Land of 10,000 Fishing Opportunities

My two grown sons are home for a few days, and came back from playing tennis nearby with big news: "Something's nesting on the light poles at Oakwood School!" Apparently a raptor had been flying in and feeding peeping babies. I felt an immediate swell of pride at having raised sons that notice such things, but was also excited to see this nest. House finches are cute and cozy, but raptors are magnificent.

My older son (he with the telephoto lens) and I went back the next day, walked across a playing field, and spotted the huge nest--perhaps six feet across and made from sticks. We watched as both raptor adults busied themselves mysteriously. Then one flew off, and the other nestled over her young, looking hyperalert as we approached, even though she was yards and yards above us. We identified her as an osprey (a "fish hawk"), with a fiercely hooked beak, black eye stripe and funky head tuft. While this nesting site was not directly on a lake, but we realized there were many lakes nearby for the pair to fish from (this is, after all, Minnesota). Her mate was no doubt soaring over one of them, looking for silvery prey to feed the chicks.

We left, threading our way through kids of all sizes who were practicing soccer moves and thwacking tennis balls back and forth. Their alert parents hovered nearby, offering snacks.

(Photos below by Eli Sidman)

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