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Woolwich, Maine

August 6, 2010


Because I only saw one chick when I was down on Wednesday, and I was off from work today, I decided to stop down in the afternoon, when Charlie and I had been visiting, to see if there was more activity then. And there was.

The nest was empty when I drove in, so I decided to check the tree where I'd seen one of the fledglings before - and there was indeed one there (all pics click bigger - some of the bigger shots are also cropped to show more detail).
osprey chick
I don't have a pic that really shows it's a fledgling rather than an adult, but had binoculars and could see the white edges on the feathers.

I didn't get that close to her - but maybe I got too close to the nest - she suddenly flew right over me on her way to the nest - the picture is a bit off-center because I was ducking! (She wasn't that close - but they are large birds!)
osprey overhead

And a somewhat more in focus but rather strange perspective on her arrival at the nest.
osprey landing on nest

I was backing away - it is a parking lot and general public area, but raptors know if you're watching them, and while they most likely ignore thousands of people who park there and don't look up, she was very aware that I'd been watching her - and I was afraid I'd gotten too close for her comfort. As I moved away, she took off over the marsh - and met up with another large bird I think was also an osprey. No clue where it came from, and I didn't have much luck getting a picture of the two of them.

I know this was the chick taking off from the nest
osprey flying

And I think these two are the chick swooping down over the marsh
osprey flying

osprey flying

and somewhere during the time when I snapped those two pictures is I think when I realized there was another large bird out there - but my camera doesn't reset for the next picture very fast, so by the time I managed to pull back my zoom to include both, they were quite a ways away.
osprey flying

I lost sight of the one in front, so never did figure out if it was an adult with food, or an intruder of some sort (or the other chick, for that matter), but I did get a couple more pictures of the fledgling.
osprey flying

osprey flying

I'm guessing it was more a territorial thing than an adult with food, because the fledgling returned to the nest afterwards. It was less than two minutes from the time she took off from the nest until she returned.
osprey landing on nest

And I promptly moved away, as I'd started to do before being distracted by the aerial display over the marsh.

The fledgling was still being rather vocal
osprey on nest

so I decided I'd take a quick look at the ducklings
(I didn't count them, but there did seem to still be lots of them there - lots more detail when clicked to full size),

check the monitor
osprey chick on monitor

and see if I could get a table with a view while I had an afternoon snack (I could).
view of nest from restaurant

The fledgling took off to stretch her wings - didn't seem to be any sort of urgency about the flight
osprey leaves nest

And it looked as if she had gone to make a circuit over the marsh, and returned a minute or so later (I am assuming it's the same fledgling - though they look similar enough that I really can't tell unless they're side by side).
osprey returns to nest

And that's when things started to get a bit crazy. First, the chick looked around,
osprey chick on nest

then it looked as if she was mantling (spreading her wings to hide/protect food from other osprey), though she didn't bring any food and none had been delivered - these three pics were within a minute or so of her return to the nest -
osprey mantling

or possibly doing a call for food, which looks sort of like a very excited, eager peeping, with wings somewhat open and quivering
osprey in nest
(sorry about the quality of that pic, but it's essential for the story).

And then, I saw another osprey approaching, raised my camera - - - and the waitress asked if I wanted more coffee. smiley Fortunately she realized she was between me and the window and stepped aside and watched with me for a moment, then murmured something about back in a minute....

I'm including this very blurry shot in the hopes someone else may be able to get the whole story if I include all the shots. The bird in front is clearly an osprey, but I can't tell if it's an adult or a fledgling. I don't see that it's carrying a fish - but it might be. I can't tell what the bird behind it is. The black on the right and the fuzzy thing sticking up are inside the restaurant - I posted a picture of the view from the table on August 4th. The nest is to the right.
two raptors

This next picture is interesting - I'm absolutely certain I could never in my life have taken a picture like this intentionally - but I'm finding it amazingly frustrating for what's not there. One of the fledglings is clearly in the nest, either mantling or something. I don't think she's scared, because I think she'd be flat in the nest and hard to see from my persepctive if she felt she was in danger - or she'd be standing up to attack. On the right is an osprey approaching the nest; I've tried every trick I know, and I can't see enough of the wings to tell if it's a fledgling or an adult. I wasn't sure about food before, but it's clear from this picture that he or she is not carrying anything. And the trick shot I could never have gotten intentionally - behind the incoming osprey is another bird - that's the thin lines you see, and I expect it's the second bird in the picture above (or else this is just too crazy).
osprey approaching nest with chick
One possibility is that it's an adult with food, and the other fledgling is racing for the nest to get a share. But there are also other osprey and a family of eagles in the neighborhood, so it could be almost anything. I'm quite sure from the first picture of the two birds flying in that the one behind is not an adult eagle - but I can't see enough white to say for sure it's an osprey - or enough lack of white to say it's one of the eagle fledglings from the nest "around the corner."

When I was watching this live, I didn't realize there were more than two birds involved - my camera may be slow, but it's faster than my brain at times. Having seen the older fledgling "defend" the nest against a chick I thought was the younger fledgling a couple of times before the cam went down, my initial assumption was that the incoming osprey was the second fledgling, and this next picture showed the two of them tumbling out of the nest, as I saw happen on cam several times the day the younger one fledged. (He did eventually make it back into the nest, and I thought they had moved past this - but it's hard where we haven't been able to watch for a week or two.)
two osprey tumbling
It's not obvious from the smaller pic, but I'm reasonably certain the osprey on the bottom is a chick. The problem is that I don't know what the osprey on the top is, or where the third bird went. Neither of these have food, and I'm quite sure no food was left in the nest.

When I looked back to the nest, there was a chick there. I checked the time on my pics, and it wasn't much more than a minute later, and I haven't the slightest idea if it was one of the osprey I'd seen tumbling a minute earlier. Obviously I need to bring a qualified observer with me to the Taste of Maine.
chick in nest

I did check the monitor as I left
osprey fledgling on monitor

and took another look at the nest
osprey fledgling in nest

and still haven't the slightest idea what I saw.

Things were much more routine at the Sasanoa nest - I'm hoping to have a couple of reports for them up soon.

If you'd like to see additional pictures from this nest, and from the osprey and eagle nests "around the corner" on the Sasanoa River, you can use the link for my Local Wildlife Home Page at the top of the page to see an index to all the visits.