Good morning from the cold, wet Eastern Shore of Maryland! Another dreary day here at the secret location. We are due for some sunny, warm spring weather, which will be most welcome by all, man and beast (bird). Yesterday was the start of egg-laying for Audrey, yippee!! As I write, she is sitting on her egg in the cold wind, protecting her precious bundle. The eggs should come every two days, for a total of two to four in her clutch. The typical number of eggs Tom and Audrey produce in a season is three, but there is always a chance for four. Time will tell, so stay tuned!
First, I had a bit of good luck last week at the grocery store. I was thrilled with my find at six thirty in the morning.
As I mentioned in my last blog, I went through a vast quantity of photos a couple of weeks ago in preparation for publishing my first blog of the season. There were just too many to use in one blog, so as promised, here is one that contains some of those photos. The dates span August 2019-February 2020. Better late than never!
As the 2019 season started to wind down in August, Audrey was the first to leave for her winter digs, which is typical at our nest. Tom, Lil Bit and Archie remained, with Tom being the responsible parent. This is the camera pole last season before COM modified it with the spiffy new perch on top.
True confessions-I am not sure of the true identity of the youngsters in some of these photos, so yes, I am being purposefully evasive. I do believe this was Lil Bit.
Here are some dastardly crows congregating in the top of Joe’s tree. Our new pan tilt zoom camera has two-way sound capability, so if we see the crows performing nefarious acts at our nest, we can yell at them. Perhaps we can entice the explore cam operators to help, will have to check with them.
Tom will usually spend the night either on top of the camera pole or on the cross bar which stabilized the two poles. You can hear him scratching around when he is on either one of his nighttime roosts.
A lovely photo of Calico Tom The Fishing Fool shortly before he left for points south.
As much as we are sad to see our beloved ospreys leave to winter in South America, their departure allows for some other spectacular visitors. We have a population of bald eagles in the area, who do not get along with the ospreys. When the ospreys are away, the eagles will play.
I stealthily approached the tree, hoping not to scare them off before I was able to get a closer shot.
My stealthiness didn’t last for long, and one of the eagles took flight.
There are also juvenile bald eagles in the area. It takes a few years for them to develop their distinctive white heads and tails. Here is a youngster on our osprey pole. His plumage is almost fully developed, but you can still see some dark streaks on his head. This photo was taken just after sunrise, not the best lighting but a cool photo nonetheless.
Check out the thick feathering on the legs, almost looks like the eagle is wearing pants.
You can see that the eagle’s plumage is not fully developed. This is also a good vantage point of the top of the camera pole before the new perch was installed.
I am sure this is the same eagle pair as above, this time with late afternoon lighting
In addition to eagles, there are many Great Blue Herons in the area. I caught this young one on the electric box scratching an itch with the sparklies in the background. This photo was taken in the morning, so the lighting is not so hot for photos this time of day from our yard.
A beautiful late summer sunrise.
It was time to take down the poles for the winter. In years past, we have removed the nest but allowed the pole or poles to remain standing. As I explained in the last blog, the poles are removed for a couple of reasons. One reason is to protect the poles from moving ice. More recently and since we have had a dedicated camera pole, that pole is mounted on our dock to allow viewing of the tundra swans, other waterfowl and the vistas that grace the Chesapeake in the winter. Our good friends from the Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage, Phil and Dean, were on hand for the end of season operation.
So between the last blog and this one, you now have an idea of the amount of work involved to take the poles down for the winter and get them back in place for the start of the osprey season. We all need to give a big shout out to COM, Phil, Dean and Michael for doing the hard work that makes it possible for all of us to enjoy some of the best that nature has to offer here on the Chesapeake Bay! An extra atta boy is due to COM for all the behind the scenes work he does all year round to maintain and improve everything having to do with the camera and equipment.
Winter on the Chesapeake Bay is a different world from summertime. In the warmer weather, the bay is bustling with boaters, crabbers, ospreys, heron, fish and all sorts of recreational activities. In the winter, things slow down considerably and the weather changes from sultry summer days to the much more challenging winter climate . In spite of the cold, grey skies, there are still those who have to make their living by working on the water. This lone waterman caught my eye one cold, foggy winter day tonging for oysters. A true taste of the old days on the mighty, magnificent Chesapeake Bay.
I will leave you with another lovely sunrise over the water at the secret location, complete with two of our tundra swans.
Good bye for now! Hopefully next time we meet, there will be a full clutch of eggs for Tom and Audrey. Remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face and please stay safe.
Until next time, we remain-
Crazy Osprey Man, Mrs. Crazy Man and Osprey Girl
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