Springtime Shorebirds

Spring migration is considered over; and I’m finding shorebirds at my usual spots.  I miss them already!

Here’s a last spring-fling variety blitz from the past month or so.


Spotted Sandpiper


Solitary Sandpiper


Least Sandpiper




Semipalmated Plovers


Black-bellied Plovers


Black-bellied Plovers


Dunlins, Semipalmated Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers


Lesser Yellowlegs


Greater Yellowlegs



We’re all high-stepping into the hot summer months now!


Red-tailed Hawks

While driving a back road, I saw a pair of Red-tailed Hawks perched up in a tree coming up on my left with their backs to me.

Getting my lens up and ready, the hawk on the top branch turned around to look at me, and then the body turned.  Darn, I wasn’t intending to disrupt them.

I scrapped the “pair-together” shot and quickly zoomed for a possible launch that happened just as quick!


Red-tailed Hawk launching into flight


Not letting off the trigger, I stayed with the hawk, hoping I was maintaining focus for at least one good shot, it happened so fast.  Oh, it was a ‘lucky-me’ moment!


Red-tailed Hawk in flight


The hawk quickly hooked a hard left towards me to get a good, close look at who this big-eyed creature was staring at it, much to the pleasure of this lens holder!





I went back to find the second hawk still sitting up in the tree, giving me the eye for ruining their moment.


Red-tailed Hawk

Had I made note who was the largest when I first saw the pair in the tree, I would have known which one was the female, who is 25-30% larger than the male.

I got the hint from the stink-eye and pulled away with my apologies!  🙂


Delmarva Fox Squirrel

Fox squirrels are the largest tree squirrels in the western hemisphere.

The Delmarva fox squirrel is one of 10 subspecies of the fox squirrel.

Before the 1900’s, the Delmarva fox squirrel’s original range was Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, with stretches into southeastern Pennsylvania.

By 1900, the Delmarva fox squirrel was found only in Maryland.

By the mid-1960’s, only small pockets of populations were found in just four Maryland eastern shore counties; Kent (mine), Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Dorchester.  That is less than 10% of its former range.  Conservation efforts showed dwindling success as habitats continued to decline.

In 1967, the Delmarva fox squirrel was federally listed as an endangered species.

Immediately, Maryland put forth more money and stronger conservation plans, but it wasn’t so easy.  Plans failed and had to be revised numerous times, all while trying to gain wider support and more devoted efforts.

It wasn’t until 2015 that success in stable populations was achieved in small pockets on private properties around Maryland’s eastern shore counties, and in December 2015, the Delmarva fox squirrel was delisted.

In 2020, Maryland translocated small populations (15-20) to southern Delaware and Virginia’s eastern shore in private areas in hopes of reestablishing them there once again, after previous failed attempts.  They will know in a couple more years if good pocket populations were created successfully in those two states as well.

Quite shy and elusive, the last time I saw a Delmarva fox squirrel was in 2018 at Blackwater NWR in Dorchester County, 75+ miles south of me where Maryland has the largest, thriving pocket population.

So you can imagine my thrill when a month ago I saw one for the first time in my Kent County, just a five miles from home at Chesapeake Farms on their wildlife tour!



Delmarva fox squirrel
(twice as large as a gray squirrel)


Of course, s/he scurried away but first watched me curiously for a bit while munching.  I loved it!

And then, guess what?  Two weeks later, another birding trip through the farm, about 3/4’s mile from my first sighting, I saw another one.


Delmarva fox squirrel
15″ (38cm) body length + 15″ (38cm) tail


After a quick disappear, it popped out again to check me out.


Delmarva fox squirrel

And then gone!  🙂

Chesapeake Farms’ auto wildlife tour is about five miles of winding through a diversified 3,300-acre dedicated wildlife management agricultural area on a dirt road.  It is truly a perfect location for the Delmarva fox squirrel to thrive where they will be provided a beautiful, private habitat for expansion and life.


Duck Duck Goose

I think you know where this post is going!  😉




Green-winged Teal
(a surprise to find this pair early May!)


Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
(Rare for our mid-Atlantic region, returning for a 3rd year
to a nearby residential retention pond in Clayton, Delaware)


Wood Ducks and home


Red-breasted Merganser (female)


Canada Goose


Northern Shovelers
(a surprise to find this pair mid-May!)


Mallard (female)


Black -bellied Whistling Ducks


Common Mergansers


Wood Ducks


Snow Geese
(one of my last sightings in March before they migrated)


Black-bellied Whistling Ducks


Common Mergansers


Wood Duck (male)


Canada Goose


Northern Shoveler


Momma Mallard and her Spring babies who are already big!


Black-bellied Whistling Duck


Canada Geese on a nest


Thank you for playing along and letting me catch up my duck and geese photos!


1-2-3 Medium Bird Jubilee – #16

As the birds get a little bigger, they get a littler easier on snapping a shot before they take flight.  Here’s a series of my lucky favorite shots of some medium-sized birds from the past couple months.

First, some side-by-side comparisons of a male and female in a species.

(click on side-by-side images for more details)

Northern Cardinals


Eastern Bluebirds


Red-winged Blackbirds


Brown-headed Cowbirds


Blue Grosbeaks


This next bird species, the Dickcissel, was considered a rare sighting for our area.  We had a flock come through, I was able to hear at least eight of them singing from their hidings.  This one finally popped up way out in the field.



A few more birds!

Northern Mockingbird


Grey Catbird


American Robin


Mourning Dove


American Crow


Baltimore Oriole


Orchard Oriole


Cedar Waxwing


Yellow-breasted Chat




Brown Thrasher


Blue Jay


Eastern Kingbird


Whew, that was a lot of medium-sized birds, thank you for viewing!


1-2-3 Cute As Can Be – #28

Playing catch-up with Spring migration, here’s a nice selection of more little birds who gave me a moment of their time in the past couple months!

(hover over a bird to see it’s name or click on an image to scroll through with bird names)



U.S. Navy Blue Angels 2023

On May 24th, the Blue Angels performed an amazing show over the Severn River in Annapolis for the Naval Academy Commissioning week.

We were able to listen to the announcements, commentary, and the “Top Gun” music during the entire performance on our boat radio, it was pretty cool!

The show opened with the appearance of the Blue Angels tactical transport aircraft, a C-130J Super Hercules affectionately known as “Fat Albert”.




“Fat Albert” made his huge presence known, then flew off and disappeared.

Several Osprey were fishing or trying to get their catch to their local nests around us, oblivious to what was to come.  (yep, slipping in my bird shots! hehe)

Scanning the horizon around us while the music started, we then saw them coming, six Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets screaming into the scene at speeds throughout the performance of up to 700 mph, WOW!


(Click on any of next images to see enlarged)


We were anchored in the mouth of the Severn River and the Blue Angels performed all around us, it was hard to keep track of where they all were at times.  It felt like we were smack dab in the middle of aerial combat, wowza!

As the show ended with a Delta formation, the Blue Angels flew out of the river and passed us.

As the Blue Angels banked behind us, I happened to get this next shot of an Osprey still busy fishing with all the commotion.

Osprey still fishing….or…..trying to be part of the Blue Angel formation 😉


Thank you, Blue Angels, for another thrilling performance, you guys rock!

The Blue Angels Mission:
The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the teamwork and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps through flight demonstrations and community outreach while inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country.

This year marks the 77th anniversary of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels!


Osprey vs Eagle


At Eastern Neck NWR, another Osprey is busy fishing at sunrise!


Excellent catch, Mr Osprey!
Now to get it back to the nest for the Mrs to enjoy!


But a set of eyes from a distant tree watched the Osprey’s hard work and ultimate prize.  😕

A Bald Eagle decided it wanted that fish and engaged in high pursuit to try to harass and force the Osprey to drop it.  The Eagle’s plan would then be to quickly drop to snatch the fish easily from the water’s surface.




Both species are fast flyers.

The bigger and stronger Bald Eagle can fly at top speeds of 30 mph.

But Osprey have a slight edge on being smaller and lighter, performing quick maneuvers much easier, and can reach top speeds up to 40 mph.





Both can dive even faster.  The Osprey can reach up to 80 mph, whereas the heavier Eagle can reach up to 100 mph.

So in the chase, the Osprey can possibly out-fly an Eagle; but if a ‘diving’ maneuver occurs, the Eagle may catch up quickly.

This Osprey proves it will not give up its fish so easily in this two-minute chase!










The Osprey dives and the Eagle catches up!



(You are going to love the next three photos!)

As the Eagle closed in quickly on the Osprey, the Osprey pulled an awesome maneuver, turning and pulling up; and the surprised Eagle passed underneath, unable to make that quick, flexible turn!


Eagle catching up to the Osprey


Just as the Eagle is on its tail, the Osprey pulls up hard


The Eagle cannot make the upturn and passes underneath.
Well done, Mr Osprey!

And that was the Osprey maneuver that ended the two-minute chase!  The exhausted Eagle gave up, flew off and out of sight.

With his fish still intact, the Osprey circled around to ensure the Eagle was done his chase.





He then reverted back to his original mission and direction for home and his waiting lady, passing by me.



Get the table ready, breakfast is coming!




The Osprey really do work hard for their catch, especially when there are nearby lazy Eagles, waiting for a possible easy meal.

Bonus, here’s the above chase in slideshow format to click through, if it works with your connection.  Go Osprey!



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Osprey Goes Fishing


As is the norm now, this male Osprey is already busy at sunrise at Eastern Neck NWR.

Gotta go fishing!

Will he be successful?


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“Honey, get the table ready, breakfast is coming!”


Ospreys are excellent anglers.  Per AllAboutBirds.org, over several studies, Ospreys caught fish on at least 1 in every 4 dives, with success rates sometimes as high as 70 percent!  The average time they spent hunting before making a catch was about 12 minutes—something to think about next time you throw your line in the water.  😂

But the job is not done just yet.  Now the Osprey has the added feat of getting that fish home before a possible nearby watching Eagle decides it wants it.  😕  Next post….


Chesapeake Bay Osprey


Our beautiful Osprey have been back for two months now and are in abundance everywhere around the Chesapeake Bay.




Old nests are renovated and new ones constructed, wherever they could find suitable real estate near or over water. Here are just a few of my local nests.



















Osprey do get creative with their nests!

Usually by the end of April, the Chesapeake Bay Osprey have laid 2-4 eggs; so it is now brooding time, which is the female’s primary job.

The male will continue to bring materials to strengthen the nest. In addition, he needs to ramp up his fishing skills to bring home the bacon…..er…..fish for his lady in waiting and upcoming family.








Oh, Mr Osprey, you better do better than that or the Mrs will not be happy!




Mr Osprey is back at it, fishing!

Next post I’ll share an Osprey in fishing action!


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