Buy One, Get One Free!

Good evening from the fickle Eastern Shore of Maryland! We had beautiful weather the last two days, with a stormy day on tap for Sunday. Everyone is ready for spring in our neck of the woods. Well, I am running a special today, and my readers are the lucky recipients of this osprey special. Today and today only, you are getting two blogs for the price of one! Welcome to “See Ya, Wouldn’t Want To Be Ya, 2020 in the Rear View Mirror Part Deux” and a special rendition of “Who’s On First?” I’ll start with “Who’s On First?”

As promised, I was putting together photos for Part Two of my first blog of 2021, when the excitement started. It was a quiet Friday evening here at the secret location. After a long week, I was looking forward to our very first social gathering since the pandemic put the kabash on life as we knew it. Five neighbors, all fully vaccinated, were coming to the end of the dock for a much needed socially distanced happy hour outside in the breeze. What a delightful time we had! To be able to chat in person with friends while sharing a glass of wine and some nibblies was simply divine! By sunset, everyone had left. All of the leftover wine (what’s that?) and goodies were put away, and I sat down at my computer to get some work done. I can see outside from my desk, and there he/she was! Over the previous week, a very pretty visiting osprey had stopped on our platform a few times, but it wasn’t Tom or Audrey. This osprey looked very much like Tom, but it was so hard to tell in the dark. When morning broke, I decided the osprey looked like Tom and was acting like Tom by sitting on the boatlift and top of the camera pole. I always get nervous making a call on osprey identity, but it was time to put on my big girl pants and give it a go. Not too long after I made the call, the lovely visitor made an appearance, so we had two ospreys on the nest platform, albeit for a very short time. Before I continue with Part Two of my first blog, here are just a few photos of this morning’s excitement. Who’s on first?

Well, well, well, who do we have here?

After seeing this osprey on the perch and the post, I had a really good feeling this was our Calico Tom The Fishing Fool! If you look at the very top of the pole, there is a good view of the perch

Tom wasted no time in living up to his moniker, and brought back a nice fish, which he didn’t have to share with anyone after his long journey. There was a wee bit of buff color visible on the back of his head when the wind blew, which is one of Tom’s telltale characteristics

Already making a bloody mess on the boat lift! Welcome home, Tom!

Knowing Tom’s nest making skills would probably kick in shortly after he had a rest and some chow, I immediately went out to put some sticks in the back yard.

The first batch of unmarked sticks, followed a little while later with four marked sticks. You will have to watch to see the color selection!

And lo and behold, not fifteen minutes after I put the sticks out, I looked out the window to see Tom making a low pass parallel to the shoreline right toward my sticks! He snagged one, and took it to the nest! Mrs. COM was feeling pretty pleased with herself right about then!

We had a small incident a few weeks ago. A local tree expert service was hired to trim all of our trees, which had grown to be quite large after thirty two years with us. When I came home from work after they left, I was aghast to see that our stick locker lay bare under our Wye Oak. We grew this tree from an offspring of the famous four-hundred year old original Wye Oak, which had been located not far from us before it succumbed to a lightening strike. Apparently, the tree trimmers thought they were doing us a favor by cleaning up the substantial pile of sticks under the tree. No one was home to tell them otherwise. If you have been reading my blogs, you have seen photos of the very large stick pile we had accumulated for our ospreys to use as building material. I have been gathering sticks from the yard to start replacing our stash, but it will be a daunting task to replace the amount of sticks we had saved.

Oh, no! The tree people must have thought they were doing us a favor and cleaned up all of the sticks that were under our stick tree. So sad to see them go! Fresh sticks for our friends this season!

So now I will continue with “See Ya, Wouldn’t Want To Be Ya-2020 In The Rear View Mirror-Part Two”. We were a little late in taking down the poles last season, but on December 3, 2020, our dear friends from the Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage, Phil and Dean, stopped by to remove the poles for the winter. Over the years, we have had damage, to include losing poles, when ice would form in the bay. The last few years, the pole (now poles) had been taken out of the water to avoid having to replace them in the spring. COM had been mounting the camera pole on the dock for winter swan viewing. This past winter, we were having technical issues with the camera, so unfortunately, we weren’t able to share our gorgeous tundra swans with you. Hopefully, all of the technical issues have been resolved, so come November, the camera will be able to capture some of the best that Mother Nature has to offer.

By now, you have seen lots of photographs of our poles and cameras being taken down in the fall and put back up in the spring. We wouldn’t want to break with tradition, so here we go again.

The team had a nice day for their pole removal project. It wasn’t terribly cold (easy for me to say from dry land), not too windy and the tide was low. These were ideal conditions for the task at hand. First, the ladder, kayak and other necessary equipment was ferried out to the pole system. There were a series of lines and pullies assembled to assist in the lowering and removal of the poles. You gotta love physics!

Here are Phil, Patrick from the Chesapeake Conservancy, COM and Dean lowering the camera pole.
The camera pole, with camera and other equipment, has to be carefully carried back to terra firma. The camera cannot get wet.

Three strong men are carrying the pole, which is incredibly heavy. Calling squatter’s rights, COM is carefully carrying some not-so-heavy line
The nest/platform pole stands alone
Now the camera pole had to be moved onto the dock and be attached to a piling. Physics in action again, notice the lines and pullies
The pole was up, and being secured to a piling for the winter. Phil and Patrick were in the water under the dock. At this point, we were still hoping the camera might be functional for winter swan viewing
Patrick was at the ready in the water in case a water rescue was needed.
COM securing the very long cables
Just hanging out in the water waiting for Mrs. COM’s fresh cranberry muffins





Camera pole standing proud. Mission #1 accomplished, and one step closer to those muffins
Phil and Dean are retrieving the really big stepladder, which won’t be needed for Mission#2
Ladder coming back with Phil and Dean, needed equipment going out with COM and Patrick
Phil and Dean putting the really big stepladder back on the dock
Getting ready to jet out the nest platform. Whoops, I don’t think that was supposed to happen!
Down comes the nest platform and pole. It is not critical for this pole to stay dry, so physics is on the side burner for now
The pole and kayak are being readied for transport back to land
The nest pole is heavy, but with no camera to add weight and logistics, it is not as critical to be carried in a certain orientation. Phil has the front end, and seems quite nonchalant. Patrick is wondering who volunteered him for this project
All of the equipment has made it back to the dock unscathed
Patrick is readying the kayak to be pulled up the riprap
Thank you, Patrick and the Chesapeake Conservancy for providing some manual labor. It would be tough to complete this task without you!

Oh where, oh where have my little poles gone? Oh where, oh where can they be? Our unobstructed winter view where the pole complex used to be

Moving the platform and pole to winter quarters on the riprap

Our socially distanced team, Patrick, COM, Phil and Dean. I made them wear their masks in case Dr. Fauci was in the neighborhood. I hope the muffins were worth it!

A sad occurrence over the off-season was the passing of my 6th grade heart throb, Sean Connery. When he appeared on the cover of Life Magazine during the run of his movie, Thunderball, I decided I would wallpaper my room with said covers. Although I put the word out to family and friends, I was only able to come up with four covers. Alas, my dreams of being surrounded by Agent 007 was not to be, breaking my eleven year old heart.

As my dear departed mother used to say, “He could eat crackers in my bed any day”. Although I didn’t get it then, I sure get it now. RIP, Bond, James Bond. You were the best of all the 007’s

I am very sorry you weren’t able to enjoy our winter visitors between seasons. Although their viewing wasn’t available to you, we had a banner year for swans, with an average of forty to fifty every day. Here is a series of photos as a reward for your loss.

A bevy of swans relaxing where the pole complex was removed for the winter. There is one gray swan toward the right of the photo, who is a juvenile.

When COM goes out in the morning to feed the swans, they can see him on the dock and come flying in from wherever they have been for the night. You can hear their wings flapping and the sound coming from their webbed feet when they land in the water

This is a juvenile getting ready to take off. The swans will run across the water and start flapping, sort of like a plane taxiing before take-off

These swans have landed, and are quickly swimming to the dock for their morning rations. Check out their neck reflections and the V’s they leave in their wakes

The swan to the right of middle looks like he is laughing. There is a swan feather floating near the front of this photo, see if you can spot it

A swan family. The grey one in the middle is a juvenile. The lighting is not very good, but I really like their neck reflections

One of these swans is getting ready to bite one of his buddies, not very nice
I may enter this photo in the Maryland Department of Natural Resources calendar contest. The winning photos that are selected appear on a page of their next year’s calendar. What do you think?
Bottoms up! Check out the three swan butts in a row at the bottom of this photo. This is how they eat, with their necks stretched down to the food, and their cute little swan tushies pointed to the sky.

I will leave you with a few more sunrise photos. The winner of the sunrise photo contest in my first blog was Choice #2, followed closely by Choice #4. Thank you to everyone who voted!

Once again, I cannot pick a favorite, so it’s up to you to choose yours from this group.

Choice #1
Choice #2
Choice #3
Choice #4
Choice #5

The hour is late, and I am getting bleary-eyed. I hope you have enjoyed Part Two of our off-season. When next we meet, I will start our season off with more recent tales from the secret location. Now that Tom is back, I hope to have many lovely photos of our recently-arrived ospreys. Time will tell whether our beloved Audrey II will grace us with her presence back at the nest, or a soon-to-be beloved Audrey III will take her place. Audrey II is at least 14 years old, and would be reaching near the end of the average life span for an osprey. Mother Nature will have her say, and we humans can only sit back and wait for whatever she brings our way!

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!

See Ya, Wouldn’t Want To Be Ya 2020 in the Rear View Mirror Part One

Administrative Note: Since I last posted a blog, WordPress has changed how blogs are written. I haven’t figured out or mastered the changes, so I am apologizing in advance for the wonky formatting and horribly labelled photos. I will try to do better next time. Mrs. COM

Good morning from the blustery, almost springtime, Eastern Shore of Maryland. Welcome back to Season 9 of The Crazy Osprey Family’s partnership with the Chesapeake Conservancy. Since my last blog on May 4, 2020, life has certainly had its way with us, don’t you think? We were moving along in our egg incubation period, when Mother Nature intervened (and not in a positive way), and the rest of our 2020 season, as they say, was history. And then there was this minor inconvenience, a pandemic I think it is called….

And yet, here we are on the cusp of a new adventure, waiting and hopeful once again. The nest and camera poles are up, just itching for the return of our favorite ospreys. The fine folks at Explore provided us with a brand new camera, which we hope will enhance your viewing pleasure. We did have a very brief visitor earlier yesterday morning, which did not go unnoticed by our faithful camera watchers. But no sooner did I see the welcome sight and ran to grab my trusty Nikon, than the intruder flew off and was not seen again. I perused the photo grabs posted on our Explore site, and determined that the brief visitor was not Tom or Audrey, so the watch begins anew.

Seeing that osprey on the bare nest platform gave me the kick in my tushie that was needed to sit down at my computer to download, review and select photos. There was a boatload of photos to go through to get going, yet I persisted. So without further ado (I looked it up, and this is the correct spelling, by the way), here you go. So glad to have you all back. Here’s to a fantabulous 2021 here at the secret location!

On May 7, 2020, a mere three days before disaster struck our nest, a quiet evening was enhanced by an incredible full moon lighting up the water behind our house. I have found over the years that photographing full moons after dark is better left to experts in the photography field, which is not me. I still can’t figure out how to get the moon and water in focus at the same time after dark, so if anyone can help me out, please reach out in the comments. Remember, you can click on each photo to enlarge for better viewing.

Not ospreys, I know, but this adorable pair of mallards was waddling around the backyard, and I just had to include them for a smile.

Fred and Ethel enjoying a lovely spring day. As all of our ospreys have always been Tom and Audrey, all of our mallard pairs have been annointed Fred and Ethel

May 10 was a dark day in the Crazy Osprey Family household. It was a cold, cloudy nasty spring once again, and if you have followed our camera and blog, you know these conditions don’t bode well for a successful season. Once again, due to the abysmal weather conditions, the fishing was terrible. Calico Tom, our fishing fool, was unable to provide enough fish for Audrey. She had to leave the nest for sustenance and protection from the weather. The dastardly crows, knowing the nest had been left unattended, finished the job they started on May 1, only this time we were unable to stop their attack on the remaining two eggs. Our 2020 season was over almost before it started. Tom and Audrey would be without offspring yet again.

Even though they were empty nesters (please laugh here), Tom and Audrey still had to go about their daily lives until it was time to head south. A girl’s gotta eat, so Audrey took matters into her own talons and brought home her own bacon to the former poop dock next door to the south.

Oh, no, not you again, thinks Audrey

Audrey taking a big bite, surrounded by various little piles of bloody fish yuckies

I really don’t think I want to know what Audrey is tugging on

Audrey’s repast did not go unnoticed by the neighborhood turkey vultures.

Some birdies are waiting for sloppy seconds

While I was outside taking photos of the carnage on the dock, I heard the unmistakable roar of the Blue Angels, who should have been in town for one of their heart stopping air shows for the Naval Academy Commissioning Week festivities. Although there were no festivities in 2020 due to the pandemic, our fearless six-person team was in the area to fly over the academy.

Right overhead, but the lighting was terrible and they were flying really, really fast

The Blue Angels were flying so fast, I barely managed to take another photo of the whole team. There they go!

Tom and Audrey attended to their usual daily activities. One of Tom’s favorite haunts is the perch that COM built on the top of the camera pole. From there, he can survey his kingdom.

Hanging out on top of the camera pole on yet another dreary day. Here is a good view of the perch, camera and IR light source below the camera

Tom leaves his perch to head down to the nest.

I can almost walk from here

Think I will just hang out for a while

Tom is on his perch enjoying a little snack, and Audrey is doing her Audrey thing. See if you can figure out what her thing it. Check out the debris hanging from the right side of the nest.

Squawkin’ Audrey is wanting some of that fish Tom is hoarding on his perch

Tom decides to see what all of the fuss was about and comes down to the nest

Tom is trying to shut Audrey up, and she doesn’t look too happy.

Later in the day.


I guess Audrey should have been nicer to Tom. But I think there will be enough for both of them. What do you think?

You may remember last year that we installed a new purple martin house, on the dock this time instead of on terra firma. For the first time, much to my delight, we actually had purple martins. This is the biggest purple martin I have ever seen!

Yikes! Are you going to tell him, or am I?

I don’t see any problem here, thinks Tom, who is masquerading as a purple martin

Mrs. COM was happy. She managed to capture one obligatory poop shot for the season, albeit one nanosecond too late.

One leg or two? I can’t tell, but one legged pooping is quite an art

June rolled around with very little fanfare, with all being quiet around the ‘hood. Tom and Audrey continued to be each other’s best friends, and would hang out together during the day.

Tom is drying out on the boat lift. Audrey is uncharacteristically quiet.

Audrey couldn’t stand the excitement, and decided to see what else was going on around the neighborhood.

If Audrey couldn’t scratch his itch, Tom decided to do it himself

Mrs. COM has captured Tom’s attention, which resulted in one of his famous hairy eyeballs

Snack time! The electric box continued to be, and is, a very popular spot to take a refreshment.

Mine, all mine

Now, if you have small children reading, please excuse them from the room for a few moments. This is the often requested, seldom acquired X-rated section of our first blog of 2021, set in a series of photographs which don’t need much explanation. What you are about to witness caused much speculation about the possibility of another clutch of eggs, but was merely an intense session of osprey nooky.

Audrey arriving from a spin around the block

A successful landing on the paltry nest, complete with a large chunk of filter cloth (the black substance on the left of the nest) from the riprap

Ah, peace (or should I say piece, stay tuned) and quiet

Tom, complete with hanging debris, arrives to spoil Audrey’s solitude

This photo, and the following six, need no explanation. If they do, you don’t need to know

Wham, Bam, Thank you m’am

What just happened? I was sitting here, minding my own business, when……

And away goes the masked bandit, still dragging his little mess of who-knows-what

A Crazy Osprey Man’s work is never done. Repairs in June, however, are far more pleasant that the ones in January and February.

A more civilized repair job

Togetherness continued throughout the month of June.

Enjoying togetherness on one leg

Good buddies

With the end of spring came some storms, which were worth it due to the lovely rainbows caused by said storms.

Tom is stopping by to enjoy the fabulous vista.

A lovely late spring evening

Here are some sunrise photos from late June into late July. I couldn’t pick my favorite, so you get them all. Which do you like?

Choice #1

Choice #2

Choice #3

Choice #4

Choice #5

It’s not always calm and pretty at the secret location.

And the Weather Gods were angry

Our 2020 season was filled with sadness for many reasons. The pandemic was running rampant, our ospreys were once again without little ones and our country was torn apart. To add to the madness, our faithful scraggly stick tree began its slow demise into firewood due to the wet ground, wind, violent storms and its precarious location at the edge of the riprap.

The beginning of the end. The first signs of trouble

The deteriorating condition of the scraggly stick tree was apparently lost on the eagles

Magnificent birds spending some last moments in the scraggly stick tree

Gotta love bald eagles

Mrs. COM does her thing, and manages to scare off our national bird

Meanwhile, back at the scraggly stick tree, things are going from bad to worse.

The main part of the tree succumbs to the wind and water

The second part of the tree is still up, but has seen better days

A close-up view of the big split in the scraggly stick tree

The main part of the tree being chain-sawed into firewood

This is what remains of the tree. Our neighbor is going to leave it in place for the ospreys for now

You may have noticed that the title of this blog contains the words “Part One”, which suggests there is a part two. If you have picked up on that little nuance, then you are right. I am going to leave you for now with a photo of Mother Nature at her finest. We will pick up where I left off with the rest of the off season in the near future.

Wow, just wow!

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!