Joni and I hiked down the canyon today. We took a different route and ended up bushwhacking through lots of poison oak. Soon after starting, we noticed a nest in a tree. This nest is only a few hundred yards away from our house--but because we've never hiked down the canyon this way, we'd never seen it before. At first we thought they were Bald Eagles (I know animals aren't supposed to be in the upper case, but I feel that animals should get Capital treatment). Later, we figured out they were Osprey.
We saw four of them. Four sharing a nest? Some might be juveniles, but they looked much too mature to be in this year's batch. They didn't care for our presence (we were with the dogs) so we hightailed it out of there as quickly as possible.
Osprey haven't recovered as well as Bald Eagles in California. The Fish and Wildlife lists them as birds of "special concern". Osprey haven't fared as well due to their migration patterns that take them to Mexico where they have been exposed to pesticides that are illegal in the US. Plus they rely only on fish for their diet: any animal that is dependent upon one food source is much more vulnerable. Think Monarch Butterfly and the milk weed plant (which is rapidly disappearing from the Midwest due to Roundup). Of course, a diet of fish for the Osprey means that they are exposed to more toxins than most other foods. The fish the Osprey are eating in Lake Oroville and the Feather River are not supposed to be consumed by humans more than once a week. For these Osprey, it is all they eat.
I managed to get a few hurried photos on the way down and again on the way back up the canyon.