She Came Back to Him

Who? What?  :-)

Updating my previous post on our returning Osprey, yesterday, both in the morning & late afternoon, our Mr. Osprey was still perched on his highway sign along Rt 50/301 in Grasonville.  As each year, he sits and patiently waits for his girl to return.

This morning, she was alongside him.  Home at last!

(sorry on photo quality, I only had my little point & shoot!)

Mr & Mrs Osprey are home!

Mr & Mrs Osprey are home!

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They will now take a little time to regain their strength from that 4,000 mile trek back here from South America.  And then onto renovating their nest in preparation for a family of little ones.  They will also rebuild their bond and commitment, as they haven’t seen each other since last September (they migrate to separate locations).  This Osprey pair and nest have been along this dual highway corridor for many years.  They are always the first to return, and in my last six years of observation, it has never appeared that a new pair has taken over or one was replaced by another not returning.  This pair has shown year after year they know exactly what they are doing and what they are dealing with (traffic whizzing by below!).

Spring has sprung!  :-)

Tundra Swans Down on the Farm

This post was intended to follow the Snow Geese post as my second unexpected photo op on Saturday.  Sorry, had to slide in a “WOOHOO post” for the return of our Osprey!  :-)

So heading home Saturday afternoon, I was hoping to see Snow Geese again somewhere along the way across the Eastern Shore Maryland farmlands.  Just west of Barclay on the corner of Rt 302 and Big Wood Road , I did catch a glimpse of white on white.  Snow Geese?  No….but it was a small flock of Tundra Swan!  They were resting and feeding in the middle of a farm field, which is not something we see often, as the Tundra Swan are usually seen on the water.

Here’s a few captures from my seven-minute photo op….

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A group of Tundra Swan having a little ruckus

A few more would just drop on in, it was great even at a distance.  It’s time for the Tundra Swan to be making their migration back north so I was happy to see this before their season here ends.

Osprey Sighting at Grasonville/Kent Narrows!

WOOHOO!  Let the trumpets sound!  It is official!!  :-)

For the last week, I have had my eye to the sky and at least a dozen Osprey nesting locations in my local area, searching for a first sighting on the return of our Osprey.  This overcast, rainy afternoon it became official.  I captured an Osprey on his highway sign on Rt. 50/301 through the Grasonville/Kent Narrows, Maryland.  This is one of three active nests along this corridor area.

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Male Osprey returning 3/10/15

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This next photo shows a full view of the highway with his nest, quite a bit still intact from the harsh winter.

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Finally home and now waiting for his mate to return to begin renovating their home for breeding.

Normally, we see our area Osprey returning March 12-15th.  This specific male Osprey has repeatedly returned a bit early year after year to secure and protect his nest until his mate returns.  I missed documenting last year’s arrival, but he returned in 2013 on March 5th.

Welcome back, Mr. Osprey!  :-)

Geese – Snow and Blue

This past busy Saturday, I still opted to carry my cameras and was treated to two quick photo ops.  In the morning, on the farm at the corner of Rolling Bridge Road and Rt. 301 in the Centreville area, my intent was I hoped to find a flock of Snow Geese that have been there numerous times the past couple months, always when I didn’t have my cameras.  Saturday was a bright, sunny morning and the Snow Geese were there.  :-)  This is a returning location every winter for them, the problem is you just don’t know when they will be there.  Although our snow is now all but gone with our two days of a ‘heat wave’ (40’s-50’s), we still hadn’t thawed as yet so to me the snow was a plus.

That's a lot of snow geese!

That’s a lot of snow geese!

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I never left my truck for any of my photos.  I turned onto Rolling Bridge Road from Rt. 301 and drove on by them, then turned around and came up with them on my side.  For those that know the area, the truck in the next photo is on Rt. 301.  You can see how close they were to the dual highway.

Trucker cruising down Rt. 301

Trucker cruising down Rt. 301

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My post title also mentioned Blue Geese.  Although rarer on the East Coast, you will usually find a few Blue Geese in the mix.   I had to look up again the difference and here’s word for word, courtesy of http://www.beautyofbirds.com.

The Snow Goose has two color plumage morphs, white (snow) or gray/blue (blue), thus the common description as “snows” and “blues.”  These white- and blue-morph birds interbreed and the offspring may be of either morph. These two colors of geese were once thought to be separate species; since they interbreed and are found together throughout their ranges, they are now considered two color phases of the same species. The color phases are genetically controlled. The dark phase results from a single dominant gene and the white phase is homozygous recessive. When choosing a mate, young birds will most often select a mate that resembles their parents’ coloring. If the birds were hatched into a mixed pair, they will mate with either color phase.

Here’s an adult Blue Goose alongside a juvenile White Goose.

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Adult Blue Goose & Juvenile White Goose surrounded by adult white geese

 More in flight….

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And dropping in!

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Well worth the five minutes I stopped there!

When I came back by at the end of the day, they were gone.  See?  You never know when they’re there…but I still looked just in case.

Tomorrow I’ll post my second unexpected photo op treat of the day!  :-)

Hooded Mergansers

Yesterday morning, I spotted a pair of Hooded Mergansers at the base of our Osprey nest platform.  I’ve photographed the Common Merganser and Red-breasted Merganser, but never got the opportunity with this merganser….until now.  And that gives me another new lifer!  :-)

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers

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I captured this last flight photo as they flew off into the morning’s sunrise.

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A day can’t be too bad when you get another bird lifer!  :-)

 

This Morning’s Sunrise & Moonset

We awoke to 5.5 inches of fresh snow.  Had I known, I’d have gotten up earlier this morning.  When I opened my verticals, I saw the full moon setting over Kent Island.  It was already losing it’s brightness with the sun rising quickly.  Those are Canvasbacks, Ruddy Ducks, Mallards, Redheads, Scaup, and Buffleheads sleeping in the channel.

Full Moon Setting over Kent Narrows & Kent Island - March 5, 2015

Full Moon Setting over Kent Narrows & Kent Island – March 5, 2015

Here’s the sunrise occurring at the same time over Marshy Creek.

Sunrise over Marshy Creek

Sunrise over Marshy Creek

Now a couple hours later, the ducks have increased in number and are closer to the ice and me.

Canvasbacks, Redheads, Scaup, Ruddys, Buffleheads, Mallards

Canvasbacks, Redheads, Scaup, Ruddys, Buffleheads, Mallards

I decided to stay right here and work from home.  Got plenty of paperwork to do.  Just how am I going to get any of it done when I can see all those ducks and the Dark-eyed Juncos, House Finches & Song Sparrows visiting my balcony six feet from me, all from where I am sitting?  I am sure the Eagles will be checking out the ducks too…..

You can bet my camera is right beside me.   :-)

Icy Kent Narrows Opened by Cutter

My posts on the Kent Narrows and ice-overs we’ve been experiencing received a lot of interest so I thought I’d share an update from what I’ve seen.

Back on the morning of February 25, one of four of Maryland DNR’s cutters, the 80-foot A.V. Sandusky, came through the Kent Narrows to relieve stress on the surroundings marinas, bulkheads, and bridges.

Maryland DNR Cutter, the A. V. Sandusky

Maryland DNR Cutter, the A. V. Sandusky

That afternoon when I did the Duck Dynasty photo shoot, I checked out the local Kent Narrows Watermen’s Marina that was previously locked up with ice.  I was glad to see the A. V. Sandusky had been down through it on its way by.

Kent Narrows Watermen's Marina

Kent Narrows Watermen’s Marina

The Chesapeake Bay watermen work year-round, no matter the weather, to catch and sell the fresh crabs, fish, and oysters the Bay has to offer.  They work long, hard hours for little pay to begin the process of getting that fresh seafood to our plates.  Soon after the cutter had gone through several times, tides pulled on the ice and water opened up.  Melting began occurring rapidly, allowing the watermen to finally be able to resume their work.  But I am sure it is treacherous with the floating ice.  As I watch them come and go this time of year, I wonder how they handle the frigid cold while hanging over and dealing with ice-cold water.

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We awoke this past Monday morning to ice from the previous night’s storm.  We had icicles hanging from our Osprey nest platform.  And to think our Osprey are usually due to return in a week!

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I wish I had been able to get out to photograph the ice when the sun was peeking through here and there; but it was too dangerous, so I had to settle with what I could take from my balcony.  Here’s a sample of how pretty it was.

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This same iced morning before the fog had burned off, watermen were again working the Kent Narrows southend channel for oysters.  I hadn’t seen them do this so close to us and in the channel before this winter.  I also wondered, just how could they have been out already so early with all the ice we had everywhere.

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After the sun popped out, the A. V. Sandusky appeared, making another trip through the Kent Narrows.

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A. V. Sandusky making another run through the Kent Narrows and down to Prospect Bay, passing a local waterman

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 An hour later, the cutter came through again.  He must have made a loop around Kent Island.

Maryland DNR cutter, A. V. Sandusky

Maryland DNR cutter, A. V. Sandusky

It was then that I saw the icicles hanging from the cutter’s railings.  Wow.

Ice Build-up on the deck

Icicles hanging from the railings

Yesterday, watermen were out again.  YEAH!

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And again this morning.  :-)

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I have the utmost respect for our local watermen.

And for the birders, here’s a fly-by from today while we received yet another round of frozen mix and 5″ of snow.

Ring-Billed Gull

Ring-Billed Gull

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I liked the snow in this Gull’s photo op!  :-)

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