Osprey Return to Jug Bay

Fresh-Tidal Patuxent River at Jug Bay, Mattaponi Creek and Western Run


Dave, Steve and I launched out of Jackson Landing at Jug Bay for a day of fishing.  The very first thing we noticed was that the osprey are back.  A few males were already sitting on nesting platforms, claiming their home territories.  This portion of the Patuxent had several commercial yellow perch nets and this opportunistic osprey was half way through his perch lunchtime meal that he may have plucked from the netting.


All of today’s fish were caught on Clyde’s Cubby Mini-Mite jigs in various colors, black & Blue Punisher hair-jigs and Mann’s green-pumpkin colored stingray grubs.


The yellow perch were heavy-weight breeders filled with eggs.


Muskrat den on Mattaponi Creek.


This blue heron was reluctant to leave as we wanted this area of sunny rip-rap to fish too.  Water temperatures ranged from 45 to 50-degrees and the air temperature high was a beautiful 60-degrees by the afternoon.


This bass was pulled from a hole in bank cover.  It was at this location we watched a beaver at close range sunning himself on the bank.  I noted that red maple were in full bloom and with pollen.  How do I know?  I had an errant cast into a budded maple and as I tried in vain to finesse my lure from the tree, I was able to shake-out yellow pollen.


As we traveled from Mattaponi Creek to Western Run on the Patuxent at Jug Bay, M-NCPPC personnel were firing-up two Osprey-Cam live cameras.


This gentleman was speaking from his cell phone on speaker mode, to a live person in an office watching from his computer.  He placed his hand to the center of the platform, to where breeding osprey will lay eggs, hatch, feed and fledge their young.  The person at the computer said the camera orientation was perfect for the 2013 breeding season.


This osprey may likely be one of the breeding adults that have claimed one of the two camera platforms, as he stayed in the immediate area to watch the going-on’s.

Osprey are fish-eating migratory birds that return every year from South America to nest along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.  The park has erected artificial nesting platforms along the river and monitors their activity throughout the season.

The male returns first and begins nest building using twigs and branches.  When the females return, the mating ritual begins.  The young are born in May.  By August, they are ready to leave the nest, separate from their parents and begin the annual migration back to South America.


The two Osprey-Cam’s are located at the Jug Bay Natural Area, near the boat ramp at Jackson’s Landing.  The best time for viewing is early morning or late afternoon when the osprey bring fish back to the nest.

A beautiful day on the water.  I had my Carolina Skiff winterized at Tri-State Marine, and my Yamaha four-stroke ran flawlessly for the first Skiff outing for the year.  We also heard spring peeper and wood frog in breeding ponds near the rivers edge.  Spring is here, and it will really feel like it as I turn my clock ahead this evening for daylight savings time.  I love the extra late afternoon daylight!