Monday, March 16, 2009

Putting up a Barn Owl nest box and shoring up the Osprey Platforms in Jamaica Bay…

On Sunday in overcast conditions, Don, Doris and I went out in the boat into Jamaica Bay. Our objective was to put up a Barn Owl nest box and to visit a few of the Osprey platforms in the bay, to do repair work. Our first stop was at the Barn Owl Nest site; once we arrived at the location, we offloaded the nest box, post, materials and tools and began taking the items ashore. Don, found and settled on a location after first, contemplating how close this new box was to other nest sites. While Doris began digging, Don and I returned to our landing site to pick up the nest box. Together, we lugged the nest box back to where Doris was digging and began the assembly. After the box was assembled and the hole ready, we maneuvered the bottom end of the post into the hole and then lifted the top end with the box until we had the unit standing upright. We made adjustments to make it as straight as we could, then filled the hole and shored up the bottom by bracing it with some planks. There was no time to admire our work, as we were working in the high tide window and so it was off to check out the Osprey platforms. Heading back out we noticed several mounds that Don attested to being “Rats” nest…no wonder the Owls like the location for nesting. Our next stop was Silver Hole Marsh; once we arrived at that location, we again unloaded our materials and tools and headed out to the platform. Once we got there, we checked the platform post and saw that it was in excellent condition and remained pretty solid in the ground. The platform was another story and Don, once he went up to the platform, found that it required some repair work and so he set about adding some braces to shore up the edges. We finished up the work at that location in good time and escaped unscathed despite falling debris; we concluded that safety glasses and hard hats may be good to have on hand the next time we go out there. On our way out of the channel, we had a bit of an adventure as we got careless and ran aground while trying to get close photos of Oyster catchers that have started to return to the bay. Doris and I got out into the water and together we combined rocking the boat with Don revving the engine in reverse and we were able to get out of the minor jam. Of course, that was the end of trying to photograph the Oyster catchers in that specific location. Our last stop was Joco Marsh and there we assessed the platform and decided that we needed to replace it. Unfortunately, we were running out of time as the tide had started to recede and so we offloaded the new platform and planned on returning sometime during the week to finish up the job. On the way back, we summed up the day’s work as successful…though wishing we could have done more. I had a great time working with my friends in providing nesting sites for the birds that I love and at the same time I picked up two “first of the season” in the Oyster Catcher and a Peregrine Falcon that was spotted under the Crossbay Bridge. Share with Bookmark and Share

No comments: