- Last Updated on 10:03 PM 05/05/12
- BY Paula I. Bryant
I’m addicted. During the past week in my spare time I have been drawn to a computer screen watching a pair of nesting osprey at Smith Mountain Lake State Park via a closed-circuit camera.
It’s simply fascinating. And I’m not the only one who must have this addiction because at any given time, many more people are viewing the osprey, also known as sea hawks, with me.
For the past seven years, only visitors to Smith Mountain Lake State Park’s Discovery Center could view nesting osprey live via a closed-circuit camera system.
Now everyone can watch the growing osprey family live on the Internet by visiting www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/smosprey.shtml, or go to http://is.gd/smosprey.
The special nesting platform and 25-foot pole were first erected near the lake in 2004, with funding assistance from Appalachian Power Company, the Virginia Society of Ornithology and the Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park.
“Ospreys instinctively build nests on shoal and channel markers throughout the lake area,” said Park Manager Brian Heft. “So we’re simply providing the birds a safe place for them to do what comes naturally.”
Camera feeds in the past have been destroyed by lightning storms. This problem has been corrected with a new camera, camera housing and metal-free fiber optic cable.
The growing osprey family has three eggs, laid April 7, 11 and 14. If the ospreys follow patterns of previous years, there’s a possibility of a fourth egg.
The eggs should begin hatching around Memorial Day, and the new ospreys will fly about 60 days after hatching. But it’s not a precise science on the bird’s end.
Ospreys usually mate for life, and it’s been fun watching this pair protect their eggs while lovingly feeding one another little fish. They’re extremely fond of fish with about 99 percent of their diet being fish.
Other fun facts about ospreys found on the state park website: They’re big - up to 24 inches long with a wingspan of 71 inches. And they’re handsome, sporting a fine and stylish eyepatch.
Watching the pair has been interesting, informative and like I said, addictive.
Take a look, and you’ll see what I mean.
For more information about Virginia State Park activities and amenities or to make reservations for one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK (7275) or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.
One year anniversary
It’s been a year since hate-mongering, radical terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed by two shots fired by a Navy Seal.
It took a decade for justice to be served, but the news came as a welcomed victory for Americans.
Osama bin Laden is dead, and we know his body was buried at sea, but a year later the evil hatred he exuded while walking on this Earth still exists, and Americans must be ever mindful and vigilant of the dangers still lurking as the war against militant terrorism continues.
National Day of
Our nation has much to be thankful for as the nation celebrates its annual Day of Prayer on Thursday.
The public is encouraged to attend this year’s local National Day of Prayer celebration featuring gospel singer, Hee Haw star, comedienne and Hall of Famer LuLu Roman.
The event gets under way at 6:45 p.m. in the Halifax County High School auditorium.
Prayer will be the main emphasis throughout the event with individual prayers being offered for the government, military, church, media, business, education and family.
The theme of this year’s prayer event is “One Nation Under God” taken from Psalm 33:12.
The event is free to all.