Blog Archives

Exclusive Westport Island Property Delisted

The osprey have taken an option…

You may have seen the property listing at the Westport Island Town Office. The iconic osprey “property” was listed for sale after Central Maine Power (CMP) “condemned” and demolished the original nest. In its place, CMP constructed a replacement nest platform — without a “ready-made” nest.
osprey nest platform real estate listing
The property listing was a light take on island-wide concern that Ma and Pa Osprey would return to find a turkey decoy perched on the power lines in place of their home; and a hi-rise fiberglass platform for building a new nest a little too lacking in the comforts of home. The three plus “starter sticks” left on the platform fell considerably short of a nest. So, the waiting and watching began. The First Selectman, the Fire Chief, the Chair of the Planning Board, bird lovers from the island’s north end to the south end…

The usual return date a week or so before tax day came and went. Then, the first sightings of Ma and Pa Osprey came in on Friday. Over the course of the afternoon, they landed, circled, landed, circled, flew away and flew back. They flew south on the island on Friday evening, and were absent from the nest on Saturday. On Sunday, they returned; the decision made; the work underway. Now, a new wait begins…

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“Exclusive property listing” for the nest site courtesy of Fire Chief Bob Mooney

Westport’s “Welcome Osprey” Will Not be Homeless

The osprey nest will return next week if the weather is favorable

For those of you who enjoy watching Ma and Pa Osprey keep house on the Island from spring through summer — they will have a home to return to this spring.

As many of you noticed beginning on Tuesday, the osprey nest at the head of the Island was gone. One of the first alerts came as a text:
“Crisis on Westport…the osprey nest is gone…” Then, there were phone calls and emails — “the nest is gone, will it be back?” “Where has our osprey nest gone?” Two residents offered to sign a petition to Central Maine Power (CMP) Company to bring the nest back. Westport’s osprey are iconic — witness Erin Bailey’s square for the 2011 Town Quilt: “Mr. & Mrs. Osprey” (pictured above).

Based on past discussions with a CMP lineman from the Wiscasset field station, workers are trained on state and federal laws protecting the osprey and work with the the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife to protect the birds and their nests where possible. According to a state biologist, nests can be moved as long as there are no eggs or baby chicks in them.

Janet Dyer, from CMP’s Environmental Department, said they are planning on putting up a new platform next week, weather permitting. The nest was replaced because it was in bad shape and rotting — which presents a risk to both the birds and the power lines. The platform will be going on the new pole that was put up last fall, so the nest will no longer be on the transmission pole where falling sticks and debris from the nest pose a potential risk of fire and power outages. Dyer said CMP realizes it has a limited timeline to work within, because the birds are usually here by the first of April; and the mild weather may mean an earlier arrival. So, stay tuned for nest construction activity and a, hopefully, happy housewarming.

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Spring Springs on Westport Island

Say goodbye to snow…and hello to awakenings…

The osprey are back, turkeys are strutting — and the woodlands and wetlands are stirring. The scents of spring beckon. More than one Westport cat has pursued curiosity too far from home and found itself at the Lincoln County Animal Shelter in the last three weeks — five to be exact — at least two (a spayed female and a neutered mail) remain there awaiting calls from their families.

Birds are building nests and starting families — none more notable in my neighborhood than “Peepers.” Peepers, so named by the Abbott family, is a ruffed grouse — or partridge — that has claimed McCarty Cove Road as home territory. Neighbors of McCarty Cove have likely had their cars chased, examined or accosted by Peepers. Jason Abbott feeds Peepers apples and can walk up to her and pick her up for a visit. It’s the mating season, and she may be protecting territory, defending a nest or looking for love. Whatever… she is the talk of the neighborhood.

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A Micro Westport Bird Count

On what was not a good day to be a bird…

Once again, this was the weekend for Cornell’s Great Backyard Bird Count. What a difference a year makes…

Last year, the Sunday of the count was a February-dream-come-true: blue sky, sunshine, an early robin and lots of other birds soaking up the day. This year, swirling snow and icy temperatures equaled: bird scarcity. The birds proved to be a more intelligent life form than me – they stayed out of the blowing cold — and I, too, retreated after a couple of hours.

The sightings:
A lone eider duck bobbing on the Sheepscot River at the mouth of McCarty Cove;
Three crows fleeing the feeders when psycho-puppy bounded across the backyard snow;
A dark-eyed junco at the thistle feeder;
A mourning dove taking refuge on and under the deck; and
A blue jay working the feeders.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Westport Island Moment of zen…

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New Fire Truck: A Good Day for Westport Island, Maine

A bridge is like a telephone:  it’s a lifeline, and it brings both good news and bad news.  On this Friday the 13th, it seemed to bring only good news to Westport Island.

The ospreys are back as bridge sentinals: they are working on their nest, preparing for summer.  It was a beautiful, warm, sunny, Spring day.  And, after lots of spirited discussion at town meetings, Westport Island has a new fire truck — which arrived this bodacious day.

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Although it was a good day for the Island, we send our sympathies and thoughts to the residents of Greenland, NH, where the police chief was fatally shot today and four police officers were injured during the service of a search warrant.

Snow Day!

In like a lion! …A snow day at last.

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The Great Backyard Bird Count

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood – President’s Day, February 20, and a Monday.  The sun was shining – just a tad of snow here and there.  What to do?  Watch the NHRA drag races on Speed Vision with hubby Roger or head outside to participate in the final afternoon of the Great Backyard Bird Count? Click GBBC for info.

Chloe, the trusty beagle, and I headed outside to contribute to the Westport Island body of knowledge.

Our first sighting was – a robin (?).  Wasn’t the “Robin Redbreast” supposed to be the first sign of spring? Hmmmm…

Not regulation “birders,” we need to work on the stealth approach.  All the birds at the feeder fled when Chloe took to mole, vole, and squirrel patrol.  We spooked four Canadian Geese on the descent to the property’s back cove.   While trying to be quiet, we saw two Bald Eagles circle the old chandlery and head along the Sheepscot River.

Back towards the yard, we heard loud cawing and saw three crows retreat after finishing the “bait” bread below the feeder.  Inside, peeking from a second story window, we saw the birds return to backyard feeding: finches, chickadees, mourning doves, and a lone woodpecker. 

Back to the cove, no sign of the Canadian Geese or the Bald Eagles; but gulls were scavenging the flats, and cormorants were perched on the distant rocks.  What a great place to be…

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