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Osprey Watch Update – They’ve Arrived!

Yes, osprey are finally at “my” nest along Rt. 40 in Harford County, outside the Riverside Business Park. I was worried if they’d return as the area around the nest has been bulldozed and cleared. My update on activities:

March 14

Reading about osprey on my twitter feed, I’m home early enough & go check on “my” nest – I’m horrified to see they’ve bulldozed in front of the nest and cleared out surrounding trees! Oh, I’m really worried. I don’t know much about osprey, but I can’t imagine this bodes well for their return.

March 17/18

I visit the nest over the week-end. I’ve been reading reports that osprey have returned to Maryland, but no activity at “my” nest. The one benefit of bulldozing is that I see an access road. I drive onto that and can literally get right under the nest.

Here’s a better view of the cleared out area in front of the nest as well as the general area along Rt. 40 where the nest is situated. Maybe since I’m further north than where other osprey reports are coming in, they just haven’t arrived in Harford County yet.

Note the tufts of grass sticking out of the top of the nest:

March 24

I attend an osprey program at Leight Estuary Center. The naturalist takes us to an osprey nest, a new one! It’s on the cell phone tower right outside the sanctuary. An osprey is there! We talk about osprey behavior, hear its call, and describe its markings. Now I know how to recognize them. The osprey flies around, in general view via binoculars. There’s also a turkey vulture circling in the same area the osprey is flying – are they playing or is it a predator?

Leaving Leight after the program, I’m so curious about “my” nest. Obviously osprey have arrived in Harford County, but has the bulldozing deterred any from making their home on that tower? Just as I’m approaching my ‘pull-off & watch’ spot, a bird flies over Rt. 40. I hear its call, and I’m pretty sure it’s an osprey. I’m excited; I hope this is is good news for “my” nest.

I pull over at my viewing spot and there is an osprey at the nest – I recognize its silhouette! I’m so excited I want to tell the world! I try for some pics. It’s raining rather hard, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity:

Then I drive over to the access road to get closer. Of course, the osprey flies off … I wait for ~ 15 minutes. I can see two osprey (and I think a vulture) flying around over the Long Bar Harbor area; I guess they’re hunting for dinner. Though I’m really close to the nest, it’s pouring rain; I don’t think they’re coming back too soon; and eventually I decide to leave.

Of course, as soon as I leave the access road and pull onto Rt. 40, they come back. Yes, “they”!! There is a pair at “my” nest. I make a U-turn and pull onto the shoulder of Rt. 40 to watch them. They fly around a bit, leaving and coming back to the nest. Then … so adorable – there are two big tufts of healthy grass sticking out of the nest – the osprey tuck down behind them and settle into the nest. The tufts of grass function as as privacy panels from the view from Rt. 40.

I’m so excited about this activity, I go back to the Leight Estuary Center to tell the program naturalist that yes, there is a pair of osprey at the Rt. 40 nest. Leaving Leight, I swing by the cell phone tower nest; I’m pretty sure there are 2 osprey there.

Two nests; two pair!

One Comment Post a comment
  1. I am so excited for you! The Rt 40 nest is pretty awesome. Those tuffs of grass are funny, but they know what they are doing. Our pair last year brought a tuff of grass like yours, and it stayed alive for weeks because the roots got buried in the nest and survived with rains. I bet you’ll see those tuffs stay alive too. 🙂 Keep us posted, looking forward to your findings!

    April 5, 2012

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