, October 7, 2010, during a heavy drizzle, just prior to the heavy rainstorm that subsequently closed schools and some business establishments.
Over the past few days these birds have been sighted everywhere on the South East Peninsula including Cockleshell Bay, Banana Bay, Great Salt Pond, Friar’s Bay, Frigate Bay, Half Moon Bay, and almost anywhere in the Southeastern part of the island. They are seen flying high or perched on trees or on the ground, often eating fish.
The Osprey is a migratory bird of prey that passes through the Caribbean September through April, and feeds primarily on fish. While they have been seen in the past, this is the first time they have been seen in these numbers, and all in one general location. They grow to a size of around two feet and have a piecing whistle. Their heads are white, with a dark bar behind the eyes, and there is strong contrast between white underparts and dark upperparts.
It is uncertain if they sought refuge to avoid the strong Tropical Wave that developed into Tropical Storm Otto, but they certainly discovered that the Great Salt Pond is full of fish as the pond is now open to the sea in the western end.