Well, the neighborhood has certainly become more quiet than it was just a few short weeks ago. There for awhile, ear plugs would have been in order for all of the squawking and commotion coming from the nest and other osprey hang-outs. Those of you watching from the ospreycam could merely turn down the volume. That wasn’t an option for us here at the secret ospreycam location. But as much as we love our ospreys, the up close and personal clamouring was maddening at times. It is sort of a poignant silence now, the large number of ospreys we counted a few weeks ago have gone on to points south. It won’t stay quiet for long, though, as the geese will be returning shortly. We will typically hear them first, and then observe large flocks heading back to the Chesapeake Bay for the winter. A good time to watch and listen for the returning geese is the first stiff northwesterly wind after the full harvest moon, which is coming up on September 19. Our tundra swans will return around Thanksgiving, and between the geese and the swans, our peace and quiet will once again be happily broken. It may not surprise you to know that Crazy Osprey Man feeds the tundra swans all winter. Several years ago, “our” swans were part of a Department of Natural Resources study of the migration habits of tundra swans. Several of our swans were captured and banded with radio transmitter collars. The swans were tracked to their summer nesting sites, and then back to the Chesapeake Bay the following autumn. But that is another story for a different set of blogs. So back to our ospreys.
Over the past few days, the osprey sightings have been few and far between. I have not been around the house as much as over the summer, so it has become harder to see what goes on. This morning, there were two juveniles hanging around. One was in the top of the big tree two houses north of us. The other was eating a fish on our next door neighbor’s dock. My educated guess is that one of the remaining juveniles is one of ours (probably Ozzie), and the other belongs to the nest a few houses to the north of us. That nest only had one chick this year. If you remember from a few weeks go, there was a fourth juvenile osprey seen in our nest a couple of times. I am reasonably sure the fourth juvenile that we observed was from that nest. Earlier this afternoon, one of the two ospreys landed on our next door neighbor’s dock with a very large fish. I went out and tried to grab a few photos, but off she went. I took a few quick shots of her flying off with the fish, which I will post.
One day during the middle of last week, I did observe an adult fly back to the nest with a very, very large fish. There was a juvenile in the nest at the time. When the adult went to drop the fish off in the nest, the youngster missed the catch, and the very large fish went over the side into the water. Dad (I’m sure it was Tom as Audrey has been long gone) would have no parts of losing his catch. He swooped back down into the water, retrieved his hard-earned catch, and took off with it. The headless fish was returned some time later after Tom had his fill.
The favorite hang-outs of our ospreys over the past few weeks have been trees, docks, boats (unfortunately for obvious reasons) and COM’s perches. They have spent far less time in the nest, which now looks quite bedraggled, unkempt and very flat. Here are some photos from our ospreys’ neighborhood.
Remember, you can click on each of the photographs individually to view closer up:
Besides our dock, there are four docks close to ours where the ospreys like to hang out. Two of the other docks are just north of us, and two are just south of us.
Boats are another popular hang out. For obvious reasons, this option is not very popular with the boat owners:
There are many great trees in the area for time away from the nest. Even with only a couple of ospreys still in the area, we can usually find one in a tree.
We have been trying all summer to get a photo of ospreys on all three of COM’s perches. The best we could do was two out of three.
The winner of this week’s ospreycam photo contest is:
We will leave you with a very special photograph, which like the others I have posted, are better viewed close up. There was a flurry of activity this summer of Facebook mavens trying to capture the perfect still shot from the ospreycam of pooping ospreys (I have no explanation for this). For all of you who added so much to our osprey experience this summer, this one’s for you.
Until next time, we remain-
Crazy Osprey Man and Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man
If you are enjoying the osprey camera and blog, please consider a donation to the Chesapeake Conservancy so they are able to continue supporting programs such as this one. Go to http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org today. Thanks very much!