Bella & Beau 2019: Splish Splash, Bella Takes a Bath

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

July 3, 2019

All seems to continue to run more smoothly this past week in Bella & Beau’s Osprey World Park.  No witnessed roller coaster rides, thank goodness!

In Bella & Beau’s last update, I shared one photo from a series of Bella taking a bath right down in front of me.  I love it so much, I want to share the full 26-shot series.

If you enjoy watching wildlife of any species delight in taking a bath, whether in the wild or at the zoo, I am sure you will adore seeing beautiful Bella during hers.

(Click on the first photo to run through the series in time order, photos will also enlarge.)

Bella takes a refreshing bath in the creek


I’m photographing the nest when I see the chicks up and about to try to capture their growth and changes that continue to occur to share in the next post.

Here’s a pretty sneak-peak shot before ending.

While heading out on our boat yesterday early afternoon, I snapped this as we passed Bella and her chicks.

DSC_2282-2 7219

Bella and her two chicks (approx. 4 to 4 1/2 weeks old)


The above photo gives a good look at an Osprey chick’s eye color.  They are presently reddish-orange in color as a juvenile.  When the juveniles return from their South America winter migration at age two, their eyes will be bright yellow in color like their parents.

More to come showing those teenagers’ growth!  Would you believe they will be flying before July ends?!!



49 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2019: Splish Splash, Bella Takes a Bath

  1. That must be such a rush diving into the water like that, it is sure to shake off extra dirt, mites, plus looks like it could be fun! Nice to see the two chicks, who are growing up fast. Seems like it was only yesterday that Beau and Bella arrived.

    • I did forget to mention that bath time was after another chick poop mishap that poor Bella took the brunt of. And most definitely to shake off the dirt and mites, that nest inside is probably pretty nasty, lol. Ewwww….and smelly too. 🙂

  2. That’s what I call a good delicious bath! I can feel my own body getting refreshed!
    You’re getting to be an expert photographer for birds in the water! Thanks, my friend. 🙂

  3. An absolutely terrific action sequence Donna! Years ago I captured a very short sequence of an Osprey taking a dip in the waters of Ding Darling NWR in Sanibel, FL… but I have never seen an Osprey dive and become completely submerged; never mind do that several times! Amazing they have the strength to be able to fly out while completely drenched!

    • Thank you, Steve! I’ve noticed Bella almost always submerges, but not every time. I did forget to mention that a chick had just recently had a poop mishap, hitting poor Bella. She hardly budged at first, before taking flight plunging several times. Can’t blame her! lol

    • Thank you, Tom, it is amazing on the submersion dive. On the eagle nest, make note of the tree location and go back next spring when the trees haven’t leafed out yet. 🙂 I’ve been around to several of our local eagle nests and can’t see most of them anymore from the tree leaves. Darn it.

  4. Wow! wonderful Bella bathing shots Donna, credit to you! and also wow how much the chicks are starting to look more like Osprey. Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations, how wonderful it is to be free to enjoy such beautiful things!

    • Thank you, Ashley! Bella looks so wonderfully, enjoying her refreshment. We’re quiet on the 4th holiday but I do have a perfect seat on my balcony to watch our town’s fireworks! 🙂

    • We all love a splish splash during summer months! 😊
      It’s cute to watch and hear the chicks learning their calls and trying to be loud. They have the best teacher, Bella! lol Thank you, Indira!

  5. It looks like she may have been trying to catch a fish, with her talons out in the first shot. Then she looks slightly puzzled as to where the fish went and maybe thought “I may as well take a bath now that I’m here…” 🙂 Great photo sequence though, whatever the reason for her dip!

    • Actually, Bella plunged several times in just two minutes, and this was her third plunge. Bella has to go in the water with her talons extended like that in order to fully submerge. Of course, also to strike a fish as you said! Sorry, I had failed to mention that one of the chicks had just recently had a poop mishap and Bella was the unfortunate target. She’s been the accidental target a few times, so I can understand why she plunges several times at once to get it off. Yuk! 😉

    • I meant to also say, Bella takes plunges almost daily now. If not to clean, to also refresh. I haven’t seen her fish any more. She will return wet from plunging to the nest and the chicks will get under her. It’s almost like she drips on them purposely. We are in hotter temps now and the humidity has soared making July & August brutal at times. As always, thanks for your comments!!

  6. I never saw baby ospreys immerse themselves in the water like that. Do the parents bathe also? You’re so lucky to have such a bird paradise near you! Nice captures, Donna 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

    • Oops! 😉 The Osprey bathing is Momma Bella. The chicks won’t fledge until late July, and be another full month trying to go near the water and get wet or dive for a fish. ALL before they migrate south in September to South America!

      Thank you Al! I am lucky and surely blessed.

  7. Ah, Donna, those pics are priceless!! I’ve been away a while, and it’s good to be back to WP again. We too have our regular return parents and babes — wrens on the back porch, deer in the garden — but nothing as cavalier as the osprey. Thanks for sharing and I hope you’re having a great summer.

  8. Had to run through the bath sequence several times… it’s absolutely marvelous. She really knows how to dive into the experience! Love the sneak-peak as well. Another perfect capture of our favorite osprey family.

    • Thank you, Gunta! After already plunging two times, and then to come over right in front of me and do it again……well, I think we can say Bella wanted do a show for me to share. 😉 Thank you, Bella, too!

  9. These are amazing shots, Donna! I have seen our ospreys dive for fish but never seen them spend that much time in the water. I would have thought they would get so wet they wouldn’t be able to lift off and fly again.

    • Thank you, Susan! Osprey have an oil gland on their rump where they gather & spread it on their feathers while preening. This keeps their feathers from becoming saturated while in the water for short periods of time. How cool is that?!! 🙂

  10. I envy Bella’s bath, Donna (it is hot in Colorado these days). It must take a lot of energy to overcome that water resistance and take off again. Probably a vulnerable moment for her.

    • It makes me feel refreshed when I see Bella take a bath too. 🙂 It is amazing how an Osprey can pull themselves up out of the water with what looks like very little effort. When they preen, they spread ‘special’ oil from a tail gland all over their feathers so the feathers do not retain the water weight when lifting out. Pretty neat-O!

  11. Nest photo is fabulous! And the eye-colour comparison is fascinating. I need to check back in my Osprey pic folder, inc. to see if the Bahamas pale morph has the same color eyes or not (if I did this before… I’ve forgotten!) RH

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