The Master Procrastinator

Well, look who is back! Welcome to the sunny but chilly Eastern Shore of Maryland. Winter is still with us, but spring is just around the corner. I have annointed myself the Master Procrastinator, and with good reason. The promised last blog of 2021 has officially become the first blog of 2022, but it is here nonetheless. I will pick up where we left off, in early September 2021.

Audrey left us in August, as she usually does, leaving the boys to their own devices. Here is one last Tom and Audrey photo taken just before she left.

Audrey, Calico Tom the Fishing Fool and an unwanted hopeful visitor

C.J. grew bigger and sassier, and definitely inherited her mother’s robust squawking gene.

C.J. has inherited her mother’s robust voice and her father’s penchant for sitting on top of the camera pole

C.J. hanging out at the nest in the late afternoon

Calico Tom The Fishing Fool rarely fails to live up to his moniker. His fishing skills continue to amaze us.

Tom hanging out at the NEMA box on a cloudy day enjoying the fruits (well, sort of) of his labor while Roger continues to pose no threat to Tom’s hard won meal.

A meal way up high in Joe’s big tree

One afternoon in September, I looked out to see our fishing fool on the dock picnic table next door to the north. I quite enjoyed observing the events that took place during the fish feast.

Tom was enjoying his fish when he noticed Mrs. COM and her darn camera, and sounded the alarm

Mrs. COM wasn’t the only one who noticed Tom and Moby Dick

Now Tom appears to want my help. Can’t you do something about this bothersome ring-billed gull, Mrs. COM? (so aptly named, don’t you think?)

Tom looks disgusted. Are you kidding me? First the gull, now this dastardly crow?

Enough is enough, says Tom. Time for you to go, crow

The crow decides Tom is not messing around, and leaves without a look back. He knows there will be another fish on another day

And take this while you’re at it, you wretched crow.

Did you notice how slyly I snuck in the best poop shot of the season? I told you I had a good one. Was it worth the wait? You’re welcome!

Some of the lovely parts of living where we do, with the fabulous eastern exposure, are Mother Nature’s vistas. Here are some of them.

September’s glorious full moon shortly before the sun fully set
No changes were made to this photo other than some minor cropping. Are we lucky to live here or what?

And what would a good eastern exposure be without a few sunrise photos?

Mother Nature in all her glory

Looking to the northwest the same morning

Tom seemed to be enjoying his yearly stint at bachelordom. He continued to frequent his usual haunts.

A quiet afternoon on COM’s boatlift.

There are many other avian visitors to our secret location in addition to our favorite ospreys. Great Blue Herons are frequently seen, during the day as well as resting in our nest at night. A very adorable young heron spent a great deal of time in and around our area. One cloudy late afternoon, the heron’s presence was not appreciated by Tom.

Tom takes exception to the young heron using his digs and swoops in to stake his claim

Tom has captured the youngster’s attention and junior prepared to take flight

Our young Great Blue Heron likes to explore the surroundings.

The youngster decides to take a stroll down the dock to the north of us

While Tom’s away, a heron takes advantage of the view from the boat lift. COM was quite happy that the front of the heron was closest to his boat and not the back

Time for a sunrise break!

The essence of serenity

As the ospreys start to leave, we see more and more of our bald eagles. They are such magnificent birds, and still cause a flutter of pride every time we see one.

Way up in Joe’s big tree, a majestic adult bald eagle enjoys a late summer day

This looks like a good place to enjoy a fish, thinks the eagle. Needs a little renovation, but it will work fine for now

The eagle is learning what our ospreys have discovered years ago. The crazy woman with the camera will appear when you least expect it. He leaves with a stick tangled up with his fish. Check out his beak peaking out from under his wings

COM took this photo for me just recently while I was at work. SWEET! Thank you, COM!

C.J. used her last few weeks to hone her fishing skills and hang out. She was quite happy when the purple martin house was stowed for the winter, and took advantage of the newly available perch at the top of the purple martin house pole.

C.J. has that sexy wind-blown look to go along with her yellow bling

Are you feeling like a couple more sunrise and moonrise photos? Well, I feel like posting some!

Good morning, sunshine!

October full moon. Notice the sun has set earlier

No words needed, just enjoy and marvel at nature

As fall deepened, our beloved ospreys finally headed to their winter climes. It was time for the fall take-down of the poles, nest and cameras. As luck would have it, I was chasing the almighty dollar the day of the work party. I managed to get home for a little while, and was able to memorialize some of the day’s events.

Phil, Dean and COM readying the camera pole for take-down
The nest had to go, and Phil was wearing his gloves this year
Check out the marked stick!
The nest and the marked stick are floating off. Not sure where the plastic bag came from, must have been in the nest
The debris scatters, kind of sad. Dean plucked out the marked sticks and the plastic bag. Thank you, Dean!!

Phil and Dean’s faithful kayak, complete with trash pump for jetting the pole in and out
With the nest gone, the lines are attached to be able to safely lower the poles. The camera cannot go in the drink
COM is bringing out some equipment. The wind, weather and tides were being cooperative, which was a nice change from some other years
Down comes the camera pole. Notice the pulley system and lines, well engineered
With the camera pole down, Phil carefully keeps the camera and hopefully the junction box out of the water

The camera pole is back to the dock, allowing Phil to show off some fancy footwork
The camera end of the pole is placed in a wheelbarrow for easier transport. It doesn’t look it, but that pole and camera are incredibly heavy
The nest pole still needs to be removed. Can you see the pulley at the bottom of the platform?
Dean is getting ready to jet out the nest platform pole while Phil is getting posts ready to mark where the poles were located
Down comes the nest platform
Poles markers are going in for ease during spring installation
Back to land for the platform and kayak
The poles are all gone, and just the super duper stepladder remains to be retrieved
COM is changing out the pole markers with PVC pipe, the reddish colored ones did not work out
The work crew with the camera pole visible resting against the dock. You can see a good view of the perch on top of the pole
The nest platform will remain on the pole this winter, and rest quietly on the riprap awaiting March installation
The camera and junction box which we hoped would be functional for swan watching this winter

I had to go back to work, so wasn’t able to capture any more of the fun and missed taking the obligatory group photo. I hope you were able to get a little taste of the work it required so we are all able to enjoy our favorite osprey family. I want to extend our eternal thanks and gratitude to Phil and Dean of the Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage for their continuing support of our camera and ospreys (and our purple martins). We could not do this without them.

After the cameras were taken down in November (the new daytime tilt pan zoom camera and the infrared camera), we sent the TPZ camera back to the Explore folks for troubleshooting. As I am sure you are well aware, we did not have suitable audio this past season, although the video portion of the transmission was fabulous. We just received the camera back a couple of days ago, and are anxious to determine if the video and audio will be working this season. COM is working very hard to try to capture the last few weeks of swan season for you, so hopefully there will be some good news on that front very soon.

And yet another sunrise photo. It’s been a long winter, you know!


Have you wondered about the fate of the scraggly stick tree over the winter? We have had some ferocious winds, and weren’t sure it would make it, but the tree is still there. It is leaning precariously, but is hanging in there for the time being.

The scraggly stick tree the day of the November pole take-down

The time has come to close for now. I really wanted to get a blog published before the poles were installed this spring, and I made it! I hope you have enjoyed my better late than never words and pictures, and are looking forward to the upcoming season as much as we are here at the secret location. Hopefully the swan camera will be up and running in the next couple of days, so keep your eyes on the camera and will away those pesky highlights!

Here are my last sunrise photos of our off season. Come on, Spring!

Birds in flight just before sunrise (as Mrs. COM freezes her tushy off waiting for that golden orb)
The elusive light pillar, also known as an ice pillar.
Light pillar with a flock of seagulls. Light pillars are somewhat rare, so enjoy!

That’s it for now. 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!