Osprey Update – Rt 50 Grasonville MD

Unfortunately, we still do not have any activity here on our Oyster Cove Osprey platform, but the well-known Osprey that have populated along the Rt 50 highway in Grasonville are busy.  There are now five Osprey occupying three nests.  I was happy to see the mate of the first Osprey that I sighted on March 5th had finally arrived.  She looks a bit ruffled but she made it!  They are both now protecting their nest and sign support.  Sorry on the images, it was just before sunrise so I had to lighten them up to see more detail.  Gave the poor fella a greenish tint on his back underside!

Male Osprey

Male Osprey

The Mrs who is glad to finally be home!

The Mrs who is glad to finally be home!

As I was photographing them, there was a commotion going on in a nearby tree with a flock of blackbirds.  It got the male Osprey’s attention.

Male Osprey watching the commotion of a flock of blackbirds in a nearby tree

Male Osprey watching the commotion of a flock of blackbirds in a nearby tree

One blackbird flew and attempted to land on the sign.  The Osprey didn’t care.  So another and another and another flew over.  They thought maybe the Osprey was going to share his fish?

Visitors!

Visitors!

NOT!  The Osprey gave out a shout to them and up in the air they went.

xxx

Osprey giving the blackbirds a piece of his mind.

It didn’t seem to work as the blackbirds re-landed.  This time the Osprey was louder.  Which definitely worked; they all flew back to the tree and perched quietly.

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I SAID…………!!!!!!!!

He looked at them, then at the Mrs. who was watching the whole commotion, and then back to his meal.  I had never seen blackbirds come so close to an Osprey, let alone while he’s eating, I was surprised with their fearlessness and the Osprey’s calmness.  An Osprey does not appreciate other’s company except his family!

Another photo, this one of a truck passing underneath him as he enjoyed his fish.  The nest and the Mrs are just to the left in the photo.  You can see how dangerous it is around the Osprey and why us locals worry for them!

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On Saturday, I spotted a fifth Osprey perched on a third nest that is on the eastbound side and was new last year.  This third nest took that Osprey pair all summer to make it.  Both storms/winds and the difficulty of trying to get a solid base going that could withstand the weight of the nest played havoc with them, but they persisted.  With all that hard work, they missed their window for mating.  They had no time!  The past mild winter spared a lot of damage to the nest, so if this Osprey’s mate returns, they’ll have much less work this year to start the season.  I haven’t been able to photograph it this season but here’s shot of it from last summer.  You can see the number of sticks that kept falling through as they tried to keep the top nest intact!

Osprey Nest #3, Rt 50

Osprey Nest #3, Rt 50

Besides the Osprey on the distant channel markers close to us, we’ve had some other great feathered friends visiting around our Osprey nest platform, keeping us happy with their entertainment.  I hope to post some photos of them in the next couple days.  Until then, I appreciate your following my blog.  Have a great week!

15 thoughts on “Osprey Update – Rt 50 Grasonville MD

  1. I can see why people would worry about the osprey nesting on the highway signs, it looks scary to me. With so many safer spots to chose from, it’s a wonder why they chose the signs. Thanks for keeping us posted!

    • Unfortunately, a couple chicks that I know of have been hit by traffic while learning to fly from those sign nests. It was emotional to me couple years ago to see one lying on the road for over a week. It is a wonder as to why these Osprey keep returning and trying to build more nests along this corridor stretch. There were three other attempts last year but those three Osprey pair could not get the nest to hold and gave up. Which I and other locals were glad, so not to have another family to worry about. I’ve actually contacted MD DOT to ask them about removing the nests during off-season since a driver hazard (& so to distract them hopefully in rebuilding), but was told as long as they weren’t disrupting the lights on the sign, MD DOT wouldn’t do anything. Even contacted Blackwater NWR and have a contact there who tried another avenue but was thwarted as well. Oh well, doesn’t mean I won’t try again another time!

      • Just been admiring your more recent photos and saw this about the nest location. I’m thinking that the sign nest must have some survival value. Are there birds or other animals that go after the eggs or chicks? Could the sign nest be safer from predators than one located someplace else? They could see any birds coming from far away, and no ground-based predator could get to it.

  2. Donna, there is another osprey nest down Rte 50 on the right side of the road just before Skipton Creek. It’s just before the two banks of trees on both sides of the road. It is on a very tall telephone pole. There is an osprey there this year. Last year there were two nests in that area, one a littler further beyond this one but I don’t see it yet this year. Thanks for the continued wonderful pictures and stories (love the dialogue of the bird!). Keep ’em coming!

    • Georgette, I know exactly which Osprey nest you are talking about and thanks for sharing! That is one of the highest nests I’ve seen around us! There’s one just before or after that one, it is on the left on top of a radio-type tower, very high up also. It’s behind a tree removing company. Sometimes the Osprey do confound us as to why they select such an odd place sometimes!

  3. Thanks for keeping us up to date on all of your Osprey activity there. Very exciting. BTW, I have found that I can get a little closer to an Osprey if he is enjoying a meal. I think they are apprehensive about leaving their prey behind, if it is too large for them to take with them.

    • Yep, I’ve been within 8-10 feet of an Osprey on a nest or channel marker while we’re in a boat and they won’t fly off. Ours around here get so use to the boats, they just holler at you to leave them alone. 🙂 They’re piercing glare helps too, lol. Thanks Bob for sharing!

  4. You answered a question my husband and I had. We had been wondering if the male and female spent the winter together and came back together, or whether the male returned first to stake out his territory as is the case with so many other bird species. Although I’m still not sure if the male and female associate during the winter, it does sound like the male returns first.

    There’s been good osprey-viewing news for us. The nearest site for viewing ospreys has two nesting platforms, but for the past several years only one has been occupied. This year both platforms have a pair of ospreys. It makes you wonder if the second platform is occupied by an offspring of the first platform.

    • Hi Deb, thanks for commenting! The male and female osprey do not migrate together, nor do they meet up during their Caribbean/South American ‘vacation’. No mating or bonding occurs during this time, each is on his/her own fishing & living in the tropics. You are right, the male usually returns the earliest from an established pair & nest to retake their home, and will perch there to protect it while resting up from his journey back, and wait for his gal to return. Once she arrives and rests, he will cater to her with fish deliveries, and then he’ll begin to repair their home. In no time, she regains her strength and their bond renews with courtship & mating. A love story! 🙂

      Great news on second occupancy! When the offspring migrate back from the tropics for the first time after 18 months, they usually do return to the vicinity of where they were born to find a mate and a home to call their own. So yes it could be an offspring of the other nest. Of course, an offspring from an osprey nest a couple miles away would still be in the ‘vicinity’ of their birthplace to build there as well, so who knows lol.

      I follow osprey migrations thru the Univ of North Carolina’s Dr. B, if you’ve got a moment check it out. http://www.bioweb.uncc.edu/bierregaard/migration13.htm The osprey are equipped with GPS devices that Dr B tracks, it is amazing data! There’s a link to join a forum for emailed updates to keep you in the loop. Sometimes awesome news, sometimes sad news. I love following Dr B’s program, he gives fascinating info, and we become attached to each named osprey as they travel!

    • Thanks for the reblog Tom! A lot of people see these nests everyday, and some don’t even realize they are there. 🙂 I’ve noticed on the nest by the Chesapeake Motel (old Mrs. B’s restaurant) the female is sitting in the nest each time, good indication she’s sitting on an egg(s). Soon we’ll see little heads poking up too! 🙂

    • Hi Nancy, thank you for commenting! Those nests you’re seeing are the Osprey nests, including the one at Exit 43eb. I’m pretty sure those were Ospreys you saw, that nest is active this summer. 🙂

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