Huge congratulations are in order for everybody’s favorite Osprey couple, Jack & Wendy. For it looks like Jack & Wendy are finally growing up and making their somewhat dysfunctional relationship work. The proof is in the three magnificent babies they managed to produce this year at their humble little nest out back of the LBI Foundation in Loveladies: one of only four Osprey nests on the whole of Long Beach Island. Welcome to LBI Larry, Daryl, and Daryl. I think you’re gonna’ like it here!
While two of these three, gorgeous, baby fish manglers are in the unfortunate circumstance of having the exact same name, that’s O.K. All three have become part of Project Red Band and their easy-to-read, brightly colored bands will help us keep Daryl #1 (Red Band 15/D) and Daryl #2 (Red Band 16/D) straight.
Last Saturday night the whole world had a chance to meet these three, new, beautiful babies, Larry, Daryl, & Daryl, thanks to Ben Wurst & The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ having the courage and graciousness to broadcast the nest check live. We should applaud them as that was a pretty amazing, and pretty brave thing to do. What if that nest had been full of dead Osprey chicks, strangled in fishing line or balloon ribbons? What if Ben had been injured climbing up the nest? What if the babies weren’t totally adorable? There were many risks.
But of all the brave things they did that night, perhaps the diciest of all was handing the live camera to Northside Jim.
When I got home from this momentous occasion, I immediately got a call:
You do realize that the second Ben said ‘You can climb up the nest’ you started yelling, right?
While all I could really remember about the experience was how beautiful and cool the baby Osprey in my face were, that sounded about right. I’m certainly your garden variety loudmouth. And long ago I’d already been diagnosed an incurable and completely grotesque case of Osprey Fever. I’ve climbed many nests with Ben over the last few years. It never gets old. I still sweat, my hands shake, I get loud & giddy, and I’m completely overwhelmed. Same as I was the very first time. Osprey are just that magnificent, and just that awesome. And I’m just that crazy.
What made this night so especially special is that my Osprey ADD is normally kept somewhat at bay by my camera and my ability to channel all the craziness into loving every inch of the Osprey through the camera lens. But dropping my camera to take Ben’s phone and help with the broadcast, there was no filter, so hijinks ensued. Add to that the fact that I got to live the experience through the screen, as thousands of viewers logged on and started hurling questions and comments in realtime. The thought of all of these people getting to have this incredible and rare experience together just about made my head explode.
At that point I could neither see nor hear Ben on the other side of the nest. While Ben was all poise, grace, and smarts, ready to share his incredible knowledge and passion for Osprey with 15,000 people, instead he was steamrolled by Northside Jim’s complete insanity. It was truly epic stuff.
While the downside is that a fantastic opportunity for Ben to share real knowledge was destroyed, all was not lost. For the upside was that, while Ben tried to share with everyone, as he has with me for years, his incredibly expansive knowledge of Osprey and clarity of vision with regards to the true meaning of the work he does, I had the presence of mind to to remember one of the most important parts of visiting any Osprey nest: coming up with names for the babies. And boy did a ton of great names roll in.
In the end, the nod to to the classic 80’s Bob Newhart Show, Larry, Daryl, and Daryl, was too good of trio to pass up. This decision was not made lightly. These red-banded Osprey might have a long, public history with us if they mange to get resighted over the coming years. So welcome to the Island Larry, Daryl, & Daryl.
At the end of the night, Lydia from the LBI Foundation had a chance to climb Ben’s ladder and meet the three beautiful babies, Larry, Daryl, & Daryl, who are only with us thanks to the Foundation’s excellent work as the steward for the 21 acres of precious marsh they call home.
That was a life changing experience.
As we left the marsh, the otherwise friendly & jovial Lydia was somewhat in shock, and looked a little murderballed. “That was a life changing experience” was all she could manage to mumble. That sounds like a cliched exaggeration on the surface. I’m pretty sure it was not. Our coastal wildlife is just that amazing. The closer you get, and the more you come to understand it, and the deeper you become involved, the more amazed you’ll become.
Three cheers to Ben Wurst and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ for sharing our Osprey with us, with the world, and for giving us the opportunity to live the dream along with you.