Never Fear, The Date Draws Near!

Good afternoon from the still blustery, cold Eastern Shore of Maryland!  Since my last blog, we certainly have seen some nasty weather here at the secret location.  We went from hoping one of our feathered friends would make an early appearance to being oh so very happy that the platform is still bare.  I know many of you are watching, waiting, beginning to get nervous and a little worried about the fate of our beloved family.  Therefore, I have gathered some data on the dates our ospreys have returned since we have had our newest Audrey.  I hope these nuggets of knowledge will provide some relief over the next few days while we watch and wait.  This data was shared at the beginning of the 2016 season, but I thought it would be a good reminder that there is no need to panic just yet!

2009:  This was the last year of our first Tom and Audrey pair.  Tom showed up on March 22, 2009, and Audrey arrived on March 30 that year.

2010:  We were away on a spring break vacation from March 12-21.  The morning after we returned home, March 22, we observed a new Tom and Audrey already in residence at the nest.

2011:  This was the year for a St. Patrick’s day return for Tom, with Audrey only three days behind on March 20.

2012:  Tom arrived on March 21, but COM’s usually reliable notes do not reflect the exact day of Audrey’s arrival, which was sometime after Tom’s.

2013:  This was the first year of our partnership with the Chesapeake Conservancy and the start of our blog.  Tom arrived on March 21 with Audrey not far behind on March 24.

2014:  Our first anomaly year, with Audrey showing up before Tom on March 22.  Tom took his good old time, and made his grand entrance on March 27.

2015:  We had a crazy start in 2015.  Audrey showed up first on March 16, followed by a brief one week visit from a dark stranger.  The visiting osprey showed up on March 23, and adult-rated osprey shenanigans occupied most of the week this Lothario was in residence.  Our Calico Tom arrived on March 30, and laid claim to his new mate.  The dark stranger moved on to more fertile, friendly grounds, and was not seen again.

2016:  Audrey was back very early last year.  The camera was scheduled to be put up on March 9, but she arrived back on the scene March 8.  After another early season of suspense and questions surrounding the arrival of a second osprey previously not seen, our Calico Tom finally showed up.  He took charge and reclaimed his woman on March 31 after a resounding aerial battle with the mystery osprey.

In my walks around the neighborhood, I have not seen any ospreys so far this year.  We have many active nests in our area, and none of the ospreys are back.  So at this point, I am not worried about Tom and Audrey returning.  Are you all feeling better now?  Get some sleep, it will be all right!

There have been many questions and comments posted on the Conservancy’s Facebook page, our blog and at the explore.org site.  While we wait for the return of Tom and Audrey, I thought this would be a good time to post some thoughts and insights in response to your questions and comments.  For some reason, the photos in this blog have reverted to posting at a small size, so please click on each one to enlarge for your viewing pleasure.

Swans:  Many of you have commented and posted photographs about our gorgeous tundra swans that grace the water around our nest.  In addition to being Crazy Osprey Man, COM is Crazy Swan Man from November, when the swans arrive at the secret location and March, when they fly north to their breeding grounds.  Our visiting flock of tundra swans usually numbers between sixty and seventy a day. A few years ago, some of our swans were banded and fit with satellite collars, and their summer home was determined to be in northern Hudson Bay, up near the Arctic Circle.  A general rule of thumb around these parts is that when the swans leave in March, the ospreys return.  COM feeds his swans daily when they are here, and when they see him walking down the dock, they take off in flight toward him to get to their daily ration of cracked corn.  The swans you see on the osprey camera are tundra swans, which are native swans.  They have a black beak, and have very loud calls.  The other swans that used to be seen around the Chesapeake Bay are mute swans.  They are non-native swans with orange beaks, who wreak havoc on the underwater grasses.  The mute swans were introduced to North America from Europe in the late nineteenth century.  They have been declared an invasive species due to their adverse effects on waterfowl and native ecosystems, severely reducing the density of submerged aquatic vegetation.  The mute swan population in the Chesapeake Bay was eradicated several years ago, and we haven’t seen any mute swans at our dock for many years.  The mute swans that would visit the secret location were very mean to the tundra swans (and would hiss at us), and although beautiful, we were not sorry to see them go.  We hope you have enjoyed watching the tundra swans swim by under the nest pole.

Some of our swans

 

Crows:  We have a plethora of crows in the area, and you may have noticed some of them sitting on the nest platform.  When our ospreys are in residence, the crows will hang around trying to mooch a free meal of unattended fish or scraps that remain in the nest.

 

Lots of crows waiting for a free meal

 

Infrared light source:  Once again this year, COM has spent a large chunk of his time trying to tweak our infrared light source for nighttime viewing.  He purchased a new light for this season, and we tried it out for a few nights.  Under the darkness of night, one of us would go down to the dock and try out different COM designed filters, while the other was stationed at our dedicated osprey camera computer monitor located on the second floor in COM’s office assessing the quality of the IR light using different parameters.  Communications between the end of the dock and the house were by cell phone.  I think the final product will be awesome for nighttime viewing this season.  From what we have seen so far, the IR feature is looking really good.

 

Unusually low tides:  The winds over the last ten days have really been howling.  When we have high winds from the northwest and a low tide,  sometimes the water will get blown out of the bay.  This usually occurs only during the winter months a couple of times a season.  Due to these high winds, a few days ago the swans could be seen walking around under the nest pole!  For those of you who observed this, it was quite comical to see the swans waddling around on their feet and not swimming by as their usual graceful selves.

High winds from the northwest and an unusually low tide=water blown out of the bay

 

Nest sticks:  I guess COM was feeling a little sorry for our ospreys this year, as for the first time, he placed a few sticks on the platform when the camera went up.  The platform is usually bare until nest building commences, but not this season. For those of you new to our nest, we have some of the luckiest ospreys around.  Every season, we gather the perfect osprey nest sticks, and put them in the backyard for the ospreys to use in building and maintaining their nest.  COM will tie various colors of construction tape to some of the sticks, and these marked sticks always end up in the nest.  Keep your eyes peeled during the season for the various color sticks that will appear.  You won’t see any green St. Paddy’s Day sticks this year as there are no ospreys around, but Easter is not far off!

COM’s supply of sticks

 

Roger:  Our resident scarecrow Roger, protector and defender of osprey nests, is resting comfortably in his winter quarters (the garage) until his services are needed.  He will make his appearance soon, and maybe we will give him a spring make-over (but maybe not, we will see).  Roger became one of the family after an attack at our nest by a Great Horned Owl last season, leading to the loss of one of our newly-hatched chicks and an unhatched egg.

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

 

Eagles:  There are three eagles that have been around since the fall, two adults and a juvenile.  They all spent a fair amount of time sitting on the nest platform, in the big trees two houses to the north of us, and flying around the area.  I don’t anticipate this will be a problem when Tom and Audrey return.  We will keep an eye out for a confrontation, but there is nothing we will be able to do if there is trouble between the eagles and ospreys.

The two adult eagles in the nest after the ospreys left but before the nest was knocked off

 

The two eagles after the nest was removed for the 2016 season

 

The eagle stands alone

 

A beautiful sunrise at the secret location during October 2016:

Mother Nature at her best-October 2016 sunrise

 

Remember, after a one season hiatus, comments are once again being allowed on our blog page.  Feel free to communicate with other camera watchers and blog readers at the end of each blog. Please follow the rules, which were posted in the last blog.

I hope I have soothed you about the return of Tom and Audrey and answered some of your burning questions.  Here’s hoping for some good news in the next few days!

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

 

 

251 thoughts on “Never Fear, The Date Draws Near!

  1. Wow, one of our birdies went to decorating school over the winter, the nest gets better and better, I love the pine pieces, I hope they’re not going to be to pricklely for the youngins.
    Tom just flew in and landed on Audrey’s back, he seemed to startle her or maybe caught her off balance, so he jumped to the side of the nest.

  2. Good evening all🤗 Wow this is the best nest of all the years🎏🎏Uta’s postings today were so informative as to all the hard work Tom and Audrey have been performing to make their nest such a work of art for the new osprey babies to be😍😍and yes the camera is so much better🤣🤣we are blessed to be so up front with the views being so clear👍 Adios moe

  3. Still dark at the secret location, and quiet at the moment. I hope Tom and Audrey are ready for the crappy weather that’s coming. Praying they stay safe and dry as possible.

  4. Good Morning All – Both birdies on the nest this morning. The décor has been changed. No rain yet, but it looks like it’s on it’s way. Hope you all have a wonderful day.

  5. 9:55am….. sheesh, timing is everything. It is pouring here in central Maryland, so I decided to pop in and see how it was on the nest. Wet but not raining at the moment. Then (here comes the timing thing) all of a sudden there is a flurry of wings and Audrey lands… a second behind her ol Major Tom with you know what on his mind ( I didn’t even have time to avert my gaze!!!!), and then just like that he was on the wing again leaving Audrey with a perplexed look on her face. I said out loud “honey, I feel your pain” and then made myself chuckle as I AM TALKING TO A COMPUTER MONITOR!!!
    I need a vacation.
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

  6. Hello friends🤗Audrey on front perch braving the pitter patter of rain drops and soon in June will have the same of baby osprey talons trying to figure out how to even walk in the nest 👣👣get some more colored ribbons Major Tom👌I bet Roger is dripping wet💧💦💧💦

  7. We all agree, this year’s nest is exceptionally colorful and pretty. The pine branches are a nice addition. We are having a rainy day, too, here on Long Island. All of the ‘nest mommies’ along the east coast that I looked in on are protecting their little ones during the bad weather – all of them looking very stoic and accepting of their responsibility. KATHY, say it’s not so – tornado warnings in the South. Hoping everyone stays safe.

  8. This is the first time I’ve been glad to see an empty nest. It’s pouring here and now a streak of lightening. I hope our poor babies have found a safe place. Fifteen minutes ago the sun came out as bright as could be and then, bam–another storm. I guess it will be like this all day. Stay safe friends.

  9. Oh my, the nest is a shambles, poor Audrey is yapping and trying to get it back together.

    Geri, I know the feeling, I talk to the monitor myself, you gave me a good chuckle too.

  10. Little did we all know that Roger would not only be wet💦💧💦 but would end up flat on his face on the dock when the storm was done😢At least the nest stayed up and the pole and Audrey and Tom were safe🤡🤡and blah blah. Adios moe

  11. Earlier this morning Tom & Audrey were rearranging all on the nest. So cute when they look at each other. Audrey yapping a little but not over demanding like normal.

  12. Very very cool and blustery here on Long Island, and it doesn’t look much nicer on the nest. Just watched Audrey ‘blowing in the wind.’ The beautiful nest is not so beautiful after the storm, and it needs some rapid repair. I am glad to see the pine branch(es) survived, and the green and pink ribboned twigs are still on the nest. We need some sun and warmth, and I understand that it’s on the way. Until then, Audrey and Tom will have to do the best they can.

  13. Hopefully, something can be done about adjusting the out-of-sync times on the IR. It stays on too long in the mornings, and doesn’t come on soon enough at night. Looking forward to the (rumored!) new blog on Sunday. Mrs. COM takes amazing pictures which give us a fuller picture of Audrey and Tom’s lives! Thank you COF, for all you do!

  14. Nest looks pretty now with the team players in this osprey show sound asleep with the wind blowing and infrared working😇🌈🌈. Another day closer to eggs in the weaved basket💝✅✅ Adios moe and I also hope for Mrs.Com pictures in and around the nest and her humor once again in her storytelling of their daily lives-Roger also!

    • Noticed Tom went on a morning hunt and returned by jumping on top of Audrey’s back. Atta’ boy, hard at work in all aspects! : ) Audrey yapped with glee!

  15. Where is everyone Audrey is wondering as she sits alone now on the nest on this beautiful Chesapeake Bay day-another day in paradise for them🌈🌈 and for us osprey viewers doing what we love to do❤️❤️ Watch them and their view😜😜. Adios moe

  16. 3:15pm – hello everybirdie. Audrey on the helm. Nest is nice and dry. Lots of rock and roll hoochie koo still going with these two!!! Audrey in quiet mode for now. Nice day in Maryland. Be well all.
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

  17. It is just shy of 2pm at the secret location. Nice, breezy day and a very shiny (what looks like blue mylar) object de art is on the nest. Audrey in silent mode, on one leg, and catching her cat naps. Sounds like a good idea!
    The nest appears to have a great base, and they just need to (re)build up the sides! Have a great afternoon all.
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

    • Audrey probably needs a nap — or maybe she wants Tom to think she has a headache so he’ll leave her alone!! LOL Tom seemed to have a case of spring fever this morning………

  18. Hey nobody around here and nobody at the nest🤗😆🐣would think less than 2 weeks for the eggs😇I will wait if I have to 😜I never had any question as to the building a beauty of a osprey nest bowl for the 2017 season😍😍I wonder if Mr. Roger will wear shorts or pants or a bathing suit for this season and we will have to wait for a new blog from Mrs. COM😮🤗😆👌👍🌈

  19. camera showing video from several weeks ago this morning. (8:15 a.m.- 4/12/17) Is anyone else having this problem?

  20. Morning…FB posting from Chesapeake Conservancy says they are working on the live stream video problem, that was yesterday. Just tuned in and not fixed yet…

    Deborah, from Philadelphia.

    • We experienced the same thing with the peregrine falcon camera a week or so ago. Hoping we don’t miss any “milestone” events during theses rather extended outages!

    • WE ARE BLESSED! In more ways than one today, our Queen Audrey and her handsome hubby Major Tom have started their little family! So eggciting!!! 🐣 and a huge THANK YOU to everyone who got the CAM back up and running again. Have a wonderful day!
      🐥💕🐥
      COF~~DTF (crazy osprey fan, dream to fly)

  21. Major Tom just delivered a whale of a lunch for written Audrey! Didn’t take her but a sec to fly off with it. 🐳🐋. He is SUPER TOM The bestest! Fisherbird ever! Have a great day everyone! 🐥💕🐥🐣

  22. VERY COOL WEATHER, NEST LOOKS COMFY~~~AND SOFT ~~~THANKS FOR EVERYTHING MAKING THIS POSSIBLE FOR US TO SEE AND CHAT ~~~

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