OSPREY NESTING TOWER TAKES WING AT LAKESIDE RIVER PARK

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Story, photos and video by Billy Ortiz

View video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Y0hc267sA

November 3, 2012 (Lakeside) -- On a cool, cloudy autumn morning on October 20 in East County a group of teenage Boy Scouts from troop 801 in Coronado arrived at the Lakeside River Park. They brought heavy timbers and other materials to build what they hope will become a nest for the Ospreys that frequent a pond at the River Park. 

Ospreys, large raptors or birds of prey, come to the pond because of the abundance of fish. From high above they circle until they have a fish in their sights and then down they dive like arrows. Just before they hit the water they stretch out large talons and plunge completely into the water, grabbing hold of their prey. With their six-foot wingspans they lift themselves out of the water and take to flight, alighting on a nearby perch to have their meal. It is quite a sight to behold.

Boy Scout Quinn Cartwright is is the young Scout who has come to earn his Eagle Scout badge by building and installing an Osprey platform here. It has taken him four months of preparation to get to this day. Quinn worked closely with Robin Rierdan, Executive Director of the Lakeside River Park Conservancy to make the Eagle Scout Project a reality. This project is only a step in a long process in becoming an Eagle Scout.

Quinn did all the research, contacting the lead biologist from the San Diego Port regarding Osprey platforms. Quinn raised all the money needed for supplies for the project as well. He also contacted two Lakeside businesses that donated equipment and time to help out on the project. "Anderson Drilling" came and drilled a 18 inch diameter X 6 feet deep hole to bury the base of the platform. Bob Turner of "Bob's Crane Service" donated and operated a five-ton crane to set the Osprey nest platform in place after it had been built on the ground.

With the assistance a skilled carpenter, the scouts started the Osprey nest platform project at 9 a.m. Saturday morning and were finishing up by 2 p.m. the same day. Quinn was accompanied by other young members of Boy Scout troop 801. Quinn's Mom and Grandmother were also on hand to view and assist on the project.

The nest stands at the Northeast side of the pond 22 feet up in the air with a good view of the pond. It is viewable from the River Trail just to the north. As if on cue, while the Scouts were finishing the Osprey nest platform, an Osprey soared overhead then plunged into the pond to capture its prey. What a sight!

This project was exciting for Quinn Cartwright and his Scout troop and the Lakeside River Park Conservancy, marking the first Scout project completed at the site. Hopefully it paves the way for more projects like this in the future at the Lakeside River Park Conservancy’s River Park.