First osprey sighting on Saturday

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO | Ospreys were sighted winging in to Mashomack Preserve over the weekend.

If this week’s weather is any indication, ospreys may have cut short their winter vacations in the Caribbean and South America a little soon.

The first sighting at the Mashomack Preserve occurred Saturday morning, according to director Mike Laspia. He and his crew had just put the finishing touches on a pole holding an osprey nest Friday that had been damaged by Superstorm Sandy, he said.

“I hope they can find some fish here to feed on,” Mr. Laspia said about the return that usually coincides with the beginning of spring, but this year was also greeted with another cold snap.

Males often are the first to return to stake their claims to nests, while females don’t seem to have the same attachment to the nesting sites. But the females often do mate with the same male from year-to-year.

While the older ospreys fly  south of Florida each winter, young ospreys have been known to settle for the Sunshine State’s winters before coming north in the spring.

Most tend to stay in the area until August, with a few remaining here as late as October. Cold winter temperatures interfere with the food supply here, urging the birds to southern climes.