Birds, Birds, Birds!

So sorry for the long absence, I’ve been under the weather and it’s been a bit difficult bouncing back and catch up on everything.  Even when I was home trying to rest & recoup, I still kept an eye out and about our osprey nest to see what’s the latest in visitors in this mild winter to share.  I do enjoy our pair of  house wrens who are daily visitors, perching on our balcony railing or up on the gutter, singing their spring song and just hanging out enjoying the warm sun rays.

And the herring gulls seem to believe the osprey nest is theirs, except each one thinks it’s his so they chase each other off so they can have their turn to perch and even sitting down to take a little nap.  They will find out different in another month when our osprey return!

In that last photo, you can see our osprey nest has really dwindled down this past season, more so than I’ve seen in the last three years.  The rebuilding will begin in March by our osprey, and it will be amazing and fun to watch how fast it will grow.   Stay tune for that!

The tundra swans are still around, seen in Marshy Creek and over at Kent Island.  I captured this shot of a small group flying towards Kent Island and the setting sun.

I haven’t seen Blake our visiting Great Blue Heron at all.  😦  But we’ve still got the Canadian geese coming and going.  This past week’s visiting geese seemed to be less skittish at being closer to us.  I seen this small group over to the point to the right of our nest, catching a snooze just before sunset one evening.

A few minutes later, the mallards in the cove were noisily splashing and diving as they chowed down on feed tossed by a devoted neighbor.

This commotion got the sleeping geese attention, as did other mallards who made their flight over to get their share.  Two geese immediately headed to the berm to get some too.  The others followed, they weren’t going to be left out!

This morning at sunrise, a larger flock of geese headed out of Marshy Creek on past our nest, and then turned to head into the cove where mallards were already hanging out.  I would have loved to see if they went right to the berm and hung out for a while before taking off for their day’s adventure, but was already running late!  Last winter, they were along and on our berms as well as on our grass, unfortunately chopping our grasses.

I’ve been watching over the last month, large rafts of ducks at a distance in Marshy Creek.  A couple evenings this past week, closer directly out behind our nest a raft of scaups went back and forth, feeding on the bottom.  I believe they were lesser scaups and not greater scaups,  identifying by the difference in the shape of their heads.  The two otherwise look very close alike and are easily confused, so I could be wrong!

Here’s a close-up from the above photo, where I discovered a pair of ruddy ducks in the center.

As the sun was setting, more had arrived.  They stayed tight in their raft as they busily dove for food.  There were at least double of what you see in the next photo, the others are underwater!

My husband and I were marveling on the increase in recent sightings of eagles in our area.  The pair that lives across Marshy Creek over at CBEC have been gracefully soaring or perching within binocular sight.  Neighbor Mary told me her husband had sighted them on one of Lipincott’s channel markers over a week ago.

Quick Bald Eagle Facts
Young eagles are called juvenile or immature eagles & are a mix of brown & white.
Eagles reach full maturity at 4-5 yrs old when they finally have their distinct white head & tail.
At maturity, they find a mate, and remain together until one dies.
Bald eagles can live up to 30 years and weigh 10-14 lbs.
Their wingspan is 72-90 inches.
They can fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet & reach speeds of 30-35 mph.
A bald eagle has 7,000 feathers.

I’ve also sighted juvenile/immature eagles as well, usually soaring inbetween CBEC and Kent Island, south of the Narrows, and are real fun to watch with binoculars.  This morning as the Canadian geese were making their way into our cove, a pair of juvenile eagles were again playing and this time I got a few shots to share.  These juveniles were at least 2000-3000 feet from me so the photos are grainy but enough to see their fun.

An extra treat, an adult eagle appeared and began to play as well!

After a few minutes, the adult eagle retreated to CBEC, joining another adult eagle who was already perched, probably watching the fun.  🙂  Because there was no discord and all appeared in fun, my guess is that adult eagles were the parents of the juveniles.  The juveniles continued to play as they soared while mom & dad watched from the tree.  (Remember I mentioned I was already running late this morning, the eagles added to that! LOL)

An extra treat, I’ve been spotting at least one eagle a day along the Rt. 301 corridor on my way to & from work, either in a tree or flying.  Since I hadn’t been feeling well, I had opted to not carry my camera and had been sorry several times, thinking I won’t possibly see more again.  Sighting four one day, the next morning I didn’t chance it & carried my camera.  And amazingly that morning a beautiful eagle was perched right alongside the highway.  Of course, I stopped and photographed that one and got many nice photos!  The second shot is my favorite and I believe one of my best eagle shots to date.  I can feel his eye piercing down along the road for his next prey!

Saw four more eagles that day.  Couldn’t believe it!  Also passed at the Centreville Rt 213 exit this huge flock of snow geese.  There were thousands in the distant skies still coming.

Finally, I have two more photos that I liked and just had to share.  First, we had a beautiful full moon this past week that was 4/5’s across the sky, close to setting, about a hour before sunrise.  It was boldly bright and cast a beautiful shine across the Kent Narrows.  My wide-angle shots didn’t expose well but I did get this next close-up shot with my telephoto lens.

And I thought this last photo of a cloud is really cool and so appropriate for my birding blog.  I immediately saw a bird flying.  Do you?  🙂  It lasted not even a minute before distorting from the wind.

I hope I didn’t overwhelm and overdo with too many photos, and you enjoyed them!  Sick or well, I did keep snapping, and dwindling down the number to share was hard for the one and half weeks length of time I’ve missed on posting.  In addition to my posts, I have started working on a photo page of the highlights of our osprey parents, Oliver & Olivia, and their two chicks from last season to share.  I’ll try and have that posted in the next two weeks, to fuel our excitement of their upcoming arrival in only a month.  Thanks for visiting and following my blog, I appreciate you!

23 thoughts on “Birds, Birds, Birds!

  1. Holy smokes, all this while ill. You are something and these are beautiful. I don’t even know what to say about the eagle. I am not kidding when I say I would probably be so shook up if I actually saw one that close, I’d miss the shot, LOL! hope you are on the mend my friend. Margie

    • Thanks Margie! Going to have to get you over my way to see an eagle for sure one of these days. 🙂 No matter when or where, I still am in awe and get excited each time I see one.

  2. Wow, what a nice collection of photos, Donna. I love your House Finch and Herring Gull, but especially those wonderful shots of the Bald Eagle. I have to travel 100 miles to see a Bald Eagle. I haven’t seen any Osprey here in a while, but I hope some arrive soon. It is great to have you back posting again. 🙂

    • Thanks Bob! I cannot wait for our osprey to return either. To have my close-up nest advantage to watch them interact and take care of their young together keeps me excited the whole season. They’re instinct to return should be close to kicking in if they’re not already on their way back now! “We’re waiting Oliver and Olivia, be safe flying back to us!” 🙂 Can’t wait to see your Texan osprey when yours return too!

  3. Doesn’t it seem to you that we only have a fraction of our usual number of geese? The warm weather, I guess, kept them up north. Fantastic photos, as usual!

    • Thanks Cornel! 🙂 We’re actually getting snow flurries here today, but nothing is sticking to the ground because of our unusually mild winter. Hope you’re still making out fine with the 20″ of snow you received in Romania!

  4. Sorry to hear you have been sick but glad you are on the mend. You still managed to get some wonderful photos – and that eagle one is just outstanding! Actually, I am impressed you ever make it work at all!! I did like your bird cloud, too. Looking forward to the osprey action, but will enjoy all this activity until then. Thanks for sharing and stay well.

    • Beth, thanks so much for your well wishes, it really knocked me down, and your very kind comments. Geez, if I just didn’t have to work…. I am lucky we’re in business for ourselves so I don’t have a ‘boss’ who’s watching what time I get there. 😉 But I guarantee there are some days I have to PUSH myself out the door to leave and not look back out the window! LOL

    • Thanks! Just keep trying! I take so many more of them but most of mine aren’t good either, usually out of focus. They really can fly fast so it’s the luck of the focus and finger! 🙂

  5. Great post and those Eagle shots are stellar! Of all the birds I have photographed in the wild I have never got an eagle shot, maybe one day they will expand their territory to Tennessee..:-))

    • Thanks Ed! The native eagle comeback in the Chesapeake Bay area has increased substantially the last few years. I can remember seeing only one or two a year if lucky, but now it’s like eagle heaven! 🙂 Add to that the migratory eagles from the north that visit during the winter makes it more phenomenal. From the Blackwater NWR’s surveys, this winter the migratory eagle numbers were down since they didn’t have to go so far south to find no snow/ice and lots of fish and prey. But I’m still pleased with the sightings! Just something about the eagle, their patriotic stature that just ‘awes’ me.

  6. Your photos are amazing! I plan to use your photos of the ospreys for some of my elementary art classes when we do art projects related to our Chesapeake Bay friends. I will keep coming back to your website for more inspiration! Thank you so much! – Denise Peach, Art teacher, AA Cty.

  7. Donna I just want to say thank you. Not only do you share some pretty awesome pictures but a story to go right along side with them. So many beautiful photographs in one post. I have looked at each of these photos multiple times this morning and I am truly amazed..

    • Thanks again! I try to ‘entertain’ a little with the words and so can laugh at myself for my crazy antics with photographing our waterfowl. Sometimes it is just too easy to step out on my balcony (3 stories high) where my camera is already positioned on my tripod to ‘see’ what there is to see and fire off some shots. But I will never take it for granted and feel very blessed to have found our place and a love for nature that I didn’t know I truly had.

  8. I think I’m running out of superlatives for your awesome photos, but I’ll never tire of their vitality. Such life and movement in still pictures!

    Those star pods of the sweetgum tree surrounding the eagle — how stellar!

    Then I’m haunted by that last picture, and I hear the G.M Hopkins poem in my ear every time I look at that cloud bird “over the bent world … with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”

    • Awwww thanks Scott for your always sweet & wonderful comments!! Glad you related to the bird cloud, when I saw it, I was really like, am I seeing things? lol These eagle shots go in my bestest favorites file. 🙂

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