Dark Shadows

Good morning from the cold and windy Eastern Shore of Maryland! The calendar says we are almost a month into Spring, but Mother Nature seems to be a little confused today. A freeze warning was in effect last night, we had wind gusts well into the 40 mph range and my daffodils are wondering if they went to sleep in Maryland and woke up somewhere near the Arctic Circle.

I know I am not the only one who had a sleepless night worrying about Audrey and her newly laid egg. We watched her well into the night as the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. This Spring has produced some of the coldest, windiest weather we have experienced while our ospreys have been in residence. Early yesterday morning, before Audrey presented us with the first of (your guess here) eggs, COM and I were hoping that egg laying would wait a couple of days to allow the temperatures to warm up. Not five minutes later, our hopes for a delayed egg debut were dashed as the first egg was laid at 7:15 a.m. After tossing and turning all night, this morning we were really relieved to see Tom on the electric box tearing apart his next unfortunate fish victim, and Audrey all snuggled up in the nest keeping her egg warm. Remember, you can click on each photo to enlarge it for your viewing pleasure.

Tom on a cold, windy morning hanging out on his favorite electrical box. The fish was gone by the time this photo was taken.

Tom on a cold, windy morning hanging out on his favorite electrical box. The fish was gone by the time this photo was taken.

While Tom was hanging out and digesting his morning meal, Audrey was being a good mom and keeping her egg warm.

Audrey is keeping her 24 hour old egg warm against heavy wind and 33 degree temperature

Audrey is keeping her 24 hour old egg warm against heavy wind and 33 degree temperature

If something about the ospreycam view looks different to you this morning, there is a good reason for it. We have been having problems with the new pole spinning in the wind due to all of the windage on the camera (complete with expertly engineered K Mart trash can cover-COM at his finest). The old pole had been in place for a very long time, and was silted into the soft bottom of the bay. The new pole, although jetted in five feet, is still not holding in place like the old one. With the heavy winds from the south yesterday, the pole spun almost 360 degrees. The wind has now shifted and is coming from the northwest, which has caused the pole to start spinning back. A stiff northwest wind coupled with a low tide also causes the water behind our house to be blown out. The water becomes very shallow along our water front, and sometimes the mud bottom will be exposed for a good way out into the water. When this phenomenon started happening earlier this morning, a (dark) shadow cast by the camera and camera mount could be seen on the mud bottom through the very shallow water, hence the name of today’s blog. A little bit of the shore line was also visible. The camera view has been changing due to the pole spinning, so the sun is hitting the camera from different directions and at different times than usual. Another problem caused by the spinning pole is that the wires running out to the pole from our dock are now wrapped around the pole a couple of times. COM will go out there to tidy up, unwind the wires and readjust the wandering pole. But due to the cold and wind, he doesn’t want to chase Audrey off the nest just yet. His waders are at the ready, either for water or mud, as soon as the cold and wind depart. Right now, the pole is rotated about ninety degrees to the north of where it usually sits. Please enjoy the new view until COM decides it is safe to brave the elements and put things back to normal.

View of the pole, now standing in mud instead of water. You can see Tom flying off after having his way with Audrey yet again.

Mudflats behind our house caused by strong northwest winds.  This allowed a (dark) shadow of the camera to be cast on the mud this morning that was visible on the ospreycam.  Tom is flying off after having his way with Audrey.

Mudflats behind our house caused by strong northwest winds. This allowed a (dark) shadow of the camera to be cast on the mud this morning that was visible on the ospreycam. Tom is flying off after having his way with Audrey.

I want to share a couple of interesting photographs from a few days ago. Tom had been out fishing, and ended up in the drink for longer than usual. When he was able to get out of his predicament, he flew to one of the trees along the water to the north of us. Tom was really, really wet and bedraggled, so he decided to stay in the tree for awhile and dry out.

Tom drying off after spending more time in the water than he had planned

Tom drying off after spending more time in the water than he had planned

One day last week, Tom was trying to enjoy a fish on the dock just to the south of us. He was joined by two unwelcome visitors, a hungry crow and a hopeful turkey buzzard.

Tom, a hungry crow and a hopeful turkey buzzard on the dock just south of us.

Tom, a hungry crow and a hopeful turkey buzzard on the dock just south of us.

As I close for today, there is a battle going on between Tom and a marauding osprey. For the past several days, we have seen an influx of osprey in the area. From reading Dr. Spitzer’s last post to us, I feel these are the young osprey just now returning from their winter digs and looking for a permanent summer home. Tom and Audrey get quite agitated with the antics of the newly arrived ospreys, and we have witnessed and heard some very heated exchanges, both verbal and physical. So far, Tom and Audrey have defeated all of their challengers with great purpose and gusto!

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

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

Don’t forget! Tomorrow is the much anticipated Welcome Back Osprey Party at the Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge in Annapolis, Maryland. Dr. Spitzer will be entertaining members of the Osprey Club with some osprey fun facts at 3:00 p.m., followed by a reception open to everyone from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Details may be found at the Chesapeake Conservancy’s website, http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org or their Facebook page. The reception is open to all whether you RSVP or not, but if you know you will be joining us, please RSVP so The Metropolitan is able to accurately plan for our delicious free nibbles.

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!

33 thoughts on “Dark Shadows

  1. My goodness that Tom is surely quite the “Lover boy”. I’m kinda startin’ to feel sorry for Mrs. Audrey. šŸ™‚ I can almost hear her telling him… “Thomas!! Give it a rest Honey! Can’t you see I’m busy incubatin’ here?! (If she only knew that people were watchin’. Oh MY)! Ha! šŸ˜€

    • Hi! COM puts sticks out in the yard for the ospreys to use in the nest. He will tie colored construction tape a few of the sticks so the viewers can see some of the sticks that are picked up from the yard. Thanks for reading our blog. Mrs. COM

    • The green moss is actually clumps of green grass from mowed lawns in the area. We have seen Tom swoop down and pick up clumps of grass, then fly directly back to the nest.

  2. Where has Tom been spending the nights? Does he go on land to roost at night? It’s fun watching the little pair of birds who are scavenging Audrey’s soft grass to build their nest underneath the osprey.

    • Sometimes Tom will spend the night at the nest, sometimes in a nearby tree and various other roosts like our dock or other neighboring docks. The sparrows are fun to watch. We have had sparrows living under the nest for many years, I guess it is the basement apartment. Thanks so much for reading our blogs. Mrs. COM

  3. Is there any way to tell Tom from Audrey? They look exactly alike, markings, etc. Most male birds are prettier than the females but doesn’t look like that applies here.

    • Everyone is fine! Tom and Audrey are just doing their osprey thing! Hopefully a blog will be out in the next couple of days! Thanks for reading! Mrs. COM

  4. I notice the little finches (?) flying in and out from under the nest. Do they have a nest of their own started under there?

  5. Love the osprey cam and updates. My 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade science classes have been watching! Thank you for doing this. Can’t wait for an update.

    • Glad you all like them. I will (hopefully) get one out this weekend. Life has gotten in the way these past couple of week! Mrs. COM

  6. Geez those sparrows have been active mating and squawking this morning. Funny how Audrey tolerates them!

  7. A friend who lives on the Chesapeake Bay introduced me to the ospreycam last year. Since then Tom and Audrey’s activities have been followed and enjoyed by many of us here in Alexandra, Victoria, Australia. I wonder how the would feel if they knew they were international stars? Well done COM, your hard work is greatly appreciated.

    • Wow, international stars! Thanks for following our blogs and camera. I will tell Tom and Audrey next time I am out on the dock! Mrs. COM

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