Good morning from the hot and humid Eastern Shore of Maryland. The summer has been flying by so quickly. Between work and life, I have managed to let way too much time slip by without regaling you with tales from the secret location. When I sat down to finally start going through some photos and preparing for my next blog, I realized I was going to have to compose a two-parter due to the number of photos I wanted to post. The subject of this blog and the next one will be our darling CJ. My plan is to get this blog published today, followed closely by Part Two over the coming weekend. So let’s get down to business!
Since my last blog, the Chesapeake Conservancy’s naming contest held our interest for a couple of weeks. Although there were some interesting and fun names nominated, the crowd favorite came out on top. A fitting name was certainly chosen, and we all welcomed CJ to the fold. CJ is certainly her mother’s daughter, and inherited Audrey’s dominant squawking gene and then some. I know the camera sound has been a problem this season, but rest assured sound has not been a problem when one lives a couple hundred feet from the nest.
Here are mother and daughter hanging out in the nest. Note the lovely tree branch in a scrumptious shade of burnt sienna, along with a long-buried marked stick.
Those of you who have been following my blogs know that I am delighted with our new purple martin house. We have only had it a couple of years after not having any success with our old house. Check out our lovely purple martins. We had a full house this season, and are thinking about installing a second one.
Roger seems to have successfully performed his duties this season as Protector and Defender of the nest. Although the bird predators were kept at bay due to better spring weather and our spiffy friend, the gulls were not impressed with Roger’s skills.
One of the big events since the last blog was the banding of CJ by our dear friend and raptor biologist extraordinaire, Craig Koppie. We first met Craig in 2015, the summer of our great foster experience with Maine, Montana and E.T., which is memorialized in my blogs from that summer. You can also read about out foster summer in Craig’s book “Inside An Osprey’s Nest”, which is available for purchase from the Chesapeake Conservancy and is a fabulous osprey treatise. Craig continues to be one of our favorite people, and we truly enjoy his friendship and expertise.
Craig was able to come to the secret location to band CJ on August 5, which was before she fledged. Craig likes to band ospreys at around age 6-7 weeks, which was right on target for our CJ. I have made it a tradition to treat all of the experts who help with our ospreys to homemade muffins. Craig was most fortunate to be with us when blueberries were in season.
Meanwhile, back on the dock, Craig and COM were getting ready to begin the day’s agenda. The lighting was not ideal for photos from some of the angles, but I did the best I could.
I have so many incredible close-ups that I just couldn’t choose. If any of the following photos aren’t captioned, I didn’t think they needed one.
The next two photos are very similar, but in one you can see CJ’s nictitating membrane, and in the other you can see her eye color. See if you can tell which is which.
The next photo is one of my absolute favorite photos out of all the osprey photos I have taken in the last nine years. I chuckle each and every time I look at it.
It looks like Craig is trying to hypnotize CJ in the following photo.
Okay, before I continue with the rest of the banding photos, I have a sad story to tell. When I downloaded my photos from banding day, it looked like I was missing some. I went back and looked at the photo numbers, and I was missing photo numbers 9293 through 9358. Those photos are just plain gone. I have no idea where they went, or what happened, but was so dismayed. The missing photos included Craig’s really bloody hand after CJ took a couple more bites out of him, COM assisting Craig in attaching the yellow tape to CJ’s new bling and some really cute photos of COM with Craig holding CJ and Roger in the middle. I am so sad those were the photos that vanished into thin air. I do have one photo of Craig showing COM how big to cut the piece of tape.
To add insult to injury, as I continued to take photos of Craig and COM returning CJ and her new bling back to the nest, I ran out of space on my camera to take any more photos. So here are some of the remaining few I managed to take before the card filled up.
While Craig was up in the nest, he removed the unhatched egg with great care. He said if the egg blew up, it would be quite malodorous so he wanted to get it out of the nest. The egg is now in his freezer, but he didn’t say if it was his home freezer or his work freezer and I didn’t ask. His wife is a very nice woman, so I hope it is in the work freezer.
Here is one of the photos that Craig took of CJ from the ladder.
Of course, one of the big questions was the gender of CJ. Based on her leg size and the way the band fit, Craig felt that CJ was female.
Here are a few more answers to a few more questions we asked Craig. He is not sure when Audrey might leave since she was a month late in arriving, but was leaning toward her leaving at her normal time, which would be around now. I asked him about the types of bands that are used (metal vs. color) and here was his answer: “The Bird Banding Lab authorizes the use of auxiliary bands (anodized color bands) only for specific research projects. Currently, I band osprey incidental to other raptor conservation efforts such as your birds. The Poplar Island restoration project would like to begin using auxiliary color bands for osprey. We are entertaining this for next year. I consider your pair to be associated with the greater (local) group, so I could use color bands in the future. I will let you know. The colored tape is a benefit to you when observing post fledging behavior of your bird. There will be other fledglings in the area soon including those from Poplar Island, potentially. The tape is temporary. Reading of the band numbers can only be done when in the hand so it doesn’t matter if the digits are obscured.”
Here is the last photo of this blog, which was taken at our July Full Moon Dock Party.
So that’s it for now. I have another fun blog planned for you in the very near future, CJ All The Way Part Two, so stay tuned!
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 http://chesapeakeconservancy.org today. Thanks very much!