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Woolwich, Maine

July 18, 2010

When I checked the webcam for the osprey nest at the Taste of Maine Restaurant in Woolwich this morning, I only saw one of the two chicks in the nest. The older chick is 53 days old (about 7-1/2 weeks), which is a little younger than average for fledging, or taking one's first flight - but within the range of possibility. I checked the BioDiversity Research Institute Discussion Page and it sounded as if one of the chicks fledged around 8 am. Charlie and I immediately decided to have a late lunch at the Taste of Maine.

When we'd been there a week ago (click for details), it was a rainy day so we hadn't seen a lot of activity by the chicks, though I knew from watching the cam that they'd been doing a lot of flapping and had started raising themselves above the nest as the flapped - one of the steps that generally happens not long before their first flight.

We arrived to find Mom and the remaining chick perched on the nest (all pictures click to a much larger version).

Woolwich osprey Woolwich osprey

We looked out over the marshes, but couldn't see either Dad or the fledgling.

marsh marsh

We did see an osprey flying overhead, but couldn't tell if it was an adult or a juvie.

osprey osprey

We saw it swoop down over the marsh - and while we didn't actually see it catch anything, it looked as if it had a fish as it was flying back across the road - which leads us to believe that it's Dad.

osprey osprey with fish

Dad disappeared into the trees across the road, and while I was able to find him - I suspect the fledgling is in that area as well, but didn't see him or her; here's a link to the full-size (very large) version of the picture in case anyone else wants to play "where's fledgling?"

dad osprey in woods closeup of Dad

Mom took off for a few minutes, and headed in the same direction, perhaps to check up on the fledgling, and when she returned to the nest, the remaining chick gave her an interesting look - and then demonstrated that he or she also had full-size wings! (The chicks have white-tipped feathers while the adults have solid dark brown feathers.)

osprey chick and mom osprey chick shows wings to mom

At this point we took a break for lunch, and were fortunate enough to get a table with the view of the nest. Not much happened during the hour or so while we were having our meal - but it was nice to know we weren't missing anything. Afterwards, Charlie spent some time looking for osprey. The picture also shows the edge of the trees where Dad disappeared over on the far left, as well as a better view of the marsh on the far side of the bridge. We did think we might have spotted something there - but it was too far to get any sort of picture, and might have been a trick of light.


Mom did come back with some fish that we think she got from Dad, perhaps after feeding the fledgling, and we got a picture of her arriving at the nest.

mom osprey arrives at nest

And this slightly fuzzy picture was the highlight of our visit for me. We obviously can't be sure - but I think this is Dad and the fledgling. Mom was on the nest with the other chick at the time, and I don't think any other large birds could have come that close to the nest without her raising a ruckus.

osprey fledgling with dad

That was the only shot I managed to get of both of them - and none of the shots were clear enough to know if they were of an adult or fledgling. But it was so nice to see. big grin

While Charlie was scanning the marsh to see if he could tell where they went, he found an example of where the expression "getting your ducks in a line" came from:


But as he looked more closely, he saw a white spot on the rock behind the ducks (possibly visible in the click-for-larger version of the picture above) - so he looked a little more closely. And we discovered it wasn't an osprey - it was an adult eagle, perhaps keeping an eye on the two flocks of ducks.

eagle watching ducks

That rock is also visible from one of the vantage points where we watch the Sasanoa River osprey nest and eagle nest, so that probably was one of the adults from that eagle nest. However, he or she is not the only one who uses that nest. After we left here, we went to the bridge overlooking the Sasanoa River to check on the osprey and eagles there - and you'll never guess who was on the rock when we got over there. For that - and several other surprises - check out the Sasanoa River - June 18 report.