Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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The fish, and the birds, are in

Though anglers don’t seem to be having much luck at City Dock, the birds are doing  pretty well.  While I was parked and eating my lunch, I watched an osprey put on a show for about 10 minutes. First, it circled from the dock to the CSX railroad bridge and back a few times. Then, right in front of the dock, in full view of about a dozen spectators in cars and people minding their fishing rods, it folded its wings and swooped down into the river, going completely under water. It surfaced a moment later, shook off the water, flapped its wings, and flew off with a 10-inch herring. The osprey  shrieked a couple times–after all, it was a good catch–then flew up into a tree on the Stafford side of the Rappahannock to eat its prize. I should note that, the whole time, no one on the dock caught a fish.

This is  one of the best times of the year to see lots of ospreys, bald eagles and great blue herons on the river. While some are residents, many are here for the spring run of herring and shad that  still has weeks to go. My colleague, photographer Pete Cihelka,  watched a similar scene play out on Lauck’s Island. See Pete’s blog and more pictures here.

Photographer Pete Cihelka snapped this photo of a heron with a fish at Lauck Island.

 A heron deftly speared a fish, then flew off with the morsel in its beak. Several bald eagles have been patrolling in recent days from above Chatham Bridge, down to Ferry Farm.