This morning around 7:15 a.m. I saw my second osprey here in Grasonville, Maryland, in Marshy Creek (the water basin to my right off my balcony), where there are three osprey nest platforms that were installed for last season at the newly forming Osprey Point housing development along Rt. 18 (they can only be seen from Rt 18). There was an active new pair on that platform last season. As soon as I passed by and jumped on to Rt. 301, right up ahead of me was again my first osprey (sighted March 5) perched about two feet from his/her nest on the Rt 50/301 highway sign at Exit 44A enjoying the rising sun while he/she continues to wait for his/her returning mate (see last post for more info and photos).
The osprey are indeed finally back! These days, moving forward, we will begin to see one here and one there as they return to reclaim their nests or find a mate and then find a home. Tomorrow, March 14, was my first sighting of an osprey on our Oyster Cove platform last year. This morning and this evening I stood outside, looking and listening for an osprey. None either time.
Last year our platform was unfortunately left vacate and used only as a perch amongst neighboring osprey (they all thought they owned it!). Our previous osprey pair, Oliver & Olivia, did not return after years of success on it. So I was thinking about putting a AVAILABLE sign on the platform.
Attention Osprey! Well-constructed platform home available! Great waterview! Great neighbors! And the fishing is awesome! 😉
Okay, maybe not, but I really am hoping a pair decide to start their life with us this season. They are a joy to watch and photograph. So in celebration of the return of our area osprey, I decided to repost my Oliver & Olivia 2011 Rewind for you osprey lovers. It depicts my best action and memorable photos of Oliver & Olivia and their two chicks’ life of work, fun, thrills, and successes that season. When I original created that post, it was really REALLY hard in selecting as few as possible from that season’s thousands that would showcase their life. Hint, there are a lot. So if you’ve got 5+ minutes, grab a cup of coffee or drink, sit back, and enjoy.
And now on with Oliver and Olivia’s 2011 season in photos!
March 14 – Olivia has returned home to her Oyster Cove nest.
For the Oyster Cove community, we knew Oliver was back and reunited with Olivia on March 17 from all the kew-kew-kew-kew noise they chattered on the excitement of their reunion.
March 17 – Olivia brings a large fish to the nest.
March 17 – Olivia has her eye on an intruder as she guards her dinner.
March 17 – Later, Oliver delivers a small fish to the nest; Olivia doesn’t look so impressed!
March 17 – Oliver & Olivia quickly get down to business with their mating.
March 17 – More mating….
March 18 – Oliver & Olivia working together to rebuild their home.
March 18 – Olivia kicks out dirt & debris in the nest while Oliver jumps out of the way!
March 19 – Olivia enroute to the nest with a large stick for nest rebuilding.
March 19 – Olivia approaches the nest with that large stick.
March 19, 2011 – Oliver brings a headless fish to Olivia at the nest.
March 19 – Oliver (left) and Olivia (right). The osprey female is larger than the male.
March 20 – Oliver (left) and Olivia (right) at sunrise, preparing for a long day of home rebuilding.
March 20 – Oliver at work while Olivia watches on.
March 20 – Olivia taking a stretch break from nest building.
March 20 – Olivia back to helping.
March 20 – Oliver working on their nest.
March 20 – Oliver brings back a snack.
March 20 – Oliver arrives to the nest with another fish.
March 20 – Oliver works on placing a stick in just the right spot!
March 20 – Olivia retrieves a stick floating in the water and returns with it to the nest.
March 20 @ 7:00 PM – Olivia is still working on the nest. Notice the growth in just one day!
March 22 – Oliver with more nesting material.
March 22 – Oliver attempting to deliver the stick without hitting Olivia.
March 22 – At sunset after a hard day’s work, Oliver perches on a post from the nest platform while Olivia looks on.
March 28 – Olivia taking a break on her nest.
March 28 – Oliver delivers a fish to Olivia.
March 30 – Oliver has a thing for ‘trashy’ decor!
April 3 – This photo taken just hours before Olivia delivers her first egg, shows Oliver working on strengthening the nest for the impending family.
April 3 – Olivia descends deep in the nest and appears to be laying her first egg based on my watch.
April 3 – Later while incubating her freshly laid egg, Olivia watches Oliver bring her a fish for her hard work and success!
April 4 – Oliver continues nonstop in building their nest larger and stronger.
April 7 – Returning from a nest break, Olivia finds an anxiously awaiting Oliver, eager to pass her back egg-duty.
April 7 – Oliver leaving the nest.
April 9 – Oliver flying by to check me out!
April 14 – Olivia leaves & takes a quick fly around the nest, then returns to the eggs.
April 14 – Olivia departs with a fish that Oliver brought to her.
April 14 – Olivia heads off to an isolated perch to enjoy her dinner.
April 17 – Another day with Olivia departing with a fish from Oliver, she is passing it from her beak to her talons while she flies off.
April 17 – Oliver on egg-duty!
April 18 – Oliver in flight.
April 18 – Oliver’s architectural work to date with Olivia deep in the middle.
April 20 – Oliver giving me the eye….
April 20 – Olivia smiling for the camera!
April 20 – Olivia taking a break away from the nest, perching on Lippincott’s channel marker.
April 20 – Olivia returns to the nest, Oliver is egg-sitting.
April 24 – Oliver returning to check on Olivia.
April 26 – Oliver skippin’ the waves!
April 27 – Oliver works in more nesting material with Olivia deep in the nest behind him.
April 28 – Oliver and Olivia chatting…..wonder what they’re saying?
April 28 – Oliver rests at sunset, keeping an eye on their surroundings while Olivia continues egg-duty.
April 29 – Both parents check out their clutch.
May 6 – Oliver gives me a stare-down. He won!
May 6 – Oliver departs from the nest.
May 8 – Oliver flies by with a fish.
May 8 – Oliver continues on by me and lands on the nest. Nice catch!
May 8 – Both parents check out an intruder passing by.
May 8 – Olivia is tending to some nest activity while Oliver looks on a bit bewildered! I believe this is the day the first egg hatched.
May 8 – Olivia takes a brief break from her duties to soak up some rays of sunshine.
May 10 – Are the parents looking at one or two chicks? The second egg was due to hatch.
May 12 – Oliver keeps an eye on the chicks while Olivia took off for a break.
May 15 – Olivia feeds her babies while Oliver watches.
May 10 – Oliver’s handsome wings.
May 10 – Olivia’s beautiful wing-span.
May 10 – Oliver doing a fly-by to say Hi!
May 12 – Beautiful feathers!
May 15 – Olivia skimming the water.
May 15 – Olivia skimming the water.
May 19 – Olivia takes a late-afternoon nap while protecting her chicks.
May 17 – Oliver brings home a fish.
May 20 – Olivia returns to her babies after chasing off an intruder.
May 22 – Hello World!
May 22 – Oliver & Olivia’s two offspring.
May 22 – Olivia goes for a swim.
May 22 – Olivia returns to the nest after a swim.
May 22 – Olivia’s defiant attitude towards a photographer at the base of the nest. No one messes with her babies!
May 22 – Oliver chases and attacks a bald eagle that was passing by the nest.
May 22 – The bald eagle wasn’t too pleased being attacked by Oliver. Note the size difference between the two.
May 22 – Another combative stance before the bald eagle flew off.
May 22 – Olivia circles to protect the chicks while Oliver dog-fights with the bald eagle.
May 22 – A baby osprey checks out the world with mom Olivia keeping an eye on him.
May 26 – Olivia naps while the chicks look about.
May 30 – The chicks are growing at an amazing pace!
May 30 – A smiling chick!
May 30 – Feeding time!
May 30 – Stretching those tiny wings.
May 30 – Olivia in flight. The missing feather was most likely from molting.
June 7 – Mom and the kids!
June 7 – At four weeks, the chicks have already developed their pin feathers.
June 8 – Those growing wings are awkward & cumbersome as the chicks try to flap them.
June 8 – Flap, flap, flap!
June 7 – Oliver brings home a nice catch for the family dinner. He’s been a great provider!
June 10 – Oliver brings home another meal, but this time he enjoyed the head for himself first.
June 10 – Olivia and the chicks pant to stay cool in the hot humidity that enveloped our area.
June 10 – The chicks pant to stay cool in the hot humidity.
June 11 – Family Portrait!
June 11 – I think the osprey chicks sighted me….
June 17 – More fish for those hungry chicks! That’s a chick on the right….at 5 weeks old!
June 17 – Feeding time.
June 18 – The chicks begin hanging along the edge so they can see out over the nest to that great big world that is awaiting them.
June 18 – A close-up!
June 17 – One of the chicks practices on flapping those huge, awkward wings.
June 18 – A chick practices flapping, accidentally slapping mom & his sibling in the process!
June 18 – Olivia flying around, circling the nest and enjoying a break.
June 17 – “Mom’s back, yea!”
June 17 – Excited to see mom back!
June 18 – Chicks intently looking at mom Olivia.
June 18 – One of the chicks looking over the edge down to the water. Does he see a fish?
June 26 – What growth in just eight weeks!
June 26 – What a wing-span in just eight weeks!
June 24 – Wing-flapping is constant now; the chicks are close to start becoming airborne.
June 24 – It appeared this chick was going to follow mom, but he just watched her and flapped while clinging the nest tightly with his talons.
June 25 – Both parents warning an air intruder to stay away!
June 25 – Dad Oliver leaves the nest while the chicks watch.
June 25 – Diving straight down, Oliver extends his talons….
June 25 – Oliver lines up the strike!
June 25 – Oliver succeeds!
June 25 – Oliver returns with freshly caught fish while the chicks watched. Dad’s teaching!
June 26 – Tolerating the water humans!
June 30 – A chick whacks a patient Olivia in the head with his huge wing-span.
June 27 – One of the chicks watches dad Oliver arrive with more nesting material.
June 27 – Coming and going takes a little more caution with the parents. See those talons?
June 27 – Full House!
June 29 – The chicks watch dad Oliver arrive with another stick. While mom Olivia rests.
June 30 – Oliver brings home the….fish! At this time, each chick needs/eats approximately three fish a day to keep up with their growth.
June 30 – Mom and her nine week old teenagers!
July 1 – Olivia skimming the water to cool off during a hot humid day.
July 1 – Olivia returns to the nest after a dip in the water.
July 1 – Olivia air-drying her wings.
July 1 – A striking pose of Olivia.
July 1 – A chick becomes vocal at a passing bird.
July 1 – More vocals; mom Olivia does check & sees the gull which is not a threat to them and continued to feed the other chick.
July 5 – The chicks have a tug-of-war over a fish as they learn to feed themselves.
July 1 – A chick scratchin’ an itch! Careful there with those sharp talons!
July 1 – Oliver bringing some softer nesting material. He’s got to keep the nest intact as the chicks jump and flap all over the nest.
July 1 – A chick ‘feels the wind’ while a purple martin cruises on by.
July 1 – Family Portrait with Olivia wet from a recent swim.
July 9 – The chicks have fledged; here’s one circling the nest, trying out those huge wings!
July 9 – A chick coming in for a landing!
July 9 – Watch out Mom!
July 9 – The chick is ready to grab the nest when he lands!
July 9 – Touchdown!
July 9 – A successful landing deserves a pose!
July 8 – Olivia and the teens get drenched in the rain.
July 10 – Olivia fiercely chasing a Great blue heron who came too close to her family & nest.
July 10 – The chicks watch as mom Olivia pursues the frightened Great blue heron.
July 10 – Olivia drove the Great blue heron away and returned proud!
July 9 – A chick strengthening his wings and having a great time.
July 12 – The chicks always return to their home for feedings & comfort.
July 16 – A chick having fun…..
July 16 – and then turns to fly over my left.
July 16 – Right on pass me!
The ongoing intense heat and humidity kept both the parents and chicks’ nest visits to a minimum.
July 18 – My last sighting and photo of Oliver departing the nest.
July 21 – Olivia
After those last photos, we had no more sightings of the parents or chicks seen on the nest. Migration for osprey is usually late August/early September, with the female parent leaving first, followed by the chicks. The male parent will remain until the last chick has left the area to begin his/her migration. Because it was too early for our osprey family to depart for migration, and it also was so sudden, I conversed with Lisa, one of Blackwater Refuge’s osprey & eagle experts and webmaster, with my notes and concerns.
She responded, “If all of them have gone, then it’s likely they’re hanging out somewhere together….maybe they found a good fishing spot somewhere nearby. It does seem odd that the chicks would have become that independent that quickly. If they’re not coming back to the nest…..then maybe they have moved their action elsewhere, near a good fishing hole.”
Another reason decided could have been a scare/attack by a great horned owl who is an osprey’s biggest enemy. CBEC across Marshy Creek confirmed they had an active great horned owl nest. So maybe with that fear, our osprey family moved off together to a safer area until their migration-pull kicked in.
We hope Oliver and Olivia survived their treacherous journey south and arrive back March 2012 healthy and ready to give us another season of wonder and amazement!
That was the end of my Rewind post. Of course, Oliver & Olivia neither showed back up to reclaim their nest. No one knows why, but we accepted it with disappointment. We now begin another season and hope a new pair of osprey do decide to love our platform and decide to call it theirs. We will soon find out!
I hope you survived and enjoyed that long rewind too. As always, thank you everyone for stopping by! 🙂