Tuesday, May 28, 2019


The deck of the HQ is not known for it's natural wonders.

         Point in fact, one of the best parts of getting ashore is that for half the year, there are some living things to be seen- not people, I mean, but nature- trees and flowers. Even in the New York metro area where we've been for 6 long years now, I can see some trees and plants and such when I get ashore... but not at work. At work there is steel and sea water, rust and noise. For a guy who doesn't much like being indoors, it's not so easy sometimes.

 So, when I do see animals beyond seagulls and Canadian geese (who are universally assholes by inclination), I like to take time to see them. I have always been an animal person anyhow, and birds in particular hold my interest. So it has been nice this year that a pair of Osprey have been moping around one of the oil terminals in Bayonne NJ, one of our regular haunts.

   This morning before sunup, one of the Ospreys was really haunting the dock where we were, crying and squealing (they have a really unpleasant call) just over and over again for an hour plus, and circling overhead. It got to the point where it was actually really really annoying, and I wished the damn bird would go someewhere else... until some time in hour two, when I near to shit myself as a squirrel shot out from under my feet when I walked close to one of our cargo pumps. Guess I startled him, though for the life of me I have no idea where the hell he came from.

 The Osprey picked him off once he was about 30-40 feet away. And I mean that bird hit HARD. The squealing had stopped, and I was still recovering my footing when I saw the bird flash down and he hit that squirrel and the deck hard enough to make a BOOM noise, rapping his knuckles pretty hard in the process, I would warrant.

    I don't mind squirrels, don't like them much either, they being hairy tailed rats to me. Still it was amazing to see the display when the bird struck. And so close to me! It was very cool to watch.

      The squirrel was just flipping out, as you'd imagine. The osprey shot over to the next berth, landed on the dock's deck crane, and proceeded to have breakfast, which didn't work out too well for the squirrel, but from my perspective it saved me from having to deal with having our trash ripped up and scattered every day on deck.

 At any rate, it was something new, and here at the halfway point of this trip, new is good.


Bob said...

To the extent that a bird can have an "expression" on its face, the Osprey's expression always looks stunned, or perhaps stupid. Hawks and eagles tend to look stern; owls have two expressions, sleepy and attentive. The falcons tend to look distracted - - every movement catches their attention. Vultures always seem alert - - they'd have to be to avoid predators and cars.

City fauna is fun to read about.

jerseygirlangie said...

Great story !

I've seen ospreys taking fish along the Hudson River and the Jersey Shore , but I would never have expected them to take a land mamal ( and one as big and feisty as a squirrel ! ) .

Still , they are hawks , and obviously adaptable to their circumstances .

Captain Jill said...

Cool story! I love watching any nature we get onboard too. Once we rescued a hummingbird. I took it ashore in an empty water bottle and released it in the woods (making sure no hawks were around).

At home I got to watch squirrels every day from my living room til I chopped down the tree they liked to hang out on when it fell on my roof one time too many.