Mr. Murphy Comes To Call

Good evening from the damp Eastern Shore of Maryland!  There has been quite a bit of excitement here at the secret location since my last blog was published. On April 11, the camera stopped working, and the malfunction couldn’t have come at a worse time.  We were waiting and watching for Audrey to lay her first egg, and certainly did not need Mr. Murphy hanging around ruining the view! Bright and early on the morning of April 13, I noticed that Audrey was hunkered down in her incubating position, and felt quite certain that an egg had been laid the night before.  The Explore folks had exhausted all their avenues to fix the camera, so a decision was made to have a local technician here in Maryland come out to take a look.  In preparation for a possible repair and rewiring of the system, COM obtained the necessary cable and had it all laid out in the yard ready for a repair.  He was not looking forward to bothering our osprey couple during the potentially critical egg laying time, but was prepared for any eventuality.  When the technician arrived, it didn’t take him very long to figure out that the problem was a loose wire inside our house, and not the camera.  A big shout out and many thanks to our technician extraordinaire, Brian Slota from Atlantic Control Technologies, who was able to quickly diagnose our problem and get the camera up and running in no time.  After Brian left, we told Mr. Murphy (in no uncertain terms) to get lost, and hopefully he will not be returning again this season!

As I am sure you have all noticed by now, there are three beautiful eggs being quietly incubated by Tom and Audrey.  The eggs were laid on April 12, 15 and 18, three days apart as expected and on Audrey’s typical schedule.  The one year she laid four eggs, the fourth one came a few days after the third, but did not hatch.  I am very excited and happy to have three eggs, and actually hope not to have another one.  Have you noticed that Tom loves to sit on those eggs?  Sometimes Audrey has a hard time getting him to leave!

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Tom is enjoying his incubation duties.

 

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Audrey’s break time is over and she returns to the nest. Tom is willing to give her another 15 minutes of breaktime.

 

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Tom is having a friend distract Audrey so he can remain on the eggs a little longer

 

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Audrey is on to Tom’s tricks, and tells him to get moving.

 

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Tom takes off, counting the minutes until he can come back and incubate the eggs again.

 

I am a regular lurker on the Explore comment section of the camera, and have been monitoring the comments and discourse that takes place.  A recurring area of concern seems to be the nest size, with many of you expressing worries that our nest is too small. To allay your fears, we have had the same size nest platform since our pole went up in 1995.  The platform is 24 x 24 inches, and the dimensions have remained the same for 22 years. Our osprey pairs have always successfully raised their families in the nest on top of that size platform.  We have lost chicks two times in those 22 years.  The first time was before we had the camera when two of the chicks became tangled up in fishing line brought back to the nest by Audrey, possibly having been attached to a fish that was caught.  You can read all the details of that incident in the blog that was published July 18, 2013, titled “Rescue At Sea #2-From The Annals of Crazy Osprey Man”.  That year, there were three chicks in the nest, and at the time of the incident, only one had fledged.  One remained in the nest, we were able to rescue one from the water, and the third drowned before COM was able to get out in the water and save it.  The only other time we have lost a chick was last season, when a Great Horned Owl attacked the nest at night.  The owl blindsided Audrey and knocked her out of the nest.  During the attack, one of the chicks was either grabbed by the owl or was also knocked out of the nest with Audrey.  One chick was not hurt, but the remaining unhatched egg was also damaged and did not hatch.  So we have never lost a chick due to the nest size.  Now, I am not saying the nest won’t get crowded at times, but relax, all you nest worriers, the nest is big enough for Tom, Audrey and the chicks-to-be!  Tom and Audrey will continue to add to the nest with sticks, grass (no moss in this nest) and other paraphrenalia, and it will be comfy-cozy for the entire osprey family.

 

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July 2015. In the nest you will see Tom, Audrey, Maine, Montana and a newly arrived juvenile from who knows where, E.T.  This was E.T.’s first day in his new digs. The whole family is perplexed, even E.T.   As you can see, there is plenty of room for all (same size platform as this year)

 

Another area of concern seems to be the lack of perches at the nest.  I wish I could take you all on a little magic carpet ride to see the lovely area surrounding the nest.  Natural and man made perches abound!  As the season goes on, I am sure there will be many photographs posted in my blogs of our osprey friends perching in and around the nest. Here are some of the places Tom and Audrey can be found perching.  When our chicks-to-be fledge, they will use some of the same haunts, and probably find some of their own. Some of the more common places Tom and Audrey like to perch when not visible on the camera are quite close to the nest, some are a little further away.  Here are some of the places our ospreys can be found on a regular basis.

 

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Tom sitting on top of the camera. He likes this perch. When he is up there, you cannot see him, but can usually hear his talons scratching away on the camera cover.  This photo was taken a couple of evenings ago when the sun was almost down

 

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This photo was taken last season of Tom on the camera, Audrey at the ready and chick checking out the world.  Mrs. COM must have been standing on one foot and drinking a glass of wine when she took this photo

 

Another perch used by Tom and Audrey is in the nest, but sometimes it is not visible in the camera view.

 

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There are two of these nest supports which may be used as perches. Tom is hanging out on one in this photo, and you can clearly see the other one to the right.

 

The house immediately next door to us to the south has a dock that is not used very frequently.  Both and Tom and Audrey like to sit on the pilings and enjoy a fish meal.

 

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Audrey is enjoying her sloppy seconds on the dock just to the south of us. Notice the yellowish, deeply notched tail on what remains of this fish. These characteristics are indicative of a menhaden, the most common fish eaten by our Chesapeake ospreys.

 

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Tom and Audrey on the dock immediately to the south of us. There are clam shells all over the dock, left there by the gulls who like to eat clams. There is also a substantial amount of bird poop on this dock, giving a new meaning to the term “poop deck”.

 

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Squawking Tom emulating Squawking Audrey in full voice. Stay away from my fish, you crazy photo taking woman! This photo is from last season, before the poop deck was cleaned. Nasty!

 

Another favorite perch is the swim ladder on the dock two houses to the south of us.  Our neighbors who own that house just purchased a new boat, and our ospreys have taken to sitting on top of it, much to our neighbor’s chagrin.  I will try to get a couple of photos when I see someone out there.

 

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Tom and Audrey together on the swim ladder at the dock two houses to the south of us.

 

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Tom enjoying a sunny day on the swim ladder

 

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This is another photo from last year showing a lovely little family getaway. This was as close as I could get with all three remaining in place.

 

Tom and Audrey spend a fair amount of time on various locations on our dock.

 

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Here is Audrey on the boat lift. It’s not so bad when the boat isn’t in the lift (like now), but COM does not appreciate little osprey gifts (you know what I mean) when the boat is in the lift. These gifts are especially apparent when the dark green boat cover is in direct line with the gift givers. SPLAT!

 

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Look, ma, I can stand on one foot!

 

 

Another favorite spot is on the end of the dock, quite close to the nest pole.

 

 

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Here is Tom on the electric box at the end of our dock. Many bloody messes have been made on top of this box. Good for the osprey, bad for the fish.

 

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This is how close the electrical box is to Roger, who is missing his lovely fedora after the big blow a couple weeks ago. We have the new hat, it just hasn’t made its way to Roger’s “head”

 

The ospreys use the electrical box to enjoy their fish meals.  And you know what sometimes happens after ospreys eat (the next photo is dedicated to COM, who really enjoys when I post these specialized action shots)

 

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Al least he is pointed away from Roger!

 

Tom has had quite enough of Mrs. COM and that ever-present camera.

 

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I think it’s time to go…………………

 

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Might as well wash off my feet while I am here

 

The weird looking metal contraption in the above photos is all that remains of COM’s floating dock ramp.  Many years ago, we had a floating dock at the end of the permanent dock.  COM invented and built a ramp out of an old sailboat mast and some small pieces of dock wood.  The ramp could be raised and lowered as needed by the pulley system you see in the photo.  The floating dock and ramp are long gone, but the pulley system remains and is used as a perch by our ospreys.

 

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Audrey on the conveniently located perch.

 

Moving to the north, there are a few well-used perches.

 

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Looking north from our backyard. The closest tree, known as “the scraggly stick tree”, is in the yard directly to the north of us (next door). We refer to the furthest large tree as “the big tree two doors to the north of us”, another frequent hang-out. If you look closely, you can see another osprey nest on a pole in the water to the right of the big tree. The dock with the black boat is another frequent stop.

 

For those of you who have been with us for many years, you know I will frequently refer to the scraggly stick tree.  This tree is right next door to us to the north, and is right along the rip-rap.  It is one of the most favorite perches used by all of our ospreys, and you will see many photos taken in that tree.  The tree received its moniker because Audrey will frequently make fly-bys and break sticks right off the tree, and immediately take them to the nest without any stops.

 

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Audrey in the scraggly stick tree one house to the north of us. You can see some of the broken ends of branches where Audrey has harvested nest sticks.

 

On further observation, Audrey is not alone in the scraggly stick tree.

 

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Two’s company, five’s a crowd! Hungry crows hoping for a hand-out.

 

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Tom in the scraggly stick tree, showing off on one foot

 

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Audrey in the scraggly stick tree

 

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Audrey fending off an intruder from the scraggly stick tree

 

 

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A photo from last summer after Chessie had just fledged, showing his first stop. This is what the big tree two houses to the north of us will look like when it is leafed out.

 

Other neighborhood birds also like the big tree.

 

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A regal bald eagle enjoying the view from the top of the big tree in early fall 2016 after our ospreys had left for their winter digs.

 

So as you can see, there are many, many perches in very close proximity to our nest.  There are plenty to go around, providing a variety of options for our feathered friends.  When our chicks fledge, COM will put out two or three perches right next to the nest for the newly flying youngsters.

 

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A previous photo of the perches COM will install when the chicks start to fledge

 

Here are some other recently taken photos that you might enjoy.  In the first one, Audrey is returning to the nest.

 

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Coming in for a landing

 

Tom notices that Audrey is back in residence, and decides to visit for a little afternoon delight.

 

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A quick pick-me-up

 

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This won’t take long, I’ll be out of your hair (read feathers) in a jiffy

 

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See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!

 

I am not sure who Audrey is mantling for in this photo, so I guess it must be me!  I also like this photo because you can see Tom’s buff head.

 

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Get away from my fish, Mrs. COM and go get your own!

 

Roger doing the funky chicken (maybe funky osprey?)

 

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A cool dance move by Roger

 

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A great view of our downstairs tenants (on the right below the nest platform)

 

Some good news this season is that both Tom and Audrey seem to be tolerating my presence with the camera much better than in years past.  Our dear friend and osprey expert Dr. Paul Spitzer suggested that COM and I talk to our ospreys to get them used to us.  I have been sweet talking them and calling to them at every opportunity, and I am seeing a difference in how long they will tolerate me stalking them before they fly off.  We will see how long their benevolence lasts, but this may turn out to be a great photo-taking season.

 

One last observation before we end for today.  There have been observations and comments galore about “the stick”, the one that has seemingly been in the way for a couple of weeks.  Intervention is not an option for this stick, which was placed there by our ospreys and is part of nature.  Tom and Audrey will figure it out, and all will be well.

 

That’s it for today!  Until next time, we remain-

Crazy Osprey Man (COM), Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man (Mrs. COM) 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

103 thoughts on “Mr. Murphy Comes To Call

  1. Tom and Audrey are hunkering down with the wind on their backs, it’s a mighty blow tonight. It’s good to see him on the perch next to her once again. He needs to start bringing home the bacon (fish) again, he’s been slacking off. Hopefully they’ll have a heart to heart talk and sort things out before tomorrow. Night!

  2. At this time there is time for sleep for both Queen Audrey and Major Tom on their nest😇 A beauty of a sight for sure-protection of the three golden eggs-all each of us can do is to believe that each egg will become after the recent crow fiasco🎥 At their nest at the secret location each year they promise to give all of us viewers the time of our lives as we wait and see each season unfold so up close and personal🤗🤗 well rest up kids as daybreak is in a few hours and many more viewers from all over the world will be watching,rewinding and blah blah trying to figure out how u osprey think and act right before our eyes 👀😜And this second lt seems to be well in ospreyland on the Chesapeake Bay🌈🌈who ever said this 2017 season would be easy to experience ? Adios. Moe from cape cod awake for a few👍😜

    • Storms here in MD woke me up so i decided to check on our osprey couple……Unfortunately, camera seems to be down yet again!

  3. Rocking and rolling in the nest with that wind and camera and rain playing games with my mind☁️🌬🌧💨💦💧I am so glad Audrey and Tom seemed to rest a lot last night. We all knew this weather action was to be and it is here now so be safe you lovely osprey in ospreyland 🌈🌈🌈

  4. Sweet Audrey still sitting on that wet, soggy nest. Can you just imagine how uncomfortable that must be. I know she’s covered with lots of feathers, but the do get wet.

    • She’s going to see these eggs hatch no matter what. Tom is showing up more frequently now. They’re pretty tough birds, and very determined. If they can withstand rain, sleet, snow and wind, they can do anything! Does anyone know when incubation is up? 45 days or longer? Curious me…………

  5. good morning on this windy and rain free day at this time on the nest!! i’ll keep the rain pouring on the cape to keep rain away from the three golden eggs!! i would think less than 2 weeks for a hatch?? enjoy the day and limit the flapping so u stay on the eggs Audrey! adios moe from the cape

  6. I just scanned back on the last 4 hrs that show only Audrey on the nest the entire time with no break, food or visitor other than the downstairs neighbor. Tom has drastically changed his attentiveness toward Audrey.

    • Do you suppose he has found another “wife” who yaps less than Audrey does? It just seems very strange that his behavior has suddenly changed so drastically.

  7. 1:50pm ~ Major Tom will never give up on his fair Audrey!!! Aud is doing her yapping. The nest looks like it is drying out. Still breezy here in central Maryland. Audrey’s head feathers being rustled also. Fear not, doubters – Tom is in it for the long haul!!!
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

  8. During last 4 hrs Tom made a cameo appearance about 3 hrs ago and left within 5 minutes. I think he is a polygamist.

    • I’m beginning to think so, too. He’s definitely not his usual attentive self! From what I’ve been able to find online, although it’s not common, there have been documented instances where one male will be involved with 2 nests. Unfortunately, one nest usually fails. Very disturbing to think this could be happening here.

      • I believe that Audrey is a magnificent mother personified & capable of doing everything by herself just as last year (or the year prior) when she did the initial nest making on her own.

  9. TOM HAS BEHAVED IN THIS MANNER BEFORE ~~~IF I AM WRONG CORRECT ME ~~~HE GETS A LITTLE OUT OF LINE FROM TIME TO TIME ~~~AUD HAS TO KEEP HIM ON HIS TALONS ~~~~SHE TRIES, AND IT WILL BE ALRIGHT ~~~SHE IS A YAPPER ~~~~SOMETIMES HE IS A NAPPER ~~~~PRAYING ALL WILL BE FINE WITH THEM AND THE NEST, AND EGGS ~~~~

    • Not sure if you follow CBC’s Facebook Page, but they posted this a couple days ago: “Tom! What is going on with you lately? We know many of you have been wondering about him, and we have too. Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man just informed us that a little after 7:00 p.m. (5.4.17), Tom landed on the dock next door with a big fish and is having his dinner. But COF agrees, Tom hasn’t quite been himself lately and hasn’t been hanging around in his usual spots.”

      • I am not sure this is Tom. I still don’t see the rusty patch on the back of his head. This bird behaves differently and doesn’t look the same. Something is fishy!

    • Kathy, I’m with you. What’s a little mid-season crisis? Men! 😜 He’ll get it together before the chicks’ hatch, and certainly after the 1st one. Keep positive thoughts, y’all!!!

  10. Tom returned to the nest approximately 6PM Sunday evening and perched himself on a post for about 10 minutes….without fish. Audrey took off leaving the eggs / nest, and Tom took off minutes after Audrey left. Audrey returned five minutes later without fish. Tom is no longer sitting on the eggs like he did when they first appeared in the nest. When babies are hatched, things will get very interesting during feed time. Hopefully he’ll kick in and put his daddy pants on once again.

    • mommy and daddy pants are both needed. i still love watching this nest and over the past 22 years there has been productivity at this nest as noted in blog prior!! each season i have watched there has been a rollercoaster of events from rescue of osprey baby,adoption of 2 babies by Audrey and Tom, and eggs being left alone with a positive outcome and blah blah. we all just have to enjoy the ride as it happens!! adios moe from the cape

  11. and a beautiful night and sight to see on the nest now-Queen Audrey seems asleep and her lover is resting to right of her-Major Tom the fishing fool!! one has to have faith in love!!

  12. Devoted Tom still hanging out with Audrey👍Both seem sound asleep and so relaxed😉As I say rest up each of u for the new day ahead😇 Viewers from all around the world want your 2017 love story to blossom into a successful season of young osprey births and the raising up of them also to self surviving adult osprey🌈🙏🏻🙌. Adios wide awake moe from the cape

  13. Another day and still no change. Audrey has been on the nest for the past 4 hours with no break, no food, no visitor (AKA Tom). She has chirped at length several times but no one responds….. probably feels abandoned.

    • You’re so right! The endless yapping seems to have gotten her nothing. Males generally provide food for incubating females, but I can’t remember the last time Tom brought her anything. I did see him there fly in this morning seemingly in response to her calls, but then I was away for awhile, so I don’t know if he stayed and let her go fishing for herself or not.

  14. hey everyone!! i have been a believer and i see Major Tom produced a large fish for supper. Everyone has to have faith in their journey this year. well around the cape the osprey are sitting on the nests finally-eggs later than Chesapeake Bay. Well rest up osprey and i am sure i will check on u in the middle of the night! Go team go!! adios moe from the cape

    • According to Uta, that was the first fish he’s brought her since Friday morning. Hopefully, he’s over whatever was bothering him and will return to being the Tom we all know and love!

  15. My heart just skipped a beat. I checked the nest and it was empty–got a good look at the eggs and then beautiful Audrey flew in and resumed her motherly duties. .

  16. uta posted that u stream live can stream nest also and i have switched to that. looks like another day of sitting and protecting the three golden eggs-the cc site is worth watching the 4 pelegrin falcon chicks get banded today and they are louder yappers than audrey! calm waters at the nest now. the 6 osprey nests we check in osterville all have osprey sitting on them so must have all produced eggs!! adios moe from the cape

    • Tom is on guard tonight — here’s hoping his midlife crisis is over! He also brought Audrey a piece of fish this afternoon, according to Uta’s recent post on FB.

  17. Hoping all is well in the nest. When I looked this morning I had to laugh thinking I love re-runs! Have a great day everyone! Think positive everything will work out doesn’t it always somehow?

    • I’m more optimistic that things will work out with Tom and Audrey than with the camera! This is my 4th season watching this nest and the camera coverage, or lack thereof, is the worst by far.

  18. Hello osprey lovers! This am I was watching Audrey stand up and move some of soft bedding around and seem to place in the bowl area! Amazing how each year she and Tom know what to do when and how to do it automatically! I am sure all will be ready when the three golden eggs hatch!! Enjoy the sunshine and just watching ospreyland! adios moe from the cape

  19. Audrey’s yapping away at 2:30 a.m. and Tom’s trying to sleep on the post. Sounds like a human problem to me! LOL!

  20. Hello, Crazy Osprey Family! First and foremost, accept my deepest sympathy about the sad outcome of the crows’ raid. I can imagine your feelings, since I am a member and moderator on Hog Island’s Opsrey cam community. The nest was raided two years in a row by Bald eagles. We still feel gratitude, that we found consolation and comfort, by following Audrey and Tom’s activities in that special year 2015. Naming one of the foster chicks Maine was a wonderful gesture that we appreciated very much.

    I noticed, that you are not comfortable with the weather forecast, indicated on the nest’s website. We had the same issue on HI’s nest, too, and took it in our own hands. Every morning, I – as Explore’s mod Poppy – post a featured comment on that website, giving general informations, adressing community concerns, stating fish deliveries and finally posting the daily weather report, using Accuweather (http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/bremen-me/04551/daily-weather-forecast/). Since the HI cam is operated by cam-ops and we have wonderful views of the neighborhood, I add the tidal schedule as well. A typical report reads like this: May 9: Today, it will be partly sunny with a shower in places; temp up to max 54 F (56 F last year), 54% possibility of precipitation, sunrise at 5:19 am EDT, sunset at 7:50 pm (duration: 14:31 hours). The wind is coming from SSE with 6 mph (gusts up to 9 mph), calming down to 5 mph (gusts up to 7 mph) coming from WNW during a cloudy night; chance of precipitation 15 % and a low of 38 F (37 F last year). High tide at 11:07 am (9.3 ft.), low tide at 5:13 pm (0.6 ft.).
    It is highly appreciated by the community and can be found in an instant, since it is pinned on top of the chat board. in case you have question, dn’t hesitate t contact me: ipsa59@gmail.com.

    Fingers crossed for egg # 3, although I have my doubts, sadly

  21. What has happened to your nest?☹️

    Sent from myMail for iOS

    Monday, April 24, 2017, 3:40 PM -0400 from Osprey Camera Blog : >ospreycam posted: “Good evening from the damp Eastern Shore of Maryland!  There has been quite a bit of excitement here at the secret location since my last blog was published. On April 11, the camera stopped working, and the malfunction couldn’t have come at a worse time. ” >

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