By Basil Tydings
Spring has finally arrived in the Mid-Atlantic in the form of bountiful sunshine and settling breezes. All the wildlife, flora, and fauna that either sought refuge in warmer climates or hibernated after the cold reared its ugly mug have returned filling the locales with birdsong, blooms, and the goal of reproduction. Many of us are excited to see the rituals of spring unfold, so much so that we might paddle too close for the comfort of them. Who was the biggest jerk on all the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay this morning? I was…
The osprey and the owl have always been in a battle royale as to which is my favorite bird. I love them both and I have often made both take flight from a comfortable perch in order to satisfy my own adoration. Without the assistance of a telephoto lens I have encroached and in sports encroachment is a penalty. In our daily existence encroachment should be a penalty as well.
Admittedly, I got overexcited this morning. It was my first time paddling in too long a time and the ospreys were filling the air over the Tred Avon River. I had plotted a course rounding several marks that wasn’t too long or too short; everything was feeling just right but then came the epiphany.
Rounding the red buoy in front of the Tred Avon Yacht Club I saw a flash of brown and white in my periphery. When I came around I saw the osprey headed toward me with a rather large stick in his or her talons. The osprey saw me and quickly altered course. As the bird flew back toward land he or she flew lower and lower in the sky until the stick eventually dragged across the top of the water. The thrill of being back on the water immediately went away. This is the time of the year when the birds are working hard to build their nests and get ready to mate to ensure the survival of their species. I delayed the process and I felt horrible. That was a big stick and obviously one of the foundation pieces for the household, and I didn’t even see the nest at first because it was in such an early stage of construction, terrible move on my part. Being it’s early spring, we should avoid these nesting spots until the species are settled in and the continuation of the population is well underway.
Think of this suggestion like this: you asking your favorite celebrity for a picture when they are about to take a bite of dinner at a restaurant or washing their hands in the restroom. Such should not be done. Space should be given until the appropriate time.
Many of you may be like: “duh, everyone knows that.” Many of you may be like: “Shut up, hippie.” Either way, most of the time I am pretty dang smart, with only a few screw-ups now. Today I really messed up. There is plenty of water open for paddling that does not interrupt the lives of others. Hopefully, at least one other person reading this will take action to stay away from the channel marks and let the nests get built without any intrusion from paddlers. We can’t do much with the annoying jet skis and other craft that don’t pay attention to the unwritten rules but as a paddling community we can do our best to ensure that those we share the water with get plenty of peace and quiet when it comes to business time. And I hope you know what I mean by business time…