Attentive Readers know that Osprey Hero Ben Wurst & I stumbled upon a rare Leucistic Osprey while on an Osprey Hero Adventure in Barnegat Bay. Leucism is an unusual condition in birds, much like albinism, but it is a reduction in all forms of pigmentation. And it sure makes Osprey look super cool.
After several visits to the site, it is clear that Viserys is flyin’ solo and livin’ the dream at a sad little bachelor pad on the marker. After we collected enough photos to read Viserys’ leg-bling band, Ben was able to look him up and it turns out he’s a local. Born just a hop away on a humble channel marker in Barnegat Bay back in the good ‘ol days of 2005. He probably should be nesting at his age, but Osprey do make “practice nests” for a few seasons before taking the plunge and trying the real thing with hungry kids and all. Kids these days. Always putting off the big commitments.
Since the nest is devoid of dangerous little fledglings, the good folks at Conserve Wildlife NJ and the NJ Osprey Project gave Readings From The Northside the OK to share his location with you. Come see a wonder of Barnegat Bay: Our very own, super rare, Leucistic Osprey.
The best part is, you don’t even need a boat to visit him. Marker #55 is clearly visible from Long Beach Island in the happy little town of Harvey Cedars.
Even better, it’s right off Harvey Cedars Sunset Park. They even have a bench for you. All you need are some binoculars.
Viserys does go out hunting often and he also hates the heat. But he is almost always at home mornings and evenings. He even dines at the marker.
Want even more adventure? Just a few blocks North of Sunset Park is the Harvey Cedars Marina. The Marina rents both Kayaks & Stand Up Paddle Boards. It’s a quick trip to the marker and a straight shot up the Lagoon where the Harvey Cedars Marina is located. There is also a little Island with a dock located about 3/4 of the way between the Marina & Viserys. It is a perfect place to park and get a good look.
A 2 hour rental is $35 and a 4 hour or overnight is $50. Super friendly Jeff & the crew from HCM will get you set up in no time, even if you’ve never kayaked before.
I encourage you to visit Harvey Cedars and get a glimpse of Viserys, a true wonder of Barnegat Bay. Even if you’re just passing through, stop at Sunset Park and take a quick peek at this amazing bird.
Just remember: even though Viserys is a bachelor and there are no chicks in the nest, you need to be respectful humanz and not disturb him. If you take a Kayak, maintain some distance from the marker. Osprey are not shy and will certainly let you know if you’re getting too close. And if you’re cruising up the channel by boat, remember to chill, but take a look, whenever you pass Marker #55.