A reader recently told me he’d spent several hours studying a map looking for Osprey Beach because it sounded so beautiful he wanted to visit it. While I’m delighted he found the area so believable, I hated to confess Osprey Beach, Kim, Grandpa and the others live only in the minds of me and my readers.
I quickly assured him, however, that the inspiration for Osprey Beach came from two very real Chesapeake Bay communities — North Beach and Chesapeake Beach. The Twin Beaches reside on Maryland’s Western Shore, the part that juts south and, on the map, it looks like a tail. These two towns support a harbor, boardwalk, pier, sandy beach and small shops like those seen in the Jeweler’s Gemstone Mysteries.
The Twin Beaches also are home to multiple families of Ospreys. The Chesapeake Bay, in fact, supports one of North America’s largest populations of nesting Ospreys, some 2,000 pairs. Many of these raptors nest on top of specially built platforms jutting from pylons in the Bay.
With their seventy inch wing span, ospreys can appear almost pterodactyl-like when they’re soaring overhead, their wings held in a distinctive M shape. When they spot a fish — these guys’ diet is 99 percent fish — they tuck their wings and dive. I’ve read that they can actually close their nostrils when they dive so they won’t get water up their nose . . . er, beak . . . er . . .
You youngsters probably don’t remember, but before DDT was banned, we almost lost these magnificent raptors. The come-back of ospreys, in fact, is one of the most successful human-intervention stories. To encourage nesting, people built platforms on top of wooden columns jutting from the Bay. The ospreys top these structures with a messy configuration of twigs.
It’s easy to get emotionally attached to local ospreys because the birds return to the same nest year after year. You can see some wonderful video of ospreys by clicking here.
I have no idea why Mom and Auntie Joan get so excited about those stupid ospreys. How can you play with a bird sitting all the way out there?