Baby osprey and cormorants, highlights of outing in Stockton Springs

I brought my dog, Oreo, to Sandy Point Beach Park in Stockton Springs last weekend to go for a swim in the Penobscot River and walk the easy woodland trails of the park. We arrived around 10 a.m. and staked out a spot on the beach, where I laid a towel and unearthed a few snacks from my beach bag. Since Oreo isn’t friendly to other dogs, I had him on a long leash and reeled him in every time another dog walked past. That early in the day, there weren’t many beachgoers.

But as the sun rose higher, more and more people joined us on the beach. And as the crowd thickened, I could tell Oreo was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, tugging on his leash and whining — so I decided we should go for a walk.

Unfortunately, he continued to misbehave. Every time we passed another dog, he would bark and pull on his leash (which I’d switched to a 4-foot leash). I tried walking him along the trails, where I thought it would be quieter, but we inevitably ran into other dogs there, too. Eventually, I decided that Oreo was too wound up, and I put him in the car with the air conditioner running for a time out.

Before heading home, I decided to take a short walk on my own to view an osprey nest located on old dock pilings just off the beach.

The following photos I took with my 100-400mm lens. One of the osprey parents was sitting with its three chicks, which were panting in the heat. The adult osprey provided some shade, but I imagine it must have been hot out on that nest in the sun.

I also photographed a large group of cormorants nesting on pilings farther out. If you look closely, you can make out cormorant chicks of various sizes, having hatched at different times. Though the pilings were a ways off, the strong odor of the cormorant colony drifted to the shore, made stronger by the heat of the relentless sun. I only stayed a few minutes, not wanting to disturb the osprey. The second parent was likely fishing and wouldn’t return with a meal if I was too close to the nest.

Ospreys are accurate and efficient hunters. Studies have found that ospreys catch fish on at least one in every four dives, with success rates sometimes as high as 70 percent, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The studies also found that the average time ospreys spent hunting before making a catch was about 12 minutes.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at