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:
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.
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:
The lazy, hazy days of summer were upon us in July:
Tom continued to bring home the bacon (fish bacon):
Tom wasn’t the only one fishing around the nest:
Despite not having any chicks to raise, Tom and Audrey continued to enjoy their summer digs:
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.
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:
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:
Thanks for indulging me on the icy swan photos!
A winter sunrise at the secret location:
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.
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:
The ice finally broke up, and the swans were happy to be able to fly and swim, without having to waddle:
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:
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:
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:
I will leave you with three spectacular sunrises at the secret location:
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!