Good evening from the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland! Thanks to all of you who were able to join us at the Welcome Back Osprey gathering in Annapolis, Maryland. We were so happy to meet many of you who were in attendance, and really enjoyed Dr. Bierregaard’s informative presentation. Before we get into what has been going on in and around the nest, the Crazy Osprey Family is proud to announce that Osprey Girl is officially a Fightin’ Blue Hen at the University of Delaware. It was a difficult decision for her, as she also loved Drexel University, but I guess we are keeping the bird karma going here at the Crazy Osprey Family homestead! Congratulations, Osprey Girl and go Blue Hens!
I am quite positive that it has not gone unnoticed to all of our faithful readers and camera watchers that there are three beautiful eggs in our nest. The eggs were laid on April 12, 15 and 21. Last year, our three eggs were laid on April 15, 18 and 21. Only two of the three hatched last year, both after thirty nine days on May 24 and 27. In 2013, our first year with the Conservancy, Audrey laid four eggs on April 17, 19, 23 and 25. This was the only time we had four eggs laid. Three of the four eggs hatched on May 26, 29 and June 2, the first after thirty nine days and the second and third after forty days. So if I am doing the math correctly, the first egg should be hatching around May 21, give or take a day. Take a deep breath and put on your waiting caps, we still have a ways to go!
Meanwhile, we have been enjoying the day to day activities at the nest. Crazy Osprey Man (COM for all of you newbies out there) was concerned about the tilt in the new pole. You may remember that last year, we had an awful time with our new pole spinning around in the wind before it worked itself into the bay bottom. COM made a few trips out to last year’s new pole in some very cold and nasty weather to rotate it back in place. This year, the pole didn’t appear to be spinning, but tilting. Our very own Mr. Fixit aka COM, improvised an anti-tilt device and installed it at the bottom of the pole. It seems to have done the trick. COM’s trips out to the pole did not go unnoticed by some of our astute camera watchers, as he could be seen on the ospreycam for brief moments making his way through the water under the pole. Thanks once again for your skilled and inventive workmanship, Crazy Osprey Man!
This evening as I was preparing dinner, Tom was sitting on the nest, and Audrey was hanging out on the scraggly tree in our neighbor’s yard to the north of us. Maybe it is my imagination, but I think Calico Tom sits on the nest more frequently than our old Tom. Or maybe it is just easier to tell it is Tom due to his wild and crazy feathers. Anyway, Tom took off to the north and within five seconds, Audrey hightailed it back to the nest to resume her motherly incubation duties. She knew he was gone, and didn’t waste any time getting back to the eggs. It is truly amazing to watch nature in action!
There have been many comments regarding Audrey’s vocalizations while sitting on the nest. Many of these calls are heard when Tom is out fishing. If I hear Audrey squawking especially loudly, I will look up, and I can usually see Tom out fishing close to the nest (way up high), or in the area with a fish he has just caught and is not sharing. It will soon be time to mute the sound on our computer, as when the windows are open in our house, we are treated to stereo squawking due to the seven second time delay between the real time squawking and when the camera image and sound are seen and heard over the internet. The din can be overwhelming when our ospreys are in full voice times two!
We have all been pleasantly surprised by the smooth transition from our previous Tom to this year’s Tom, aptly described by Dr. Spitzer as “Calico Tom”. Many of you were filled with worry and consternation, wondering if this mottled intruder could fill the shoes, or should we say talons, of the old Tom. Well, I am pleased to say that Calico Tom has jumped right in and taken over his duties as defender and provider. His hunting skills are providing many fish lunches and dinners. When not at the nest, he comes a flyin’ when Audrey gives the distress call or he sees an intruder in the area. We had a flurry of intruders a couple of weeks ago, which I attribute to some of the juvenile ospreys making their way back to this area after their first migration.
There have been so many great comments on the blog this year. I read them all with gusto, and enjoy each and every one. It’s been a real treat to see where our readers/watchers are located. This year, we even have a dedicated camera watcher from Germany. Her name is Uta, and she posts informative comments and still shots from the ospreycam on the Conservancy’s Facebook page. Fran’s comments are lovely, as she describes in poetic detail what she has observed on the nest. We have Joan watching the camera from Long Beach, California and Maureen from Cape Cod in Massachusetts, truly from sea to shining sea! Which leads me to my next request, submissions to our “Where in the World are Tom and Audrey” contest. Please take a photo of yourself watching the ospreycam on your home computer, tablet or phone. Send it to Tom_audrey_osprey@yahoo.com. We will post a weekly winner in each blog, and then announce a winner for the 2015 osprey season. The overall winner will be awarded a great prize after all of our ospreys take off to their winter digs. All of the winning photos from the last two seasons can be viewed in our old blogs.
Don’t forget about the Great Give coming up on May 5 and 6. More information may be found on the Chesapeake Conservancy’s website and Facebook page. The largest donor during the Great Give will win a visit to the secret location, hosted by none other than the Crazy Osprey Family in the flesh! We put out a great spread to welcome our guests, but not to worry, we won’t be serving fish!
Well, that’s it 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 http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org today. Thanks very much!