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Outdoors notebook: Ospreys doing well around state

| Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, 5:48 p.m.
The number of ospreys, like this one at Donegal Lake, is trending upward statewide, according to the Game Commission.
Bob Frye | Trib Total Media
The number of ospreys, like this one at Donegal Lake, is trending upward statewide, according to the Game Commission.

Bald eagles have recovered well enough across Pennsylvania that the Game Commission recently removed them from the state's threatened list.

The osprey might not be far behind.

Known as “fish hawks” for their preference for nesting around water and eating fish, ospreys are native to Pennsylvania. Their number plummeted to the point that they had to be reintroduced, however. A total of 265 birds were released at three sites — including Moraine State Park in Butler County — in the state between 1980 and 1996.

That effort has worked well. There are an estimated 120 active osprey nest sites across the state, Game Commission ornithologist Doug Gross said.

They're much more clustered than the widely distributed eagles, he said. Most of the osprey nests — 91 percent of those existing as of 2010 — are found on man-made nesting structures, too.

But the species is trending upward and looks poised to make more gains, he said.

“All you have to do is give them a little space, and they do OK,” Gross said. “This is a species that is really primed up for delisting, in my opinion.”

Pymatuning Lake

Pymatuning Lake in Crawford County is a little richer in terms of fish habitat these days.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pymatuning Lake Association and other public and private partners placed wooden cribs called “porcupine juniors” throughout the north end of the lake recently. Rock reefs were placed in its southern end.

All should attract baitfish, in turn drawing in bigger fish, said Matt Wolfe, the Jeannette native who worked on the project as a fisheries biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Placing habitat structures in the lake is done annually. This year's effort was the largest ever, though, Wolfe said.

Specifics on where the structures are located are available by calling Ohio's district three office at 330-644-2293.

Record changes

The International Game Fish Association has created a women's division.

In years past, there's always been one all-tackle world record for fish species, and individual records based on line-class. It didn't matter if the fish had been caught by a man or woman, the record was the same.

Now the Association is separating its freshwater line class and fly rod records into men's and women's categories. That's opened a lot of vacancies, which is what the association wants, according to records coordinator Jack Vitek.

Flea market

Sportsmen's Association of Greensburg is hosting a sportsmen's flea market from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 16 at the club, located on Mutual Firehall Road in Greensburg, near the Westmoreland County fairgrounds.

There will be all sorts of hunting and fishing equipment for sale, including guns, ammunition and even dogs, according to organizers.

Vendors can rent space for $15; sportsmen get in for $2 per person or $5 per carload. Call 724-423-6350.

Rogue buffalo

Spend time on one of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's state game lands and you're sure to see wildlife.

But a 1,500-pound buffalo?

One escaped from a pen in Lancaster County recently and found itself roaming two game lands near Brickerville, near a Turnpike intersection. The owner of the animal ultimately had to shoot it when he could not recapture it, said wildlife conservation officer Greg Graham.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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