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Osprey Nesting Season in the Pacific Northwest Ospreys of Jetty Island


During late spring early summer in the Pacific Northwest here in Washington State we are treated to the arrival of one my favorite raptors the Osprey. They can be seen in many places and are capable of surviving in a wide range of habitats. During this time period the spring migration is behind us and with that the large flocks of shore birds which are spectacular to watch will have to wait until next year. During this time a lot of birders are birding for the song birds and other migrants, however this is the time I use to observe the Ospreys as they continue the circle of life. They arrive like clockwork to build their nests and raise their offspring. There are many lakes and waterways that we could go and watch the Osprey fish for food, however there is more excitement in watching the other aspects of their life as well.

At the nest locations we are able to see more of their behavior and interactions . The best place for us to see this is at the Everett marina, each year there are several active Osprey nests. The nest is constructed on old pilings located within the Jetty between the Jetty Island and the Marina located in Everett Washington. At this location you can see the many nests, hear the Ospreys calling to each other and transporting the current catch to the nests. If you’re into photography then you can park in the boat launch area and get some decent shots. To get a more intimate viewing you will need some type of boat to either cruise by the nest closer to Jetty Island or dock at the island which will afford you more angles and better views of the Osprey nests.

Some locations on the island to bird are the sandy beach on the west side of the Island and the lagoon which is in the middle of the island. Make sure you plan your visit by checking the tide because the lagoon is tidal influenced and will be empty at low tide. Many sources state that the island hosts 45 species and nesting Gulls. On this day my obsession and intrigue was focused on Osprey’s. On the East side of  the island are Osprey nests on pilings close to the Island.  I use the low tide to my advantage and step down over the rocky edge and set up my equipment next to drift wood piles which created a make shift blind and a place to sit without sitting in wet sand.
I have noticed that if you sit within the drift wood long enough you start to blend into the surrounds and you would be able to capture better pictures without disturbing the wildlife. During the time I was there I was able to get some good shots of the mother feeding the moderate size chick fresh fish that the male Osprey had just brought to the nest. The male didn’t stay long, he made some sounds and then off he went. When he returned about 20 minutes later he had another fish in his talons which looked like a Sculpin. We knew this fish was only for him as he stopped short of the nest and landed on a nearby pile of drift wood and began to eat. We decided that it was time to go and were very happy with the photographs taken and the behavior we had witness in the Osprey nest.  For more pictures of Ospreys taken during this visit please view here: Ospreys 



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