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Boating near Georgetown, Maine

August 27, 2010


I suppose you could say that August 27 is getting near the end of summer - but it is when we finally had a chance to get out in our little boat and explore the area near where Charlie grew up. (All pictures can be clicked for a larger version; some of the larger versions have also been cropped to show more detail.)
Charlie's boat

First we took a quick look at our local osprey nest (well, local to the cove where the boat is moored)
local osprey nest

but no one was at home.
empty osprey nest

But as we were getting ready to leave, we heard a suspicious peeping-like sound - so both grabbed binoculars to see if we could find the source - and we did!
osprey in tree

After a minute or two, he or she took off, giving us a nice look at how graceful this young one was becoming.
young osprey flying young osprey flying

I'm tempted to post all of the pictures I took of this youngster flying - but we did see lots of other interesting things, so I'll limit it to two. Or maybe three.
osprey flying

The click-for-larger versions of a couple of the inflight pictures are cropped so you can actually see the fledgling; the smaller ones give you an idea of the area where he/she was flying. And we did see the chick land, but the pictures of him/her on the new branch aren't much different than the "first sighting" pic, so I'll skip them and note that we saw several osprey nests with chicks on the various channel markers as we headed out. The nests look a bit similar, but if you note the number on the markers, you'll see they really are different! :)
osprey chick on channel marker osprey chick on channel marker

osprey chick on channel marker osprey chick on channel marker

Unfortunately I only managed to get one sharply focused picture of marker 15 - and it wasn't exactly of the part of the marker where the chick was:
base of channel marker

It may not be obvious from the pictures, but we are in a small boat, and there are some waves around - occasionally making it a challenge to get pictures, even with image stabilization!

There are actually two types of channel markers - and lots of osprey nest on the pole markers like the ones above. They may not be as good as the best trees (which would probably be taller, not too near houses, and with enough strong branches at the top to support a nest - like the nest at the beginning of this story) - but they're a good substitute. They rise to a reasonable height above the water, they're flat on top for good nest building, and they're generally very stable - as shown by the support pole above.

Some osprey, however, choose another option. The other kind of channel markers are buoys.
picture of buoy channel marking buoy
They're not very tall. They're not at all stable - they float on the water and rock back and forth with the waves. They can be noisy - if you click to make the picture above full-size, you'll clearly see a rather large bell that clangs quite noisily when the waves are high. They generally have a light on top as they're harder to see at night than the taller and reflective pole markers. And some osprey families call them home.
osprey on channel marking buoy osprey nest with chick on channel marking buoy

As we continued along, Charlie thought he saw a flash of white in one of the trees along the shore - and he was right!
osprey in tree osprey in tree

As we continued on, we came to the highlight of the trip for me. We've occasionally seen an eagle - and this time, there were two!

eagles from a distance two eagles

two eagles two eagles

[I do have more pictures to add here - someday....]

But for now, I'll end with a few pictures of our "local" osprey family - who was at home when we headed back to tie up the boat. It's been a while since I took the pictures, but I know that we confirmed that all three chicks were in the neighborhood and I think we saw at least one of the adults as well. So I'll close with a couple of pictures of the osprey near or in their nest. The nest is somewhere on the right in the first picture below, but I can't see it from that angle.

osprey osprey

Note the second fledgling flying down away from the nest in the first picture below - easier to see if you click for the full-size version. And I think we either saw or heard the third fledgling off to the left while we watched these two flying.

osprey osprey


If you'd like to see additional pictures from this general area, including the osprey and eagle nests near each other on the Sasanoa River, and the osprey nest "around the corner" from them in the parking lot of the Taste of Maine Restaurant in Woolwich, you can use the link for my Local Wildlife Home Page at the top of the page to see an index to more of our pictures.