Bella & Beau: Laying and Incubating

So far Bella and Beau seem to be performing great teamwork.  Ospreys usually have a clutch of 2-4 eggs.  I’m positive Bella laid an egg on April 17, evidenced by Bella’s start of incubation.  After the first egg is laid, any additional eggs will generally follow every three days thereafter.  By now, there could be three eggs.

During these intense several days, I’ve watched Bella do a lot of panting.  It’s certainly not hot here, our temps are in the 50’s F.  Labored breathing?

Bella panting

 

Beau seems bewildered at times.  When Bella pants, Beau leaves the nest and perches across the creek and keeps watch.

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Beau keeping watch

 

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Bella incubating, Beau keeping watch

 

No matter how many eggs there are, the nest must increase in size and strength to support the family.

Beau brings a stick and works on placement while Bella watches

 

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Many sticks are falling to the dock below the nest

 

Bella returns with more soft materials for the egg cup surrounding the eggs, Beau is incubating

 

So, how do I know who is who?  In this next photo, you can see the difference between Beau (perched) and Bella (in the nest).  The female Osprey is larger than the male and usually has a darker, more speckled chest (or her ‘necklace’).

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Beau (left) and Bella (right)

 

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Another portrait, Bella is in the back, Beau in the foreground

 

Bella obviously needs breaks.  If Beau is not on the nest, Bella calls out to him.  Sometimes I have no idea where he is, but he knows when his lady is calling and comes pronto.

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Beau perched close by this time

 

Bella loves her breaks but she has been quick to return to the nest.  For the most part, the female Osprey generally does most of the incubating.

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Bella on flight break

 

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Bella returns to find Beau doing a great job incubating

 

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But time to take back over, so Bella swooshes Beau off the nest

 

I have also noticed Bella has been asking Beau to bring her food.  Again, Bella starts calling and across the skies comes Beau with a fish.  Notice the fish is headless.  The male Osprey generally eats the head and brings the rest to his mate.

“I’m coming, Bella!”

 

I loved this next series of Bella returning to the nest again, taking back over her motherly duties while Beau jumps up to the perch to keep watch.

 

And through it all, there needs to be a time for rest.

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Bella gets a chance to sleep while Beau keeps guard.

 

So where does that put the time for hatching?  Osprey eggs hatch in the same sequence as they were laid, in about 4 to 5 weeks time.  That calculates the first egg hatching around May 15 -22.  My calendar is marked!

South Carolina Random Shots

Photographers love taking photos specific to their passion and style.  You know me, it’s birds and wildlife.  But like others, I do try to take different photos to expand my horizons and work on my skills.

Here are a few shots that I took in past few months from our balcony in South Carolina that I liked and thought I’d share….

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Yes, that is snow on the beach!  (January 4, 2018)

 

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Double Rainbows!

 

Throwing in this one taken from the boardwalk.

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Oh heck, to add in a bird shot, here’s some Double-breasted Cormorants enjoying the fishing pier that was closed to the public due to damage.

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Just fooling around with this last one…..I liked the lines and colors.

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Thank you for taking your time to view these.  I’ll be back very soon with a new post on Bella & Beau!

 

Bella and Beau: Love Birds & Soon-to-be Parents

For the past two weeks, Bella and Beau have been haphazardly working on the nest, not much big interest or drive like I’ve seen with an experienced pair that have been together for several years.

However, the one thing they have figured out is how to mate.  Seems like it has been non-stop since the day we arrived.  It’s quick so you really have to kind of be there at the right time before it suddenly and quickly happens to be able to get any photos.  I’ve caught a few series, here’s a couple shots from one burst of 24 images that all occurred in less than a minute.  I said quick!

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When finished, the male Osprey takes a flight as Beau did.

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Hey, even on the perch!

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And now we already have great news!  Bella has been incubating an egg since April 17th.  The first two days of incubation, I wasn’t quite sure.  She was staying low in the nest, sometimes Beau joined her low.  We had clouds, rain, and a lot of strong winds those two days so I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on.

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Then it became clear on the third day.  I saw the ‘changing of the guards’, Beau brought Bella a headless fish, she took it and flew off, while Beau settles over the eggs with his turn.  Bella usually returns rather quickly and takes back over while Beau relaxes.  He always seems happy and anxious that Bella returns.

This next series, Beau is already off the eggs as Bella arrives.

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He quickly perches and stands guard for a while.  Bella seems to be giving him ‘a look’….

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Then Bella settles back over her clutch of egg(s).

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Another time, both parents checking out the clutch.

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The female Osprey usually lays a clutch 2 to 4 eggs, about 3 days apart.  Each egg is about the size of a large chicken egg.  The eggs will hatch in the same sequence as they were laid, in about 4 to 5 weeks time.

That would put hatching of the first egg to be around May 15-22.  And hopefully today/tomorrow, Bella lays another egg.  We shall see!

 

Catching Up With Those South Carolina Birds – Part 2

Here are a few more of my favorites from the South Carolina coast.

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Brown Pelican (juvenile)

 

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Killdeer

 

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Double-crested Cormorant

 

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Brown Pelican

 

 

 

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Double-crested Cormorants

 

As always, thank you for stopping by and have a great weekend!

 

Introducing Bella and Beau

We are excited with our return to the Chesapeake Bay Eastern Shore Maryland region, planting some roots in downtown Cambridge, Maryland.  Settled in 1684 and located along the Choptank River, Cambridge is one of the oldest colonial cities in Maryland.  It is a charming seaport community that is in the midst of an exciting renaissance of revitalization and historic preservation.

From my third floor balcony, I oversee Cambridge Creek that leads out to the Choptank River.

 

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If you look closely at the above photo again, you might just see over the water to the far right what I also oversee….an Osprey nest on a pole over the docks…..

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I’d like you to meet Bella and Beau!

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Beau on the post, Bella in the nest

Osprey return to the Chesapeake Bay mid to late March.  So these two arrived about 2-3 weeks before us and have been working on building their nest.  It starts to show promise, then either the wind or just failure to stay drops the sticks to the water and dock below.  They appear to be a new and/or young couple, trying to figure it all out.

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Bella working on the nest while Beau keeps watch

 

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Bella brings a piece of plastic to the nest

 

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Beau taking a clump of grass and dirt to the nest

 

They enjoy flying together above their home…..

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even getting close enough to give little love taps…..

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building their bond as a team and hopefully soon-to-be parents this season.

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Bella

 

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Beau

Stay tuned for posts on the antics and adventures of Bella and Beau!

 

Another Artist Rendition of My Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Photograph

Back in 2016, I posted an artist’s rendition of my Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab photograph.

Several months ago, I received another request from artist Burton Keeble (originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, but now lives near Portland, Oregon) to sketch the same photo.  I felt honored again!  It was exciting to recently hear from Burton, sharing his completed artwork.

Here is my photo:

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab

 

And here is Burton’s drawing.  Wow, it is quite awesome with such beautiful shading and detail!

 

Burton Keeble CBay Crab - April 2018

I wrote Burt to thank him, and he shared with me that he just started drawing this past November.  What?!!  I am amazed; obviously, you have talent, Burt.  Keep up your awesome work!

And how fitting to share this on my blog with my return to the Chesapeake Bay area.   🙂

 

 

Catching Up With Those South Carolina Birds – Part 1

A month ago I shared my last post of a Cormorant snoozing, with the thought of how nice it would be to do the same.  Excuse my long absence since, I promise I didn’t take that long of a nap!

Having recently left the South Carolina coast, we’ve relocated back to the Eastern Shore Maryland Chesapeake Bay region and planted some home roots for a while.  It’s a chaos of boxes and “where is?”!

Time for a break.  Get back to my blog, my blogger friends, and blog reading.  I’m so sorry I’ve lost touch with all of you, I’ve missed you.  I’ll be back to visiting!

Let me get started back by sharing some favorites in this and a few upcoming posts from my last South Carolina birding opportunities, while intermittently posting what’s new through my lens in our new area.

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Great Egret

 

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Black-capped Chickadee

 

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Yellow-rumped Warbler

 

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Northern Cardinal (female)

 

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Double-breasted Cormorant

 

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Great Egret

 

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Brown Pelican

 

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Ring-billed Gull

 

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Ruddy Duck (female)

 

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Great Egret

 

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Great Egret

 

Thank you for taking your time in catching up with me, and have a wonderful week!

 

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