CJ All The Way-Part Two

Good morning from the gorgeous Eastern Shore of Maryland! Well, it’s taken a little longer to get this blog published than I had planned, but get ready to enjoy Part Two of the adventures of our favorite fledging. When last we met, the primary topics were stories and photos from C.J.’s banding. Shortly after her big adventure with Craig and COM, C.J. fledged on August 20, 2021, which was a gloomy, wet day. I guess when nature calls, it’s time to fly. So without further adieu, please enjoy the rest of the story..

Here are some family photos before C.J.’s first flight.

A typical peaceful day at the nest. Tom is on his favorite perch drying his wings, Audrey is on her little post and C.J. is happy to be at home with mom and dad

Now Audrey is looking my way and C.J. is on high alert. Tom figures the girls can take care of themselves, and pays no mind to them or Mrs. COM

A little nature break for you to observe some wild clouds

Can you see the little lamb and plump chicken? Or how about the pig head? What else do you see?

As I mentioned, C.J. took to the skies on a less than ideal day for taking photos. This was her first stop after leaving the safety and security of the only home she had ever known.

C.J.’s first stop after leaving her nest, the good old, large target boat lift.

Such a gloomy day to leave a nice cozy nest

C.J. stayed on the boat lift for a good long while, but not as long as some of our previous new fledglings. Her next stop was one of the pilings.

Hmm, now what?, thinks C.J.

Does anyone know I’m here? Can anyone hear me? I’m hungry!

It didn’t take C.J. too long to master the one-legged stance. Her bling is tucked away for now while she is looking at something behind her

C.J. is ready for take-off with beautiful flying wings and her bling showing

Here is your first peek at C.J. in flight. She looks like a pro in just a few hours

C.J. is in focus, but Audrey, near the NEMA box, is not. The fish is not in focus either, but it doesn’t really care

This is what C.J. was looking at and squawking about while on the boat lift. Audrey is near the NEMA box with a substantial fish

Yes, I did, can you see it? Poop shot! COM thinks I am disgusting. I was delighted with my action photo. Such range, Audrey!

C.J.’s first day of flight was glorious. She didn’t stay as long in one place as some of our other fledgings have. After taking their first flights, some of our other youngsters have stayed at their first landing sites for hours. But not our C.J.!

While Audrey was eating and pooping, C.J. was delightful to watch as she flew around the neighborhood. Visible bling in this photo!

And back to Old Faithful, the trusty boat lift

Does this look like half an osprey to you? Kind of creepy, don’t you think?

Oh, no, what have I done? C.J. looks terrified

C.J. on the left, Roger on the right and Audrey in the middle, still munching on her fish as her baby roams the neighborhood. Wonder if she has given C.J. a curfew?

Another view of the same tranquil scene. Still looking kind of grey on the horizon

Time for a nature break from ospreys. My butterfly bush was magnificent this year. I couldn’t resist a few close-ups of visitors to my volunteer gone wild (the volunteer butterfly bush, that is).

Upside down butterfly

Same butterfly, this time right side up

A different visitor

Okay, last butterfly photo

Thanks for letting me take an osprey break, now back to what you all really want to see. Poor Tom hasn’t gotten very much press so far this blog, so here is a shout out to our fishing fool. Tom hasn’t spent as much time in the top of Joe’s big tree this season, but I did catch him surveying his kingdom from way up high in Joe’s big tree a couple of days before the big fledge.

I saw this osprey way up high, and decided to take a closer look

Lo and behold, it was Calico Tom the Fishing Fool. Hi, Tom!

Okay, back to fledge day and the escapades of C.J. in her new found flight.

After hanging on the boat lift for awhile with no fish delivery, C.J. decides to go back to the piling and make her hungry presence known to Audrey, who was still munching on her fish from near the NEMA box. Can’t you just hear C.J.?

C.J. is certainly her mother’s daughter in the squawking department

After being ignored, by her mother no less, C.J. takes her ball and goes home
Arriving back to the nest as the skies begin to clear.

As the days went on, it was truly heartwarming to watch C.J. getting used to her new flying skills. Over the years, I have always found great pleasure in watching our fledglings soar and dive and revel in their ability to finally experience the joys of flight.

Do you remember when Audrey Three was in our midst? Much to Tom’s chagrin, she took over his favorite perch on top of the camera pole. Well, shades of Audrey Three have returned. The young whippersnapper decided she wanted to hog the camera perch. Can a male osprey be henpecked? Inquiring minds want to know.

Audrey spreading her wings in the nest while the whippersnapper takes over the camera perch. Tom was off sulking somewhere

Be careful up there, says Audrey to C.J., who is looking a little precarious and off balance

After getting yelled at by mom, C.J. holds on for dear life before she gets grounded

C.J. does not let any interesting perch go empty, even with intruders going by.

Excuse me, sir and madam. Did you not notice the giant purple martin on top of the purple martin house?

C.J. does not seem bothered by the water travelers

A lovely duet with mother and daughter. Mother is on the nest perch yapping, and daughter is claiming squatter’s rights on her dad’s favorite digs while joining in the cacophony.

You may have noticed a dearth of photos that include the scraggly stick tree. Since the tree’s partial demise, our ospreys haven’t spent nearly as much time in it as in the past. But there are still times when I will notice one of the three hanging out in the remains of the scraggly stick tree.

Someone has been in the water

A wet Audrey drying off in the scraggly stick tree

Where’s Waldo, a.k.a. C.J.?

Do you see Waldo yet?

How about now?

A giant hint! And if you were here, you would probably hear her before you could see her, which is exactly how I found her in the tree!

Audrey is also looking for Waldo

Audrey is still looking. Maybe she hears C.J. yakking for some food?

Exorcist osprey

I slowly approached Audrey to take a close-up

After I took the above photo, this is the next thing I saw:

Mrs. COM manages to chase off Audrey yet again. She is really good at that

I wasn’t sure how much longer Audrey would grace us with her presence. I know we all had questions as to how long she would stay. In a normal year, which this hasn’t been due to Audrey’s late arrival and subsequent delayed egg laying and hatching, Audrey would leave sometime in mid August. As the end of August arrived, Audrey was still here.

Audrey and a gull, who was pretending it wasn’t interested in what was going on at the next piling

A really good view of Audrey’s eye markings. The fish has no eyes left to have markings, so we will just have to imagine how his eye markings appeared during better days

The gull tips its hand, and shows its interest in Audrey and the fish

Audrey and the unfortunate fish

Not one step closer, Mrs. COM, and I really mean it

Meanwhile, back at the nest, C.J. is patiently waiting for some of that fish.

C.J. is being a good girl and waiting patiently for lunch

Patience hell, I am going to get me some fish

Can you tell why C.J. is landing here?

Does this help? Looks like dad is also a meal possibility. Check out Tom on the picnic table while C.J. waits on the right side chair

Meanwhile, Audrey is still munching on eyeless Moby Dick and the gull is still hoping Audrey will somehow drop the fish or get full and leave it for her new best friend.

Would someone please call security?

No doubt why they are called ring-billed gulls. Audrey is starting to get annoyed

Are you still here?

Well, the hour is getting late and it’s time to wrap up for now. In my next blog, I will start with September 3, 2021, which was the last day I was able to photograph Audrey before she left for her winter digs down south of the border. I am sure she is down there by now enjoying her well-deserved winter break. Tom is still around, and I have lots of fun photos of him to share with you to take the sting out of Audrey’s departure. C.J. is a real character, and we enjoy watching her antics (albeit with ear plugs). She has definitely inherited her mother’s strong, loud set of lungs. C.J. has a very distinct call, which is different from her parents. Many of the other ospreys in the area have left for the season, although there are a few still with us. The bald eagles are more noticeable now, both by their presence and their distinct calls and crys. Between the ospreys leaving and the eagles becoming more prevalent, we know our osprey season is coming to a close, but not finished yet!

I will leave you with a couple of magnificent sunrise photos from the secret location.

Looking to the east on a late summer morning at sunrise

A quiet scene at sunrise at the secret location

Until next time, we remain-

Crazy Osprey Man, Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man and Osprey Girl