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May Evening at Mariner Point Park & Osprey Update

A nature-filled evening with a walk at Mariner Point Park, a check on the osprey nests, and a stop at a marsh –

Mariner Point Park

I sensed a change in the diversity of “wildlife” at Mariner Point Park (MPP) since my last visit a few weeks ago. The theme tonite: insects, squirrels, insects, cardinals, and did I mention insects? on the ground, in the air, on the water.

MPP is a gem of a little park for observing and learning about nature. Its 38 acres include Chesapeake Bay wetlands along creeks that lead into the Gunpowder River, a central marshy plot thick with grasses and shrubs, a forested section with a wide diversity of trees, and an area that is undergoing reforestation.

This evening’s sightings include:

  • a great blue heron
  • an osprey carrying a fish back to its nest
  • many squirrels; black squirrels are prevalent here & I’ve never seen them anywhere else. People feed them; now they’ll come up to you & beg. It’s very adorable. I haven’t been able to capture a pic of a black squirrel though
  • rabbits, including young ones
  • about a dozen cardinals, including a pair of baby ones
  • a bluejay
  • a few common grackles
  • a European starling
  • did not see, but heard mourning doves
  • and there was a lot more chirping and tweeting that I can’t ID yet

Pictures are few tonite; my camera battery died. These give a sense of the diversity of the park:

My favorite tree:

Cardinals often line up on this railing; only one posed for me this time:

Osprey Update

Since I was out & about, I headed up Rt. 40 to the Belcamp/Riverside area to check on the osprey nests I’m monitoring.

Some bad news – the big nest is gone! Totally dismantled. Looks like BGE installed little metal canopies on the arms of the electrical towers to prevent nesting.

Here’s a pic of the nest when it was still there:

The nest at the Leight Estuary Center is still sprawling across the top of the cell phone tower, but I didn’t see any activity.

Luckily, I saw both dad and mom osprey at the newest nest on Rt. 40. Dad was standing guard while mom was busy at something – her head and tail were bobbing up & down. Maybe there are babies …

Marsh

A trip along Rt. 40 isn’t complete without a stop at the marsh across from Home Depot. The spot is a red-wing blackbird haven; I always see several there. A lone mallard caught my glance; otherwise, I didn’t spot anything else tonite.

I’m off work tomorrow. I hope to wake early enough to get somewhere to watch nature activity at sunrise.

Hazy, Cloudy Sunrise

I enjoyed this morning’s sunrise through a hazy atmosphere with some fast-moving clouds.

I hope you had a chance to enjoy your morning – outdoors! What did you observe?

 

Lingering on a Gorgeous Morning

It’s too pretty of a morning to rush off to work. I lingered on my town home deck immersed in the nature around me.

I barely caught a pic of this finch departing one of my bird feeders:

Raindrops:

Baby tomatoes:

I hope you enjoy these pictures. What a wonderful way to start the day!

Wildlife & Nature on a Sunrise Walk at Lake Elkhorn

Continuing with my theme of observing the wildlife I encounter in my daily routines, as long as I pause long enough to observe it — here are a few sightings during a sunrise walk around Lake Elkhorn in Columbia. First I’ll start with a pic of the lake because I was happy to capture the reflection:

My walk started with a heron:

Later on, as I made it around to the other side, I could catch a pair of them way off on the other side:

I was startled by this beaver emerging. I wasn’t sure what was coming out of the water or how big it would be:

There are always plenty of ducks on the lake:

 

I also saw a hawk! I did not get a picture of it, but I did manage not to fall in the lake as I kept backing up to get a good view of it.

Some blooms and buds to round out the morning’s pics:

Monday Evening Wildlife in Edgewood

Proving to myself that all kinds of nature really is just outside my door, even in a suburban-sprawl area. I combined a trip to Home Depot in Edgewood to visit the osprey nests I’m monitoring and stopped at the swamp on Route 40 across from Home Depot.

Osprey Update

Leight Estuary Center – I couldn’t see any activity on the nest and didn’t see any birds flying around. The tower is very high and the only place I can pull over to observe is just about right under the nest. So, it would be impossible to see any birds if they were cuddled down in the nest.

The big nest in Riverside on Route 40 – no activity. But the nest is easily 3-feet deep. A mommy bird could be nesting there and you’d never know. I was observing it from the little access road I found and a guy pulled up. His parents live on that access road. He said he has seen a bird there every once in awhile. That’s good news.

The new nest on the other side of Route 40 – Visible activity. Two birds were hunkered down in the nest. It looked like one had strips of food dangling from its beak. Was it the daddy and mommy? Or mommy and a baby? I think it’s too soon for babies.

The marsh on Route 40 in Edgewood, at the on-ramp to Rt. 24

I have driven past this for years. Before my nature studies, I used to think it’s just an icky swamp. Now I realize how it’s teeming with wildlife. This evening I saw:

  • a great blue heron
  • another heron – too far away to identify with my binoculars, maybe a great blue
  • a beaver, swimming with his mouth full of stems
  • only one duck, and it splashed and floated away before I could ID it
  • about a dozen red-winged blackbirds. They are so pretty in flight.
  • several other birds, but they flitted too fast for me to ID them

Here’s a picture I took a few weeks ago of the marsh, to give you a sense of perspective. There’s a mute swan in this pic. There’s also dozens of ducks in the pic too …