Sundogs

In the past few weeks, I’ve observed and photographed a few patches of light in the sky called sundogs.

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Sundog

 

A sundog is created when ice crystals sink through the atmosphere and become vertically aligned, refracting the sunlight horizontally.  Their scientific name is parhelion from the Greek parēlion, meaning “beside the sun.”

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Sundog with sunset

 

Speculation is that they were called sundogs because they follow the sun like a dog follows its master.

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Sundog peeking through the clouds

 

This next one is amazing!  I have never seen one look like this.

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Amazing Sundog

 

 

Like a sunset, no two sundogs are alike.

 

 

Mr & Mrs Red-winged Blackbird

Mr. Red-winged Blackbird keeps guard on their territory……

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Red-winged Blackbird (male)

 

….while the Mrs. returns with another meal for the family.

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Red-winged Blackbird (female)

 

 

Herons In Flight

We’ve had continuous visits from three species of herons this summer on Cambridge Creek.  Here are a few more of my favorite flight shots of them.

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Great Blue Heron – “Low-Rider”

 

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Great Blue Heron – “Into The Wind”

 

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Green Heron – “In The Shade”

 

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Black-crowned Night Heron – “Peek-a-boo”

 

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Green Heron – “Maneuvering the Sail Masts”

 

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Great Blue Heron – “Overhead”

 

 

Bella & Beau 2019: Both ‘Teens’ Are On The Wing & Having a Blast

Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, Chesapeake Bay Region, USA

August 4, 2019

This week Bella and Beau’s two ‘teens’ are approximately 9 weeks old and fully grown in size.  They still attain their white-tipped feathers, not acquiring their full adult plumage until 18 months old.

There is a noticeable size difference between the two ‘teens’ that tells us the eldest chick, considerably larger, is a female; and the younger, a male.  Another gender characteristic is the Osprey’s chest.  Female Osprey usually sport a speckled chest or “necklace”, whereas the male’s chest is more predominantly white.

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Left – Youngest/Male           Right – Eldest/Female

 

There was a sudden change in the eldest teen’s appearance a week ago I thought I’d share.  In the next photo, she returned to the nest with a noticeably much darker head.  Even the lower legs and talons looked dark.

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Eldest ‘teen’ returning to the nest with a very dirty head, lower legs & talons

 

With her water dives, baths, and skimming since that photo, she appears to be not quite so dark/dirty, so I’m guessing she got herself into mud or muck, maybe plunging into too-shallow water or from resting on a muddy embankment.  Otherwise, she appears to be fine.  You’ll notice changes in her throughout photos.

So we left off with my last post confirming the eldest Osprey ‘teen’ fledged on July 24th; and, let me say, she looks to be having a marvelous time perfecting her flying, landings, and water-tests.  It must feel exhilarating to a newly fledged Osprey!

Eldest ‘teen’ coming in for a landing, with something to say

 

Eldest ‘teen’ in flight

 

The youngest ‘teen’ stayed very attentive to his sibling’s practicing and maneuvering.

At five-day’s fledged, eldest ‘teen’ is skimming the water already, while the youngest watches

 

Eldest ‘teen’ landing after skimming the water

 

It was apparent the youngest wanted to fly, he flapped vigorously and ‘helicoptered’ over the nest day after day.

Youngest ‘teen’ practicing lift-offs

 

Youngest ‘teen’ and his apprehension

 

Mom Bella continued to visit the nest, to encourage her youngest.

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Bella and her youngest ‘teen’

 

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It is lonely on the nest for the youngest ‘teen’

 

On July 30th, I was out of town before sunrise, returning late in the day.  My husband said the youngest had fledged.  I went outside and watched the youngest ‘teen’ flying to the nest where his sibling was resting.  I captured the landing.

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Youngest ‘teen’ focusing on landing – “Watch out, sis!”

 

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“I’ve got this!”

 

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“I’ve been flying & landing all day, Donna, where have you been?”

 

Bella & Beau must feel proud!

The next morning…..

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We haven’t seen an empty nest since early March!

 

The nest will continue to be home port where the ‘teens’ will come to cry and beg, and be fed for a few more weeks by the parents.

Beau delivering a fish and then quickly departing, the eldest ‘teen’ grabs it and won’t share

 

Another time, Beau heading to the nest with a fish – and encounters a Barn Swallow!

 

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Youngest ‘teen’ watching Dad Beau coming in with that fish

 

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From a nearby perch, the eldest teen also sees Dad Beau and takes flight

 

The eldest chick goes to the nest ahead of Dad Beau

 

Beau delivers the fish and quickly departs, again big ‘sis’ taking the fish for herself

 

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“Now where was that fair?  I was waiting here first!”

 

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Mom Bella to the rescue with another fish eight minutes later – “Yay, Mom”

 

Although Beau has his ‘drop and go’ policy with fish delivers, Mom Bella still has the sweet instinct of wanting to stay to feed her youngest ‘teen’.  I watched her do it again this morning.  Other times, she’ll pass a huge piece and allow him to feed himself while she eats alongside him.

Bella still occasionally feeds her youngest ‘teen’ — how sweet!

 

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When aggressive big ‘sis’ is around, the youngest always waits for leftovers

 

Bella & Beau will take the ‘teens’ out to the river to master the hunt of fishing so they can begin to catch and feed themselves.  To further encourage the ‘teens’ to fish, Bella & Beau will slow down fish deliveries to force them.  Something they’ve got to learn within the next 4-6 weeks before migration occurs!

Now onto a photofest of galleries from the past 1 1/2 weeks for your enjoyment.

Youngest ‘teen’ (male) in flight

 

Eldest ‘teen’ (female) practicing a water dive & lift-out

 

Youngest ‘teen’ coming in for a landing with big ‘sis’ in the way

 

I am seeing less and less of the eldest ‘teen’.  I imagine she is exploring more and hopefully attempting to fish.  She returns to the nest for a feeding and is wet many times.

The youngest is still a bit of a ‘homebody’ so keeps providing wonderful photo ops for now, including landing on a sailmast near my balcony.

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Youngest ‘teen’ lands on a sailmast – great job!

 

Youngest ‘teen’

 

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Youngest male ‘teen’ close-up

 

 

Youngest ‘teen’ practicing flight low over the water with an ‘oops’

 

Bella in flight

 

B&B condo balcony shot

Donna’s ” perch”

 

Bella skimming the water to clean herself, returning to the nest to dry

 

Bella home alone at times….and probably enjoying the quiet solitude!   😊

 

As the Osprey ‘teens’ learn to master flight control, fish, and explore a vast new world they’ve now learned exists, Bella & Beau will continue to watch over, teach, feed, and protect them.

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Bella and her nine-week old ‘babies’

 

After posting a couple hours ago, a comment was made about naming the ‘teens’.  Thank you merrylbethelhouse!  Let’s have a little fun with it for a week or so.  In the comments of this post, you can give your two names for the ‘teens’.  I will put each pair of suggestion names into a hat and do a drawing in another week or so.  If you like/choose the same names as another commenter, then that pair of names gets another chance in the drawing box!  If you are not a wordpress blogger and cannot comment, you may send me an email bayphotosbydonna@gmail.com with your two name choices.  If it matters with your name selections, we have a female and male to name.   Good luck, everyone!

Series: Take a Moment and Enjoy a Sunset

A thunderstorm passed to our southwest, leaving a window of opportunity for a possible dramatic sunset tonight.

It lasted only a couple minutes, but it was quite the finale to end the day.

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Sunset over Cambridge Creek – August 1, 2019
Osprey nest silhouetted in center

 

“The water was glassy and calm, still candy-colored in the afterglow of sunset.”
– Stephen King, Bag Of Bones

 

(P.S.  I am super-behind in everything, including your blogs and comments; I’m hoping to catch up with everyone by this weekend!  As always, thank you for visiting mine!)

 

 

An Odd Couple

I love witnessing two bird species coexisting, especially of two you’d least expect.

In the distance, I thought, what?  No…..  Really?

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Sure enough, an Osprey and a Great Black-backed Gull were sharing the top of Channel Marker R10 on the Choptank River.

 

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Osprey and Great Black-backed Gull

 

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Osprey and Great Black-backed Gull

 

They might not be sure why they’re sitting there so close together either.

But when a rest is needed, a rest is needed!  😉

 

 

Great Egret On The Wing

The Great Egret was posed beautifully alongside the road in a water canal on my side.  Since it was literally standing only 3 feet from the road trying to fish, it probably hadn’t had a car come along for a while; so, of course, it took flight as our car approached.

I shot three frames before he was out of my car window space.  I am still astonished that I got these to be worthy to share.

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Great Egret

 

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Great Egret

 

I’m so tickled with the above shot’s crispness, I decided to crop it next to share a closer look at these elegant birds.

 

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Great Egret – cropped from the previous photo

 

It’s amazing how pure white they remain with all their daily trekking through the mud and waters.

 

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Great Egret

 

Great Egrets fly slowly but powerfully.  With just two wing-beats per second, they can cruise at a speed of 25 mph.

 

 

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