By June, spring migration is over and the nesting season reaches its zenith. For several years a pair of ospreys have nested on a platform made especially for that purpose, off Madron Lake Road in Buchanan Township.Bob and Pat Conrad of St. Joseph paid a visit to the ospreys on May 30, when Bob captured the accompanying photo of an adult osprey in flight with a fish in its talons. Osprey feed primarily on live fish, by diving into shallow water and catching them near the surface with their powerful feet. The young ospreys will leave the nest late in June or in July, and by September the young will be on their own. The bulk of the osprey population depart Michigan during August and September, and lingering birds depart by October. They winter primarily in the southern US.Brad Anderson photographed eight mallard ducklings at Galien River County Park in New Buffalo Township on May 25. The mother remained close to her young, but kept out of the camera's eye. Seven to 10 mallard eggs per nest are average in Michigan. The eight mallard ducklings will remain with their mother for several more weeks before they go out on their own. The mallard is the most common duck in North America, and breeding success increases during years of above average rainfall. Thus there is truth to the statement "Nice weather, for ducks!" during rainstorms. An image of a great blue heron in flight was sent in by Bob Conrad this week. The photo was taken on May 4 at a pond near the corner of Hollywood and Glenlord Roads. Great blue herons are sometimes confused with sandhill cranes. One way to tell the difference is that a great blue heron in flight will always have its neck coiled inward, while a sandhill crane's neck will be straight.Great blue herons are currently in the process of caring for young. Nests are located in colonies called rookeries and are located near lakes, streams or other wetlands. Sometimes rookeries are located in isolated woodlots away from water. A great blue heron rookery was discovered in recent years at Sarett Nature Center in Hagar Township. A larger rookery is located on private land in Pipestone Township.
Jonathan Wuepper is an area naturalist. Report your sightings to him at email@example.com.