Good evening from the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland! Thanks to all of you who joined us for the first annual Welcome Back Osprey Party in April. Dr. Spitzer gave a delightful talk, and we enjoyed meeting all of you. Many thanks to the staff of the Chesapeake Conservancy for arranging the festivities. Here in the land of Tom and Audrey, it has been a quiet couple of weeks since last I wrote. Life has been busy, busy, busy for the humans, and status quo for the ospreys. The egg count for this season seems to be holding steady at three, which is a relief for all of us. After the adventure of four eggs last year, three seems to be a more reasonable number to soothe the camera watchers in our midst. And did any of you notice the colorful sticks in the nest on Easter Sunday? That COM can make quite the osprey fashion statement!
I apologize for letting so much time pass by since our last visit, and promise to try and not let it happen again. To make up for my extended writer’s block, I will give you an idea of where our ospreys have been hanging out since last we met. Please enjoy these photographs, which have all been taken since the last blog. Remember, you can click on each photo for a larger view:
There are a few favorite hang-outs for Tom during the time Audrey is nestled down keeping her eggs warm and after they hatch. Most of these photos are of Tom, with a few of Audrey in the mix. She doesn’t do much these days other than sit on the nest (with a few breaks here and there), so Tom is getting most of the attention today:
This is Tom on our next door neighbor’s dock just to the north of us:
After Tom eats his fill, starting with the front end of the fish (must be the tasty part), he will take the back half to Audrey:
Audrey will then receive her share of the fish from Tom, and take a break outside of the nest while he takes over incubation duties.
This is the tree by the water in our next door neighbor’s yard just to the north of us, which has turned out to be one of Tom’s favorite trees. Last year, he would swoop down and snap branches off to use in the nest. I have a few places I will look to find Tom, and this is a frequent roost:
Here is a wider view of Tom in his favorite tree:
As you probably know, Tom does the fishing and provides sustenance for Audrey. Here he is in flight:
Here is a wide view of our dock with Tom on his favorite electric box, and Audrey in the nest. As you can probably tell from this photo, crabbing season is not far behind:
A closer view of Tom on the electric box. This is his preferred eating location, and he hangs out here quite frequently:
Here is a view of Audrey sitting on the nest:
It won’t be too long until COM and I begin our lovely happy hours on the end of the dock. We tried once this season, but the allure of happy hour on the dock is somewhat diminished by cold and wind. Needless to say, our first attempt was somewhat abbreviated. With the weather forecast for temperatures in the mid eighties later in the week, I am sure we will try again. However, I think I will have to go out and scrub down the picnic table (or perhaps that would be a good project for Osprey Girl). Here is the reason, whoever ends up doing the cleaning:
As hard as I try to be a friendly face, sometimes Tom just doesn’t appreciate my attention. I have managed to chase him off with fish in “hand”, after he was minding his own business enjoying the “fruits” of his labor:
Here are some other locations where Tom likes to hang out:
If you have been following the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Facebook page (which you should if you don’t), you may have recently read a posting about an osprey banding project which the COF (Crazy Osprey Family for the uninitiated) facilitated for Dr. Rob Bierregaard, who we met through Dr. Spitzer. Beginning in 2000, he began tagging ospreys with satellite transmitters that enable all of us to follow the osprey’s movements around their nests and their migration to South America and back. It is a fascinating study which may be followed by going to his website, http://www.ospreytrax.com. We were able to assist him in capturing and banding four ospreys, two of which were fitted with solar-powered transmitters. The Conservancy’s FB posting has a wonderful summary of our day with Dr. Bierregaard, complete with lots of photographs. COM was actively involved in the capture of the ospreys, and there are many photographs of him on the Conservancy’s Facebook page. I would like to share with you two of my favorite photos from our adventure:
One more important thing before I close for the night. Don’t forget that the Great Give starts Wednesday and ends on Thursday. The person who donates the most money to the Chesapeake Conservancy will win a private tour of Tom and Audrey’s nest location, provided by the Crazy Osprey Family! Please go to http://www.chesapeakeconvervancy.org today to make your gift donation!
Enough for now. Until next time, we remain
Crazy Osprey Man, Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man and Osprey Girl