Bits and Pieces

Happy August 17th! Many of you have noticed that the osprey camera is frozen at the moment, and we are currently working to fix it, no need to worry. As August progresses, our feathery friends continue to grow and experience new things every day.

My family and I recently returned from vacation and have not been around to make many observations, but we will keep our eyes peeled and keep you up to date!

Spitz relaxing on our boat lift, much to COM's disapproval

Spitz relaxing on our boat lift, much to COM’s disapproval

Here’s a quick update for those of you who are going through withdrawal. COM has a direct feed to the ospreycam which has not been affected by the camera malfunction, so we kept our eyes open today.  At the moment, Audrey is resting in the nest, beside a pinecone. We are not sure which genius brought the pinecone back (probably attached to a branch). It doesn’t seem to be serving a purpose at the moment other than providing a cozy atmosphere.

"Careful" landings

“Careful” landings

Earlier today there were five crows and a seagull on the nest, pecking at some leftover fish. There were no ospreys to be seen, and the interlopers seemed to be enjoying their stay at Casa de Tom and Audrey. All of a sudden, one of our adult ospreys (we’re not sure which one) came swooping in out of nowhere and chased the intruders away. Take that, crows and seagull!

As I write this, Audrey is sitting all by herself on the nest.  Spitz has come back twice in rapid succession, each time with a branch.  When she (?) brought the first branch back, which was quite large and oddly shaped, it ended up on Audrey’s back.  Audrey looked at Spitz as if to say, “Really?”, and then rearranged herself until the stick landed in the nest where it belonged.  Spitz took off, and immediately returned with another less cumbersome stick.  She deposited this stick in the nest without incident, and then took off again.  Right now, Audrey is all by herself in the nest, finally some peace and quiet.

This morning, Mrs. COM noticed one of our juveniles on the center perch with a fish. We are not sure if the young one had caught the fish, but it seemed like it had. Unfortunately, it flew off before we could get close enough for a photo and a good look at the feathers. Most other years, we have been able to walk out on our dock without seeming to disturb whoever was in the nest. But this year, Spitz is not happy at all when she is in the nest, and one of us walks out onto the dock.  She is getting very good at making the distinctive danger sound.

Taking Flight

Taking Flight

As usual, I am going to update every one on the ospreys whereabouts. The two babies have been sitting in a neighbor’s really big tree two houses to the north of us.  They like to perch near the top.  Tom frequently visits the tree in our next door neighbor’s house directly to the north of us.  We have also seen our ospreys on our neighbor’s boat lift two houses to the south of us. This year, although the family hasn’t been using the perches as much as others have in years past, both the adults and juveniles do hang out there occasionally.

Breezy and Spitz hanging out on the perches

Breezy and Spitz hanging out on the perches

Many of you on Facebook have noticed that many long skinny fish have been brought back to the nest, we think that they are Garfish. Recently, we were outside baiting the crab traps at the end of the dock and saw groups of these same fish swimming just beneath the surface of the water. This is a perfect source of food for the osprey, really easy pickings! While we’re on the fish topic, I really appreciate everyone’s help with the fish survey, I could not do it without you guys.

gar

Garfish

[http://www.charterboats-uk.co.uk/fish/garfish/]

That is all I have for today, thank you so much for reading the blogs and my apologies for not being here to make more observations! I know that a lot of you rely on the Crazy Osprey Family when our feathery family is not on the nest.

*Just as I was finishing up this blog and ready to post, Spitz flew into the nest with a HUGE menhaden, still flapping!  She is happily eating away.  In between bites, she is squawking!  Why am I not surprised at that?  Great catch, Spitz!  Where is Breezy when you need him?

Here is this week’s winner in the “Where in the World Are Tom and Audrey” contest”.  Keep sending in those entries to be eligible for the grand prize at the end of the 2014 osprey season.

Mr. Dusenbury watching from Cape Cod, MA during the super moon!

Jim watching from Nauset Beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts during the August super moon!

Adios Amigos,

Until Next Time,

Osprey Girl

 

 

 

 

School Days

Happy August 4th everyone! I hope all our viewers with empty nest syndrome are doing well, it’s not fatal, I promise.

COM's photography

COM’s photography-How artistic!

Remember, you can click on each photo to enlarge for your viewing pleasure.

There have been some major changes around the nest thanks to Breezy and Spitz. They have both begun to fish, a very important skill to learn for obvious reasons. I know that many of you noticed one of Breezy’s recent catches. Just a few days ago, Breezy proudly brought home a blue crab. This year has been incredibly terrible for crabbing, at least at our house. Reproduction has significantly decreased while the demand for blue crabs has remained the same. Another reason for the decrease in the blue crab population is the scarcity of bay grasses. Bay grasses are a three- in- one deal. They keep the water clean, as well as provide food and shelter for animals such as our crabby friends. Unfortunately, pollutants, humans, and waterfowl have hindered the growth of these important plants. While bay grasses are now beginning to thrive in early August, be sure to keep the scarcity of bay grasses in mind the next time you are on a boat. Follow the posted speed limits in shallow waters to avoid pulling the grasses out with your propeller and obviously, never dump your waste into our precious water!

With that mini lesson out of the way, back to the birds. Since crabs usually hang out among the grasses on the bottom of the bay, the one that Breezy caught was probably swimming near the surface. Breezy must have been really confused, surprised and disappointed when his family was not happy with his proud catch.  The crab remained in the nest for a couple of days, and disappeared.

Just a few minutes ago, Spitz found himself in an altercation with some crows. Although I didn’t see the beginning of the incident, we think Spitz had a piece of fish in the nest.  What we did see was when out of nowhere, several crows began to dive bomb him. Spitz then took off and the crows followed, dive-bombing and bullying him. Screeching and evasive flying ensued until the crows flew off and Spitz returned to the nest. We then noticed a crow sitting on the boat lift eating a piece of fish. We assume that the crows took the fish from Spitz, and despite his efforts, our youngest osprey couldn’t win it back from the gang of robber crows.  The fish was lost, but skilled flying was practiced. There’s a life lesson for you, Spitz.

Not only crows try to steal fish from our osprey.  Here is one of our young ones after a fish in flight:

 

Bringing home the bacon (fish bacon) with a young escort

 

Three of our family on the dock two doors to the south of us.  Tom likes to hang out on the swim ladder and eat, his family members are just enjoying some time away from the nest.

I spy an osprey with a fish (hint: he's on the left)

I spy an osprey with a fish (hint: he’s on the left)

The birds continue to spend time at their favorite hangout spots: our neighbor’s tree, our boat lift, our dock and the three perches. Yesterday, we saw father and child sitting on the same perch; even though there are three perches, the center one is obviously the best.

Sharing is sometimes not so caring

Sharing is sometimes not so caring

That is all I have to share with you guys for today, have a great week and I will talk to you soon!

Keep sending in your “Where In The World” photos to Tom_audrey_osprey@yahoo.com.  Here is the winner for this week (can you top this to win the Grand Prize at the end of the osprey season?).

 

Rachael watching from the airport in Helsinki, Finland

Rachael watching from the airport in Helsinki, Finland

P.S. Thank you again for all of the fish updates!  Keep them coming, please!

Adios Amigos,

Until next time,

Osprey Girl

The Adventures of Breezy and Spitz

Happy almost end of July! Wow, this month FLEW by, especially for our feathered friends.

As many of you already know, today was a very exciting day for the youngest chick, Spitz. He finally fledged! At 8:50 AM, Spitz took his first flight, but have no fear, he didn’t go far because he landed on top of the camera. Spitz didn’t stay there very long, then became more daring and flew all the way to our boatlift, where he/she rested for a few hours. One of the parents joined him to check in and make sure that everything was running smoothly. Unfortunately, we were not home to see Spitz’s return to the nest, but some of our faithful Facebook friends noted that he arrived home around 1:30 PM. Many of you also believe that there was a “stranger” on the nest today, but again, since we were not home, we did not see that drama play out. I can tell you that there have been strangers on the nest in the past, so it is very possible that a neighboring osprey took a pit stop.  Tom and Audrey are not very happy when intruders stop by, and usually chase off the unwanted visitor with gusto.  Here are some photos of Spitz’s great adventure.  Remember, you can click on each photo to enlarge it for your viewing pleasure:

Spitz's first flight.  Notice the prominent necklace (dark chest feathers)

Spitz’s first flight. Notice the prominent necklace (dark chest feathers)

 

Spitz

Spitz on our boat lift

 

Spitz and a parent around 11:15 AM

Spitz and a parent around 11:15 AM

 

Of course, we can’t forget about Breezy, who is also attempting to make headlines. Yesterday while we were eating breakfast, Breezy took off from the nest and dove into the water. A few seconds passed and then he resurfaced and slowly took off, much to our relief. We were somewhat confused, but we brushed it off and continued eating. About a minute later, Breezy took the plunge again. This time it got our attention and we watched as he continued to dive into the water and then resurface, each time struggling to get back into the air. We realized that these were, in fact, his inexperienced attempts to fish. Each dive took more and more energy from him. After five minutes and five heart-stopping plunges, he stopped and safely landed on our dock.  Fortunately for our resident menhaden, Breezy needs more practice before he can provide snacks for the family.  But he is really trying out his new found fishing skills, and it won’t be long before dinner will be served!

This past weekend, COM installed the three perches that I mentioned in the last blog. The main function of the perches is to provide an alternative landing spot for the osprey, because they thoroughly enjoy using our boatlift to hang out. The problem with their choice of hangouts is our boat cover becomes an osprey potty, which is very unpleasant for the humans who enjoy using their boat (us!).  Audrey was not happy with COM, and kept circling around making very loud alarm cries.

 

COM laying the bases for the perches

COM pounding in the perch bases

 

Audrey circling COM

Audrey circling COM

 

Keeping a close eye out for Audrey, who was circling overhead making unhappy noises

Keeping a close eye out for Audrey, who was circling overhead making unhappy noises

 

Another trudge out to install the perches

Another trip out to install the perches

 

COM installing last perc

COM installing last perch

 

Here is a family portrait taken a couple of days before Spitz fledged.  Guess who can be seen fussing?

Family portrait.  Spitz is yapping at everyone.  Are you surprised?

Family portrait. Spitz is yapping at everyone. Are you surprised?

 

Keep sending in your “Where In The World Are Tom and Audrey” photos.  Here is this week’s winner:

 

Mr. Cooley watching from the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Mr. Cooley watching from the Maryland State Highway Administration.

 

Thank you for contributing to my research, you guys are the best!  Please keep posting any sightings of fish coming back into the nest, with time and species if possible.

Adios Amigos,

Until Next Time,

Osprey Girl

 

They Grow Up So Fast

Good evening!  Congratulations are in order for one of our favorite birds.  Breezy took his first flight on July 17, 2014 at 11:08 a.m.  Remember, you can click on each photo to enlarge it for your viewing pleasure:

First day of flight

First day of flight

Once he left the nest, Breezy landed on some rocks by the water one house to the north of us.  When ospreys take their first flight, they usually find a large stable place on which to land because their depth perception and balance have not completely developed yet.  Breezy rested on the shoreline for a while, but his moment of peace was quickly interrupted by our neighbor’s lawnmower.  Poor Breezy made eye contact with the loud frightening machine and then clumsily flew away.  We then lost sight of him until he returned to the nest later on in the day.  Many of our viewers were concerned because Breezy was away for a while, but similar to any teen with a new license, the last place he wanted to be was home.  He was probably somewhat disoriented and afraid.  After all, to make a perfect landing for the first time on the nest is no easy task.  Eventually, he made it home safe and sound.  It is now four days after his first flight and he is already a pro.  Breezy dives, turns, rapidly maneuvers, speeds up and slows down, basking in his new found freedom.  You can tell he is really enjoying himself, his flight appears joyful.  As for his whereabouts when not in the nest, Breezy has been spending most of his time in our neighbor’s tree to the north of us.  This is the same tree that Tom used last year to break branches off in flight to use in the nest.  Spitz is due at any moment to fledge and we will all continue to watch the camera like hawks.

Freedom-Day 2 of flight

Freedom-Day two of flight

Landing is still a bit shaky.  Who is watching from the tree?

Day three. Landing is still a bit shaky. Who is watching from the tree?

We have also been noticing more ospreys flying around and assume that other juveniles in the area are fledging.  COM plans to put the perches back up in the water, but unfortunately, the tides have not been favorable for his task.  Once they go in, I will post more pictures to show every one.  Just to keep things interesting, COM put out another marked stick, which made its way to the nest within 24 hours of being in the back yard.  Mrs. COM put one out last week, but it disappeared without making its way into our nest.  I guess another osprey is enjoying the decorative addition to his nest.

Family reunions are the best. Day four of flight (Sunday afternoon)

Family reunions are the best. Day four of flight (Sunday afternoon)

Lastly, I feel like a broken record, but THANK YOU for the help with the fish research project, I couldn’t do it without the help from all of the loyal viewers.  Remember to send in your photos for the “Where in the World Are Tom and Audrey” contest.  Here is one from last year:

Nurse Sue and friends watching from Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland

Nurse Sue and friends watching from Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland

Adios Amigos,

Until next time,

Osprey Girl

 

 

 

Super Night, Super Moon

Good evening, everyone!  As many of you know, last night was the super moon or perigee moon.  Super moons occur when the moon becomes full at the same time that it is closest to us in its orbit around Earth.  There was a super moon in June, and there will be another one in August.  It is very unusual to have three super moons in a row, so take advantage of this phenomenon and take a look on August 10.  Unfortunately, we were not home to watch the entire scene unfold, but did get home in time to snap a few photographs which I would love to share.  If you click on these two photos to enlarge them, you will see the light reflecting on osprey eyes, very cool:

 

Super Moon over the nest

Super Moon over the nest

 

Flapping under the Super Moon

Moonlight Landing

 

Many of you have asked how to tell the two chicks apart; hopefully these tips will help.  The darker baby is Breezy.  If you look carefully, his head and neck have more black than his sibling.  When compared with Spitz, you should be able to identify the differences.  Spitz has less black and more white on his head and neck.  He also fusses more than Breezy.  I am using “him”, “his” and “he” for convenience, and not because the gender of the chicks is known at this time.  We have asked Dr. Spitzer to give us his expert opinion, and will share it with you as soon as we know.

The Osprey Family-everyone is in the nest and someone is getting fed

The Osprey Family-everyone is in the nest and someone is getting fed

Yesterday, Audrey was attempting to shade Spitz from the sun, but despite their efforts, Spitz has gotten too big to be shaded.  If you were watching the camera around 2:30 p.m. on Friday, you would have noticed some triple head bobbing going on, sometimes right into the camera.  Breezy, Spitz and Audrey all participated in this event and it was pretty funny to watch.

A recent visitor to the end of our dock-is it time for happy hour?

A recent visitor to the end of our dock-is it time for happy hour?

We have been watching Breezy flapping and hopping, which has turned into flapping and hovering.  One of these times, he is going to be carried away by a gust of wind, and flight will start whether he likes it or not!  I will continue to keep everyone up to date as the excitement continues.

Adios Amigos,

Until next time,

Osprey Girl

 

 

“You Should See The One That Got Away” -Tom

Wow, it’s already July 10th, I hope everyone is staying cool! I wanted to start by saying how much I appreciate your contributions to the citizen science research about the osprey’s fishing habits. The spreadsheets are starting to take shape and I can’t wait until we have our final outcome! If you could continue to monitor the fish with me, I would be very thankful.

Those of you on Facebook have probably seen pictures from the Great Give visit. The Great Give is a fundraiser for non- profit organizations in the Annapolis, Maryland area. The Chesapeake Conservancy participated in this year’s Great Give and the individuals who donated the most were treated to a private tour of Tom and Audrey’s nest. During the tour, two sticks marked with yellow tape were put out in the yard. By the morning, both sticks were in the nest and if you look closely to the right, one stick is still visible.

DSC_3913

Audrey guarding her nest.

I am aware that some of you are concerned about the well-being and nourishment of the chicks. We appreciate everyone’s concern for our feathery friends but have no fear, the chicks are well fed and doing fine. Even if the chicks were not being properly nourished, the best thing for the Conservancy to do is not interfere. We must let nature take its course, even if it is hard to watch.  Recent interventions have been made at other nests due to situations created by human actions.

DSC_3902

Fishing!

On that note, I would love to share this week’s excitement with all of you. This occurred yesterday at noon when Audrey was away from the nest. Tom brought a relatively large Menhaden back to the nest and sat there with the babies for a bit. When Audrey realized that there was food at home, she immediately returned to the nest, hoping to grab a quick bite. Tom was obviously not in the sharing mood and took off, fish in talons, to a dock two houses down. He returned a short while later with the headless fish, which was used to feed the rest of the family. Thanks, Dad. Keep in mind Tom must eat first, or no one eats.

DSC_3896

Tom’s lunch!

Breezy and Spitz continue their wing exercises, sometimes despite twenty mile an hour winds and looming thunderstorms.  Their flap-hops have started, which means first flight can’t be too far away.  Last year, the oldest chick, Chester, first took flight on July 19th, closely followed by her siblings, Essie and Ozzie.  In the not too distant future, Breezy and Spitz will be earning their own private pilot’s licenses.

Keep those entries for the “Where In The World Are Tom and Audrey?” contest coming.  One photo will be posted on each blog, and a grand prize winner will be awarded for the 2014 season!

Felix watching the ospreycam from Kent Island, Maryland

Felix watching the ospreycam from Kent Island, Maryland

Adios Amigos, Until Next Time,

Osprey Girl

Are We Feeling Better Now?

Happy last day of June! As you probably know by now, the naming contest was a success. Thanks to the 500 viewers who voted, the chicks finally have names! The oldest now goes by “Breezy” and the youngest is named “Spitz,” after Dr. Spitzer. Many of you seem to have been concerned about Spitz not getting enough food. The Crazy Osprey Family and the Conservancy assured you not to worry and let nature take its course. As we can all see, Spitz is thriving and appears to be well fed.  So we hope all of the camera watchers are feeling better now.

A lot of our viewers have posted questions on the Conservancy’s Facebook page. This seems to be a good time to address some of your questions and concerns:

What happened to the third egg?

No one in my family witnessed the removal of the last egg, as we were out of town on the day in question. This is an account sent to the Conservancy from a camera viewer.  WARNING:  THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE IN ITALICS IS RATHER GRAPHIC-PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK

Here’s what I just witnessed. I saw what was happening to the old egg. Audrey was calling loudly for food and finally got off the chicks. All calling for food. Chick #1 had his foot caught in the broken shell. Audrey went flying off but quickly came back with a small piece of fish which she mostly ate. She then went to the broken egg, picked it up and brought it to the side of the nest. I thought she was going to throw it into the water. However, what happened is she started eating what was inside. First it looked like gooey, sticky stuff (excuse my bad terminology). Then a small little chick was drawn out which she tried to eat. It was well developed with head, wings etc. Tried giving bits to the youngsters. It must have been hard to chew or she did not like it as it stayed pretty much whole. Finally, it dropped down far into the outer nest or water after several attempts of eating, dropping and feeding. She really did not like it when the chicks went to eat some.

 

When Tom wasn’t bringing many fish back to the nest, were there any eagles in the area?

Some of you have raised concern that the reason behind the lack of fish being brought back to the nest was related to eagles competing for the same food source. Although we do see eagles occasionally, we have not seen enough eagles to be a problem.

 

Tom on the camera

Tom on the camera

Where does Tom go when he is not at the nest?

Tom goes many places when he is not on the nest. He enjoys eating on our boatlift or on the electric box near the end of the dock. We also see him on neighbors’ docks and trees to the north and south of us. Sometimes he is standing on the camera, just out of your view.

Tom on our boat lift.

Tom on our boat lift.

 

One of Tom's favorite hang-outs.  He will frequently eat his fish from this electric box at the end of our dock

One of Tom’s favorite hang-outs. He will frequently eat his fish from this electric box at the end of our dock

 

Why is Audrey so vocal at times?

Most of the cries that we hear are food begging calls. We also hear defensive calls if there are other osprey in the area. If anyone goes onto our dock, Tom and Audrey let us know that they are not happy. Around 3 pm on Sunday, the ospreys were on high alert because our neighbor had his family visiting. There were a lot of children and adults on the dock and in the water making more noise than usual. Tom, Audrey and the chicks were all bothered by the visitors and were especially noisy. A couple mornings ago, an interloper landed on the nest and Tom immediately flew over and chased him off. There was a lot of osprey noise from Tom and Audrey while this was happening.

 

Tom on our neighbhor's boat. Looks like he has been here before.

Tom on our neighbhor’s boat. Looks like he has been here before.

Which osprey eats first?

It is crucial that Tom eats first. He is the sole provider for the nest and needs the most strength to continue to hunt for fish. This is why we frequently see half eaten fish being returned to the nest; Tom has already eaten his portion. Next to eat is Audrey. Without her, there is no one to protect the babies and the nest. The remainder of the fish goes to the chicks, Breezy and Spitz. It might appear that Breezy gets more food than Spitz, but it is common that the older and therefore biggest chick eats first. This should not raise any distress among our viewers. Yes, it is hard to watch, but that is nature. Breezy had been the bigger and the stronger of the two, so he was more capable of boxing little Spitz out of the way. But don’t worry; Spitz appears to be doing just fine and is catching up in size to Breezy. Over the past couple of weeks, we know that a lot of our viewers wanted us to get food to Spitz. The Conservancy and the Crazy Osprey Family have made a conscious decision not to intervene when nature is taking its course. Last year when Ozzie was caught in the fishing line, we decided to intervene because it was a man-made predicament, not something that would occur by itself in nature.

Remember to send your photos in for the Where in the World are Tom and Audrey contest. Here is our first winner:

 

Brites watching Tom and Audrey from Stayton, Oregon

Brites watching Tom and Audrey from Stayton, Oregon

Remember, you can click on each of the above photos to enlarge them.

 

Adios amigos, until next time,

Osprey Girl

The Return of Osprey Girl

Happy summer every one! Osprey Girl is back!  We have been closely following what has been happening in the nest, and reading everyone’s concerns about Chick #2.  Last year, Ozzie (who was Chick #3, and definitely the runt of the group), was picked on unmercilessly by Chester, the oldest chick.  It was really touch and go for a long time for Ozzie, who was significantly smaller and weaker than her older siblings.  We did not think she would make it, Dr. Spitzer didn’t think she would make it, but guess what?  She made it!!  So we know it is hard to watch Chick #2 get beat up and not get fed as much as Chick #1, but we feel confident that Chick #2 will be fine.  But sometimes Mother Nature can fool you, for the better or for the worse, so we will see.  The chick naming contest is in full swing, so be sure to get your vote in by the close of business on Wednesday, June 25.  Go to  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PWYVGJ2 to cast your ballot.  Tomorrow is primary day in Maryland, so it is a perfect day to vote.

I have two exciting events to share with you:

First, we are starting up the “Where In The World Are Tom and Audrey?” contest.

For those of you who read this blog last year, the guidelines are the same. For the new viewers out there, I strongly encourage you to participate!  People from all over the world enjoy watching our ospreycam, and your fellow viewers would love to know where you are.

You can submit a picture of yourself watching the camera from where ever you are located on the globe. Winning photographs will be posted onto each blog. Please keep in mind that if you submit a photograph, there is a chance that it will be posted on the Internet and viewed by others.

Smartphones, IPads and laptops would be the best option to use, because they are easily portable. If you watch the camera from a desktop computer, you can take the Flat Stanley approach and print out a picture of Tom and Audrey to take with you on your travels.

Here is one of our winners from last year:

 

Jamie watching the ospreycam from the Channel 8 Traffic Center in Rockville, Maryland

Jamie watching the ospreycam from the Channel 8 Traffic Center in Rockville, Maryland

• You must be 18 years or older to submit a photo

• Try to submit a unique photo that specifically shows your location

• Send your photos to Tom_audrey_osprey@yahoo.com

• Please include a caption stating where you are and a first name

Second, I hope all of you have read the blog that announced my main focus this summer.  In addition to my blogs, I will be conducting a study alongside Dr. Spitzer that examines the fish being brought back to the nest by Tom.  When you see a fish being brought back to the nest, please note the date, time and your best guess as to the species of the fish.  The Conservancy has posted examples of possible prey in the following blog:

http://ospreycamerablog.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/osprey-diet-whats-on-the-menu/

This may turn out to be a difficult task due to the condition of the fish arriving in the nest.  I will be reviewing the camera tapes based on observations posted to the Conservancy’s Facebook page and our on-site observations.  Any help citizen scientists can provide would be appreciated.   I can’t wait to see the results!

I know many of you have been reading Mrs. COM’s blogs.  She has been posting photos of a handsome couple, and running her own unofficial contest to guess their identity.  Well, we had a winner last week.  Here is the third of four photos of this couple:

 

The human Tom and Audrey couple after whom our original osprey couple and the current osprey couple were named

The human Tom and Audrey couple after whom our original osprey couple and the current osprey couple were named

 

The lucky winner will be receiving an osprey tee shirt from the Chesapeake Conservancy.  Thanks for all of your guesses.

Adios amigos, until next time,

Osprey Girl

Throwback Thursday-A Visit To The Past #1

Greetings from the sultry Eastern Shore of Maryland!  As I sit here writing this blog at 12:21 p.m. on June 19, Tom is sitting on the boat lift with a large, still flapping menhaden, and Audrey is fussing at him from the nest to hurry up and eat.  He just took off from the lift, and Audrey followed from the nest so the kids are all alone for now.  Feeding time should commence in the not-too-distant future.  Whoops, he just landed in the nest with the noon meal, 12:24 p.m., and Audrey is letting him know she is hungry!

Well, it’s official.  Our egg statistics for 2014 can be added to last year’s list.  Going back to the blogs from Year One of Tom and Audrey’s Great Adventure, we found this one which summarized the egg laying/hatchling survival from our nest going back many years.  We thought you might enjoy reading this blast from the past, but first……………

GUESS WHO?

 

Second Chance to Win a Great Prize!  First Correct Guess Is A Winner!

Second Chance to Win a Great Prize! First Correct Guess Is A Winner!

 

Please enjoy this bit of Crazy Osprey Man’s Osprey Notebook History 101:

(First Published April 29, 2013)  Greetings from the Eastern Shore!  As we are sure you are all aware, shortly after the last blog was published, bemoaning the fact that we were now in wait and watch mode, we all had a huge surprise!  A fourth egg!  Crazy Osprey Man has been keeping careful notes since 1995, and this is the first time we have ever had four eggs in the clutch.  Hopefully Dr. Spitzer will treat us to some insider information regarding the rarity of a four egg clutch among ospreys. We will just have to wait and see if he is reading the blog.  We will share any tidbits he provides about our newest osprey adventure as soon as we get them.

We have been following the Conservancy’s Facebook traffic about the osprey camera, and have noticed some questions and comments regarding Crazy Osprey Man’s thoughts on the hatching and survivability of four osprey chicks.  In this blog, we will share some of our statistics about the number of eggs we have observed in the clutch each season, how many hatched and how many of the chicks survived to adulthood.  We won’t bore you with every single year, but will provide a good sampling (last 10 years) and some thoughts and comments.  So here goes:

2012-3 eggs laid, 2 hatched and survived

2011-3 eggs laid, 3 hatched, 2 survived (This was a very sad year, we will discuss this one in detail in another blog while trying to fill the waiting and watching part 2)

2010-2 eggs laid, 1 hatched and survived

2009-2 eggs laid, 2 hatched and survived (Yippee!  Good year!)

2008-2 eggs laid, 2 hatched and survived (Ditto!)

2007-3 eggs laid, 2 hatched and survived

2006-3 eggs laid, 3 hatched, 2 survived

2005-3 eggs laid, 2 hatched, 2 survived

2004-3 eggs laid, 3 hatched, 3 survived (Yippee!  A very good year with the original Tom and Audrey pair, who were very experienced osprey parents by this time)

2003-3 eggs laid, 3 hatched, 3 survived (Ditto)

Please keep in mind when you are reading our blogs that we are not ornithologists and have no formal training in the ways of birds.  All of our comments and thoughts are based on 18 years of careful observation, both before and after Crazy Osprey Man installed our first camera, and reading we have done.  As you can see from the above data, out of a 10 year time period, only 40% of the time did all of the eggs laid hatch and all of the chicks survive to adulthood.  Additionally, only 60% of the time did all of the eggs hatch.  We don’t want to be Debbie Downers, but based on these percentages, we feel it is not likely that all of the eggs will hatch and produce chicks that will survive to adulthood.  But what if someone had asked us last week this time what we thought about the chances that Audrey would lay four eggs?  Based on all of our observations over the 18 years, we would have said no way!

So we will keep our fingers crossed that we will be able to add the following data to our list for next year:

2013-4 eggs laid, 4 hatched, 4 survived  (Here’s hoping!!!!!)

 

The official statistic for 2013 was 4 eggs laid, 3 hatched, 3 survived (you remember that drama, don’t you?).  So Chester, Essie and Ozzie will hopefully have two siblings to join them for fun and sun in South America this fall.

Remember, be on the lookout for the Conservancy’s chick naming contest.  The list of finalist names will be posted soon, so get your votes in.  Osprey Girl will be starting her “Where In The World Are Tom and Audrey?” contest next week, so remember to watch the ospreycam while you are away this summer, and memorialize your viewing dedication in a photograph.  Details will be posted soon.

That’s all for now!  Until next time, we remain-

Crazy Osprey Man, Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man and Osprey Girl

If you are enjoying the osprey camera and blog, please consider a donation to the Chesapeake Conservancy so they are able to continue supporting programs such as this one. Go to  www.chesapeakeconservancy.org today!  Thanks very much!