Oyster Cove Osprey Family Portrait

What a humid, hot week our osprey family experienced so early in the season.  As the week progressed, temps reached in the upper 90’s, and the afternoons were just too hot for our little ones to do much more than try to get under mom Olivia’s spread wings to get out of the sun.  They enjoyed the early mornings and early evenings more, and were up and active then.   Of course, they aren’t so little any more as photos continue to show their rapid growth from week to week.

The first photo was taken early morning earlier this week, the chicks were sitting up alongside their mom, enjoying a slight breeze blowing at them.  I wonder what they were so intently watching?

Shortly after, Olivia did a little housekeeping.  One of the chicks was up on the side of the nest, giving us a good look at his/her body size in comparison to mom.  They make me nervous when they are so close to the edge!

More wing-flapping is occurring as the chicks try to figure out what those awkward things are all about.  While Olivia was feeding one, the other did some flapping practice….

All that growth means we have hungry babies.  Oliver keeps up with lots of fish deliveries…

The next two photos shows Olivia returning with a fish that she had been feeding to the chicks.  She had felt threatened by a passer-by with a dog and wasn’t taking any chances, she just circled around until they left.   In the first photo, I wanted to point out Olivia’s wing (left in the photo) shows a feather growing in which I had previously mentioned was missing a couple weeks ago.  Wondering if she had been in a fight or entanglement, or worse sick, I had discussed the previous photos with Lisa at Blackwater Refuge and she thought it could be that Olivia was molting, which the females will do before their chicks fledge.  Now seeing the feather growing in confirms the good news!

The heat yesterday was the worst of the week.  I got a chance to watch the chicks late evening and even that late in the day they looked a bit distressed as they panted to stay cool.

Trying to capture a ‘family portrait’ is not easy with ospreys once the nest becomes crowded with growing babies.   But this evening I finally got some where everyone was there and in great position.   🙂

I think the chicks spotted me in that last one!  🙂

The weather is predicted to improve in the next few days with more average temperatures for the season, which should be more comfortable for the chicks.  Let’s hope so.  They just have a few more weeks to endure before they fly and can learn to submerge themselves as needed to cool off throughout the hotter July/August days of summer.

8 thoughts on “Oyster Cove Osprey Family Portrait

    • Not a problem, thanks for your interest! I’ve worried and watched the comings & goings of those osprey nests on Rt. 50 for a few years, hoping the chicks will successfully fledge & migrate each season amidst the nonstop summer traffic. It’s a tough place to have nest for sure!

  1. Once again enjoyed your marvelous photos of our osprey family. Saw something odd–to us at least–last Thursday afternoon about 3pm. Five or six osprey were circling over the point at Oyster Cove making a lot of sound, seeming agitated. We had never before noticed this number of osprey in one place together. Any ideas?

    Martin Gleason

    • Hi Martin, thank you for your comments! I’ve also seen pairs and more of osprey that seemed to come around often, we have a pair that buzzes our OC nest that are from the new platform installed over at CBEC. Like the pair from CBEC, the ones you saw could have been young osprey that have returned to the area from migration, having not been successful in mating and nesting, so they seem to have nothing better to do than buzz around other osprey (maybe for fun?), but definitely creating havoc for the older osprey with established homes with little ones inside. Maybe one of the osprey had a fish and the others were trying to take it, or maybe a fight between same sexes vying for an opposite sex’s attention. Was there an eagle in the mix? That would surely raise a ruckus with the osprey. About a month ago, we were boating around the Wye River and I was surprised to see three osprey flying together, with no one bothering or attacking another for intruding, like they were all buddies, all three gracefully circling around each other. Not normal, but I guess possible! It does seem to me our area has seen an huge increase in the osprey population in the last few years.

  2. Wonderful pictures! That is a hard thing to do as the osprey are so fast in flight. What a beautiful animal! We have an osprey nest in Chapin, SC on Lake Murray. They abandoned it for awhile and now back part time in the mornings adding a few touches to the nest. Not sure if it is the same pair or a different pair. There have been a few occassions where there is a third osprey around which messes things all up. Not sure we will have babies this year as the couple may be too young and inexperienced. I look out for them all the time and try not to go into the backyard and disturb them. I put pine branches out for them and it was lots of fun watching them pick up the sticks they used it to build their nest. 🙂

    • It sounds as if you do have young inexperienced osprey who have returned to your area after their 1½ years south ‘vacation’ migration. CBEC erected a new platform and I’m watching the same thing happening, their pair just didn’t quite get their act together, only just a few branches as they tried to build a nest and figure it all out. It’s really too late now for any babies this year if they haven’t produced eggs yet, but they’ll be back next year and I bet yours will be successful. Once a pair has taken possession of a nesting spot, they will continue to perch on it & tidy it up to show others it is still theirs. After migration, they will return to retake the possession, even fight over it to keep it. And yes a third osprey sometimes tries to take a mate away from another because it had lost it’s mate during migration or recent tragedy. Thanks for your comments, I love hearing how you’ve assisted by putting out branches for the pair to take, and then witnessing their taking and using them. That is so cool! Keep in touch, next year we hope to hear you have babies!

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