Liquid Gold Reflections

Back in May, a pair of Mallard ducks had landed in the creek at sunset.  They and the sailboat masts silhouetted nicely against the water’s golden glow.

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Pair Mallard Ducks

 

 

A third Mallard decided to try and join the golden swim.

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“Mind if I join you?”

 

They let him join them for a spell.

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Mallard Ducks

 

The pair decided it was time to move on.  Not sure what was said, but the third Mallard did not follow.

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Mallard Ducks

 

His hanging back provided more silhouette reflections in the liquid gold for lucky me.

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Mallard Duck

 

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Mallard Duck

 

The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire.
~ Pamela Hansford Johnson

 

 

 

Cormorants In The Creek

The matte-black, prehistoric-looking Double-crested Cormorant sports yellow/orange facial skin at the base of their beak and is one of those birds that people don’t give much time to.

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Double-crested Cormorant

 

Many don’t realize the Double-crested Cormorant possesses a gorgeous teal eye when the sunlight hits it just right.

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Double-crested Cormorant

 

Double-crested Cormorants visit Cambridge Creek daily.  Even with the past displeasure of Osprey Bella & Beau.

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Double-crested Cormorant

 

The Cormorant’s landing is always a fun challenge to try to capture.

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They skid in for a long time!

 

The fishing must be good here in the creek, they come here and dive time after time.

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Another look at that beautiful teal eye….

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Double-crested Cormorant

 

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“Oops, sorry, ya’ll!”

 

From morning until sunset, they hunt the waters.

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Double-crested Cormorant at sunset

 

And when the sun goes down, the Double-crested Cormorant may stay and find a perch to drip and dry off, in his “I’m Batman” stance.

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Double-crested Cormorant’s “I’m Batman” drying stance

 

I enjoy and have a lot of fun with Double-crested Cormorants.  🙂

 

 

Bella & Beau: Dad Beau Is Still Assisting

(Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, USA)

September 10, 2018

For the past week, I’ve continued to sight Dad Beau perched on one of the two towers overlooking the creek and nest platform.   But it has become increasingly difficult to keep track of the OspreyTeens.  My last sightings and photos of the two OspreyTeens together on the nest platform were on September 3rd.

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OspreyTeens – September 3, 2018

 

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OspreyTeens – September 3, 2018

 

For the next two days, both early in the morning and late afternoon, only one OspreyTeen was visiting the nest platform, begging towards Beau’s direction who remained perched on the towers most of the day, ignoring the cries.

An OspreyTeen letting Dad Beau on the tower know he is hungry.  (9/4/18)

 

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Dad Beau remains perched & ignores the begging OspreyTeen that evening. (9/4/18)

 

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Either Dad Beau brought the early morning fish or the OspreyTeen did so itself. (9/5/18)

 

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OspreyTeen devouring that fish! (9/5/18)

 

Beau’s morning and evening perches. (9/5/18)

 

Since September 6, I’ve not seen anyone visit the nest platform. It appears to have finished serving its purpose and is now no longer needed as a home port for this season.  Maybe, too, Dad Beau has refused to deliver any fish to it to further enforce the OspreyTeens to feed themselves.

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Bella & Beau nest platform – 9/10/18
It looks the same as it did the day they arrived in March, no nesting materials!
That’s one for the records!

 

It’s now increasingly difficult to determine if both OspreyTeens are still here since I’m sighting only one at a time.  It seems an OspreyTeen is going to Beau now if it’s desperate to be fed.  Which does appear to be infrequent, which is good!

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OspreyTeen below, begging to Beau on top of tower, September 8th late afternoon.

 

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September 9th during the morning’s pouring rain, an OspreyTeen is waiting for Beau to appear, hopefully with a fish.

 

Today Beau spent from early morning until almost noon perched on the tower.  There were no sightings of the OspreyTeens.  Beau did reappear on the tower during the afternoon.

My last photo of Beau on the tower, September 10th at 5:10 pm

 

Can I positively ID these Osprey on the towers as Beau and one of the OspreyTeens?  No.  But I am basing my guesses from Bella & Beau’s past behavior on flying to & from and using these towers every day as their perch for the last few weeks.

What a Dad!  Although Beau really wasn’t into nest building this year, I am proud of his commitment to Bella in staying behind, to finish teaching and to ensure their offspring have a chance at survival during their tough first migration.

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Beau in flight.

 

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Beau in flight with a headless fish.

 

A series of Beau I didn’t previously share were these images of him skimming in the creek after delivering a fish to the nest platform.

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Beau preparing to skim the water.

 

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Beau makes contact with the water, dragging his feet, cleaning those talons.

 

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Look at that determination and drive!

 

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Beau shaking the water from his head while preparing to lift out of the water.

 

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Lift-out!  And feeling good!

 

Another series not previously shared of Beau defending his perch from an intruding Osprey on top of the crane several months’ back.

Beau defending his perch against an intruding Osprey.

 

As I mentioned in the recent “Osprey Migration” post, one of the major challenges Ospreys face during migration is weather, specifically hurricanes. This is true for so many wildlife species presently doing their migrations.   We now have a dangerous Category 4 hurricane barreling towards the East Coast, to make landfall possibly Thursday.  Please pray for both human life and wildlife.  There is going to be devastation for all.

In the Bella & Beau series, I’ll post again to let you know if I’ve seen Beau and any OspreyTeens since today.  Hopefully, he and all other remaining area Osprey have an instinct feeling to stay put for a while longer while the hurricane makes landfall, blows through, and diminishes.  I think it’d be safer here than several hundred miles further south. 

I also plan on doing a final Bella & Beau photo rewind post of their successful six-month season, showcasing some of the memorable and best captures of them and their beautiful offspring that I think you will enjoy.

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Bella, Beau and their offspring.

 

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The offspring that developed into healthy, beautiful OspreyTeens.

 

Stay tuned for the final posts in the Bella & Beau series!

 

(For all past posts on Bella & Beau’s 2018 season, you can click HERE.)

 

 

 

 

Other ‘Backyard’ Wildlife Residents

Besides Osprey Bella & Beau and family, as well as other birds I’ve shared, I thought I’d show some of my other ‘backyard’ wildlife residents around the creek that happened to catch my eye from my balcony.

Diamondback Terrapin turtles are everywhere and fun to capture.  I’ve taken WAY too many turtle photos, lol.

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Diamondback Terrapin Turtle

 

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Diamondback Terrapin Turtle

 

When not swimming around, they will find a perch to sun themselves.

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Diamondback Terrapin Turtles

 

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Diamondback Terrapin Turtle

 

 

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Diamondback Terrapin Turtle

 

I love photographing turtles, they can be quite comical at times.

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“I….can….almost….make….it….”

 

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“Ha!  Did you doubt I would?”

 

We even get Snapping Turtles.

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Snapping Turtle

 

It has been exciting to see Cownose Rays gliding just under the surface many times.

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Cownose Ray

 

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Cownose Rays

 

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Cownose Rays

 

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Cownose Ray

 

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Cownose Ray

 

 

How about a muskrat?  He quickly disappeared as soon as I saw him.

 

Muskrat

 

Weeks later, I saw him again or one of his relatives.

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Muskrat

 

And then there was this snake…..I was glad I was on my balcony.

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Unidentified Snake

 

Trying to exit to the balcony through my slider one day, this Praying Mantis was watching me through the glass.

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Praying Mantis

 

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“Hello, may I come in?”

 

I’ll share a couple more faves I took of the Diamondback Terrapin turtles….

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Diamondback Terrapin Turtles

 

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“Hello there!”

 

I don’t think I could ever get bored being on my balcony.   🙂

 

 

The Fish That Got Away

About a month ago while watching the Osprey, a Green Heron landed on the dock below their nest platform with a fish he had just caught.

He immediately decided to swallow it.

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Green Heron preparing to swallow his catch.

 

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Green Heron working the wiggly fish.

 

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Down the hatch!

 

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The wiggly fish pops back out of the Green Heron’s throat.

 

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The fish that got away!

 

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Splash!

 

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“How’d that happen?”

 

The Green Heron just stood there bewildered.

After all that hard work catching that fish, I would be too.

 

 

Bald Eagles on the Choptank River

Wildlife and nature abounds up the quiet 71-mile Choptank River and its tributaries that feed off the Chesapeake Bay.

The wildlife includes Bald Eagles.  While boating up the river, we’ve seen several pairs perched along different stretches almost every time.  I’m pretty positive there are nests hiding in those trees, for me to locate later when the leaves fall.

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Bald Eagle

 

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Bald Eagle

 

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Bald Eagle

 

Bald Eagles are year-round residents of the Chesapeake Bay.

 

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Young adult Bald Eagle, still attaining its white head and tail

 

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Juvenile Bald Eagle

 

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Juvenile Bald Eagle

 

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Juvenile Bald Eagle

 

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Juvenile Bald Eagle

 

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Bald Eagle cruising by!

 

These were just a few of the many I’ve photographed.  I’ll share more another time!

 

Bella & Beau: Bella Is Gone, Leaving Beau With His Talons Full

(Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, USA)

September 3, 2018

As is customary in mid to late August with the female adult Osprey breeders in our area, Bella has left for her tropical winter vacation in South America!  Bon voyage, Bella!

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Bella in flight.

 

My last sightings and photos of Bella were those shared in my previous post.  Unfortunately, I had to be gone most of the next day.  As soon as I returned, I kept an eye on all of her favorite perches and have not seen her since.

As a tribute to beautiful Bella and her determination, strong-will, love, and devotion to her mate, Beau, and two healthy chicks, I do have a series of photos from the past weeks I didn’t get to previously share.

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Bella enroute to the nest platform with a fish.

 

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Bella’s beautiful wings.

 

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Bella enroute to the nest platform with another fish.

 

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Bella departs with a fish because she is worried about an overhead intruder Osprey.

 

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Another Bella with a fish!

 

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Bella was a great fish provider!

 

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Bella giving me a stare down while those talons twitch.  Yikes!

 

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Bella enjoying her home alone after the chicks had fledged.

 

It was always a joy to see Bella dive and take a bath.

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Bella diving for the bath.

 

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Splash!

 

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Splish, splash, Bella takes a bath!

 

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Bella bathing.

 

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Bella bathing.

 

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Bella bathing.

 

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After the bath is done, Bella pulls herself up out of the water.

 

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A refreshed, clean Bella!

 

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Bella protecting her chicks.

 

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Bella and her two chicks.

 

Dad Beau is still here for possibly another 2-3 weeks, remaining until the last of the two OspreyTeens leaves for migration.  He’s left with keeping an eye on the OspreyTeens and supplying them fish until they’ve mastered the skill of catching their own fish.  I’m still repeating that as those OspreyTeens are still great at begging.  They best get to the task of learning to catch for themselves!

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Beau in flight.

 

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Beau delivering a fish at sunrise.

 

The OspreyTeens aggressively trying to grab the fish from Beau.

 

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Beau saying, “Argh, Teenagers!”

 

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Sunrise begging (and Donna’s alarm clock).

 

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One OspreyTeen still begging while the other OspreyTeen enjoys its meal.

 

Sunset begging.

 

OspreyTeen protecting his meal while keeping watch on an overhead intruder.

 

Poor Beau, I see him perched on the crane or tower alone for hours.  I wonder if Beau feels a loss with Bella’s departure.  Do they communicate a goodbye before the split?  Beau will not see Bella again until March 2019.  Osprey mate for life, but they do not migrate or winter together.

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Beau perched on the crane, looking off into the distance.

 

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Beau perched on the tower.

 

Did you know that the Osprey species underwent a massive decline years ago and could have been wiped out of existence?  The United States Osprey populations are still slowly recovering since the 1960-70’s, when widespread use of the pesticide DDT caused the species to decline.

“Like many birds of prey, the Osprey suffered during the 60s and 70s due to the rampant use of DDT and other dangerous pesticides. Research done at Maryland’s Patuxent Research Refuge was used in Rachel Carson’s classic “Silent Spring,” and alerted citizens, scientists, and politicians to the fact that DDT was harming bird populations. Patuxent’s scientists discovered that DDT was working its way up the food chain and thinning the eggshells of raptors. Fortunately, DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972, and thanks to the hard work of many dedicated people, birds of prey are beginning to rebound.”  Courtesy of Friends of Blackwater NWR website

Today the Chesapeake Bay region provides nesting to approximately 25% of all the Osprey in the United States.  Bella, Beau and the OspreyTeens are part of that percent!

I’m hoping the next week brings photos of the OspreyTeens arriving at the nest platform, with wet feathers and a fish in their talons.

Have a great week and wish Bella a safe journey to South America!

 

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“I’ll see you again in March!” (Bella)

 

(For all the posts on Bella & Beau’s 2018 season, you can click HERE.)