Carson River OspreyAn osprey above the Carson River in April 2023. Sorry for the poor quality of the photo. I only had my smartphone and not pro gear and my hands shake, due to asthma spray. Ospreys are hawks who catch live fish from waterways in many countries.
I grew up in a small, rural valley called Freshwater on the rural North Coast that is part of the real Northern California. To us, the Bay Area, is Central California, to give you an idea of how remote the region where I grew up is located.
I also worked in Humboldt and Del Norte counties publishing and/or editing newspapers for most of my professional career.
In that little valley of mostly second-growth redwood forests, there were several osprey nests located behind and adjacent to my parents’ property. There were two main nests and then a nest farther away that the osprey would use to train their young to fly.
It was there that I fell in love with ospreys, so when I saw two in trees above the snow-swollen Carson River at the Empire Mill boat access, I couldn’t believe it.
I apologize for the poor-quality photo I took of one, but I only had my smartphone, and my hands shake, due to asthma spray, so it’s not that good.
Riverview Park Interpretive SignsSince I started walking many of Carson City's trails four years ago, I've seen many improvements. This interpretive sign is on the spur that connects Carson River Park to Riverview Par. That experience makes me want to bring out my pro gear, which I’ve kept mostly packed up since my wife Kathleen, a Carson City native, and I moved to Carson City to help are for family members.
I’ve heard their cries along the Carson River on my many walks along the river in the four years we’ve been here, but I never thought I’d get to see two so close.
As my late Dad would say, “It was a bit of serendipity.” And it probably was. I hadn’t intended to walk down to the boat access, because that put me at about 17 miles, which is a bit more than I usually walk. It’s only the second time this year, that I logged 17 miles on Carson City trails hiking, walking and birdwatching.
(I’ll post photos from other walks I’ve taken from Carson River Road to the boat basin, which may be of interest to you.)
Ospreys are hawks, so they join other hawks and eagles in Eagle Valley, which is where Carson City is situated. Carson City is a city/county.
Riverview Park Interpretive SignsBirdwatching is a major pastime at Riverview Park, as it is at Carson City Wetlands. Only problem is, there aren't any benches for rest at the wetlands. There are many at Riverview. The ospreys I saw were in keeping with the general description of them as large birds. Their distinctive shape includes a slender but long body, wings and legs. As many online descriptions will tell you, when ospreys fly, their wings make a distinctive "M-shape" if you are standing below them.
It's a large bird of almost two feet in length and a wingspan of approximately six feet, give or take an inch or two or more.
Because its diet consists mostly of fish, it’s often called a fish hawk, but is also known as sea hawk, river hawk and fish hawk,
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