Exactly one year ago, Westport was all aflutter over a pair of ospreys.

Every spring, the magnificent raptors return “home.” They build nests at Longshore, Sherwood Mill Pond — and, most visibly, on a utility pole between Fresh Market and Terrain.

Last year though, Regency Centers — the owner of the property — suddenly removed the pole.

It took awhile to untangle who exactly did the deed — the management company or a sub-contractor (who claimed falsely to be Audubon Society workers). They also lacked the required permit from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Then we found out that the illegal osprey nest removal was done prior to Planning & Zoning Commission approval for parking lot renovation work.

A year later, the parking lot project is still underway.

But — as Westport hungers for a bit of good news in the midst of a brutal pandemic — we’ve got some.

The ospreys are back!

Eagle-eyed “06880” reader Carolyn Doan — who took these magnificent photos — reports, “They are doing their mating ritual. She calls out to him from the nest. He brings her food, and sits in a nearby tree. Sometimes he helps tidy up a bit.

“The construction guys who are there love to talk about them,” Carolyn adds. “They fill us in about the activities — what food the male is bringing in (mice, fish), which trees he likes to keep watch in, when she calls out. It’s very sweet.”

(Photos/Carolyn Doan)

Meanwhile though — because every silver lining has a cloud — there is this, from equally alert “06880” reader Dick Stein:

The last tree standing at the Fresh Market shopping plaza was cut down on Wednesday.

Before …

The 80-year-old oak sat on state property. The town of Westport had no say.

… and after. (Photos/Dick Stein)

A new sidewalk is being installed in its place.

20 responses to “Ospreys!!!!!!!

  1. Julie Fatherley

    How totally tragic…now the landscape looks so sterile and history and
    Nature as witness are gone….and for what…more cement?????

  2. Quite a while back when I complained to a store owner about the removal of the trees within the parking lot, he said that the picture on the web site of the finished shopping center shows many new trees having been planted–I’m guessing in the large swaths of dirt that have been created next to the new sidewalks. I’ll miss the ones within the parking lot, however. They helped shade our cars during the heat of the summer.

  3. Jimmy Franco

    A new sidewalk? In place of an 80-year-old Oak? What a shame that this was allowed to happen.

  4. The Osprey are back at Longshore too.

  5. Connie (Belta) Von Zwehl

    So, I woke up early this AM thinking that it was going to be another sad day with distressing news and a couple of tough weeks ahead. I also said to myself (I swear) that what I needed today is a good osprey story….and wondered what was going on up there with them. Right on cue, Dan, you are, in addition to a selfless lifeline to all Westporters, is truly a MIND READER with interstate ability. Thank you for the very sweet news! If the Ospresys come back….so will the town! Thank you for all you do for us!
    ( I am self quarantined in Naples FL since the Ides of March and wondering when I can get back to Westport. I am grateful to report that nobody I know is sick! But at this time of year I get a little homesick until Dan reads my mind and feeds my soul. And thanks to those who took the pictures!)
    Sad about the trees, happy today, about the birds!

    • Thanks, Connie. This makes my day! We are all in this together, for sure. We miss you, and am glad you’re okay. Stay away from the beach — and wash your hands. We need you!

  6. Jacque O'Brien

    Has anyone been along North Maple Ave. between Hyde Lane and Long Lots Road? A new sidewalk is being put in there as trees, old stone walls and fences are being cut and broken down. I realize that this particular sidewalk might be for children walking to school, but I wonder how long it will take for some people to understand that we don’t get oxygen and natural beauty from cement.

  7. Caryl Beatus


    • Leslie Riback

      My friend Carol Anderson came up with this. I cannot take credit. How about Ossey and Harriet?

  8. Patricia McMahon

    Just seeing these images of the Ospreys makes me instantly feel better.
    There’s always construction and changes in Westport… what else is new !!!

  9. Susan Hopkins

    A sidewalk versus a tree?

    Wonderful photos, Carolyn Doan. Thank you!

  10. Jeff Seaver

    Wow is this great news… love those birds. Walking distance from our house. What a blessing in the midst of the sad mess we find ourselves in…

  11. Bob Stalling

    I took a close look at the picture of the tree with a magnifier…it appears as though there is a large wound at the base of the tree…perhaps hit by a car at one point.
    A wound like this will compromise the vascular system of the tree, and if you look at the upper canopy of the tree (on the side which the wound is on) you will see large stubs…large limbs that appear dead. Given that the vascular system on this side of the tree is damaged, that would make sense.
    One should also consider that construction of a sidewalk by the base of the tree would damage some the root system, perhaps causing further decline to the tree and maybe even weakening its stability in heavy storms.
    Does anybody know the condition of the tree before it was removed, or how the construction of a sidewalk would affect it if it were to remain?
    I can imagine the lawsuits if a large dead limb were to fall on someone’s Mercedes or God forbid, a pedestrian….and I can imagine the comments here if that were to happen.
    Put away the heartstrings until you are sure of the facts.

  12. Tammy Barry

    And they are also back in the two nesting stations in Longshore!!!

  13. Dorian Barth

    I do lots of walking so I am a big fan of
    sidewalks but please leave the trees!!
    Trees can be walked around.

  14. Mary Schmerker

    Thanks! We will need follow up stories. Was the tree that was taken down the favorite of the Male Osprey? The picture with the male seems to have a stub and the picture of the tree seems to have a similar stub. I totally get what Bob Stalling said about tree damage. I’m sure there will be more reports.

  15. Let’s take the return of the ospreys as a good sign that we too will return to our former lives, hugging loved ones and each other.

  16. Morley Boyd

    Re: the needless loss of mature street trees in the pursuit of ever more imperious surface (i.e. sidewalks): I have a respectful message for those who have been aggressively advocating for same: while your intentions are unquestionably well meaning, please take this (as well as the environmental harm occurring as a result of sidewalk projects elsewhere in town) to heart – and perhaps consider being (more) careful what you wish for going forward.

  17. Joyce Barnhart

    Was a penalty imposed on Regency Centers for their viloations last year? Or did they get away with just an apology? Is there a law in town that for any tree removed another must be planted? Original planners were short-sighted not to plan sidewalks but fixing that shouln’t mean a complete loss of trees.