Westport, MA 02790
As the first warm breezes of late March liberate New England from the icy clutches of winter, animals begin to stir from their seasonal torpor. The first arrivals of spring begin to reestablish themselves – scout alewives run upstream and immature striped bass nose into the back areas of coves and rivers to hunt for spawning clam worms.
High overhead, the first ospreys of the year circle over the Westport River as they identify their nesting platforms. These male birds, exhausted from a journey that has brought them from their winter feeding grounds in the Caribbean and Central America, are ready for mating season. Their first task is to assemble nests that will appeal to female ospreys, whose arrival weeks later will bring the two back together.
In this Mass Audubon joint sanctuary program, see the ospreys of the Westport River with leading naturalists Ian Ives of Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary and Gina Purtell of Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary. Owing to the Westport area’s abundance of marsh habitat and prey, it is home to New England’s largest concentration of breeding ospreys.
During this four-hour program, participants will enjoy a short presentation on ospreys before launching kayaks at a site on the Westport River. As you paddle through the East Branch of the river, there will be ample time for bird watching, lessons about osprey behavior, and a shore-side lunch break.
Discussions during the trip will address questions such as: What do ospreys eat? How do they decide where to nest? How quickly do chicks develop? Learn the answers to these and many more as you float through an incredible marsh system and discover the connections between different species.
Participants should bring binoculars and cameras to spot these fantastic birds and prepare for a fun adventure in one of New England’s most beautiful locations.
Cost: $53 members, $58 non-members