It all started in Plymouth this year, a mile or so down the beach. We got a big surprise when Norman Smith, director of the Blue Hills Trailside Museum and our bander, came down the hyperextended ladder.
There were not two, not three, but four healthy chicks. That's the most we've ever banded in one spot.
The story at Nelson Street beach was half as good – two healthy chicks, a little younger, and an unhatched egg, the first of three we'd find on the trip.
The second was at Hicks Point in Duxbury, where we also had two chicks, doing very well, thank you very much.
Out onto Duxbury Bay we rode, to check on five osprey nests we knew had seen some activity.
Nest after nest had been successful. One had been predated by a great horned owl, but the rest produced youngsters.
The whole scene just became more and more picturesque, as the clouds built in the sky.
And we can honestly say that not every chick looked alike. When Norman came down the ladder each time, the rest of the banding team guessed the ages, and usually, according to Norman, we were right.
Some birds enjoyed the notoriety.
Our last stop on the Bay, at Saquish Head, produced the youngest of all, three week-and-a-half-old birds. They were so small, in fact, that we couldn't band them. Norman will be back out in a week or so to take care of them.
At the end of day one, the mother at the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary let her feelings known. We banded her youngsters and called it a day.
We started the following morning in Quincy, on the marshes at Squantum.
Two more chicks, two more bands.
At Great Esker Park in Weymouth, the nest has grown so big that Norman can barely reach into it.
He was able, though, to disentangle a chick from some manmade debris, which would have spelled its demise had it tried to fly.
In all, we encountered 26 osprey chicks from Plymouth to Quincy, while unable to band chicks from several other pairs. Ospreys are back, baby!