The Great Eastern Florida Birding Trail starts on Amelia Island
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
With almost 500 different species of birds, Florida has been a long revered destination for bird watchers all over the word. Ranking 3rd in the nation in number of species, one can imagine the number of enthusiast and new hobby seekers that report to this region on a regular basis. Moreover, Amelia Island is the entrance point to the eastern region of the Great Florida Birding trail. Fortunately for you, many of the most sought after bird sightings can easily be seen from a seat aboard one of our cruises. Today, we are going to gaze into the life of one of the areas most popular hunters. Ladies and gentlemen, the Osprey.
Hopefully, every American gets at least one chance in their lifetime to witness something this majestic. Around here,bird locals and travelling enthusiasts alike get this opportunity all the time. Spotting our national bird can be a bit difficult if you don’t know where to go. Luckily, the ban on the pesticide DDT gave rebirth to one of our areas most treasured aviaries. They are known to be very common sights along the local shorelines of the island, if you want to try and catch a glimpse of a soaring hawk. They are almost impossible to miss when they get near. Despite their massive size, they have very narrow bodies, long outstretching wings, and long legs. Their heads are washed in white and the way the fly gives them the resemblance of the letter “M.” Seen from a grounded area, their wings will appear mostly white with a patch of brown on the outer edge of the wings. They will set out daily to glide alongside the coast keeping close watch for their next meal. The Osprey is a raptor that wields many inspiring and unique qualities. Unlike eagles, this aviator lives on a diet that relies solely on its’ ability to fish. While the seashore is an excellent place to catch a glimpse of this fisherman, an Osprey will also take to any river, pond, estuary, coral reef, or reservoir they see fit for a meal. With its feet extended to the max, seeing an Osprey dive under water and surface with a fish clutched in its talons is a proof of unadulterated, hunting skills.
The nesting habits of the Osprey are very particular. They build their nest using large sticks. They will usually build their home near or over water. Channel markers, dead trees not yet adrift, or maybe on a pole, out in the open are perfect. Hopefully you can observe one of these constructions on your next cruise with us.
Ending on a different note, there might be a place for you on our team! If you someone who loves interacting and meeting travelers from all over the globe, we are looking for someone to take a position in the ticket booth, located at our dock at the marina in downtown Fernandina Beach. If you are interested, please contact our offices for more information on the position! Time is of the essence!