A Real Head Scratcher

Good morning from the soggy, but now sunny, Eastern Shore of Maryland!  It’s quite unusual for me to be sitting here in the light of day writing the blog, it usually happens in the wee hours of the evening.  I actually stayed up all night before the last blog was published, trying to get it finished before we left on a two week trip to Florida.  I was not successful in my mission, but did manage to get most of the photos uploaded so I could finish up at a remote site.  So it is kind of fun to be sitting here, looking at the nest and writing about the latest happenings.

Crazy start again, isn’t it?  I know all of you are just itching to know what’s going on.  There have been so many questions posed to us, but guess what?  We are just as much in the dark about the beginning of the season as all of you!  So for those of you who have been with us before this season, what does the Crazy Osprey Family do when there are questions?  Call in the experts!!  Our dear long time friend and osprey expert, Dr. Paul Spitzer, is down at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Apalachee Bay, Florida conducting his annual spring loon migration study.  It’s hard to catch up with him at times, but we were able to connect last night while he was eating his Easter dinner at an Indian restaurant in Tallahassee.  You gotta love Dr. Spitzer!  Between bites of his dinner, I explained to him in detail what has been going on here at the secret location.  Here are some of his thoughts:

Dr. Spitzer said it is possible that the mysterious stranger is a returned young from a previous year, since this is the current Audrey’s seventh season with us.  According to Dr. Spitzer, we know very little about that possibility because there have not been enough banding studies conducted to be sure.  He speculated that because Audrey has been tolerating the visitor so well, a returned offspring could be here.  Dr. Spitzer said, and I quote, “Once again we are making scientific history at your nest”.  He discussed some of the behaviors that are fundamental to a successful nest pair.  Two of the biggies are that the male brings food to the female and the pair engages in cooperative nest building.  We really haven’t seen either of those two things happening.  Audrey has been self-feeding and building her own nest. I told him how early Audrey had arrived (yes, I do think it is Audrey, but am still waiting to see what happens), and when the two Toms had appeared on the scene last year.  Dr. Spitzer said this is also a head scratcher for him, but it is still early in the game and our Tom from last year may still be making his way here.  He will check on his laptop to see what he can observe, but he does not have reliable WIFI coverage where he is short of parking in a public library lot.  We left it that I will contact him again in a week with any new details, and he will see if he can figure out what is going on.

Now, last Saturday morning, I observed an osprey pick up one of COM’s backyard, prefab nest sticks, and take it back to the nest on a pole in the water a few houses to the north of us, close to the big tree where our ospreys like to sit.  I have been watching to see where the mysterious stranger goes when it leaves our nest, but had not been able to observe it go anywhere but in one of the nearby trees or disappear from sight.  As I have been sitting here writing, I have been keeping an eye out the window on the nest.  I just, I mean just, got up when I saw the mysterious stranger leave the nest and fly off to the north.  And what did I see?  The stranger landed in the other nest!!!!  I have texted Dr. Spitzer and asked him to give me a call when he can to tell him what I just saw, and see if he has any thoughts on that one!  So our current situation is far from over, stand by once again!  Could our mysterious stranger be Ozzie, Essie, Chester, Breezy or Spitz, one of the chicks from 2013 or 2014?

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Audrey picking up a prefab nest stick from the COF’s backyard

 

I know the situation with the camera and sound has been frustrating to you so early in this season.  Believe me, no one is any more unhappy about the problems we have been having than the Crazy Osprey Family and the Chesapeake Conservancy.  Rest assured that everything is being done to try to make this a wonderful viewing season, so your patience is appreciated.  Let’s all try to keep this a positive experience for everyone, and keep the complaining and negative vibes away from the blog comments.  Quit picking on us, we are doing the best we can!!  If you have any concerns, you can reach out to the Conservancy on their Facebook page, they do not monitor the blog comments on a regular basis but are quite good at responding quickly on social media.

A few comments on some questions that have been posed:

When we have some of our cooler evenings this time of year, our osprey will take cover for the night in protected trees.  So if you don’t see someone on the nest at night, they are comfy cozy out in the woods somewhere near their nest.

Over the years, our experience with early nest building has been that the returning birds will usually rest for a few days before commencing their task.  It’s a long way from South America to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and those birds are tired!

You may have observed some sticks in the nest with brightly colored construction tape tied to them.  We put out sticks in our backyard for the ospreys to use as prefab nest building materials.  COM (Crazy Osprey Man) will sometimes tie tape to a few sticks so we can see our sticks in the nest.  We started with some orange tape this year, followed by some green for St. Patrick’s Day.  The green ones didn’t get picked up until after St. Paddy’s Day, so they are officially Spring sticks.  The new yellow ones were to complete the Easter basket look, and I think we can all agree are quite festive.  As the nest building continues, the marked sticks will get buried in the nest and not be visible until COM puts out some new marked sticks.

Here are some photos I have taken since the last blog was published.  It’s been kind of dreary here, so some of them aren’t great.

Audrey on the electrical box at the end of the dock:

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Audrey on the electric box enjoying a quick snack. Her bothersome crow buddies are waiting for the spoils.

 

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Yum, yum! I hope COM doesn’t see the bloody mess I am making on his box.

 

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Please leave me alone, can’t you see I am trying to eat?

 

Sunrise at the secret location on Thursday, March 24, 2016:

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Sunrise-March 24, 2016

 

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Our flag at sunrise-COM has it lighted so Old Glory can fly all night

 

 

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Audrey on the nest with a good view of the camera set-up. The infrared (IR) light source is mounted just below the camera on the vertical support

 

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Audrey and the mysterious stranger on the nest

 

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Audrey and the mysterious stranger hanging out on a dreary day

 

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The Odd Couple

 

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Audrey landing in the big tree two houses to the north of us

 

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Audrey in the scraggly stick tree next door to the north

 

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Audrey leaving the scraggly stick tree. Someone got too close again, who could that be?

 

A nice photo of Audrey in the scraggly stick tree:

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Pretty Audrey enjoying a sunny day in the scraggly stick tree next door to the north.

 

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Audrey enjoying a fish on the dock one house to the south of us

 

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You really need to leave me alone!

 

Nest photographs from over the weekend:

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Audrey on the nest. COM’s yellow and red markers are visible.

 

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Closer view of Audrey on the nest.

 

Photographs taken this morning, Monday, March 28, 2016:

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Audrey and the mysterious stranger in the scraggly stick tree on a gloomy morning

 

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A wet crow joins the fun

Right after this photograph was taken, Audrey took off back to the nest and the mysterious stranger followed her back like a little puppy dog!

A photo taken at sunset a couple of day ago:

 

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No special reason for this photo, I just thought it was kind of cool

 

I am waiting to hear back from Dr. Spitzer, and when I do, I will post a quick comment about his feelings on the mysterious stranger spending time at the other nest and attempts at mating.  Another crazy season in the making!

Until next time, we remain-

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

Don’t forget to sign up for the Welcome Back Osprey gathering on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.  The event will take place from 4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at Pusser’s Caribbean Grill in Annapolis, Maryland.  Craig Koppie and Dr. Tina Gorrow will be the featured speakers, and will be talking about their new book which focuses on Tom and Audrey’s nest.  For more details and to sign up, visit the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Facebook page or website.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

917 thoughts on “A Real Head Scratcher

  1. IT APPEARS TO BE GETTING NEAR THAT TIME FOR EGGS ~~~HOPE THE WEATHER WILL COOPERATE ~~PRAYERS, FOR TOM, AND AUD~~~AND THE NEST, AND FORTHCOMING EGGS ~~~!!! FTLOTB’S ~~~~

  2. Hey Flamingo – we were watching at the same time!!!
    3:43 – Audrey just flew in with an orange ribboned stick – yeah COM!
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

  3. I see the nest is shaping up! Hopefully, eggs soon….AFTER this weekends’ cold weather forecast! FTLOTB’s! 😎

    • The nest to me looks better than last year, for one thing, a deeper “nest hole”. Tom is to be congratulated. He’s a quick study..

      VERY cold here tonight and tomorrow. They may spend time in the trees rather than on the nest. What happened to spring?

      • I just checked NOAA. They’ll have to deal with rain and snow showers tonight and tomorrow but it’s forecast to be 63 degrees on Sunday and sunny. The rest of the week it looks like below normal temperatures. I repeat: what happened to spring?

  4. Question: Do you think Tom and Audrey are at a disadvantage relative to other osprey in the area, having to rebuild their nest from scratch each year? I understand the need to take down their pole, and the concept of reducing parasitism, etc. – but if other pair’s nests remain largely intact, wouldn’t they have the benefit of more time to rest, mate, eat, etc.?

    Would Tom and Audrey “accept” a preliminary scaffolding of a nest, built on the platform prior to their arrival? COM seems to know which sticks they will like, for sure. Do you think they could tell the difference between an osprey-built and a COM-built nest?

    Just wondering….

    • I expressed similar concerns a couple days ago. I wondered how many pairs in the Chesapeake area have to build from scratch like our couple does every year, and how far along were they? I don’t think anyone is monitoring that issue. If most pairs have to build a new nest every year and are at the same stage as A&T, are they behind compared to the ones returning to last year’s ready made nests? The Severna park pair have two eggs, their old nest was transplanted to the new platform. THe UK ospreys also have at least an egg or more, in their old nests. If the weather wasn’t so harsh for so long in our area this year, maybe all would have been evened out. A&T would have caught up by now. It seems raptors will accept human assistance in nest building. They will build upon a starter nest placed by humans. We will just have to wait and see how our couple does this year.

  5. Failed to mention: I had heard it would be in the twenties tonight. NOAA says 38. Winds may gust to 28 mph, though, not a good night to be outside with rain and snow in the mix. It keeps changing! The radio just gave the NWS forecast. They say 51 on Sunday!

    People in the DC area may remember Bob Ryan who as on WRC and the WTOP. When he retired I thought, “Now I’m never going to get a true weather forecast!” I was right. Bob was a physicist as well as a meteorologist. He was right about 95% of the time.

  6. Here’s some interesting info compiled by FD from all the past blogs. Thank you FD! 🙂

    There seems to be questions about when/how long before lay/hatch dates. Hope this helps…
    Blog yr #1 Ozzie, Essie and Chester
    Lay date Hatch date
    4/17/13 Egg #1 5/26/2013 (41 days)
    4/19/13 Egg #2 5/29/2013 (42 days)
    4/23/13 Egg #3 6/2/2013 (41 days)
    4/25/13 Egg #4 nada
    7/20/13 Ozzie’s Rescue

    Blog yr #2 Spitz & Breezy
    Lay date Hatch date
    4/15/14 Egg #1 5/24/2014 (40 days)
    4/18/14 Egg #2 5/27/2014 (41 days)
    4/21/14 Egg #3 nada

    Blog yr #3 Maine & Montana
    2015 Additional info:
    3/16/15 New Pole/platform install
    3/16/15 Audrey2 returns
    3/23/15 Tom 3a appears (Dark Stranger)
    4/1/15 Tom 3b appears (CalicoTom)

    Lay date Hatch date
    4/12/15 Egg #1; nada
    4/15/15 Egg #2 nada
    4/21/15 Egg #3 nada; Eggspresso!
    6/17/15 Adoption of 2 chicks

    Ergo, the shortest time numbers for 2015 were…
    If Tom3a was sire: 3/25/15 to 4/12/15 egg #1 = 20 days to lay date; #2 = 23 days to lay date; #3 = 27 days to lay date.
    If Tom3b was sire: 4/1/15 to 4/12/15 egg #1 = 12 days to lay date; #2 = 16 days to lay date; #3 = 21 days to lay date.
    It would appear that both Tom3a & Tom3b contributed to a combination of “sire to lay dates” amongst the eggs… Perhaps, Tom3a = #s 1 & 2; Tom3b = #3. My guess only.

    • Thanks, Lilli – I thought COM cleared/cleaned the nest/platform every year…. ???
      Thanks, Jane – BUNDLE UP everyone! Gonna be a cold one!

  7. THANKS FOR THE INFO, LB, AND FD !~~GOOD TO KNOW ALL THIS, HAD FORGOTTEN MOST OF IT !~`AUDREY ON THE NEST, AND YAPPING AWAY~~~~~~~~LOVE IT !!~“COME ON HOME THOMAS !!~~FTLOTB’S ~~~ PRAYERS, THAT THEY STAY WARM, AND SAFE !!“

  8. OK, I HAVE COME BACK TO THE BLOG~~~~THE INFO IS HERE, FROM LB, AND FD~~~~~WHAT IS GOING ON???“““`FD, WHAT IS UP, ARE YOU SO BUSY, YOU CAN’T POST YOUR OWN INFO ?? I AM SORRY, IS IT YOU MIL ?? FORGIVE ME, CHIEF ANGEL, BUT WE NEED YOU TO CHECK IN, AND KEEP US UP, IF WE MISS SOMETHING, YOUR RECORDS ARE WELL KEPT, MINE NOT SO MUCH ~~~~JUST SAYING !~~~FTLOTB’S !!WAIT !!!! THANK YOU LB, SORRY !~~~~“` MERCY ME ~~~ AUD TELLING IT YAP YAP YAP !~~~

  9. We’ve been blessed with another beautiful day, and seeing A & T working hard on the nest.
    Thanks for the info Lillie & FD. Have a nice evening everyone! FTLOTB

    • I saw that! what happened? Maybe it was Audrey’s idea to spend the horrible, stormy cold nights in the nest after all. He had enough and is taking cover. I hope.

  10. OH MY, RAINING ON AUDREY THIS MORNING~~~~`WHO BY THE WAY IS ALONE, AND LOOKS VERY SAD ~~~THOMAS, WHERE CAN YOU BE~~~~~?~~PRAYERS FOR AUD, AND TOM ~~`SHE IS NOW SPEAKING UP, I AM HOPING HE IS ON HIS WAY WITH WHATEVER SHE NEEDS ~~~FTLOTB’S !~~`GREAT DAY EVERYONE~~~~`

  11. Nest empty at 7:27am but Audrey is back, wet. We had a frosty morning on LI but is sunny! I hope the sun is moving south…

  12. Good morning all you COP. WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS WEATHER? Ice Age, Golbal Warming, etc I can’t keep up. I know we set records dating back to 1800’s WHAT??? I don’t want us to set records for snow,cold or heat. I want Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter as is was when I was a kid…is that to much to ask? Ok finished venting.
    DO at least 1 FUN THING today that makes you flap your wings, be happy and smile. FTLOB’s
    Nest was empty when I checked a bit ago. I don’t blame them staying in the trees. I’m saying my prayers to my patron saint, St. Francis to keep all of our birds safe.😀🕊🦃🐓🐣🐤🐦🐧🐔🐥

  13. FF, GOOD MORNING~~~~DIDN’T YOU SAY YOU WERE GETTING YOUR BOOTS OUT ??? HELLO WEATHER WOMAN, MAKE THIS GO AWAY !~~` FTLOTB’S

    • Yes, the area has sleet this morning! MD may have gusts up to 30 mph this evening, and an overnight wind chill in the teens. Hang in there, birdies!

  14. 11:14am do not hear the sound of rain at the moment. Tom came in for a little hanky panky at 11:09. Audrey starting to dry off and is playing around with the furniture.
    For the love of the ospreys! 😎

  15. GOOOOOD MORNING ALL
    I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THE NEST IS GETTING TO BE MORE AND MORE BEAUTIFUL EACH DAY GREAT JOB AUDREY AND TOM HUGSSSSS

  16. Hi everyone – Yes, this weather sure isn’t very “spring-like!”
    Is Audrey acting a bit ‘EGGY’ to you???
    Hmmmmm.
    🙂 ❤

  17. I guess is April, comes in like a lion…cause I did not see that in March. If Audrey and Tom could post in this blog, what would they be saying? Audrey: ” and I came home early for what?” Tom:” I thought you would have everything done by now, hon. I could just come home and sit back with a beer!” Maybe they thought the earlier they get back and get done breeding, the earlier they can get back to their sunny. beachfront dwelling south! Bummer!

  18. Thanks Lillie for the lay/hatch dates. All can now worry less. They still have good amount of time before they have nest complete for egg laying. Audrey just flew in-called her call-Tom came around right away and there was a short intimate moment. Funny, she felt like a bit of hanky-panky! This at 1:45pm. There always seems to be a part of nest that never is tall enough, strong enough, etc. and then I worry all the time regarding it. So it appears to be this year also….dear me….build up the right side please!
    There seems to be some questions about building the nest every year. Besides the parasites the poll would not be able to hold the weight of successive years. They are huge and heavy. According to Mrs. COM they have been coming back to the site, I believe, for over or around 20 years! Never seems to bother them at all. Any younger female or male is able to receive proper training for this house building too. They learn how to repair a nest when needed.
    Hope this helps. Have a relaxing day everyone–cuddled up with some nice hot chocolate since winter returned and a book/mag or tax forms in front of the screen (or coffee or tea or soup)! 🙂

  19. Audrey calling and calling and calling. Another “brief encounter ” and she’s all quiet now. Hmmm……makes you wonder! @2:20pm

  20. This day was beginning with bad weather all time.
    Hail and wind but Audrey stay on nest.She only left the nest if she brought nest material in.
    Tom brought grass in and follow Audrey always. She was never long alone.
    In the last 2 days are many succesful matings ,so i think, we get in the next days the first egg.
    This are the 3-4 criticle days for a successful fertilise eggs. So Tom always on guard to chase all mate away.
    Only 20-35 % from mating are succesful for fertilise eggs,thats why we see so many matings.
    I`m rearly suprised and happy to see this. Last year were not so many matings and after the second egg, mating stopped. Now the video from yesterday. All pictures in chronicle time order .

  21. THANK YOU UTA, AS ALWAYS , GREAT JOB !!~~`NEST IS LOOKING SUPER, GETTING READY !!~~`FTLOTB’S ~WHERE IS EVERYONE ??? HEY GUYS CHECK IN PLEASE~~~~~~~LB, BELLA. MAUREEN, FD, CYNTHIA, MAUREEN, 238, CLAIRE, NANCY~~~`MRS COMAMMA~~~~`AND MANY OTHERS !!~~~~“

    • I think the same. She is working on that cup fiercely, Must be an urgency that she is feeling. My bet is 4/11 or 12. Anyone thinks tomorrow? Someone guessed that date, who was it?

    • 🙂 There’s a brand new blog from Mrs. COM – I don’t know how to get to it – maybe if you refresh the cam page???
      (I rec’d an email thru my email notification/subscription.) 🙂

  22. Hi Kathy… as for me I’m just being a bit lazy today. 🙂 And I sure do agree with you about the great job Uta always does with the photos. I can’t even imagine how much time, knowledge and effort is invested in those photo-groups done in chronological order like that. Thank you Uta. it make it so much easier, (and fun), to see the nest building progress. Hope everyone had a peaceful Saturday. And just for fun… my guess for the first egg is Tuesday.

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