Four Fine, Feathered, Fledglings!

Couldn’t wait ’til summer’s end to update you on our friends at the Naval Academy, Oscar and Opal Osprey.  They’re in the midst of fledging this year’s batch of chicks, (their 16th year) and it appears there are four healthy, noisy young ones preparing to take to the skies.

Oscar in flight over nestAs you may recall, I was in a bit of a tizzy last March when Oscar and Opal arrived almost two weeks late.  They sorted out their nest and seemed to enjoy a quiet few weeks before I noticed their “guarding of the nest” behavior, which I interpret as they’re protecting their eggs.

Well, apparently starting late didn’t interfere with their family plan.  Yesterday, as I walked toward the football field, I saw in the distance three osprey circling low over the Severn River near the Academy’s seawall.

As I approached, it was clear that two of the birds were small and one larger – Oscar, I soon recognized. He had the two under his command flying in spirals, gaining confidence as they did so. And, on a nearby light post, overlooking the “practice field,” one small osprey sat, calling plaintively. (I’m assuming, “Hey, Dad, I want to try too!”)

And if that weren’t enough excitement, Opal perched calmly on her nest’s edge, with yet another, a fourth fledgling at her side.  Opal on lightpost

I was amazed.  I’ve seen two and three offspring over the years, but never before have I seen Opal and Oscar produce four fledglings!

Now, let’s hope they can all master the fine points of survival and take to the skies when it’s time to head south.



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Here are two recent articles I’ve written on topics important to me, and to most of us, mental health and addiction.   

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Background: Oldies, but goodies.

Forgive my lack of modesty, but I was gathering web links of my past articles for another purpose, and I thought it might be interesting to put these past article links on my blog. (The list is not exhaustive.  I am a regular contributor to Lancaster Farming, an influential and popular, weekly agricultural publication.

“Lost Boys of Sudan” 

“Oil Painting: Carolyn Egeli’s Impressionistic Approach”

“Building On Success: Cause Marketing & Your Business”

“Their Voices Are Heard: Women in Business:

“The Bottom Line When It Come to Your Heart”

“Workplace Moral Boosters”

“Generation X: One Woman’s Homage to Loss”

“Reflections on Strata: New Works By Gail Watkins”

Crofton (Ioa – Images of America) Paperback – August 17, 2009

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Sweet 16!

Okay!  Sound the trumpets.  I’m delighted to announce the arrival of Opal and Oscar, senior resident ospreys at the US Naval Academy for what will be 16 years.

Based on the birds’ schedule in years past, I’d been watching anxiously for their return since St. Patrick’s Day, but their nest remained empty.  Was this to be a summer without our old friends?

Finally, after the storm called Stella blew up the east coast, our favorite osprey couple returned.   Spring return sm

Both birds look hale and hearty, and they got right to work, repairing their nest atop light post #3.  Those repairs included, I was happy to note, the removal of the almost-lethal loop of detritus that last summer trapped one of Oscar and Opal’s chicks and almost caused the chick’s death.  (See my Oct. 2016 post for the harrowing details.) All winter I watched to see if that loop of rope or netting would fall away. But in early March the dangerous loop still hung beneath the nest.  Apparently, the osprey couple’s memory of that mishap was as keen as my own. On their to-do list of items for their spring spruce-up was “Remove dangerous loop.”  It’s gone now.

Our handsome couple seems to be wasting no time; they’ve taken up their brooding posts. On my morning walks, I usually see one bird on the nest, and if I’m lucky, I see the other bird approaching with either a twig to add to the nest or a wiggling fish for breakfast – osprey eat only live fish.  I might be accused of romanticizing, but it seems to me that Oscar and Opal swoop down and give me a chance to admire them as I pass by.

I’m looking forward to reporting back to you on Opal and Oscar’s 16th brood of “Navy Brats” in the months ahead.

Oh, and an added note:  For the third spring running, I’ve encountered the brief stop-over of Liam Loon!  Indeed, it is unusual, but Annapolis’s harbor seems to provide a satisfying rest-stop for at least one North American or common loon, whom I now will call “Liam.”  I’m guessing he’s making his way north to the Great Lakes region after a relaxing winter in Mexico.  I’ve listened carefully for a sample of his memorable vocalization, but no luck. He has delighted me with an iconic stretch of neck and back, displaying his distinctive black-and-white mantel. In past years he’s only stayed a few days, and today marked the third day that I’ve spotted him this spring. So, I suspect he’ll be on his way soon. Common-Loon-8412

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