Royalty In Our Midst

 

In loving memory of the reporters killed on 6/28/2018 in a senseless attack on the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper, Annapolis, Maryland. May freedom of the press never be taken for granted in our country.

Gerald Fischman

Rob Hiaasen

John McNamara

Rebecca Smith

Wendi Winters

May their shining lights never be extinguished. 

 

Good evening from the steamy, hot Eastern Shore of Maryland!  I have had a serious case of writer’s cramp for several weeks, but you will be glad to know I am feeling much better now.  One minute we were waiting for our eggs to hatch, and now we are watching some serious wing flapping and hopping.  Here is a synopsis of the happenings at Tom and Audrey’s nest over the last several weeks, and some lovely photos for your viewing pleasure.

As you are well aware, on May 21 and May 24, our two remaining eggs hatched right on schedule.  Due to the timing of the hatches, our chicks were from the first and second eggs laid.  I know we were all hoping not to have a large age gap between our two chicks, and fortunately, that was exactly what happened.  After not having any chicks hatch last year due to a crow attack on the eggs, and only one surviving chick in 2016 due to a Great Horned Owl attack, there was a huge sigh of relief and lots of big smiles at the secret location, the Chesapeake Conservancy and from our faithful viewers around the world.

Let’s begin your viewing pleasure with a photo we took while out on one of COM’s many watercraft.  There has been a fair amount of discussion over the years as to why we take down the nest every year.  One of the reasons is that our little two inch pole would not be able to support a nest that kept growing and growing every year.  Tom and Audrey don’t seem to mind the nest removal, and build a beautiful new one every year.  Here is what a nest can look like if left to grow year after year.  It is located up a creek not too far from our house, and the photo was taken a couple of days ago.  This nest sure wouldn’t work on our pole!

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Now that’s a lot of sticks! I wonder if some of them have come from the prefab osprey nest materials supplied by the Crazy Osprey Family?

 

After the eggs first hatched, the chicks were visible from the osprey camera, but not from land.  Here is one of the first photos taken when both chicks were visible for my camera:

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One of the first days that two little heads were visible from land

 

You may have noticed a pulley under the nest platform.  This is a new addition to accommodate the logistics of raising and lowering the pole.  It is another one of Crazy Osprey Man’s (COM) cool contraptions.  He is quite the idea man, with the added advantage of being able to personally bring them to fruition.

I do read the blog and explore.org comments with some regularity, particularly to see what types of questions are being posed by our camera watchers.  There is always concern when the chicks are left alone in the nest, particularly when they were younger.  Not to worry, there is always a parent close by.  Tom likes to sit on the top of the camera pole and the cross piece that stabilizes the camera and nest poles.  He is really, really close to the nest action.  Audrey is never far away, usually just taking a little fly around the neighborhood to stretch her wings.  Just earlier this evening with no supervising adults at home, a crow started checking out the nest.  In a split second, both Tom and Audrey were on that crow with a vengeance. The crow, being of sound mind and body, decided it was time to move on and move on it did.

On June 11, there was great excitement at the secret location when Joel Dunn, President and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy, was interviewed on a live television show for Maryland Public Television (MPT).  He appeared on Direct Connection With Jeff Salkin.  The day started out with miserable weather, rainy and windy.  Much to everyone’s relief, by the time of the broadcast the rain had stopped, and the sun was trying come out. If you go to the MPT website https://video.mpt.tv/video/monday-june-11-2018-yey9i9/, you can watch the segment.  The live camera shot was being broadcast, along with Joel answering questions from the moderator and live audience.  The chicks were just laying around, and Audrey was perched on the edge of the nest.  It was not especially interesting to watch until about eleven minutes into the segment, when Tom showed up with a whole fish, right on cue! Take a look, I think you will enjoy it.

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Live from the secret location! Joel Dunn, President and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy, gets ready for his interview on Maryland Public Television.

 

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The cameraman getting focused on the nest.

 

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COM gets in on the action, checking out the equipment

 

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While the humans get ready for the interview, Tom watches the flurry of activity from the scraggly stick tree next door to the north

 

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It takes a large cast of characters to put together a live broadcast. Sure glad our lawn was looking good!

 

As the chicks have grown larger, it has become easier to see them through my camera lens.  Audrey has spent much of her time trying to shield the chicks from the relentless sun.  Tom has been living up to his nickname “Calico Tom, The Fishing Fool”. Here are some photos of what has been going on in our little osprey neighborhood:

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Audrey is multi-tasking, providing shade for her chicks while giving Tom an earful to hurry up with some chow

 

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A quiet moment on a brutally hot day at the secret location. Audrey is a really good mom shading her babies

 

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Tom is once again making a heck of a mess on the electric box at the end of the dock. Roger can’t even look at the bloody mess

 

 

 

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Calico Tom The Fishing Fool is looking really wet and bedraggled, complete with a wonky feather hanging off to the left. He looks kind of embarrassed to be caught in such a state

 

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Tom is on top of the camera pole preening and trying to get dry.  The wonky feather is still visible. Audrey continues her motherly duties, feeding her chicks and ignoring the bedraggled fishing fool

 

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Tom is still drying, Audrey is still feeding the chicks. One is chick is being fed while the other one is checking things out to the left of Audrey.

 

Here is a series of photos precipitated by Mrs. COM’s relentless stalking of poor Tom who is just trying to get a good meal for himself and feed his growing family:

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Mrs. COM spots Tom with his catch

 

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Tom has taken his fish and lands on the dock next door to the south

 

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Mrs. COM is really making me work for it today, thinks Tom as he moves on

 

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Now Tom has landed on our boat lift. You can see the tail of the big fish hanging down under the boat lift beam and in Tom’s talons. He is contemplating his next move and looking rather disgusted with Mrs. COM’s persistence

 

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The Fishing Fool is on the move again. Take a look at that monster fish, and part of it has already been consumed. Mrs. COM takes pity on Tom, and the pursuit ends (for now)

 

I have been amazed at the size of some the fish Tom has caught this season.  He is a fishing machine!

 

The chicks are becoming easier to see from the backyard and dock:

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A typical day at the nest. Tom is surveying his kingdom from the top of the camera pole, Audrey is feeding one of her chicks, and one chick is already in a food coma

 

Another day, another humongous fish caught by Tom:

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Tom is on the electrical box at the end of the dock. The fish has seen better days. Roger remains nonplussed

 

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Go, Tom, go! You can escape from Mrs. COM, just keep flying out over the water with your big, bloody striper!

 

 

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A good example of why this fish’s nickname is a striper (striped bass or rockfish in the Chesapeake). Tom in the scraggly stick tree with his catch

 

And yet another impressive fish snagged by our fishing fool:

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Tom has landed on our boat lift with a whole fish, which was still twitching. I don’t think this is going to turn out well for the fish

 

A short break from osprey and fish for a serene sunrise over the Chesapeake Bay behind our house:

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A bucolic sunrise at the secret location. The watermen get out before sunrise. This is a typical Chesapeake Bay workboat

 

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Close up of the sun’s reflection on the water at sunrise. Spectacular!

 

We have been experiencing some extreme weather conditions with dangerous heat and humidity.  I look out at the nest, and wonder how our birds can endure the relentless conditions:

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Bad hair day for Audrey. One chick is telling the other not to look, Mom is looking pretty scary.

 

Audrey is very attentive to her chicks and their surroundings.  When I approach too closely, she gives the warning call.  When the chicks hear Audrey’s danger voice, they pancake down into the nest with great haste, and are either barely or not at all visible:

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Chick hide-and-seek. Ready or not, here I come! See if you can spot the chicks after Audrey gives the warning call

 

Tom takes his role of provider very seriously:

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Wow, Dad, I want to be like you when I grow up. Meal arriving!

 

Another typical view of the nest from the end of our dock.  The chicks are growing fast:

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Audrey and her rapidly growing family

 

I have posted many photos in this blog of Tom The Fishing Fool and the reasons for his moniker.  Here is my favorite one for this blog:

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A new board on the poop dock next door to us to the south. Tom just can’t believe it’s me again.

 

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Is it my imagination, or is Tom starting to get his calico back? I have managed to chase him off yet again. Look at those beautiful feathers!

 

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Hmmm, I wonder for whom Tom is looking? Could it be that crazy woman with that big black box hanging around her neck?

 

Over the years, there have been many discussions between our neighbors as to the preferred water orientation for our homes in the community.  Some prefer the western view to capture the sunset.  We love our eastern view of the sun and moon rises.  Here is another reason why the eastern orientation gets our vote.  This photo was taken during one of our Full Moon Dock Parties, the hottest invitation in town!

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Moon rise reflection over the water at the secret location. As the moon gets higher in the night sky, the reflection will spread out until the entire surface of the water is glistening in the moonlight. The moon gets so bright, it casts shadows in our backyard. Cast your vote for the eastern orientation!

 

Tom has started spending more time in the big tree two houses to the north of us.  See if you can spot him in this photo:

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Believe me, he is up there! Look way, way up at the tippy top

 

Here is proof that he is really there:

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A closer view of Tom in the big tree. Can you say trespassing?

 

We haven’t heard much about our downstairs neighbors this year.  Our little sparrow family suffered the same fate last year as Tom and Audrey.  Their babies also met their demise by the actions of the dastardly crows.  Here is our entire family and one of the downstairs neighbors enjoying a happier outcome this year:

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Audrey is feeding one of her babies. Tom is surveying his kingdom. See if you can spot the downstairs neighbor

 

Audrey has sounded the alarm that Mrs. COM is approaching:

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The chicks have assumed their pancake poses. The downstairs neighbor has moved to safer grounds just under the nest.

 

Tom has maintained his vantage point on the high ground:

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Tom is on top of the camera pole keeping an eye on things. This is a great view of the camera

 

One brave chick decides if mom and dad can keep an eye on things, so can he (or she):

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One brave chick pops back up with no visible sign of the other one

 

A test of your attention to detail.  What can you see in this photo besides a nest and birds?

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Look closely and carefully now. A hint-check the right side of the nest

 

The second chick is still heeding the danger warning:

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I don’t think she can see me, thinks the pancaked chick. Wrong!

 

This chick is much more timid that its’ sibling:

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Great mother/offspring portrait. The head of the pancaked chick is just visible to the left of the other birds

 

Audrey is having a hard time swallowing something.  Chick #2 is being brave and has popped back up, but is still checking out the person at the end of the dock with the camera.  Chick #1 is checking out something away from the nest:

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What’s wrong, Mom?

 

COM thinks I am disgusting, but I don’t think I was able to capture nature at its’ finest in the last blog:

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A missed opportunity. This image was captured either a split second too early, or a split second too late. I know, TMI

 

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Like mother, like offspring. Maybe this is why Chick #2 had to get up and wasn’t being brave after all!

 

 

Another quick break from birds:

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My butterfly bush, which was a volunteer that sprouted up many years ago from a visiting bird’s calling card. Use your imagine.

 

Audrey is providing some shade, which doesn’t go as far due to the rapidly increasing size of the chicks:

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Someone is looking lovingly at mom, the other one is panting. They are both thinking, “What happened to our mombrella?”. We have had some some horribly hot days of late

 

One last photo of Audrey and her babies for now:

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A very nice photo of mom and her babies. This is one of my favorites in this blog

 

Tom is not physically in the nest very often, but is usually close by.  I was able to get a photo of Tom hanging out in the nest and then deciding it was time to go:

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A candid family portrait, with the kids not cooperating. You can see the very prominent dark areas on the back of their heads.

 

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“I think I see Moby Dick”, thinks Tom. Time to go fishing!

 

The much awaited naming of the chicks was finally announced last week.  A big welcome to Harry and Meghan!  These were my favorite names, so I was happy to hear the results.  Hopefully, we will be able to get the chicks banded in the next few days.  If we need to make an adjustment to accommodate the gender of the chicks, we can always welcome Harriet or Henry!

Harry and Meghan

Do you think we should tell them?

 

I leave you with one more sunrise.  Thanks for being patient with me!

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Sunrise at the secret location. Check out the starboard running light of the little boat in the lower left hand corner of the photo

 

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Maybe not as beautiful as some of the other sunrises I have posted, but it was very dramatic

 

The hour is late with an early wake-up for work looming.  Keep watching Meghan and Harry doing those flap-hops, as I call them, because fledging is not far behind!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37 thoughts on “Royalty In Our Midst

  1. A big wowzer THANK YOU for all the beautiful detail of your photography and especially love and devotion for your favorite Audrey and Tom couple and the new Meghan and Harry ! I never tire of watching this beautiful family. Nice new pulley system Mr.COM. And a shout out to Crazy Osprey Girl and Mr. Roger !! Adios moe from cape cod a loyal follower !!

  2. I so look forward to your blogs!!

    On Wed, Jul 11, 2018 at 2:24 AM, Osprey Camera Blog wrote:

    > ospreycam posted: “Good evening from the steamy, hot Eastern Shore of > Maryland! I have had a serious case of writer’s cramp for several weeks, > but you will be glad to know I am feeling much better now. One minute we > were waiting for our eggs to hatch, and now we are watch” >

  3. Hello Mrs Crazy Osprey and your family,

    As always you delight me with your pictures and your cleverly funny captions. Automatically brings a smile to my face! Thank you for collecting, photographing, then sharing with us…do think all of this belongs in a short story book form. Brings to mind Red Tails in Love which I am sure you have read.

    Debby Meltz otherwise known as Spring Girl…

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  4. FANTASTIC! Thank you Mrs. COM. I love the blog and the photos are so beautiful.. And a special “thank you” for the tribute to the reporters who lost their lives at the Capital newspaper. It’s a tragedy that will never be forgotten.

    • Hi, Nancy! We are very happy that you are enjoying the ospreycam and blogs. We will never forget our reporters, and the freedom of the press that we are so fortunate to enjoy in our country. Mrs. COM

  5. I am so glad the writer’s cramp has passed and another fantastic blog has been posted. Thank you Mrs. COM. P.S. I do miss ‘the old blog community’. There were such loving, creative, and funny posts!

    • Hi, Rebecca! That writer’s cramp can be quite painful! Back in the saddle again, with another blog coming very soon. I think many of our commenters have gone over to the explore site. I do miss all of the comments as you do. Glad you are enjoying the ospreycam and blogs. Mrs. COM

  6. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE AWESOME BLOG, AND PHOTOS ~~~~THEY ARE FAB, AS ALWAYS. BLESSED TO HAVE TOM AND AUD AND THESE BEAUTIFUL CHICKS THIS YEAR~~~THANKS FOR EVERYTHING YOU’LL DO TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN ~~~~

  7. Hello and thank you Mrs. COM. What a joy to be able to share in what has been a very happy season thusfar with Tom and Audrey and their beautiful family. I love your words, I love your photos – even your TMI photos. xoxo

  8. Pingback: a year in the life of ospreys – swordwhale

  9. Wow, great insights into the daily lives of Tom and Audrey, and what it takes to capture their experiences. Those of us watching online appreciate the dedication and hard/fun work put into the cam, the nest and the blog. I kayak Eastern Neck, Rock Hall and the Sassafras as often as I can (I live in York County PA), and see lots of ospreys everywhere, including one on Lake Marburg in Codorus State Park, close to home and a favorite paddling spot. The Codorus eagles suffered epic fail this year, so I found the osprey cam, whoot! Every time I see or photograph the nest at Marburg (it’s buoyed off, so you need a zoom), I imagine the size of the (mostly unseen) chicks based on Audrey and Tom. Shared with enthusiasm, carry on!

  10. When I saw the heading for this blog, I wasn’t quite sure what Royals were being referred to. And of course, Harry and Meghan. How much fun! Thank you for sharing your pictures and prose of this lovely osprey family. It’s been wonderful watching them grow.

    • Hi, Pa Gal! I love the names that were chosen for our chicks this year. They were my favorite, and I am happy they were voted in! Thanks so much for enjoying the camera and blogs! Mrs. COM

  11. Wonderful blog and fantastic photos Mrs. COM. Thank you for your dedication to the Capital Gazette Newspaper.
    I couldn’t make out what else was in the photo with the birds and the nest, I could see the pulley, but I don’t think that’s what I’m looking for? What could it be?

    • Hi, Lillie-bug! Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. One of COM’s marked sticks was just visible in that photo, long buried. Very happy you are enjoying the camera and blogs. I have been a subscriber to the Capital for almost 30 years, and was so horrified and saddened about the carnage that took place there. Let us never forget the freedom of the press that we enjoy in our country. Mrs. COM

  12. Mrs. Com, As always a delightful look at ‘our’ Ospreys. I have noticed that one of the chicks lies down quite often with her/his right leg extended. It seems a consistent position and has me wondering if s/he got that foot caught in the nest and injured it?

    • Hi, Laura! The chicks were just banded a couple of hours ago, and they are both very healthy. Two females, yellow band is Meghan and blue band is Harriet instead of Harry. Thanks for watching the camera and reading the blogs! Mrs. COM

      • I missed the two chicks being taken from the nest to be banded yet it’s so nice to learn that there are two healthy females in the nest to keep Audrey company! Poor Tom, in the minority. May he continue to bring all his girls lots of fresh fish!

    • I think that it is too early to fledge? I see two very drenched Meghan and Harriet. It’s going to be a bad week of rain. Either too much rain or not enough!

    • Hi, Mary! Sorry for the late reply, but as you know by now, Meghan and Harriet fledged 40 minutes apart, and are having a grand old time flying around the neighborhood! Thanks for watching the camera and reading my blogs. Mrs. COM

    • Hi, Laura! Even when the nest is empty, the chicks are not too far away. I will be publishing another blog in the next few days with some fun photos of where they have been hanging out! Mrs. COM

  13. I was unable to look at the nest for a few days, and whoa, what happened to it? The materials have disappeared and it seems as if Audrey and Tom are rebuilding? What happened? Rewind isn’t working for me. Thanks for any info that you can share.

  14. Can anybody tell what’s going on at the nest (around 5:30-ish on 7/26)? Something seems to be strafing the nest, and all four members of the family are hunkered down with Tom (I think it’s him) taking off to give chase. Hope all will be well.

  15. Wow—I can’t believe it was already time for babies to fledge. I am so so sorry to have missed it. Can I go back somehow and view previous highlights? Time goes by too fast. Thanks once again Mrs. COM for your great work, pics and blogs. I appreciate it all! Poor ospreys have been so drenched this year, I’m surprised no mushrooms were growing in the nest or on them!

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