Table For Two, Please

Good afternoon from the sultry, summery, stormy Eastern Shore of Maryland!  As I sit here, there is thunder rumbling in the distance.  Hopefully, we won’t experience as violent a storm as we did a couple of weeks ago when the camera was damaged by the severe weather.  It’s been a busy few weeks since my last blog, so let’s get to it!

On July 17, our Little Bit (LB) took to the skies!  Over the years, most of our newly fledged osprey chicks have left the nest and spent a good part of the day hanging out wherever they landed after that first exhilarating flight.  LB’s first landing was not very far from the nest, just a short distance away on top of Audrey’s favorite eating location, the electric box.  The morning light isn’t the best for photo taking in our neck of the woods, but here is LB checking out a new view in his world:


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Little Bit’s first foray into the great big world landed him on top of the electric box next to his protector, Roger


LB didn’t stay the entire day, and decided to check out other options in the neighborhood:


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Is this seat taken?


I wonder what Tom was thinking when he realized one of his favorite haunts was being taken over by a youngster?

This was one of his first thoughts shortly after LB was occupying Tom’s camera pole:


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Take that, you whippersnapper!!


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Tom is looking longingly to his favorite perch, and pondering what had happened to his tranquil existence. Little did he know what was just down the road!


LB decided the electric box was a great alternative to being up on the scary camera pole:


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Back to the electric box where there appears to be better footing for a newly fledged osprey


But a parent was never far away:


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A watchful parent nearby on the boat lift


I got carried away taking photos of LB enjoying his first taste of freedom.  Out of the dozens of photos I took that morning and afternoon, I was able to narrow down my selections, but not enough.  So you get to pick your favorite, sorry for the repetition.  Let me know which of the next series is your favorite…..


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Mrs. COM gets the first of many stink eyes from LB. I love the red eyes on the young ones


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A more peaceful look


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Mrs. COM has not gone unnoticed, but LB did not get up the courage to leave his safe place


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Looking streamlined


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I do believe there is a fair amount of fish blood and guts on top of and streaming down the side of the electric box


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The coy, over the shoulder pose


LB finally got up the nerve to leave his safe spot on the electric box and head back to the nest:

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LB in flight early in his flying career


Home base is in sight, and LB heads back to the top of the camera pole:


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Do those feet look right to you? Hold on, Betty!!


LB spent the next couple of days exploring his surroundings.  His new best friend Roger was just over on the dock, within sight of LB’s new vantage point.  But this is no way to endear yourself to a new friend:


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“What the heck is going on?” thinks Roger


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This is not how to win friends and influence people. Who is going to tell LB that Roger is probably a bit perturbed with this indignity?


So much to explore:


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LB heading to the boat lift, where he sees his dad hanging out once in a while



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Look at me, Dad, I’m a big boy now!




Dad made this look so easy, but it is slippery up here!



LB decides he is not comfortable on the boat lift, and heads back home:


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LB heading back to safe haven.  Roger is ready to duck


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And home! I made it!



A little break from ospreys:


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A beautiful kingbird on a tomato cage in Mrs. COM’s vegetable garden. Check out the cool spider web!



The nest was getting fuller.  With LB’s new found freedom, it was more difficult to take a family portrait:


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A peaceful family portrait before chaos hit a few days down the road


Tom figures he’d better get while the getting was good, and takes his rightful place on top of the camera pole before the impertinent LB flies up there:


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I have to reclaim my spot



Mine, all mine


Audrey is left alone with her one and only little osprey:


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Audrey is looking a little frazzled. Gotta love that wild look!


It has not gone unnoticed by our camera watchers that LB has a healthy set of lungs.  The next series of photos was taken over a couple of minutes.  See if LB’s mouth is shut in any of them:


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LB squawking to the north


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Just missed a great poop shot. LB continues squawking to the north


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LB stretching his wings while squawking to the south


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And back to the north


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Just in case they couldn’t hear me to the south



Life continued to pass as LB’s flying skills grew stronger:


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LB is getting better on the landings, but Audrey still stays out of his way



Tom has just about given up on surveying his kingdom from the top of the camera pole.  Audrey still keeps an eye on things from the nest:



LB does not look as sure of himself as Tom does way up there


All of our osprey have always enjoyed hanging out in the scraggly stick tree, with LB being no exception.  In the next photo, he is enjoying some time in the tree with Audrey.  It looks like something is hanging from one of his talons in the tree, and when he takes off.  I have looked at the debris many times, and still can’t decide if it is fishing line or not:


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What’s your best guess as to the type of debris hanging from LB’s left talon?


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LB heads back to the nest with the debris still hanging on



Audrey has been seen way more than Tom the last few weeks.  Tom is still around, but not spending much time in his usual haunts.  Audrey continues to be a great osprey mom, and may take over Tom’s fishing fool moniker.


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Audrey eating a big, fat fish. LB is pretending he doesn’t notice


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Audrey hanging out with LB in the scraggly stick tree one house to the north of us



Here is a very typical sight at the secret location.  Audrey is in the nest keeping an eye on Mrs. COM and her infernal camera, and LB is on top of the camera pole, also keeping an eye on the bothersome Mrs. COM:


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I think they are getting tired of me!



LB likes to hang out in a tree along the water in my neighbor’s yard two houses to the south of us:


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Darn, she can still see me!



When they are around, the top of the camera pole for LB and the nest for Audrey are still some of the most visited locations:


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This multi-tasking stuff is not easy-flapping my wings, holding on and yapping


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Okay, better now.  Wings tucked in, holding on and quiet.



As the summer has gone on and our ospreys are in the nest less and less, the boat lift has become a frequent stop.  Unfortunately, this is creating a messy problem for COM’s boat:


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One of the culprits



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As you know, there is no shortage of fish being caught, delivered and consumed on this nest.  This may explain why every bit of fish is not eaten some times:


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I guess no one wanted the tail




As patient as Audrey is with her youngsters, she is sure giving LB the stink eye in this photo:


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Shut your yap already, LB, even your mother is getting tired of hearing your whining!



Tom’s appearances have been few and far between, but he is still around the neighborhood.  Here he is living up to his Fishing Fool moniker:


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Tom with a really big striped bass, aka rockfish here in the Chesapeake Bay



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A little blurry, but at least Tom isn’t sitting on the boat lift


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Enough of Mrs. COM, and away Tom goes to eat uninterrupted



Things were going along so nicely, a lovely uneventful osprey season.  But au contraire, things were about to get much more interesting:


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Am I seeing double?


Shades of 2015 and E.T.!!  Our nest was visited by a new fledgling who was very skinny and very, very hungry.  After some fussing and pushing, the new arrival grabbed and rapidly ate the next two fish brought back to the nest, and Mrs. COM finally got her Archie.


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LB is not happy with the intruder.  Audrey and Archie are keeping an eye on things


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Now I know I am seeing double. On top of Tom’s camera pole and yapping away, but a look alike still in the nest!!


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LB does not look like a happy camper!



Audrey is still giving Tom a run for his title:


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Audrey is having a little snack before she gives up her fish


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Look at the girth on that fish! We don’t need no stinkin’ men…..


Audrey has been spending time with her two charges while Tom has made himself scarce:



Three in a tree-Audrey with a fish, LB and Archie in the scraggly stick tree.  The clouds were fantastic!


Audrey decided it was time to escape Mrs. COM:


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I’m outta here….


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Audrey in flight back to the nest


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Lining up the landing


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Lots of room to land with no one else home



A serene summer evening:


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Tom and Audrey drying in the scraggly stick tree with a rainbow on the horizon, how bucolic. Both kids are in the nest


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LB and Archie in the nest at the other end of the same full rainbow. Spectacular!



Sometimes Archie may wonder why he picked this particular nest:


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The food is good, but my ears hurt, thinks Archie


As you probably know, a particularly violent thunderstorm rolled through a couple of weeks ago that rendered our camera inoperable.  After several unsuccessful attempts to troubleshoot and fix the camera, COM had numerous consultations with the folks from Explore.  A new part was sent for the camera, which finally solved the problem once COM was able to get it installed.  Thanks again to COM for his tireless efforts to keep all the osprey balls in the air (not sure that sounds quite right.  But please overlook the double entendre which was not intentional, but is actually kind of funny).


An aftermath to the storm:



Poor Roger after the storm. He looks like he is developing a little osteoporosis



This is a sure sign that Audrey is spending some time fishing for everyone’s dinner:


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Audrey is very wet. Archie is ignoring her plight, and seems glad it is not him


I will leave you with one last photo:


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Gorgeous late afternoon lighting resulted in a lovely photo of LB with an evening fish. I love taking photos this time of day!


Are you tired of looking at photos?  I don’t want to bore you, so this is a good time to wish everyone well.  Audrey should be with us for another few days.  Then we will bid her farewell and safe travels to her winter digs in the far south.  Tom, LB and Archie should be gracing us with their presence for a while longer, so stay tuned!  Thanks, as always, for being faithful camera watchers and blog readers.


Until next time, we remain-

COM, Mrs. COM and Osprey Girl


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