The Iceman Cometh (With Apologies to Eugene O’Neill)

Good morning from the fantastic Eastern Shore of Maryland! Everything here has been status quo for the last few days. The nest is looking fantabulous and is ready, ready, ready for some action. Little robber sparrows have been stealing stuff from the nest, but don’t tell Tom and Audrey. As we all wait with breathless anticipation for the laying of the first egg, I thought I would continue with our winter saga. Hence, the title of today’s blog-The Iceman Cometh (and taketh down the old pole)!

When we last left COM and Phil from the Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage, the new pole was installed and the new platform was going up. As you recall, the temperature was in the teens the day the pole and platform went up. The next project was to get the camera up and running. COM fabricated a dandy new high tech camera cover, which you will see in some of our photos. Remember, you can click on each photo to enlarge it.

On another very frigid day, the camera installation team was assembled and ready to go. First, COM had to carry the camera down to the dock

COM on his way to the dock with the camera and new high tech protective camera gear

COM on his way to the dock with the camera and new high tech protective camera gear

The helpers were down on the dock ready to assist

Helpers await at the end of the dock trying to stay warm

Helpers await at the end of the dock trying to stay warm

Last minute preparation was going on at the end of the dock

Last minute preparation underway

Last minute preparation underway

Once everything was ready to go, two brave souls waded through the 33 degree water to take the camera out to the new pole

Wading out to the pole-Brrr!

Wading out to the pole-Brrr!

Getting the camera to the top of the pole was a slow but steady process

Up the pole with the camera

Up the pole with the camera

Almost there

Almost there

Finally, all the way to the top.

It's up!

It’s up!

Don’t drop it now, COM!

It was nice to have a new pole, but with it came a problem. The pole wasn’t silted in yet, and windage on the camera caused the pole to spin around almost 180 degrees. It is lucky for all of our viewers that COM got his moniker for a reason. Off he went in the frigid cold, wind and water to put the pole back where it belonged for better viewing and easier access to the platform for the ospreys.

Pole has rotated around almost 180 degrees.  COM braves the elements to fix it.

Pole has rotated around almost 180 degrees. COM braves the elements to fix it.

Slow and steady, COM spun the pole back to its original position. Then the pole had to be tightened into place.

Back where it belongs

Back where it belongs

Now comes the long, cold wade back to shore and our warm house. COM can almost taste that hot chocolate now!

Wading back to shore-the air and water were frigid

Wading back to shore-the air and water were frigid

Now, you may be looking at all of these photos and be thinking “Well, it certainly looks cold, and there is some snow on the ground, but I don’t see any ice that would have caused all of this extra work for COM and friends”. Just to show you that we aren’t trying to garner a little sympathy for all of our hard work, here is proof positive that “The Iceman Cameth”

Our winter visitors and some of the ice damage to one of COM’s perches

Here are some of our winter visitors.  Check out the bent perch

Here are some of our winter visitors. Check out the bent perch

Here is the old pole. It is hard to see the slant due to the angle of the photo

The old pole-it is slanted away from the camera

The old pole-it is slanted away from the camera

COM feeds his swans every morning when they are with us, usually November through March. They aren’t supposed to be walking on ice, but swimming in the water

The swans were wary, but the allure of some corn keep some of them on the ice

The swans were wary, but the allure of some corn keep some of them on the ice

Once the ice started to break up, a feeding frenzy ensued

Feed frenzy through the broken ice

Feed frenzy through the broken ice

So let’s shut down winter, ice and cold and get down to the business of waiting for our new osprey family. Until next time, we remain

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

Don’t forget to join us at the Welcome Back Osprey Event on Thursday, April 17 in Annapolis, Maryland. Details may be found at http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org

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 http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org today. Thanks very much!

14 thoughts on “The Iceman Cometh (With Apologies to Eugene O’Neill)

    • the Loch of Lowes osprey nest in Scotland just had their first egg laid a little past midnight this a.m.

  1. I love watching your osprey as I do with the ones in Montana. At NYU where I recently retired we have the red tail hawks but there is no webcam this year, so I follow the ones at Cornell. Keep up the good work and thankyou

  2. I am so grateful for all the effort put forth… by everyone that makes this nest camera available. I’m elderly and in poor health so I greatly enjoy passing the time watching these awesome birds most all daylight hours 7 days a week. Now… out of curiosity…there’s one thing I’ve been wondering about and I wonder if anyone else had noticed and wondered the same thing. (I admit I’m not very “Osprey educated so), after watching several of the clips from last year’s nest activity, I noticed that “Tom” didn’t have the brown spot on the back of his neck like this year. Just wondering’ if this could be a new “Tom” or… if it IS (last year’s) Tom and it’s possible the brown coloration is part of a natural color change/growth in the feathers. Does anyone know? Thanks so much for any info. Ron Carter PS… In doing a little research, I found that it’s not unusual for a new mate to be accepted if… after a certain period of time, one mate does not show up at last year’s nest. As we know, Audrey was waiting quite a while on Tom this year. πŸ™‚ Osprey fan

    • Hi, Ron! Check out the blog posted on 4/25/2013 entitled “And Now The Hard Part Begins”. Dr. Spitzer addresses the characteristics that set Tom and Audrey apart, as well as some general information about male versus female ospreys. He talks about the “buff” coloring on the back of Tom’s neck. We are sure this is the Tom and Audrey pair from last year. Thanks for reading our blogs! Mrs. COM

      • Thank you SO much Mrs. COM. I feel so blessed to get a reply directly from you. With the way I love these Ospreys, you and your wonderful Hubby are almost like royalty to me. The activity in this nest, (beginning last year right after the 3rd egg), is one of the most enjoyable highlights of my adult life… ESPECIALLY of my senior years so again I say “THANKS” to all of you that make this possible. In closing… Thank you Mrs. COM for this info about Tom. (I would have never thought to check last year’s blog to find info about that buff area on his neck). I was SO happy to find it was the same Tom. It just makes this whole story all the sweeter. (If I sound a little “sappy” about this whole Osprey nest thing, it’s because I’m an artist, (natural born not trained). πŸ™‚ So I tend to see things through different eyes than most folk. Now that doesn’t make me a better person, (for sometimes it’s a heavier load to bear than most have to deal with BUT), it sure does make life a lot more interesting. πŸ™‚ Take care all…. and God bless! RC

  3. Congrats you guys made the paper, the Capital, yesterday’s paper, with pictures!!!! Way to go Tom and Audrey!!

  4. Thank you. I found this last year after the babes were already for flight. I am watching with anticipation for the laying of the eggs. I love watching this during the day, but with the full moon tonight, it is a special treat. Thanks again. Contribution will be sent.

    • We are very glad to have you watching the ospreycam and enjoying our ospreys. If you like the full moon, check out our blog from June 2013 entitled “A Very Special Evening With Our Very Special Osprey Family”. There is a fabulous full moon photo in that blog, one of our favorite shots from last season, if not the very favorite. Enjoy!

    • yes I saw the egg this morning but neither Tom or Audrey were sitting on it= also following the 3 baby eagles in Hays PA near Pittsburgh and the 2 1/2 month old albatross in Hawaii-Big Red and Ezra RTH in ithaca NY going thru bad times with the cold and snow

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