Table For One, Please

Good morning from the sunny, hot and humid Eastern Shore of Maryland! It has been an exciting whirlwind here at the secret location between Osprey Girl’s college graduation, our remarkable celebratory adventure in Europe and of course, the arrival of our one and only osprey chick!  A really big shout out is also in order for COM, who once again was instrumental in working with the explore technicians and one of our local camera guys to get the osprey camera up and running after several days of highlights.  Thanks, COM, for all of your hard work and efforts to keep everything on track at the secret location.  There wouldn’t be an ospreycam here without his dedication to our birds!

On May 24, our first chick hatched to much fanfare and happiness !  We waited with great anticipation and bated breath for the next two hatches, but it was not to be this year.  There is no way of knowing why the other two eggs failed, but we are all so thrilled to have a table for one!  The up side of an only “child” is that all the attention and food have been channeled into the care of the one and only.  Our baby has grown up big and strong, and ready to take the next step (well, not really a step, but you know what I mean).  Fledging could happen at any time, and with all the flapping and hopping going on, it will be soon. I must mention that here at the Crazy Osprey Family home, we have been referring to the chick as Archie since he hatched.  I know the masses have selected a different name for the young one, but Archie will always be Archie to us!

Tom has been living up to his moniker, The Fishing Fool.  I was able to capture a wonderful series of photos following one of his catches.  One afternoon, I noticed Tom and Roger enjoying a messy meal on the electrical box at the end of the dock:

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Tom on the electrical box making quite a mess with his striped bass (rockfish here in the Chesapeake Bay)


Tom was enjoying his meal, when he noticed the crazy lady with the camera:

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Ugh, not you AGAIN!!


Tom decides he is not going to put up with Mrs. COM’s meddling:

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My fish and I are leaving now. Too bad for you, Mrs. COM


Tom figures if he can’t eat his fish in peace, he might as well go feed his family:


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Banking to the south in the direction of the nest pole


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A headless bass being carried aerodynamically back to the nest


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Arriving back at the nest. Audrey does not seem to be paying much attention to Tom, but she is eyeing that fish! Archie/Lil Bit is hunkered down waiting for feeding time


The dastardly crows did not waste much time going after the sloppy seconds:


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Are you going to eat that?


As you all know by now, Tom does the vast majority of the fishing while Audrey attends to the home front.  It is thrilling to watch him on the hunt, flying over his surroundings, hovering over the water and then diving to capture dinner.  Sometimes he will struggle in the water for a few seconds before taking flight with his next meal.  I can’t help but catch my breath every time, waiting for him to leave the water.  The next photo is heavily cropped, as Tom was way out fishing, but I was able to capture him trying to take flight from the water:


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Have you ever seen an osprey swim?


Of course, once you have been swimming, you need to dry off:


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Tom drying his wings while Audrey tends to her motherly duties


Since my last blog, we have celebrated some national holidays.  Here at the secret location, we fly the special holiday flag (read-really big flag) on these occasions:



The really, really big holiday flag. Sometimes it is hard to get it to fly!



The scraggly stick tree next door and the really big tree two houses to the north of us framing Old Glory


It has been interesting to note this season that our ospreys are not spending any time in the really big tree shown in the above photo.  There is another osprey pole in the water very close to the big trees (there are two of them).  This season, that osprey pair has two chicks so I think our ospreys are not welcome in their territory.  We will see what happens when Archie/Lil Bit fledges.

Audrey, as always, continues to be a very good osprey mom.  Here is a photo of her incubating and enjoying her favorite past time, making lots of noise:


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Audrey patiently incubating her eggs. It appears her mouth is open and she is squawking, what a surprise!


Maybe some of her consternation can be explained by this:


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Tom surveying his kingdom. I guess Audrey thinks he should be doing a little less surveying and a little more fishing!


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Tom seems nonplussed by Audrey’s fussing. He can probably tune her out like most human men…..


Here is a sight that our neighbor is not happy to see.  He has now put out a big fake owl, hoping to preserve the cleanliness of his boat:


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What a lovely spot to contemplate, eat and poop, thinks Tom (much to my neighbor’s chagrin, I am quite sure)


The downstairs neighbors have been quite vocal this season, don’t you think?  That is precisely why we keep the sound turned way down, or even off, in the house.  This isn’t a great photo, but a great shot of the noisy tenants:


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Our downstairs neighbors under the nest to the left, mom and dad. Can you see Archie/Lil Bit?


Our chick has grown up so fast!  Here is what he/she looks like from our vantage point:


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Audrey and a hunkered down, red-eyed baby a couple of weeks ago.  I do believe Audrey’s mouth is open!


Here is our entire family:


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Family Photo


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Sometimes you just need to stretch your wings!


Where’s Waldo?  Can you spot the downstairs neighbor?  No hints this time…


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Someone is getting big!


Did you find Waldo?

Now, here is a sight you don’t see too often.  A couple of days ago, I noticed Tom acting strangely and dive bombing the rip rap (the stone revetment protecting our waterfront), but I couldn’t see anything amiss from the house.  A little while later, I looked out:



Just a heron drying out in our back yard! Tom was not happy, let me tell you!


For some perspective, here is a longer view of the heron’s location in the backyard.  Cool!!


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Now here is something you don’t see every day, even at the secret location!


Unfortunately, I have some bad news to share.  Our dear friend and raptor biologist, Craig Koppie, is having some health issues and will not be able to band our chick this year.  We wish Craig the best, and hope for a speedy recovery.  Thanks, Craig, for all of the help you have provided to us over the years.  We know you will be back for next year’s banding(s), better than ever!

As our little one should be fledging any day, keep your eyes peeled to the camera for lift-off.  I will try to take lots of photos of our chick’s first foray into the big world.  Today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, wouldn’t this make a perfect launch day for Archie aka Lil Bit?  It is also the Full Buck Moon and our monthly Full Moon Dock Party, where we will be howling extra loudly to commemorate Apollo 11’s historic mission.

I am going to leave you with another one of our incredible sunrises:


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Another lovely morning at the secret location


That’s it for now!


Until next time, we remain-

Crazy Osprey Man, Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man 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 today.  Thanks very much!