Notes On A Soon To Be Empty Nest From A Soon To Be Empty Nester

Good evening from the very wet Eastern Shore of Maryland!  We had a rockin’ and rollin’ storm here a few hours ago, which was short in duration but long in intensity.  Many of you were commenting about the hail as I was here looking out the window. Although at times it looked like hail, fortunately for our ospreys, it was just incredibly intense rain.  All of our osprey friends seemed to weather the storm just fine, and all have been accounted for (sorry to end a sentence in a preposition, especially to any newspaper editors or English teachers out there).

There has been an abundance of excitement around here for the past couple of weeks.  Our dear foster chicks, Maine and Montana, have both fledged.  They have been entertaining us with their feat of flight, and seem to enjoy flying around together, honing their new found skills.  This is one of my favorite times in osprey season, watching the new fledglings swooping and swirling and marveling at their freedom in the air.   We also had some moments of drama when yet another fledging landed in the nest.  This fourth chick to visit the nest looked very different from Maine, Montana and E.T., having a very dark head.  He hung in there for a couple of hours as Audrey pecked and pushed at him.  The lost fledging sat cowering in the nest with his head hung low, and endured the punishment from Audrey while voraciously clinging to the nest with his talons.  Audrey finally got her way, and the intruder was pushed off the nest and took flight while being closely chased by our fierce momma osprey.  Tom, along with his freshly caught fish, briefly joined in the chase.  Our newest intruder has not been seen since, much to the relief of Tom and Audrey.

I had occasion to ask Craig Koppie about our egg-fostering ospreys and the biological parents of Maine and Montana.  The female who incubated her own three eggs and the two foster eggs is doing fine.  As a matter of fact, another hatched chick from a failed nest was placed in her nest, and all three of her chicks were successfully raised and fledged.  Maine and Montana’s biological parents did not attempt to build another nest on the barge piling.  Even though their exact whereabouts are unknown, no one has any reason to think they are anywhere but on Poplar Island.

We have been taking a crazy number of photographs, and I have decided that the focus of this blog will be to share some of them with you, with lots more to come in later blogs.  As you are all quite aware, the view through the camera has been showing more and more of the empty nest to come.  As Osprey Girl is leaving our little nest in two weeks to begin her freshman year at the University of Delaware, I have started to identify with all of the empty nesters in our midst.  It’s going to be very quiet in all the empty osprey nests and college-bound people nests very soon.  When Maine and Montana are not in their nest, they are not usually very far away.  They like to sit at the usual locations that we have told you about over the last three years.  Montana likes COM’s boat lift and the scraggly stick tree next door.  E.T. seems to favor our neighbor’s dock and swim ladder two houses to the south of us, the scraggly stick tree and COM’s perches.  Maine hasn’t selected a favorite yet, and I see him in various locations.  Please enjoy our photographs.  Remember, you can click on each photo to enlarge it for your viewing pleasure.

I looked outside this evening before the storm, and saw one of the fledglings sitting on the picnic table at the end of our dock.  I grabbed the camera, and tried to capture the moment, but scared everyone off.  The lighting was not very good with the approaching storm, but here is where all three fledglings ended up:

Montana, Maine and E.T. sitting in our neighbor's big tree two houses to the north of us. By the time I was able to get a close-up, a crow had joined the party.

Montana, Maine and E.T. sitting in our neighbor’s big tree two houses to the north of us. By the time I was able to get a close-up, a crow had joined the party.

A close-up shot of the same scene a few seconds later:

A crow has joined the gang in the big tree.

A crow has joined the gang in the big tree.

I love the next series of photographs.  I looked outside a few days ago to see Tom sitting with a fish on our boat lift.  His delectable prize did not go unnoticed by one of our pesky crows:

Crow to Tom:

Crow to Tom: “We need to talk about this fish”

Tom to Crow:

Tom to Crow: “Oh, no we don’t”.

Tom:

Tom: “Get me away from this crow. I’m outta here”.

Tom:

Tom: “I saved this from the crow for you, my pretties!”.

A father's work is never done. After leaving the fish for his family, Tom takes off to catch another meal.

A father’s work is never done. After leaving the fish for his family, Tom takes off to catch another meal.

Here is E.T. in some of his favorite hang-outs:

E.T. in the scraggly stick tree one house to the north of us.

E.T. in the scraggly stick tree one house to the north of us.

In a wider view, E.T. had some company

In a wider view, E.T. had some company

E.T. loves COM’s perches.  We only have two up this year, the third one was damaged in the ice and has not been replaced:

E.T. on COM's perch

E.T. on COM’s perch

Another visit to the perch by E.T.:

Another visit to one of COM's perches by E.T.

Another visit to one of COM’s perches by E.T.

I have to admit I am not really sure which osprey this is, but it is a cool photo:

The mystery osprey

The mystery osprey

Two more E.T. photographs:

E.T. one-footing it on the perch. Show off!!

E.T. one-footing it on the perch. Show off!!

Beautiful E.T. sitting on the stick tree next door.

Beautiful E.T. sitting on the stick tree next door.

An osprey in disguise:

“Maybe the ospreys won’t notice I am sitting on their electrical box”, thinks the gull

While we are on the subject of gulls:

Gull Photo Bomb

Gull Photo Bomb

Now that Maine and Montana have fledged, we have been able to capture them in and out of the nest:

Maine and Montana on the boat lift

Maine and Montana on the boat lift and boat

Montana on the electric box at the end of the boat lift

Montana on the electric box at the end of the boat lift

Here are a couple of photographs of Montana the day after she fledged:

Montana coming in for a landing

Montana coming in for a landing

Come on, Maine, this is fun!

Come on, Maine, this is fun!

Montana coming in for another landing:

Practice makes perfect!

Practice makes perfect!

Here are some beautiful shots of all three babies and Audrey.

In this photograph, you can really see the difference in the eye color between the fledglings and Audrey.  E.T. is all the way to the left, and Maine is all the way to the right:

Make sure you enlarge this photo and take a look at the eyes. E.T. is all the way to the left.

Make sure you enlarge this photo and take a look at the eyes. E.T. is all the way to the left.

A photograph dedicated to Kathy Berrier, one of our most prolific blog commenters:

WHO IS THAT DOING ALL THE YAPPING? COULD IT BE E.T.? YES, I THINK IT IS!!

WHO IS THAT DOING ALL THE YAPPING? COULD IT BE E.T.? YES, I THINK IT IS!  I NEED MY MEDS!

E.T. has taken off.  Everyone is wondering where he went:

“Where did he go?” wonder Audrey, Maine and Montana

I don’t have many individual photos of Maine yet, but here is one of them:

Maine on Osprey Girl's boat lift

Maine on Osprey Girl’s boat lift

In my last blog, I wrote about E.T. appearing out of no where when Tom returned to the nest with a fish.  Here is a series of two photographs highlighting what we witnessed:

In the first photo, Tom has just returned to the nest with the bottom half of a nice-sized fish.  E.T., in his usual fashion around that time, came screaming into the nest and caused quite a ruckus:

Tom leaves with the fish. E.T. is confused. Audrey is pissed off. Maine and Montana are pretending they didn't see anything.

Tom arrives with a fish.  E.T. is not far behind.

Tom will not be bullied by a youngster, so takes his fish and leaves.  Audrey is not happy.  Maine and Montana lay low, trying to stay out of the way:

Tom arrives with a fish with E.T. not far behind

Tom leaves with the fish.  E.T. is confused.  Audrey is pissed off.  Maine and Montana are pretending they didn’t see anything.

As the chicks grew older, many of you were worried when they were left alone without parental supervision.  Here are Maine and Montana entertaining themselves while home alone:

Maine and Montana enjoying their new-found freedom

Maine and Montana enjoying their new-found freedom

One of my favorite family portraits of Maine, Montana and Audrey:

Maine, Montana and Audrey

Maine, Montana and Audrey

E.T. and Montana at the end of our dock.  Montana is on the electric box and E.T. is on the lift:

Montana and E.T. hanging out on the electric box and former floating dock ramp lift

Montana and E.T. hanging out on the electric box and former floating dock ramp lift

Getting ready to be chased away by a crazy woman with a camera. Oh, no, not her again!

Getting ready to be chased away by a crazy woman with a camera. Oh, no, not her again!

Here is the last series of photographs for this blog.  Maine and Audrey are in the first of the series, and they are joined by Montana for the last three photos.

In the first one, Audrey and Maine seem to be focused on something above them outside of the nest.  The second photo shows Montana whacking Audrey in the face with her wing after landing.  Check out Audrey’s body language and the expression on her face.  I like the third photo because you can see a flying sparrow just under the nest.  The fourth and last photo in this series shows Audrey on one leg, Montana sitting up in the nest and Maine hunkered down in the nest, probably snuggled down on her favorite glove.

Everyone is looking at something happening outside the nest (probably Mrs. COM trying to snap a few photos)

Someone is arriving!

Stop whacking me in the face, Montana!

Stop whacking me in the face, Montana!

Look carefully under the nest for the downstairs neighbor in flight!

Look carefully under the nest for the downstairs neighbor in flight!

Audrey on one leg, Montana relaxing after flying in and Maine snuggled down in the nest

Audrey on one leg, Montana relaxing after flying in and Maine snuggled down in the nest

I will leave you all with a particularly poignant “Where in the World Are Tom and Audrey” entry.  The photo was submitted by Louise Wisenbaker of Sugar Hill, Georgia.  Louise is retired from Transamerica, and started watching raptor cameras with the peregrine falcon camera on the building in Baltimore, Maryland.  The photo Louise submitted is one of her mother, Polly Wisenbaker, watching the ospreycam with her cat, Baxter.  Polly absolutely loved our ospreys.  The first thing Polly would ask Louise each morning was “Have you checked on the babies”?  Sadly, Polly passed away a few days after this photograph was taken.  We are heartened that Polly was able to enjoy our ospreycam.  Thanks so much for submitting your entry, Louise.

Polly watching the ospreycam with her cat Baxter from Sugar Hill, Georgia

Polly watching the ospreycam with her cat Baxter from Sugar Hill, Georgia

That’s it for now, we are leaving on vacation in three hours, so I guess I will just stay up for the rest of night!  COM and Osprey Girl can drive, and this COMomma will curl up in the back seat with her pillow (a real pillow, not a black glove) and close my eyes!  Stay tuned for some fun blogs coming up!

Until next time, we remain-

Crazy Osprey Man, Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man aka COMomma and Osprey Girl.

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://chesapeakeconservancy.org today.  Thanks very much!

3,307 thoughts on “Notes On A Soon To Be Empty Nest From A Soon To Be Empty Nester

  1. a note on the fish to Nelson nest, Arrow appears to be doing some fishing of his own now, not sure how Bonnie is in that area

  2. Chance obviously had a busy and tiring day, resting now in her nest. She is a night owl however, so you can bet she will be back up around 9 – 10 PM. 🙂

  3. i think Mom was doing most of feeding but here is what they said. Mom has left to begin her migration, but Dad remains and continues to bring fish to the nest. His continued presence will be very important to Chance’s success and he will teach her how to fish.

    • She is going to have to learn faster than our juvies! Can’t believe mom left already! Chance just fledged a few days ago!

      • Chance needs our prayers, and prayers to Saint Francis. I wonder why her mom left her so soon after fledging? hope her papa loves her dearly, stays with her and teaches her all she needs to survive.

  4. Chance is up and already out of the nest! Oh boy growing up. That’s what we hope for. I just like them to be home at night. Not humanizing at all of course 🙂

  5. AHHHHHH just got in from BBQ and read through your posts and all the new info. Like Coreygirl I must get back into work mode, so it is early to bed ! I think Chance will be fine. We will all be praying for her continued progress. If anyone did not see Uta’s last video on CC FB, check it out I wanted to cry listening to the chipring, or in this case, more like YAPPING. Never thought I would say I miss those loud calls for food. It was more like a call for company. Anyway, hope all had a wonderful, safe holiday weekend. We never know what tomorrow will bring ! Good night all. 😦 🙂 mixed emotions, you know.

    • the yapping! is not only empty nest syndrome, is quiet nest too! even if the nest was empty and we could hear the yapping in the background it would be comforting! ok, loud, but reassuring. I am guessing no sightings of Maine and Montana today. no one has mentioned anything about them. weird that ET is still here when he was older than M&M

  6. mmm, Tom is one good daddy and what a lot of work with 3 crops to feed! I find it funny too to watch how patient the parents can be, pecked at, screamed at, demanding more more more, you almost see them ‘sighing’ and then off to get more fish. The fish TR is catching are certainly a large amount are salmon, everything from Kokanee to Sockeye. It’s salmon run time now in BC, the bears in great abundance in the waterways, scooping up all those great Salmon coming to spawn.

  7. signing off to feed Scotties, cats, husband if he’s good…. do peek in at the Nelson nest, they will be around awhile yet. It is sad that one day they’re all there then one by one starting with mom, off they go… check in tomorrow, g’evening all

  8. just caught your question, Ive. Oh yes, the wonderful Orcas of the West Coast need their salmon. Have a concern on that as well, but don`t know your rules and regs on politics or whatever…. the Colorado River diversion for strawberry farms in California, think this had a huge impact on the Orcas and Salmon stocks, yes? As humans, we need to be so careful.

  9. One more time for all who may have missed this today. Please do check in, such a joyful sight with two beautiful siblings with very attentive parents and some pretty funny stuff too! This first link is from this morning when Bonnie the female juvie let her fish squirm away right down into the nest, Her reaction is Priceless. https://www.flickr.com/photos/79745779@N08/21126301572/in/photostream/
    The second link is to the live Cam, what amazing scenery.
    http://columbiawireless.ca/
    It’s helping with our empty nest syndrome. Enjoy 🙂 Thanks again to Janice for sharing.
    Chance is still gone at this hour.
    Goodnight all.

  10. Good morning all ! Yes back to work so up early. I see we have a new blog and I will not be able to read it until sometime later today. Thank you so Mrs. COMomma ! Have a wonderful day all and thank you Janice for all the great info !

  11. Thanks so much Mrs. COMomma! What love you have for your family, Ospreys and osprey friends. How lucky we all have been to be part of the 2015 adventures.

Comments are closed.