Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

Good evening on this last day of June from our secret location on the delightful Eastern Shore of Maryland!  This month seems to have gotten away from me, so I will try to make it up to you with double the photos this time.  There have been many changes in our little osprey family since my last blog.  As I was sitting at my computer working on the May 31st blog, unbeknownst to me, a great drama was taking place in the dark over the water behind our house.  I was joyfully writing about our history in the making, describing the events leading to the hatching of our miracle chicks. To my great horror early the next morning, reports were coming in on the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Facebook page and by text to my phone of a large crash into the nest/camera around 10:00 p.m. the night before, and the demise of one of our little miracle chicks.  We did not hear the commotion as our windows were closed, and we keep the camera sound on mute inside of the house. COM reviewed the tapes from the previous night, with the events being visible due to his installation of an infrared light source at the beginning of the 2016 season. He was able to capture the shadowy, blurry image of a large bird swooping down on the unsuspecting Audrey, knocking her almost off the nest and causing the disappearance of one of our beloved, newly hatched chicks.  We have had some discussion as to whether the bird (probably a Great Horned Owl) snatched the chick or if the chick was knocked out of the nest when Audrey was blindsided.  The attack happened so quickly that it was impossible to tell from the video footage what actually transpired.  It doesn’t really matter how it happened, but our chick was gone and one egg remained unhatched.  A couple of days later, Audrey broke into the remaining egg, and consumed the contents.  A working theory on the third egg is that it was damaged in the attack and nature took its course.  A few very sad days here at the secret location, going from “the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat” in a very short time.  Will the drama at our nest never cease?

But life goes on, doesn’t it?  I am sure you have noticed that our remaining chick has grown by leaps and bounds, much more quickly than other chicks of a similar age that have been raised by Tom and Audrey in our nest.  It’s a spunky chick with quite a personality, and we are so thankful to have an only child this season. Calico Tom the Fishing Fool is living up to his name, and the fish just keep on coming.  In a few days, our chick will have a name after the voting closes at the Chesapeake Conservancy.  My vote was for Lucky, as it just seemed apropos for this year’s chick.  But the majority will rule in our democracy, and we will soon know what to call our baby instead of “the chick”.

Very shortly after the incident at the nest, the Crazy Osprey Family was contacted by Craig Koppie, our favorite raptor biologist.  He suggested that we put up a scarecrow to try and keep the predator away from our remaining chick.  You know that Crazy Osprey Man got his moniker for a reason, and off to the garage he went.  A couple of hours later and my only good hat gone (I didn’t have the heart to tell COM, he worked so hard on his project), we had a new family member.  Enter Roger:


A view from the backyard of Roger in his original position with Tom hanging out on the boat lift



Tom is keeping an eye on Roger, who doesn’t seem the least bit concerned


Notice the very clean boat cover in the above photo.  Please remember this clean cover for comparison in future photos.


Suave Roger keeping things safe



Roger, protector of ospreys, at his original location at the beginning of the dock



Roger in his first location on the dock close to land


And of course, no scarecrow would be complete without night lighting, so Roger’s presence is not only felt but seen all night long!  Thank you COM for being the Crazy Osprey Man that you are!

When Craig Koppie first suggested that we try Roger as a possible defender against unwanted visitors, he suggested that we place him at the beginning of the dock.  As the days went on, a decision was made to move Roger from his original location out closer to the end of the dock nearer to the nest.  On the day of the big move, the Crazy Osprey Family was honored to have wonderful visitors, Maureen and Gene from Cape Cod.  Maureen has been a faithful camera watcher and blog follower from the start. Her witty lyrics to the tunes of some of our favorite songs and her continuing cheerful and positive attitude have made her a welcome addition to our little osprey family.  COM and I were delighted that she and Gene were able to join us for a fun-filled day at the secret location:



Roger has been relocated to the end of the dock to be closer to the nest. Maureen and Gene from Cape Cod have stopped by for a visit



Gene, Maureen and COM enjoying a beautiful day at the secret location. COM has just finished relocating Roger to the end of the dock



Roger in his new digs at the end of the dock



Wider view of Roger at the end of the dock. Nobody will sneak up on his watch!



Don’t tell Roger, but he has a stick up his rear end. Ouch!



Roger is keeping a close “eye” on the nest. Or is the nest keeping a close eye on Roger?



Roger doing his thing. He looks like he is doing a little dance


We are so happy to have Roger as part of our osprey family.  I guess we will never know, but he seems to have done his job to protect everyone at the nest.

After all of the excitement at the beginning of June, things seemed to have calmed down and osprey life is moving forward.  The little one has lost its down and is now starting to sport real feathers.  It is truly unbelievable to me how large the chick has grown in just a little over four weeks.  Tom and Audrey continue to be exemplary parents, and take incredibly good care of their baby.  Here are some photos of the daily lives of our favorite osprey family, all of which have been taken since the last blog was published:



Tom on COM’s boat lift, which is one of his favorite places to hang out


Sometimes after Tom has been fishing, he will arrive back in the area looking very wet and bedraggled.  The top of the camera assembly is another of his favorite places, and turns out to be a great place to dry off:



Sometimes when you can’t see Tom, you can hear him scratching around on top of the camera assembly



Tom loves to sit on top of the camera. He is catching the breeze trying to dry his wings after a very wet fishing expedition



Tom drying his wings on the top of the camera


When I am home, I usually keep one eye on whatever I am doing and the other eye wanders to the windows to try and catch a glimpse of a photo op.  Here is a series of photos of Tom after he caught a fish and took it to the neighbor’s boat lift two houses to the south of us:



Tom with a fish on our neighbor’s boat lift two houses to the south of us



Tom taking his fish and leaving. He doesn’t feel like sharing with Mrs. COM today



Tom on the downstroke with a foot and a fish trailing



Tom in flight with his fish, holding on with one talon


When you are watching the ospreycam, it is usually Tom who likes to sit up on the observation posts (actually the nest supports).  Once in a while Audrey likes to sit up high and enjoy the view from the top floor:



Audrey on the viewing tower on one leg


In seasons past, I have posted many photos of our various ospreys sitting in the big tree two houses to the north of us.  For some reason, this year neither Tom nor Audrey is spending much time up that way.  Maybe it is because there is another osprey pair nesting very close to the big tree.  Earlier in the month, I observed Tom fly off to the big tree with a fish after I unceremoniously chased his away from our neighbor’s dock while trying to snap a few photos:



Tom in the big tree two houses to the north of us with a fish with a deeply notched tail


Here is a wider view of the big tree.  You can barely see Tom sitting up near the top of the leaf canopy on the right side of the tree.  If you look closely, you can see one of the other ospreys who nest near the big tree sitting to the left of the tree on a piling.  Their nest is to the right of the big tree on a pole in the water five houses to the north of us:


The big tree two house to the north of us. Tom is over to the right up near the top of the leaf canopy


Here are some photographs of Tom and Audrey in the nest.  It is hard to see the chick in most of the photographs, but he/she is starting to be more visible from vantage points on land and the dock:



Tom and Audrey are checking something out. The chick’s head is visible between its parents and the nest support to the left of Tom and Audrey



Good lighting and a bucolic scene with the sailboats on the horizon


I have been putting a lot of sticks out in the yard, and both Tom and Audrey have been picking all of them up:



Not sure how some of those sticks are still hanging in there. One of COM’s marked sticks is barely hanging on near the middle of the bottom of the nest



Two parents keeping a watchful eye



Tom on his viewing post, Audrey close by and the chick is hunkered down


This is a quiet Father’s Day on the dock with Roger keeping guard.  The Full Strawberry Moon Dock Party was the next night.  Could anyone hear us howling?



A quiet Father’s Day on the dock with Roger. It wasn’t quiet the next night with 25 happy howlers at the Full Strawberry Moon Dock Party


Audrey takes a little break from the nest to do her thing on the boat lift.  What is that white stuff on the formerly clean boat cover?



Squawking Audrey on COM’s boat lift. “Hey, COM, that’s not my mess down there, go talk to Tom”


The chick is starting to be visible unless a parent sounds the alarm, then it flattens out and cannot be seen from land:



The Happy Family-all three visible on 6/19/2016



The chick flattens out when Mrs. COM is on the prowl with her camera and the alarm is sounded of an intruder in the area


The crows always seem to know when one of our ospreys is enjoying a fish meal near by.  As Tom enjoys his meal on our boat lift, a patient crow is waiting for sloppy seconds:



Tom and a patient crow on COM’s boat lift. COM is not going to be happy when he sees that boat cover



Tom decides if the crow left, maybe he should be thinking about moving on



Tom arrives back at the nest with provisions


One of our many rainy days this spring:



A dreary, wet day at the secret location. Tom is hanging on COM’s boat lift



Tom on COM’s boat lift looking rather wet



Tom leaves the area. All my fault!


Audrey and the chick sharing a quiet day at the nest. I must have been standing on one foot when I took some of these photos, they seem a little lopsided:



Audrey and her offspring sharing a quiet moment at home



Audrey gives the alarm call and the chick disappears from view



Tom arrives back at the nest and the all clear signal is sounded



After Calico Tom the Fishing Fool brought home dinner, Audrey feeds the young’n



Tom and Audrey at the ready, but the chick just wants another bite


Audrey doesn’t leave the nest too often, but as the chick is getting bigger, she has been leaving for longer periods of time.  Even when she isn’t in the nest, Audrey is not far away:



Audrey on COM’s boat lift, a rare visit


Tom has been taking some squawking lessons from Audrey:



Squawking Tom emulating Squawking Audrey in full voice. Stay away from my fish, you crazy woman!



Tom on the nasty poop deck (dock) next door to the south



Tom checking out Mrs. COM and that darn camera



When Tom took off with his fish, the crows moved in for the spoils on top of this piling


As I am sure you know by now, one of Tom’s favorite places is the swim ladder on the dock two houses to the south of us.  Our neighbors that lived there for over twenty years just moved at the beginning of June.  One of my first orders of business when I met the new neighbors was to explain that they may be seeing a crazy woman with a camera traipsing through their yard to take photographs of birds on their dock.  I very politely asked for permission to continue my pursuits, and they very graciously approved.  I am sure Tom would have much preferred that they said no trespassing, but Mrs. COM saved the day.



Tom is hanging out on his favorite swim ladder, now owned by new, very nice and understanding neighbors


Sometimes staying vigilant and looking out the window really pays off.  As I was doing some dishes this morning, I glanced up and saw something very unusual for this part of Maryland:



We heard the fishing is good in the Chesapeake Bay this time of year-a flock of pelicans flying over our osprey nest!!!



Hey, this doesn’t look like Florida!



Flying in formation, ready for the airshow



Maybe the Blue Angels can adopt this new five “man” formation (sorry for the bad lighting, no choice)



Getting ready to dive for breakfast


Pretty cool, huh?

Please remember to send in your photos for the “Where In The World Are Tom and Audrey?” contest.  Send a photo of yourself watching the ospreycam from wherever you are.  Please include your name (first name is fine) and the location, and I will post it in my next blog.  Send your photo to A winning photo will be selected at the end of this season with a prize to follow!

We are up to over 491,000 views of the blog since its inception in 2013.  Please send in your guess for the day we will have our 500,000th view!  A great prize will be awarded to the winning person!  You can send your guess to the same email listed above for the photo contest.



William watching the ospreycam with his grandparents on Kent Island, Maryland


The hour is drawing late, and it’s time to close out another blog.  Remember to get your votes in for our chick’s name (it’s a Lucky chick, isn’t it-hint, hint!) on the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Facebook page.

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 today.  Thanks very much!