Out With The Old, In With The New

Good afternoon from the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland!  This is your long lost friend, Mrs. COM, back in blog writing mode.  It’s been a while since I checked in with you, but I am back!  The loss of our eggs to the crows last year put me in an osprey funk, and I apologize for my lack of communication.  There is a beehive of activity out on the dock and in the yard today, so I am energized and ready to go for 2018, our sixth season with the Chesapeake Conservancy, second season with Explore and our sixteenth year of having our camera up.  So without further adieu, here we go for 2018!  Welcome back!

As I sit here and write, Crazy Osprey Man and Jessie, our electrician, are out back busily running new cable to support the new and improved camera that will be going in this week.  More about that in the next blog.  In the meantime, I thought I would start off this season with some photos from last season and this winter.

When I last wrote, Tom and Audrey were empty nesters in the true sense.  After the loss of their eggs in May, just before they were due to hatch, they spent a lot of time together for the rest of the season.  Here they are on COM’s boat lift deciding what to do for the rest of the day:


Do you think COM will be mad if we both poop on his boat?


After the weather warmed up in the spring, Tom decided to live up to his fishin’ fool reputation, and continued to provide fish for Audrey the rest of the season.


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Tom in the scraggly stick tree one house to the north of us. He was working on a good size fish


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Another catch on a different day. You can really see the difference in the tails of these two fish


There was a little bit of excitement in June, when a yellow bag became stuck in the nest.  To the best of our observation, it looked like a bag that used to contain produce, like onions or citrus:


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Flying the yellow flag. Looks a little windy at the secret location!


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Look, dear, the interior decorator was here while we were gone!


The lazy, hazy days of summer were upon us in July:



Happy 4th of July!


Tom continued to bring home the bacon (fish bacon):


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Dinner is served


Tom wasn’t the only one fishing around the nest:



An Eastern Shore waterman crabbing at sunrise not too far from the nest


Despite not having any chicks to raise, Tom and Audrey continued to enjoy their summer digs:


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A peaceful summer day at the nest


The summer slipped away into autumn.  Tom and Audrey left their summer home enroute to warmer winter climes.  We were quite worried about their well-being when a hurricane came sweeping through their migration path in September.  No way to predict their fate while flying through the tempest, we will just have to wait a couple more weeks to see if they return safely.  With autumn and the departure of our feathered friends, it was time to take the camera down from the pole so it could spend the winter on the dock spying on our tundra swans.



COM and our friend Peter from the Chesapeake Conservancy take the gigantic step ladder out to the pole


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This looks like a good spot


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Well, maybe not. This looks better


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What do you have down your pants, COM?


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COM must have found what he was looking for in his waders, and up the ladder he goes. COM goes up, nest comes down!


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Bye, nest!


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All that work, sorry Tom and Audrey


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One of COM’s pieces of construction tape is still visible floating off


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COM is still fascinated by something in his waders


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Now the camera and mount have to come down



After a slow, steady trip down the ladder, COM passes the camera off to Peter



The junction box for the camera wiring needs to come inside for the winter



COM carefully unhooks all of the wires



With all of the technical equipment detached, the slow wade back to the dock begins



This is a good close-up of the camera encased in the highly technical K-Mart trash can cover. The infra red light source is to the left of the camera mounted to the support


With the camera successfully down from the nest pole, now the long wait for Spring had officially begun.  COM installed the camera on the dock so our viewers could enjoy the tundra swans that visit us every winter. These lovely birds show up in November, and leave around St. Patrick’s Day.  We host a flock of forty to sixty swans each winter, with more stopping by during spring migration to the north.  If you take a look at the calendar, our swans will be leaving us very shortly. We will miss their grace and beauty, but maybe not their raucous noise!

January was an extremely cold month for the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  The Chesapeake Bay was almost frozen over, which does not happen very often.  Icebreakers were brought in to keep some of the major channels open into Baltimore and Annapolis.  Here at the secret location, the swans and geese adjusted to a different surface, especially when COM was feeding them.  Here are a series of photos depicting some icy winter scenes:





The ice did a number on our pole. It is bent, and not just leaning, so will need to be replaced. The swans seem nonplussed with the ice.



The swans seemed to be able to find the little bits of open water so they could still go for a swim.



I like the reflections of the swans in the icy water


Sometimes I just can’t decide which photos to put in the blog, so I decided to put in a few extra.  Hope you don’t get bored with all of the icy swan photos:



This photo is really cool! The reflections of the swans make it look like they have really long legs.  This is one of my favorite swan photos.



Check out the tracks in the slushy ice (and of course the reflections)



The grey necked swans are the juveniles (more cool reflections)


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The tide is coming in, and the ice is breaking up. Aren’t the swans beautiful?



Last icy swan photo (for now!)


Thanks for indulging me on the icy swan photos!


A winter sunrise at the secret location:



The sun hasn’t broken the horizon yet



Here comes the sun, little darling (with apologies to the Beatles)



The swans are a little closer to getting their morning rations. Mrs. COM is out with her camera bright and early. COM won’t be too far behind with the corn


We have seen lots of bald eagles around the neighborhood this winter, to include adults and juveniles.  This is the first time I have seen two juveniles together at the same time.  I apologize in advance for the terrible quality of this photo, but it was a dreary day with really poor lighting.



Two juvenile bald eagles in the big tree two houses to the north of us


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Time to go, says the juvie eagle


The Canada goose population here at the secret location was quite large this year.  In the next couple of photos, the swans and geese share a peaceful coexistence:



Swans and geese share a little patch of open water on a cold, snowy day



Find the goose standing on one leg (this is an easy one)


The ice finally broke up, and the swans were happy to be able to fly and swim, without having to waddle:


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Ah, open water as far as the eye can see, think the swans


The juvenile swans with their grey heads and necks are quite prominent in this next photo.  Look closely and see if you can spot one of the swans taking a chunk out of one of his buddies:


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Find the mean swan in this photo


You may have heard about the big wind storm that occurred on the East Coast last Friday, March 2, 2018, and quite a storm it was.  The northwest winds were gusting to almost seventy miles per hour here at the secret location.  The combination of the severe winds, coupled by a full moon with accompanying tides, caused extremely low water in the bay.  Here are some photos at the secret location:


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Our dock, where Roger will be residing very soon. Our boats are put away for the winter, much to COM’s chagrin. Check out the crab pots which have blown off the dock. This view is looking to the northeast from our back yard


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This is the infamous scraggly stick tree one house to the north of us. The view is to the northeast


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This is the really big tree two houses to the north of us, where our ospreys love to hang out


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Another view to the north. Where has all the water gone, long time passing? (apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary)


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The docks are high and dry.



A view to the north along the rip-rap. There will be no fishing today!


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No waders needed today to work on the pole!


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One of my favorite phenomena, the sparklies (my word), are quite visible in this photo


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A view to the south along the rip-rap. You can see the typical water line on the rocks


COM still fed the swans when the water was blown out of the bay.  We don’t purposefully feed the geese, but there is no way to keep them away.  You can see the corn on the exposed bottom in this photo:


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Swans and geese share a morning snack, compliments of the Crazy Osprey Family


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Just a group of waddling swans


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The four geese in the front of the photo look like they are running to catch a bus!


I will leave you with three spectacular sunrises at the secret location:


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The sky looks like it is on fire



Winter sunrise at the secret location


Winter sunrise with swans

A bucolic winter morning


So that’s it for the first blog of 2018.  I know there weren’t many osprey photos this time, but I hope you enjoyed some of the happenings around the secret location in the winter.  Stay tuned for the next blog, which will be out shortly to chronicle what goes on behind the scenes to get ready for the return of Tom and Audrey.

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!


















74 thoughts on “Out With The Old, In With The New

  1. Thank you so much for your beautiful pictures, there will never be too many! The sunsets and sunrises just astound, no words can describe. We have a pair of bald eagles nesting in the nearby SanBernardino Mountains here in So. California. Looking forward to our ospreys this year, although my daughter doesn’t understand since I have a tender heart and can’t stand the bad things that happen. Circle of life. Looking forward to your next blog, Arlys Veen


    • Thanks so much, so glad you enjoy our blogs and camera. All of the photos are of sunrises, our water view is to the east. Here’s to a successful osprey season! Mrs. COM

  2. Thank you from down in New Zealand. I especially love the pics of the swans. Am looking forward to the coming season. Hopefully successful for the Ospreys

  3. Fantastic photos. I’m so glad you’re back with the blog. I had no idea the nest was so huge. What a job it is to take it down. Thank you and Mr. COM for all you do so that we can enjoy another osprey season.

  4. Good Morning: I just left a note, but it didn’t post so I’ll try again. Mrs. COM I am so glad you are back with the blog. Your photos are fantastic. Thank you and Mr. COM for all the work you do so that we can enjoy another season of Tom and Audrey.

  5. Yay! You are back. We missed you and love your fabulous photos. Thank you very much. Anxiously waiting for Tom and Audrey.

    • Hi, Sallie! Yes, I am back! Can’t get rid of me that easily. Stay tuned for more photos and hopefully a safe 2018 osprey season for all of our feathered friends. Mrs. COM

  6. Thank you! So nice to hear from you again Mrs Com!!! Our ospreys returned this past week end, Audrey & Tom can’t be far from making their appearance. Many thanks for all you and family do throughout the year … years!

  7. Thank you thank you thank you COM—–I love the photos and almost forgot that spring was coming!


    *Jane Chambers* American Association of Physics Teachers Sr. Publications Editor 1 Physics Ellipse College Park, MD 20740

    301-209-3342 301-209-0845 (fax) jchamber@aapt.org http://www.aapt.org

    On Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 12:05 AM, Osprey Camera Blog wrote:

    > ospreycam posted: “Good afternoon from the beautiful Eastern Shore of > Maryland! This is your long lost friend, Mrs. COM, back in blog writing > mode. It’s been a while since I checked in with you, but I am back! The > loss of our eggs to the crows last year put me in an ospr” >

  8. Thank you for that! Great pictures, and happy to know your all well after that storm. Thank you so much for sharing “your nest” and humor with us.

  9. Dear Mrs. COM, I’m so glad to hear from you again. I was worried something happened. I, too, was distressed when the crows did their thing last May. I love forbids though. Their intelligence is remarkable.

    Anyway, you made my day here in California by starting your 2018 blog. Here’s hopefully for a successful Osprey season.

    Donna and the poodles MACH3 Marweg Silver Bentley, MXC, MJC, NF, BN, RE, CGC, ThD, UR01, NW1, TKN, CGCA Memories Lyca Frankie, BN, MX, MXJ, RE, XF, CGC, T2B, NW2, TKN, CGCA

    Sent from my iPad


  10. Greetings from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Your photos were beautiful! I so look forward to Audrey and Tom returning. Thank you and COM for the hard work involved so that we can enjoy the exciting events to come this spring.

    • Hi, there! Happy to be back, and hoping for a peaceful 2018 season! Poles were supposed to go in today, but the water was too high. One of my neighbors had an osprey on her platform today, so we are hoping to get the poles in as soon as possible. Thanks for the comment! Mrs. COM

  11. Hello Mrs. COM and COF … welcome back… so good to hear from you again. Thank you for the photos of the beautiful swans and the icy winter waters and then NO waters after this last storm. We will all breathe easier when we see that Audrey and Tom have returned safely to their nest. Can’t say that I’m thrilled to learn that there are a lot of eagles in the neighborhood. Yes, they’re regal and beautiful, but maybe not as next door neighbors.

    • The photos are fantastic! I am so glad you are back with the blog. Thank you and Mr. COM for all the work you do so that we can enjoy the antics of Tom and Audrey.

    • This is the fourth time I’ve tried posting, but the posts don’t show up. One more time. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. COM for all the work you do so that we can

      • Well that one posted and I hadn’t finished the sentence–“so that we can enjoy the antics of Tom and Audrey.” I’d better strop while I’m ahead.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photos and the cam. I couldn’t believe how much the water had receded and shocked to see the pole in the sand with no water. Hope this season will be a great one for Tom and Audrey. So sad last year. Looking forward to a new season.

  13. Pingback: Out With The Old, In With The New — Osprey Camera Blog – Kayaking Delmarva

  14. Loved your article and pictures I just shared it to our blog, hope you don’t mind. We just returned from Belize and Guatemala where we saw many Osprey in their winter home. Can’t wait until they return to DELMARVA.

  15. Thanks Mrs. COM for the latest blog! It’s so good to hear from you again. Like others, I too was worried when the blogs stopped. Last season was really hard to watch and seeing Tom and Audrey hanging out on the nest looking so lost brought tears to my eyes. But such is nature and on we go so grateful for this glimpse into the wonderful home that you have provided for them. Your pictures are breathtaking; please know there are never too many!! Your posts are witty and intelligent and full of so much information. I was born and grew up in Harford County but transplanted to Colorado many years ago. I do miss the greenery but not the humidity and heat!!! Love to go back to visit though and can almost smell the water through your camera!! Can’t wait until Tom and Audrey return! Thanks again for all of the time you put into keeping us up to date!

  16. Ola and you know how much each of us have loved Mr. Roger the protector of the nest and what might be the name of the new protector to keep the crows away??? Ok folks lets drum up some new clothes for the 2018 season ! I can’t wait to see how really close up and personal the view into the nest will be with the new camera ! And yes Mrs. COM your devotion is the best for this nest by way of photograph taking and Mr. COM you continue to be the mastermind of the back of the scenes of the electronic world etc. and Crazy Osprey Girl you are appreciated too. The main osprey couple in this show hopefully will be who I usually call Queen Audrey and Major Tom!! and with many sparrows downstairs keeping up with the chitter chatter of this whole experience of 2018.!! And may the countdown begin!! adios moe from cape cod

  17. Fantastic! Blog and beautiful pictures Great to hear from you..Wishing for a great season this year with the safe return of our lovely ospreys Thanks for all your hard work you do each year to share the cam with all of us

  18. WOW! Check out the new camera and platform just waiting for the nest building to begin. We won’t miss a beat this season. Thank you so much COM family.

    • You can thank COM and the explore folks for the new camera and pole. It was not an easy task in the cold wind, so he is very relieved everything is in place. Come on, ospreys! Mrs. COM

  19. A thousand thank yous for the blog & marvelous pics. Have really enjoyed being able to watch the swans this season. I’ve been watching the osprey since the days of Ozzie. Glad to see the nest base is up & looking forward to the homecoming, building & filling with new little ones. Maybe a housewarming gift could be added before Audrey arrives…. a stick with a colored tie.

  20. Hi, Suzie! Welcome back to Season Six! You are one of the original viewer/readers and so glad you are still with us. I am sure there will be some housewarming gifts coming up, but I will relay your request to COM. Thanks for the shout-out. Mrs. COM

    • Mrs Com, thanks for the beautiful pictures , blog and giving us a view into what you see. Thanks for all you and COF do, and hoping for a great year for our Osprey. I think we all suffered some heartache after last year. We can learn from the Osprey’s resilience.

  21. and the excitement this pm. of an osprey on the new platform and the closeups with the new camera are the best! and let the osprey games begin!!! and you know how I feel about Audrey and Tom and the COF!!

  22. Here’s hoping for a good osprey season! We are due for a really good one. Now, if we can just keep the crows and owls away! Thanks for your comment and watching our camera! Mrs. COM

    • So wonderful to see a beautiful Osprey on the nest again! It does look just like Audrey…I remember last year she sat there and did not attempt to bring sticks etc…waiting for Tom❤️🌈

  23. What a treat to be able to sit here and watch Tom build the nest. It’s so close, I feel I want to reach out and help him move a couple sticks!

    • He’s not doing much building today! Saw one osprey out fishing a little while ago, and one flew through the yard this morning. Other than that, they are hiding out somewhere. So glad you are enjoying the new camera! Mrs. COM

    • I agree! Thank you Osprey family for the beautiful zoom outs yesterday. It was truly lovely to see Tom and Audrey sitting together in the big tree. Such a different and new vantage point! Beautiful day today here in Philadelphia.

      • Sorry for the late reply, Spring Girl. The new camera is quite spectacular! We are enjoying it as much as everyone else. COM is having fun moving the camera around so everyone can see what is going on around the nest. So glad you are enjoying it. Mrs. COM

  24. I feel like I am missing the most recent Blog post…can someone tell me the date of the most recent…or perhaps link it? When I click on “blog”, I don’t think it’s taking me to the most recent, as I no longer see photos that I thought had been posted here.

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