Look Who Is Back At The McKenzie Marsh, The Osprey

Look Who Is Back At The McKenzie Marsh, The Osprey

May 6, 2011
Last week one foggy night we were driving on the St. John’s sideroad. I peeked on my right and I noticed a big bird sitting on the very famous Cormorant tree (north side of St. John’s, east of the main observation deck). No doubt it was the Osprey, the fish-eating bird of prey. I was so excited of his return, and I was even more excited that he was closer than ever to the boardwalk.

Osprey Current Location

I am not sure if it is the same Osprey, but I been following him since July 2007. That was the time when I first photographed him fishing with his amazing talons – stunning action to experience. He used to sit on the far tree on the back, hard to spot, but with my zoom lens I was able to see him many times. Then he moved closer to the evergreen tree in the following years. However, in 2010 I have been to the pond many times during spring, summer and fall, but there was no trace of him, until last week.

Osprey on the Evergreen Tree, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

It is possible that he never left, he just moved to the marsh closer to the Hadley Grange. When they started building the Nokiidaa Trail boardwalk, he probably got disturbed and moved back to this side of the marsh, but picked a new tree to reside on (just my theory). However, it will be interesting to see what will happen when the Cormorants come back? Will they fight for the spotlight? In the past the Great Blue Heron lost that battle.

Osprey, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

It was time to take the new red-wagon and see what was happening at the McKenzie Marsh. So, couple of days ago we went for a walk to the pond. I couldn’t believe how much activity was there at this time of the year – everyone was there, including the soaring Osprey I have been looking for. On the way back he was sitting on the famous Cormorant tree close to the boardwalk (and may be one day I will find out the name of this tree too).

Osprey, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

Osprey, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

Not just sitting, but enjoying his captured meal – a fish. As every fish eating bird in this ponds dives for the fish and catches with its beak, the Osprey, catches with its feet. The Osprey’s toes are of equal size, and the outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. Also, the barbed pads on the soles of its feet help to grip slippery fish. The Osprey carries fish headfirst to maintain the aerodynamic flight as possible.

Seeing Osprey fish is an amazing action and I think we are very lucky to have this remarkable bird at the McKenzie Marsh in Aurora.

Osprey Head & Feet Close Up

My journey in Aurora is always full of surprises. I have to say people are very friendly, always say Hi and smile. I also have a social butterfly (my 3-year old Matthew) with me who got into habit of saying Hi to every passing person. That day in addition to the Osprey discovery, I got to meet Barry who was walking his dog along the same path. The Canada geese are usually good starting point to initiate the conversation, especially since for the past few years they been nesting closer and closer to the boardwalk. They are definitely getting used to the busy traffic on the St. John’s sideroad.

As we conversed more, I found that myself and Barry have very similar interests, mainly photography. Barry is owner of the Algonquin Adventures website (Barry’s own information-sharing website for Algonquin park users such as campers, canoeists, hikers, photographers, fishermen) and he is also Executive Committee Member of the Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists.

Beauty is all around us, we just have to look more closely. When Matthew was born three years ago and I wanted to continue with my photography hobby I realized that you don’t have to go far, Aurora has lot of places to explore. So it looks like Barry will be sharing some of his Aurora adventures with us too on his bbaurora blog.

About the Author

Anna Lozyk Romeo

I am living in Aurora and this is my photo journal blog. A picture says 1000 words - but not always, so I write. You don't have to travel 1000 miles to find a treasure - all I have to do is zoom through my lens and I will find it for you here in Aurora.


  1. Hi Anna.

    Thanks for the comments on my flickr photos and for the tip that the osprey is back. I also did see an osprey there in 2007. But not since. Hopefully I’ll be lucky and can get some shots of him soon!


  2. James, thank you for the comment.
    I hope so too, and may be you can get him fishing :) too.

    Anna :)

  3. Hi Anna, I caught a glimpse of the osprey at the marsh today. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it unless I had read about it here. It was way back so I couldn’t get any pictures but I’ll keep an eye out for it from now on.

  4. Hi Chris, since the last photo shoot on St. John’s sideroad, I have not seen him yet. I am glad that he is still around. I thought may be he was busy with nesting.
    They are great fisherman, I am hoping for someone, you or even myself (a dream) to get photos of him fishing. Appreciate your visit and comment.

    Anna :)