The Princess Diaries-Part One

Good morning from the hot, humid Eastern Shore of Maryland!  The sultry days of summer are upon us as we continue our march toward the end of another fabulous osprey season here at the secret location.  My story of our favorite osprey family has gotten way behind, but there is no time like the present to start catching up.

My selection of available photographs has gotten ridiculously large, so I have decided to regale you with some shorter literary blogs with a plethora of photos.  As the title of this blog promises, Part One means there will be a Part Two, which in theory should follow closely behind said Part One.

I will start you off with one of the obligatory poop shots.  Tom enjoyed one of his daily constitutionals in the presence of some dastardly crows, who so far have turned out to be not so dastardly this year.



Tom multi-tasking: pooping, eating and fending off hungry crows. What a guy!


Alas, we haven’t seen our beautiful Harriet in quite some time.  I like to think she has pulled an E.T. on us.  For those of you who weren’t with us in the 2015 season, we were visited by a recently fledged youngster who decided he liked the secret location better than his own nest.  E.T. stayed with us the rest of the season, and was quite the character.  So I am sure Harriet is somewhere not too far away, enjoying some different scenery and being pampered by a foster mom and dad like our E.T. of three years ago.



Meghan and Harriet when they were known as Meghan and Harry. I must admit I am not sure who is who in this photo


Audrey is a really good mom, and remains ever vigilant:



Audrey keeping her eye on Mrs. COM and the box around her neck


On Friday, July 13, we had the great honor of a banding visit from our favorite raptor biologist, Craig Koppie.  Craig has been and remains one of the best parts of being the caretakers at the secret location.  One would be hard pressed to find a more pleasant, competent and resourceful addition to our osprey team.  As Meghan and Harry (soon to be Harriet) were consumed with their flapping and hopping, the time wasn’t far away when they would fledge.  Craig made it over in the nick of time.  He had two helpers from the Chesapeake Conservancy, Intern Stephanie and Intern Michael, along with our neighbor Drew and Mrs. COM (me!).  It was a beautiful day, if not beastly hot, and banding commenced shortly after Craig’s arrival.



Craig and Intern Michael wade out to the pole with our faithful, really big stepladder



Decisions, decisions. Where to put this gigantic ladder? Meghan and Harry have some ideas where they could put that ladder!



Audrey is not at all happy with the emerging situation, and keeps a close eye on the events at the pole complex. As you might imagine, she was not quiet in her consternation



In order to able to be able to reach the birds (and not poke his eye out), Craig removes some of the wayward sticks. Harry, in his last few minutes as a boy, is willing to help with the eye poking!



Smile! Someone is taking your picture!



It would appear that Craig has grabbed a few chicks in his day, with apologies to Mrs. Craig



Someone is not happy! Check out that tail, must be some turkey DNA in there some where




Harry seems resigned to his fate



Craig is carefully preparing Harry for his trip back to the dock.  Harry looks like he really wants a piece of Craig



If looks could kill, Craig would be in a world of hurt. Intern Michael is looking glad that Harriet is not looking at him



Check out those beautiful wings!



I think Craig may have held a bird or two in his career



The bird formerly known as Harry is getting her bling



Oh, my, check out Harriet’s mouth. She is looking to take a chunk out of Craig, who offers her a glove instead of his flesh



Harriet gets blue tape on her band. Roger is waiting quietly in the wings in case he is needed



Someone is looking a little cranky! (Hint: It is not Craig or Roger)



The trusty glove is needed once again.



Those are some big wings for a young bird!



Audrey has returned to the nest to lend moral support to Meghan, who is hoping beyond hope that she isn’t next



Audrey is quite happy that she knows how to fly, and off she goes (middle right of the photo just in front of the land)


In case one of the chicks decides to go for a swim, we have a rescue boat at the ready:



Drew, Intern Stephanie and Archie at the ready (Hint: Archie is the only one not wearing a hat)



Harriet is safely back in the nest. Next up-Meghan



Craig has to remove some more sticks to get to Meghan. She is not cooperating and dancing all around the nest to avoid Craig invading her personal space


Craig and Intern Michael have had to move the ladder around several times to be in a position for Craig to grab Meghan.  She decides this would be a perfect time to fledge, but her wings aren’t quite strong enough yet and she ends up in the drink:



This sure doesn’t seem like flying, thinks Meghan


Ospreys can float for a very long time, so Craig isn’t worried about Meghan.  In fact, he was kind of happy that he would be able to retrieve her for banding without too much more trouble.



Splish, splash, Craig and Meghan are takin’ a bath!  You can see some of the sticks that Craig removed from the nest floating behind him



Gotcha! More of that turkey DNA is kicking in, check out that tail (and the cool reflection)!



There is no escaping Craig, this is not his first rodeo



Out of the drink with precious cargo.



That wasn’t nice, mister, now I am going to make you pay for my indignities!



I do believe that is blood on Craig’s hand…….



Someone is looking a little wet, how did that happen?



The diversionary glove has made another appearance



A great shot of Meghan’s eye. The orange will become more yellow as she matures



As the banding commences, Meghan is still trying to get another piece of Craig



Meghan’s turn to get a little bling. She looks resigned to her fate



Yellow is a nice color!



Let me at’m, says Meghan.  More blood, this time on Craig’s thumb



Down the ladder they go, headed back to the nest



The rescue boat is still on station. It was a very hot day, so Craig decides to give Meghan a little cool down before he puts her back in the nest



Ah, that feels good, thinks Meghan. Maybe this guy isn’t so bad after all



As Meghan gets closer to being back in the nest, Audrey is still very concerned and circling around. Intern Michael is holding some sort of device. What could it be?



Meghan goes back in the nest. I don’t think Harriet looks too happy to see her. Do you think it is Craig she is not happy to see? Probably a safe bet!



No mission would be complete without a COM device. This is COM’s homemade Osprey Camera Cleaning Device.  It looks remarkably similar to a boat hook with a squeegee attached to the end. You have to check out the body language on Meghan!



Craig told us the banding was free, but the camera washing was extra. Well worth it, don’t you think?  Everybody’s a comedian!



Like the good naturalist he is, Craig is recycling the sticks he removed from the nest. They went right back on our stick pile to be used again.



Time to put away the big ladder and COM’s contraption. Please be careful with the Osprey Camera Cleaning Device, Intern Michael, it might be worth a lot of money some day!



Audrey decides the coast is clear, and comes back to her girls






Back together again. Audrey, Meghan and Harriet, formerly known as Harry



Intern Mike, Craig, Intern Stephanie and Roger hiding in the back. Mission Accomplished!


A couple of quick items before I close for now.  In years past, Craig has banded the young birds in a big plastic tub.  This year, the chicks were too big for Craig’s boxes, so he brought them up on the dock for banding.

Second item:  You may have wondered how the colors are chosen for the banded birds.  Not much to it, Craig shows me the choice of colors, and I pick.  I figured Harriet used to be Harry, so I would make him blue for (former) boys, giving us a good way to remember who is who.  Sexist logic, one might argue, but it is what it is.

I think that is enough for tonight, as the hour is late (actually quite early) and my bed is calling.  The Princess Diaries, Part Two should be out in about a week, so stay tuned!

Until nest time, we remain-

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


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