And The Weather Gods Were Angry

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While we appreciate the overwhelming support, enthusiasm and interest in Tom and Audrey, as well as this blog, it has reached the point that we do not have the time or resources required to maintain the comment section. We hope that you understand and continue to enjoy the webcam and the opportunity to see these iconic birds up close and personal. 

 

Good afternoon from the cold, windy, rainy, sleety, snowy Eastern Shore of Maryland.  I feel like we are in a time warp back to February.  It has not gone unnoticed by most of you that we have had less than stellar weather for the beginning of our 2016 osprey season.  The winds over the past ten days have been relentless.  It is truly amazing that our faithful ospreys have been able to build such a beautiful nest given the adverse conditions they have had to face.  The weather prediction for tonight is for more subfreezing windchills and ferocious winds.  Hang in there, Tom and Audrey!  It is April after all, we are bound to get some true Spring weather shortly, aren’t we, Mother Nature?  Pretty please, Mother Nature, with sugar on top?

Since I last wrote, some of the head scratching has stopped, but not all.  Our wonderful Calico Tom has made his way back to the secret location.  He defended his nest admirably during an aerial battle on March 31, and chased off the mysterious stranger.  Audrey seemed happy to have her man back, and the couple got down to some serious nest building and egg fertilizing.  The nest has really come a long way since Tom has returned.  Little by little, it has grown and been lined with grasses and other soft stuff, ready for some egg action.  COM has put out dozens of sticks, some of which have been scooped up and some of which remain laying in the wet grass, waiting for their moment in Osprey Architectural Digest.  A newly-taped red stick was plucked from the backyard for the nest on April 8 and is in full view for the time being.

Speaking of the nest, there has been some discussion of late in the blog comments about our annual nest removal at the end of each season.  This action was recommended to us by osprey experts, and we have heeded their advice ever since we have had a nest at our location starting in 1995.  There has never been a problem with a new nest being built.  There are two reasons for the old nest removal.  The first reason is that the pole and platform could not withstand a nest that continually grew bigger and bigger.  The bigger the nest, the more windage and chance for damage.  You may have seen photographs of very large nests that have gotten bigger and bigger for years, or even seen some in person.  There is a very large nest on the southwest side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge just as you start over from the toll plaza.  Our little pole and platform could not remain upright with a nest that size.  The second reason for removing the nest annually is to help control the parasite population that would have access to our osprey family.  Our pole and platform have provided a suitable nesting site for over twenty years, so we will continue to remove the nest at the end of each season.

There has also been some discussion in the blog comments regarding our pole and platform.  Since the original pole went up in 1995, we have replaced the pole and platform three times.  Two of the three replacements were in back-to-back years, 2014 and 2015. We had to replace the poles and platforms due to ice and wind over the winter that damaged the pole in 2014 and took the pole down entirely in 2015.  If you go back to the early blogs from those two seasons, there are many photos of the pole and platform being replaced at the beginning of those two seasons.

As with the last blog, I have been writing this one during the day, which is unusual for me.  I have had the opportunity to look out the window as I write, and have run outside a few times to snap a few photos for you.  Tom and Audrey have been spending a lot of time together today.  They have been a very cute couple to watch:

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Tom and Audrey hanging out on our neighbor’s dock two houses to the south of us

 

 

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A close-up of Audrey on the swim ladder shown from afar in the last photo

 

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A close-up of Tom from the same far-off photo

 

A little while later, Tom and Audrey left that location, and moved over to our dock.  Audrey had a piece of fish that Tom had brought her:

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Tom (on the boat lift) and Audrey (on the electric box) on our dock. He is not letting her out of his sight today

 

As I was walking through the kitchen later in the afternoon, my eye caught something outside that I had never seen.  Sometimes I feel like some of my photos are repetitious, but this was a new one on me:

 

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Long view of Tom and Audrey together on the swim ladder two houses to the south of us

 

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Audrey is asking Tom why they left warm South America to come to Maryland.  He looks a little sheepish, knowing he had three more weeks in the warm sun than Audrey, who came back early to start working

 

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Tom doesn’t have an answer for her, and decides to keep his mouth shut. They both look cold and wet

 

Many of you have been wondering where Tom and Audrey have been spending their time during this bout of very unusual nasty spring weather.  The below photos show an unusual place for them to hang out.  I noticed them out there right after the start of this windy period:

 

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This is the first thing I noticed when I started looking around for Tom and Audrey on a very cold, blustery spring day

 

I tried to get a little closer with the camera:

 

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I quietly approached, and was able to get closer to them

 

After a while, Tom decided he wanted to be closer to Audrey:

 

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Tom gets closer to Audrey on the riprap. I was surprised they let me get close, although I was using a very long lens

 

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Audrey is trying to tell me something. I’ll bet it wasn’t nice

 

Audrey loves to sit in the scraggly stick tree one house to the north of us, usually up near the top.  During this cold windy spell, she has been sitting way down in the bottom of the tree, something I had never seen before:

 

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Audrey sitting way down low in the scraggly stick tree

 

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A closer view of Audrey low in the scraggly stick tree

 

This is where Audrey usually sits when in the scraggly stick tree:

 

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Audrey in the scraggly stick tree up near the top having a stare-down with Mrs. COM

 

Audrey always looks so regal at the top of the scraggly tree:

 

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Audrey is such a regal osprey!

 

Tom has been bringing Audrey some delicious cold fish meals.  Here she is on our boat lift with her morsel:

 

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Audrey on the boat lift with a snack

 

It is not unusual when we have strong winds from the north or west and a low tide to have the water blown out of the bay and leave us with an exposed sandy bottom.  With the very cold weather, sometimes the bottom will freeze.  This is the water behind our house a few days ago, not a typical spring phenomenon at the secret location:

 

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The water has blown out and left us with an exposed bottom and caused some freezing.

 

The nest is really starting to look good.  Tom and Audrey have been working very hard on it.  Here are some photos of the nest from the backyard:

 

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Tom and Audrey in the nest. Some of the first marked sticks are visible at the bottom of the nest

 

 

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Tom decides to move to the nest support in case he needs to make a quick getaway

 

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Tom is on the support keeping a close eye on Mrs. COM. Audrey is nonplussed

 

You would think Tom and Audrey would be used to me stalking them by now.  They seem to be getting better, but I am still an unwelcome intruder:

 

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Tom and Audrey minding their own business. This is a great shot of Tom’s buff feathers on the back of his head

 

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Let’s see how close Mrs. COM can get before someone relocates

 

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That was close enough for Tom. He makes a hasty departure, leaving Audrey alone on the nest. You can see why Dr. Spitzer nicknamed him Calico Tom!

 

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Audrey is all alone on the nest. Did you have to chase him off, Mrs. COM, he just got here!

 

Well, I think that is enough for today.  I hope you have enjoyed the new photographs which were all taken since the last blog was published.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the high wind and freeze warnings expire quickly, and we all (human and avian) can enjoy some warm Spring days really soon!

Until next time, we remain-

COM, Mrs. COM and Osprey Girl

 

It’s not too late for members of the Osprey Club to register for the Welcome Back Osprey gathering on April 19, 2016 from 4:00-6:30 p.m. at Pusser’s Caribbean Grille, 80 Compromise Street, Annapolis, Maryland.  Speakers will be Craig Koppie and Teena Gorrow, who will be talking about their soon-to-be published new book featuring Tom and Audrey.  Please go to http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org for details.

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.  Thank you!

 

 

 

232 thoughts on “And The Weather Gods Were Angry

  1. Good afternoon to all-I see the posts about an egg any day now! Audrey is on the nest now, she looks so beautiful! Our weather pattern is breaking here on the Bay now, should be in 60’s and 70’s the rest of this week through the weekend, so good egg laying weather! Saw Barb on the falcon cam this morning, she too is a beautiful bird! Four eggs under her, hoping to see them hatch as I did last year! TFL and MrP eagle cam, DC, babies are growing so fast! The parents are spending some time off the nest, which makes observers like me worry! They were gone for quite a while too, and are gone right now, but were there earlier today. For the love of the birds! 😎

  2. Both Tom and Audrey on the nest now, beautiful, but breezy, sunny day! The nest looks great! Now just waiting for the eggs! Where I work , even though it’s an industrial park, we have two osprey nesting in a radio tower nearby! Large nest, not sure where they go to fish, but the Bay is at least a 35 minute car drive, there are some creeks, ponds, etc closer. I was surprised to see a nest here.

  3. some of my posts have gone MIA also, something is going on…feather you know who cannot post, hopefully someone will decide she can be out of purgatory. We all miss her and she brings so much of her research knowledge to the blog. Please… can the powers of the blog gods bring her back. Pretty please. 🙂 We would all really, really appreciate having her back.

  4. I’m with Lillie! PLEASE let F-D back! We ALL miss her very much. She is part of our family here, and one of the very few that wintered with us keeping the blog warm until Audrey and Tom returned 🙂 punishment enough already, please! We are ALL suffering because of it. Whomever has this power please use it for good. Thank you for listening 🙂

  5. What if I post that Tom has a wonky feather and then later in the post I say my dog is watching the sparrows intently?
    Will this post go MIA?
    Just a test.

  6. BTW–mama Raven has at least 2 babies! Last year there was only one, so there is much to rejoice about!

      • is that the Wellesley ravens? They predicted hatchlings on the 11, but nothing happened that day. There must have been two close together! I think there is a dud, though so we might only get 4 babies, still a record for that nest.

  7. I trust the Judgement of COM and the Mrs. I do not know really if the person you want back is purposely restricted or not and I do not want to get in on the bandwagon either way. Last year I thought I was being restricted but it was not that at all. I even got upset that MrsCOM would restrict me. When she realized the problem she fixed it an apologized to me and I felt awful for getting upset in the first place. But I also realized that, hey, it is a free world and there are MORE important things to get upset about. I trust that whatever happens is for a reason I do not understand and it is truly none of my business anyway.

  8. I AM WITH YOU, LILY, AND BELLA, AND NANCY, WE NEED EVERYONE BACK ON BOARD, FOR THE GOOD OF ALL. PRAYERS FOR PEACE, AND FORGIVENESS TO ALL. FTLOTB’S ~~~~

  9. Hello Cynthia, I rememeber when that happened to you last year, and the matter was discussed like real grown-ups. You are not expected to join in on our wish for a certain feather lady to be allowed back, we appreciate your staying neutral. And yes you are correct there are many more important things to worry about, and believe me I have many of those too, as I’m sure we all do. But this blog and watching Audrey and Tom is my only weakness, I just love it, and The Feather makes it so much More for many of us, after all, last year she put so much time, effort and personal expense into “THE Poster” and the memory poster, raising additional funds to aid our Osprey couple for Chesapeake Conservancy. Thank you for your thoughts, but I guess thoughts are like the wind, they blow in many directions…. Take care, I have the Audrey and Tom Show on the computer when I’m working, (or should be working) in the background, so I can hear them chirping.

  10. SHE IS THAT BELLA, I LOVE HER ALSO ~~~!! ~~~~~~TO LILLY BUG ~~~~~~~~~AMEN ~~~~~~FTLOTB’S~~~~

  11. Audrey really cracks me up. She’s sitting there yipping, and yipping… And up flies Tom for a quickie (he’s leaving nothing to chance this year!). Now poor Audrey is sitting there, quiet and confused looking. Looks like she’s thinking “FISH – I was asking for a fish, Tom!”

    • Lillie, when you speak of “working”, does that mean you’ve found another location where you can produce your stained glass and screens?

      I, too, long for the uncomplicated, friendly, inclusive and pleasant blogs from last year. Remember, though, we lost Fran (not Flamingo Fran, just Fran) who posted such lyrical descriptions of the nest in early morning and, also, a sweet gentleman who described himself only as “old”. (Don’t recall his name. Bob, maybe?) And we’ve added so many interesting new friends! That’s certainly a plus.

  12. Hi Lillie. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. In a perfect world people would all get along but I guess God is saving that for heaven. I refuse to let anyone take away my joy as much as I possibly can. I will continue to love the birds and the people who love birds and all of God’s creatures! I love this nest..it is truly blessed.

  13. Hello – this is a Nature Note. I just got finished raking the winter twigs and grassy thatch from my yard and as I gathered them up into piles I looked down and I had made an Osprey nest! No, it didn’t have the perfect soft center of a real nest, but it looked amazingly like the nest before Audrey and Tom (and all the other osprey moms and dads) delivered the soft stuff. And, alas, my nest didn’t have COM’s colorful twigs. BUT a year ago, I didn’t know about osprey nests. Look how far I’ve come! Thank you COF and CC for your incredible camera. Thank you fellow bloggers tutoring me through my freshman year. I’m a full fledged sophomore now.

    • Congratulations, Barbara! Are you one of our very young bloggers or someone who is doing “continuing education” like my daughter/? This year, at 65, she earned a masters in environmental management from Harvard, doing much of it online. She was amused when, on campus, the clerk in a book store was dubious about her request for a student discount. When Susan showed her student ID, she kept saying, “This lady is a student!” over and over, slowing the line.

      • Hi Jane…I most certainly fall into the ‘continuing education’ group. I could be your daughter’s big sister.

      • Jane! you have a dtr of 65? 65 years?? no way! When I grow up I want to be like you and your daughter. I don’t know if i can go back to school with my memory taking frequent breaks…

  14. Hello Jane, I remember Fran and the “Old” fella, as well, the old fella wrote such a sweet note to all of us, and told us about himself too, I’m sure that wherever he is, he’s enjoying natures gifts, as we all know it is truly a joy, aside from the occasional dramas of course, but such is life.
    Also Jane, we are still at the hardware store, the last sale date didn’t happen, the bank needed more collateral from the buyer. But an investor became involved and hopefully, if all goes well, we settle this Friday, but we are not getting too excited until we have the cold hard cash in our grubby hands. 🙂

    Sweet Barbara, I’ve done the same thing with sticks, and no matter where I’m going, I look in the sky for Osprey, my sister has some Turkey Vultures nearby her home, their white wing tips always trick me into thinking it’s an osprey at first. It’s funny how they become a part of our everyday life, and we all must have a little bit of our feathered friends blood in our veins or brains, we long to fly, and build nests, I think we are a really cool bunch of crazy birds. (Meant in a fun way of course)

  15. Oh I feel awful for Audrey. Tom just brought her what looked to be just a tail, and she scarfed it down so fast, she is hungry! 😦

  16. I saw that too Bella, but she’s letting him know he better get on his game.
    I saw Tom do something so cute yesterday, he flew back to the nest with a large pile of grassy stuffing, then he plopped himself down, landing on his chest, then he kicked his feet out and flipped out half the grassy stuff, then he jumped up and looked around in such a cute way. All the while Audrey was looking at what he was doing, I bet she was thinking, what on earth is he doing?

  17. Haha! Lillie! We saw the same thing! This is what I said when he was being such a silly boy 🙂
    Audrey is just so stunning. I do think her leg hurts though, she puts it down very gingerly, making sure it’s on steady ground. She’s funny too, she gave Tom such an odd look earlier when he was flapping around in the nest bowl.
    She cocked her head sideways and looked straight at him as if to say, what on earth are you doing?! Could you maybe go get some lunch please?

  18. hey all! what a peaceful night at this time with Audrey and Major Tom on their nest minus the wind and the rain! sleep well friends and rest up ospreys! a beautiful sight

    • Hope all goes well on Friday, Lillie.

      I thought certainly Audrey was going to produce an egg this afternoon. She spent quite a bit of time just lying in the nest. Then my family came to take me out for Ledo’s Pizza (anybody in Maryland know Ledo’s?) and when I got home she was settled for the night, standing.

  19. Hi Moe! yes, it is such a peaceful sight, so beautiful.
    I miss getting your “personal” updates. Not sure who decided that not posting/talking as friends would be a good idea, I don’t like it at all. Any blogs/chats I read have a lot of that, because they are also friends, as I know we are. Just makes me sad. I still keep you and your man of steel in my prayers. 🙂

  20. Audrey has been awake for a while, standing in middle of nest (bowl) and just looking around while Tom sleeps peacefully with his head tucked. Now it looks like she is possibly sitting in the bowl and still wide awake. Is it maybe her time?

  21. Good Morning! Maybe today we will ALL Get a nice surprise of some kind, we’ll see…
    CathE, I don’t know why it hit my funny bone, but last night…MY Dog has a wonky Feather, give me a good laugh, you are a card ladybird.
    Still very dark on the nest, waiting for first light to see our birdies.

    Have a great day, 🙂

  22. Good morning all!
    Nice calm morning with Audrey&Tom standing on the side of the nest watching the sunrise.
    Have a wonderful day!

  23. A beautiful morning to everyone! 7:08 am Audrey nagging. 7:09, Tom got the message or got tired and off he went, Audrey is now quiet, seems to be watching something flying about…interesting aura around the nest from the morning dew on the lens

  24. On a non-Osprey but still birdie note–does anyone know if mama Raven has more than 3 babies this morning? Still 3? She’s sitting on them and I haven’t gotten a peek yet.

      • She left the nest for a few minutes yesterday afternoon and it was a sight to see! Their crops were empty but the yolk sac is still feeding them, so no worry for me! One egg did look dark, might be dead. I hope for four chicks. Once they grow that nest will be mighty small! I don’t know how often dad comes in to feed her, but it seems that I always miss him. The second CAM’s placement is different than last year. Maybe it was too late for them to place it in a better spot. It was amazing how they survived the hot days of Spring, with that black coat on and the stairs closed with that plastic panel. Magnificent cooling system they have! It is exciting that we have nests at different levels of development for a wide variety of action.

  25. Happy Birthday J.Luray! Maybe Audrey will lay her first egg on your birthday…that would be fun. Have a great day!

  26. Rachel from the Bremen, Maine nest arrived back yesterday evening. Steve arrived earlier in the day. Looks like they are starting work on their nest this morning. So many cams and so little time. Have also been looking in on the California Condor chick on the http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/ site.

    • heh thanks for the information on maine as i love to watch-at start i get a green blur but then saw old posts-are there new green toilets there now made of wire on flooring? nest is gorgeous and u wonder what they are thinking with the loss of their osprey last year. wow with the webcam of the condor!!

      • I know they did a lot of work on the platform…and added that new perching branch, new cam, new viewing angle. They even built a second platform a little bit away from this one in case Steve and Rachel rejected the old one because of the incident last year.

  27. Good morning to all!
    A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO J! I hope it’s the best! 🎂🍧🍹🌷🎉🎈🎁
    Have s wonderful day everyone. Don’t forget your SMILE! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Has anyone seen Audrey get to eat this morning? ,🐥💕🐥

  28. Thank you for the information on the Maine and Montana’s nests. I could not get a current view in Montana. So glad to see the Maine parents trying again. Eagles will be watching, I am sure. That is why I am not too excited to see the bald eagles returning to LI, osprey is my fav raptor.
    I wonder if they sell cameras for the roof of the car, or I could mount one on the rearview mirror? Caught a sight above my car yesterday which I thought was an osprey, but I think it was a hawk, wings spread wide, gliding above the traffic not too far up. I do have a handheld camera in the car but by the time I turn it on and aim, bird is gone or I crashed. It is probably a crazy idea of mine that might land me in the loony bin.

    • Those cams would be the GoPro cams. Mount them on cars, bikes, bike helmets–anywhere! I would think great for birdie folks too!

      • oh yes! I did not know you could mount them on cars. thanks. I think I finally caught the meal exchange bt mama and dad raven. She then hopped into the nest and shared. I did not see the 4th, must be tinier. I hope he or she does well.

    • Happy birthday from me, too, J. Becky M. beat me to the wish that the first egg might be your birthday present.

      Ive and I share our reservation about eagles. I just can’t get over the day I went to the Maine site and learned of the tragedy. I had been watching those chicks almost from the moment they hatched. The poor cameraman said he was actually there and couldn’t do a thing. I know it’s “survival of the fittest” and all that but, for me, it doesn’t make it any easier.

    • Well, we only have laws about handheld phones, seems like everything else was ignored!
      We are all funny in this blog! crazy, funny osprey fans! Did you not click on “yes” when you registered here? the box that asked if you had a funny bone? I will look for an alternative to the handheld…

      • that last post was for Bella. Ugh! I would have been PTSD about bird cams after watching that, Jane. I was searching online about lightning strikes on the O’s nest and came to some news in Connecticut of the burning nest with chicks from a strike to the pole, not the nest. No camera on that one, TG. Anything with babies tugs at the heart. I wonder if they will change their behavior about leaving the nest unattended?

  29. Falcon cam – Barb on the eggs looking skyward…Tom & Audrey on the nest on a nice sunny day on the Bay! The Alabama osprey cam at Wolf Bay it is sleeting! Poor bird! She is ducking sown on the nest best as she can! DC eagle cam…Dc2 & DC 3 eaglets so BIG already! TFL on the nest w/them, full crops, doing well. That’s the cams I watch update for all! For the love of the birds! Have a great day! 😎

  30. Thanks for the update Susan! The eagles do grow so fast! I watched Romeo and Juliet nearly daily and I swear I could see Liberty and Justice growing right before my eyes. Never seen anything like it.

  31. Just had a good look at the falcon eggs since Barb is not in view at the moment.
    Still hoping Audrey gets down to egg laying business soon.

  32. I have been trying to find a blog email notice that went poof! once it was posted from “Shadowdog” 😉 that always gives us so much great info.
    If I remember correctly, it was told that the babies would only be Major Tom’s if they come before the 18th or 19th. I know we all want the fishing fools genes in those kids, but of course having healthy and happy babies comes first. I will continue to try and find it.

  33. at this time the nest is soo serene looking-the water,audrey and major tom so enjoy all !! water is so pretty but the osprey prettier and more handsome!!

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