Speaker Microphones and A Lady In Pink

Good morning from the soggy Eastern Shore of Maryland!  Well, well, well, this blog is not going to be what was promised.  In anticipation of being in our waiting and watching phase of the 2020 osprey season, I had good intentions of finally providing everyone a treatise describing the history of our osprey nest. But the best laid plans of mice and men, etc. etc. etc. stopped me in my tracks.  The history blog will have to wait for next time.

When last we met, the countdown for the arrival of our eggs was getting close to the end, and Audrey did not disappoint.  She laid three lovely eggs starting on April 17.  Unlike in years past when her eggs were produced every two days, this year her eggs arrived three days apart.  The last two eggs appeared in the nest on April 20 and 23, and there was great joy in the land (ospreyland, that is).  Everything seemed to be going according to plan until Mother Nature thwarted our uneventful incubation timeline.

Before everything went kaflooey, things were normal here at the secret location.  Tom and Audrey were doing their osprey thing, building the nest, fishing, eating and making osprey babies.

Here is Tom on the dock one house to the south of us.  You can see the buff coloring on the back of his head.  Do you think this fish was big enough? Plenty for everyone, no doubt!

 

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I think this fish was as big as Tom!

 

Tom and Audrey were still on speaking terms, and enjoyed hanging out together.

 

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Tom and Audrey practicing social distancing in the scraggly stick tree during the stay at home order in Maryland

 

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Tom and Audrey not practicing social distancing during the stay at home order in Maryland

 

Pop quiz:  Which osprey is which in the below photo?  Make Mrs. COM and Poppy proud!

 

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One of these heads is not like the other

 

In 2017, dastardly crows destroyed all three eggs in our nest.  Here was a portend of things to come in 2020.

 

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Tom with the remains of a fish and a dastardly crow hoping for some leftovers

 

Crows are very intelligent creatures, and never hang around when humans come to call.  Mrs. COM’s presence did not go unnoticed by the crow, and he fled the scene for the time being.

 

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Tom is yapping, either at the departing crow or the arriving Mrs. COM or the double whammy of the crow and Mrs. COM

 

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Tom is contemplating his next move

 

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Audrey is waiting patiently for Tom to bring her a meager offering

 

Over the years, all sorts of unusual items have made their way into the nest, natural and man made.  There was some discussion earlier in the season about some black fabric that appeared in the nest in large quantities.  This fabric is filter cloth from our rip rap, the stone revetment protecting our shoreline.  The filter cloth is placed over the bare bank before the rocks are laid to form the rip rap.  Here is the top of the rip rap with some of the filter cloth showing.

 

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Filter cloth at the top of our rip rap, probably with some pieces missing

 

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The filter cloth under the rip rap between the lawn and the rocks. Look familiar?

 

So that mystery is solved for you!

One of these days, I am going to capture a really good photo of the “sparklies”, one of my favorite phenomenon that occurs on the water when the wind, wave action and sunlight come together just right.  I give this photo a C+ in the sparklies category, and will continue to try and amaze you with the perfect sparklies shot.

 

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Still trying for that perfect sparklies photo. This is not it

 

I take a vast quantity of photos when I am in proximity of my camera and the great outdoors.  Over the years, I have determined that sometimes you are good, sometimes you are lucky, and sometimes good and lucky come together.  On April 9, Tom and Audrey were both out fishing and came back to the scraggly stick tree to dry out.  Sometimes stay-at-home orders turn out okay, especially when you get to witness something special.

 

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More togetherness. Tom and Audrey drying out in the scraggly stick tree one house to the north of us

 

I absolutely love these photos, so you are going to have to bear with me.  I took a few dozen, so consider yourself lucky with only five.  Their coloring looks different with wet feathers, don’t you think?

 

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Wings down on the left and right. Max tail spread on the right

 

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Wings up on the left, but that tail isn’t spread for maximum drying

 

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Dual preening or The Tale of the Headless Osprey

 

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Something has caught the attention of Tom and Audrey. They are both looking to their right (our left)

 

In the below photo, the buff head is visible on the osprey to the left.  Can you identify the osprey?  Hint:  If you figured it out earlier in the blog, you’ve got it now.  Good luck!

 

 

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Whatever they are looking at has continued to their right.

 

Nest building has slowed down considerably, but will continue throughout the season with fortifications.  Our ospreys will NEVER run out of building materials.

 

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One of our stick lockers. There is another one around a tree in the side yard. These weeds picked the right tree to grow under, most of them are safe from pulling hands

 

Here is Tom picking up a green marked stick from the back yard.  Unfortunately, the camera focused on the water and not the bird, but you get the idea.  Picking up stick photos are very hard to capture.

 

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Tom headed back to the nest with a green marked stick, a little late for St. Patty’s Day

 

The weather on the Eastern Shore of Maryland during April was just plain miserable.  It was one of the coldest and wettest Aprils on record in these parts.  The conditions adversely affected Tom’s ability to catch enough fish to satiate his own needs as well as Audrey’s.  As a result of the poor fishing conditions, Audrey left the nest and eggs unattended for extended periods of time.  In osprey hierarchy, Tom has to eat first, as he provides sustenance to his family.  If Tom can’t catch fish and doesn’t eat, he will not be able to catch enough fish to feed his family.  Those of you who have been with us before this year are aware of Tom’s nickname, given to him by Craig Koppie in 2015 due to Tom’s fishing prowess.  Calico Tom The Fishing Fool has been a sight to behold when the conditions allow.  This spring, the conditions have been abysmal, leading to the lack of fish.  This is not the fault of Tom, as he is an exceptional fisherman (is fisherbird a word?).  But the lack of fish and the harsh weather conditions have caused Audrey to leave the nest, both to catch fish and to protect herself from the elements.  The well-being of the adult ospreys has to trump the well-being of any eggs or chicks to ensure the survival of the species.  This is what we have been seeing at the nest in April, Mother Nature doing her osprey thing.

There are a couple of problems that ensue when the eggs are left unattended.  One obvious one is that the eggs are not being incubated.  In May 2016, Audrey left the nest for well over a day.  Tom did the best he could, and stayed on the eggs overnight.  He had to leave to fish and eat the next morning.  With the temperature at forty seven degrees, the eggs remained unattended for seven hours in the pouring rain.  I highly recommend that you go back in the archives of my blogs, and read “Beautiful Noise”, published May 12, 2016 as well as “History In The Making”, published May 31, 2016.  Both of these blogs are quite apropos for what is happening at the nest now, and should provide some solace to us all.  Experts in the osprey field were contacted back then, and their insight was quite helpful in answering questions that we had then and now.  If you want to know what happened to the eggs that May, you will have to read it for yourself!

The second and more immediate problem when there are no adult ospreys in the nest is predators.  After losing all three eggs to crows in 2017, we have tried to address what can be done to discourage them from attacking the eggs when the nest is unoccupied.  There will be more about the crow threat later in the blog.

You have seen many photos of some of the beautiful days at the secret location, and some photos when the weather was dreary and damp.  On April 13, the weather was downright terrible.

 

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Tom and Audrey together in the scraggly stick tree during a very stormy Friday the Thirteenth. Check out the high tide under the dock one house to the north of us

 

As the weather got worse, the wind and wave action steadily increased.  Once the rain began in earnest, I had to retreat inside and couldn’t take any more photos.

 

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The same dock as in the above photo a little while later

 

This is our dock as the weather worsened.  COM had to turn off the camera, as the circuit box is down low on the dock and was getting drenched.  The purple martin house also had to be lowered due to the high winds.

 

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Waves crashing over our dock

 

The violent storm passed, but the weather remained cold and wet most of the time.  By April 23, Audrey had presented us with three beautiful eggs laid three days apart.

 

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Tom in the scraggly stick tree during a rare bout of sunshine on April 21

 

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Closer view of Tom in the scraggly stick tree with a good view of his eye markings

 

On April 27 while the nest was unattended, I saw a crow land in the nest and start messing with the eggs.  I screamed to COM, and he ran into his office where our dedicated explore computer is located.  One of the features of our newest camera is a two-way speaker/microphone system, which allows us to hear what is going on at the nest.  The operative word here is two-way.  In addition to the camera viewers being able to hear what is going on at the nest, we are able to speak into a microphone by the computer and our voices can be heard at the nest.  This is a feature that we hoped could be used to scare off any predators, but had not been tested in action.  COM activated the microphone, yelled into it, and voila, the dastardly crow flew off in great haste!  We were thrilled!  If there had been a bottle of champagne handy, a locker room scene after winning a championship would have been in order.  But since it was just us and someone would have had to clean up the mess, a hearty “We did it!!!” sufficed.  The crow was not seen again at the nest and much to everyone’s relief, Audrey returned later that day.  A true team effort, and a disaster was averted for the time being.  If no one had been home or we hadn’t noticed the crow, the outcome may have been different.

On April 29, with another bad storm looming the following day, Tom had an encounter in the straggly stick tree with the dastardly crows, whose numbers seemed to be mounting in the area.

 

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Tom with a big, bloody fish and two lurking crows in the scraggly stick tree.  Not Tom’s best side, but the fish was impressive

 

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Tom is giving the closest crow an earful. The fish has nothing to say

 

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A better angle for Tom. The fish has seen better days

 

On April 30, another very bad storm hit our area.  Before the storm really got cranked up, I managed to take some video of what was going on at the secret location.  The video starts on our screened porch.  I have never posted a video on one of my blogs, so this is an experiment.  The wind was buffeting my phone, and made it difficult to steady.  Please let me know what you think about posting videos.

 

 

 

During the storm, neither Tom or Audrey was on the nest, so the eggs were exposed to the elements.  Although it wasn’t very cold, it was extremely windy and rainy.  We experienced steady winds in the 30’s and 40’s, with gusts in the 50’s.  The highest gust recorded on our anemometer was 59 miles per hour.  That’s a lot of wind!

The next morning, it was still raining and miserable. It was a great day to stay in one’s robe and slippers, so I took advantage of that opportunity. The nest was still unattended by Tom or Audrey.  As COM had some essential work to perform, he needed to leave the house in the morning. Due to the storm the day before, the camera was still out.  A little while later, I looked out the window, and much to my horror, saw two crows poking at the eggs.  Osprey Girl has been home due to the pandemic, and later said she heard me screaming, “Crows, crows!”  After the first crow attack, COM decided we needed a back-up deterrent in case the speaker microphone malfunctioned, and he purchased a very large air horn.  That turned out to be a really, really good decision, because when I saw the crows (two of them this time), the microphone was not working due to the storm.  I flew out of the house, grabbed the air horn off the porch, and ran into the yard screaming at the crows and blasting the air horn.  Now mind you, all this was happening in the pouring rain with me in my flapping pink bathrobe and slippers (not waterproof in any sense of the word).  I am fairly certain the crows started to fly away before I blasted the air horn.  I guess that flapping robe was scary enough on its own to send them on their way, bolstered by the industrial strength air horn.  If any photos were taken of me that morning, I will pay very good money to my neighbors to take them out of circulation.

Unfortunately, I was not able to deter the crows before they destroyed one of the eggs, which turned out to be the second of the three eggs that was laid.  But if I hadn’t seen the crows out the window, and if COM hadn’t purchased the air horn, the outcome could have been way more melancholy.  As it stands, we will just have to wait and see what the future holds for our clutch of two eggs.  We should know either way by the end of May, so stay tuned.

Back to Tom’s great fishing adventure, which occurred earlier in the morning of the second crow attack.  Tom had been out fishing in the rain.  I saw him dive and hit the water, but he just floated there and didn’t fly away with his catch.  As I watched for a minute, he kept trying to fly out of the water, but was unable to get airborne.  I realized that he must have caught a fish that was too big to lift.  As I was still in my robe, I asked COM if he would take some photos before he left.  Despite the rain, he was able to memorialize Tom’s great catch.

 

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Tom floating out in the water about two hundred yards off shore

 

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Try as he may, Tom couldn’t get out of the water

 

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Tom seemed to be trying to pull a fish out of the water.

 

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We were afraid Tom would get pulled under. He couldn’t get airborne

 

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All the commotion caught another osprey’s attention. The identity of this osprey couldn’t be determined due to the distance and weather conditions

 

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Heavily cropped photo of Tom trying to fly with his catch. Check out the size of that fish

 

We were really concerned about Tom and his inability to get airborne with his catch.  Then the most amazing thing happened.  He began to swim to shore, dragging his catch beneath him.

 

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Tom realizes he is not going to be able to fly with his catch, and starts stroking his wings and heading for shore

 

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Side view of Tom swimming to shore. He is stroking with his wings in the manner of a breast stroke

 

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Still stroking with his catch in his talons underwater

 

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Doing the breast stroke as the rain falls. He does not want to lose this fish

 

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Tom finally made it to the rip rap where he eventually ate Moby Dick.

 

After trying to fly out of the water and realizing he couldn’t, Tom swam about two hundred yards to shore, dragging the fish the entire way.  In all the years we have been observing ospreys and their behavior, this was one of the most incredible sights we have ever seen.  Look at the size of that fish!  Tom rested on the rip rap a very long time before he recovered enough strength to start ripping apart his catch.

 

Later in the day, Tom spent some time on the dock next door with a piece of fish and some unwanted company.

 

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The crows are everywhere

 

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Looks like Tom is giving the crow an earful.  The crow is thinking that Tom is way better than a woman in a pink robe with an air horn

 

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Tom is keeping an eye on the dastardly crow

 

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The crow has left. Tom is wondering if he will get a chance to see the robe.  He is hoping his bloody mess won’t keep it away

 

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Audrey is back in the nest and is seemingly nonplussed. Welcome back, Audrey, we missed you!

 

Something has been flying from the end of the filter cloth flag.

 

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There is something skinny and green flying from the filter cloth hanging from the left of the nest. We’ll keep an eye on it

 

On May 2, Tom continued to live up to his fishing fool moniker.  All he needed was a little decent weather, and he was ready to fish.

 

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Tom on the dock one house to the south of us with a nice catch. Check out his left rear talon, great shot of how he hangs on to those fish in flight (and underwater!)

 

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Ready for a big bite. Remember to chew your food, Tom!

 

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No vote needed for this poop shot, finally captured one that counts

 

This is what normalcy looks like here at the secret location.  Whew!

 

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A towering Tom and a hunkered down Audrey. Finally a bucolic moment for our feathered friends

 

Something startled both of them a few seconds later.

 

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What was that?

 

Tom decided he needed to check things out.

 

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Tom en route to the north

 

So everything seems back to normal for now.  We experienced another nasty thunderstorm last night, but everything seems fine this morning.  There are lots of cute little purple martins flitting around checking out our new purple martin house on the dock.  We have been waiting to see them for weeks, and are so pleased they have finally discovered their new digs.

 

I will leave you not with sunrise photos, but two moon photos for your viewing pleasure.

 

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An April full moon lighting a path on the water

 

Later the same evening, Tom and Audrey are silhouetted by the light of the moon shining on the water.

 

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A peaceful night at the secret location. This is how we love to see Tom and Audrey

 

Please stay safe, everyone!   Thanks ever so much to all of those who are keeping us safe and fed during these trying times.  And another shout-out to COM for doing everything he can to keep our ospreys safe. 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 “Speaker Microphones and A Lady In Pink

  1. Mrs. COM, per your request, the video was very nice. Knowing the Bay and the nasty weather we can sometimes get, I appreciate what your location goes through. Comment on the video: I would have liked to have lingered on the osprey nest for a moment, just to see how Tom and Audrey tolerate the storm. Thank you for continuing these awesome blogs about one of my favorite birds.

    • Hi, Eileen! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment on the blog. Feedback is always appreciated. As far as lingering on the nest, at the time I was taking the video, I hadn’t even considered posting it in the blog, or I probably would have lingered a bit longer. I was just taking it to send to family and friends to let them know what was happening at the house. The nest was empty at the time anyway, so there wasn’t anything to see. Thanks for being a loyal camera watcher and blog follower. Stay safe! Mrs. COM

    • Thank you, Cindy! I love to get comments, so thanks for taking the time to post one. Thanks for following my blog and watching our camera! Stay safe! Mrs. COM

  2. Oh my goodness, Mrs. COM, that video was something else. What horrible weather! I liked watching it and vote for more.

    The storms have been so bad, poor Audrey and Tom! It’s a shame that the bad weather has resulted in the loss of an egg. Let’s hope that the remaining two will hatch without any problems.

    And that Fishing Fool Tom – how amazing is he with that giant fish! Watching him swim to land while dragging the thing, well, your pictures tell the story. It’s too bad that you weren’t able to get a video of that!

    Thanks for the update, the beautiful pictures and of course the commentary, Mrs. COM. Looking forward to your next one!

    • Hi, Pa Gal! Thanks once again for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog. I really enjoy reading everyone’s comments, makes my work on them much more worthwhile. It would have been fun to get a video of Tom swimming that fish back, it was truly amazing to see and he went a long way. Sometimes things happen so fast, you just grab what you can. Since I was in my robe, I wasn’t much help and was very glad to have COM snapping some photos in the rain! Take care, stay safe! Mrs. COM

  3. Hi, Spring Girl. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed my blog. It’s been fairly tense around here lately, and it is nice to be able share what is happening with those that probably understand. Thanks for taking the time to post your comment, and for being a faithful camera watcher and blog reader. Mrs. COM

  4. Wow, what a fantastic blog! I was holding my breath watching Tom struggling with the fish in the water. I had no idea osprey could swim! I have an osprey nest on the end of my pier and have never seen anything like that. How dedicated you are to go out in that weather, especially in your robe, to capture these photos. Thank you and Mr. COM so very much. And a big “hello” to Osprey Girl.

  5. Thank you all COM Family for all you do, especially during these crazy times! Air horn! So perfect! Thank you for the pictures, the writing as though your talking and for staying healthy! Your first class all the way. And…you have a really strong dock! Not a board moved in that storm!
    Sincerely,
    Wavedancer

    • Good afternoon, Cathryn! Thanks for your comment, I really do enjoy receiving each and every one. Nice dock! COM just finished fortifying it by screwing in all of the boards. It was a very big job, but certainly paid off in that last storm. One of our neighbors has significant damage at her dock, an expensive proposition to fix. Thanks so much for watching the camera and reading my blogs! Here’s to an uneventful rest of the season! Stay safe, Mrs. COM

  6. Oh, my goodness! Mrs. Com, I just finished watching the scary weather video (only at end was volume too low) and reading your incredible account of all their activities. I was particularly fascinated by Tom’s swimming with the large fish! What a once in a lifetime event that you so graciously shared! You have a rare talent of observation that translates into awesome descriptions. I will look forward to future blogs. BTW, miss working with you, dear friend! Hugs to your sweet family! Jaybird

    • Hey, there, Joyce!! What a pleasant surprise to hear from you! I don’t receive your FB posts anymore, not sure what happened but I always enjoyed them so much. Have you read the past blogs? If not, treat yourself and read them as you have time. They are all archived at the end of the blog. So happy to hear that you are watching our camera and reading my blog. Watching Tom swim two hundred yards while dragging that giant fish was incredible to see. I hope you and your family are doing well in these trying times. We miss your baked treats, but most of all, we miss your beautiful smile and hard work. Always loved working with you! Stay safe, please keep in touch! Mrs. COM

  7. Oh, Mrs.COM, you did it again! I have so fallen in love with Tom and Audrey (for several years now), and can’t get enough of your photos and blogs. Your talent brings these two to life, and makes me believe that I am right there experiencing every moment. I thank you for that, and to COM for all of the hard work he puts into the cams, mics, poles, etc. I would so love to learn just how Tom and Audrey got their names in the beginning. I do claim them as my “namesake” as I too was married to a Tom the fishing fool! I have to laugh everytime I hear him called that! My Tom would have loved to follow this nest. I really think he is watching. My prayers for our feathered friends and their upcoming arrivals. Here’s hoping for a summer full of happy viewing. Again, thank you!

    • Hi, Audrey! Thanks ever so much for your wonderful comment. I do enjoy receiving them very much. I had planned on telling the story of our nest, to include how the names were chosen in this blog, but it was not to be. As we are in a holding pattern for a few weeks, my next blog will focus on the history of the nest, and you will get your wish! We are very glad to have you as a faithful camera watcher and blog reader. We will all be waiting anxiously for the condition of the eggs. Stay safe! Mrs. COM

  8. Again and as always, yet another AWESOME blog, the video was an added treat. Hope there’ll be more videos in future. Thank you COF. Stay safe and healthy!

    • Good evening, Dee! I am so happy to know that you are enjoying my blogs and watching the camera. The blogs wouldn’t be very much fun for me without positive feedback from followers like you. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I will try to include more videos in the future, but the one in the storm will be a hard act to follow! Stay safe! Mrs. COM

    • Hi, Susan! Thanks for taking the time to give me a shout-out! Our camera and blog are truly a labor of love, and positive feedback goes a long way in keeping us happy here at the secret location. Glad to hear you are enjoying my blogs, makes me smile. Thanks again. Please stay safe! Mrs. COM

  9. Wow, what an exciting/scary story. So, glad Audrey & Tom are okay after those terrible storms. I remember storms like that as a child in Minnesota. I now live on the central coast of California where our ospreys seem to have a much easier life.

    I really enjoy your webcam and your blogs. Thank you & stay safe.

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

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Hi, Donna! So glad to hear that you are enjoying the camera and blogs. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way for the Crazy Osprey Family! Yes, it has been a crazy couple of weeks here at the secret location. I am ready for some boring days to carry us through to hopefully hatching. Thank you for taking the time to post a comment, it really does mean a lot to us. Stay safe in California! Mrs. COM

  10. Hello from Cape Cod where the osprey are a few weeks behind the egg laying times as I just see them sitting on the nests. Well I just treated myself to a osprey eyes’ view of your present blog on my big computer as an I phone doesn’t show the quality of your photography and I needed a huge Audrey and Tom fix and I thank you so much. The highlight of my day is right now. Yes on the videos!! Wow now the osprey and crows see you in your robe like the fisherman did one day!! Life is good. One of my osprey friends heard the horn that day and didn’t know what was going on.I admire your keen eye/Mr.COM and Osprey Girl and your steadfast love of Audrey and Tom/and the multiple photos this time made each of us I bet in a feel good way in such trying times if not for a fleeting moment!! Well that’s it for now from blah blah moe from cape cod. Wave to the nest please!! Please when Roger is up and running don’t forget a mask for this new attire!!!

    • Hi, there, Moe! Glad you were able to garner some enjoyment by watching the camera and reading my blogs. The video seems to have been well received, so I will try to factor that in when I am reviewing photos for the blogs. It’s going to be hard to top the storm video, though. Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. We enjoy each and every one of them. Thanks again for being a loyal camera watcher and blog reader. Stay safe! Mrs. COM

  11. Thank you so much for doing this blog. Your photos were amazing and I love your captions too. I live in Maryland and didn’t know the bay got so bad that it started to look like the ocean. Wow. That water sure did get high and rough on your dock. I was wondering why Tom wasn’t fishing for Audrey and now I know, so thank you for the explanation. It was amazing to see Tom swimming with that huge fish. What a trouper he is. Please keep the photos coming.

    • Good afternoon, Darlene! You are very welcome for the blog. It’s fun to share what we see here at the secret location with others so you can get a better idea of what is going on. Yes, the bay can look like the ocean at times, and it was rocking and rolling out there last week during the storm. Hopefully everyone will feel better about Tom and his fishing capabilities when they see what he had to deal with last week. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I really appreciate receiving them. Stay safe! Mrs. COM

  12. Wonderful blog. We are so lucky at this nest to have a “real” person on site who cares so much about our dear Tom & Audrey. And please, keep the pictures coming, we will enjoy as many as you can give us. Thank you so very much, Mrs. Com. You are the best!

    • Good afternoon, Mary! Thanks so much for taking the time to post a comment on my blog. It’s so nice to know that you are enjoying the blogs and camera. Positive comments like yours are very much appreciated! Sometimes I wonder if I post too many photos, but I guess they are fine with you! Thanks again! Mrs. COM

  13. Thanks for your amazing attention to detail. Your technology and persistence are both first rate. In watching your nest this year, I did not see regular “changing of the guard” as we see in the nest we have built on the South River. When our nest has eggs, the male and female regularly share the incubation duty, and never leave the nest empty. In my many visits to your site, I never saw your 2020 osprey pair sharing the incubation duty. Does this square with your more thorough observations? Thanks very much.

    • Hi, John! Thanks for reaching out and the positive comment. We have had this pair since 2015 (and this Audrey since 2010), and in most cases, whenever Tom took over incubation duties, Audrey had a really hard time getting him off the eggs. Over the years, they have always shared incubation duties, and Tom really enjoyed his turns. I feel very certain the empty nest has been due to the terrible weather conditions we have had here this spring. Tom’s nickname has always been Calico Tom the Fishing Fool, due to his fishing prowess. With the record breaking cold, windy, wet weather, he was not able to catch enough fish to sustain himself and Audrey, causing her to leave the nest to try and catch her own, as well as stay out of the elements. Tom did sit on the nest a fair amount of time while Audrey was gone. I know of other osprey nests that are having the same problem this spring. So that is a long answer to your question. Bottom line-Tom has always shared duties admirably and been able to feed his family. The weather this spring has just totally upset what we usually see here. Thanks for asking! Here’s to a good year for your South River nest! Mrs. COM

  14. Last summer, we also saw one of ‘our’ ospreys swim about 200 yards to shore with a fish too big to carry. We assumed it was one of the babies, but really haven’t gotten good enough to identify our ospreys. We live right across the Chester River from Chestertown. It was indeed a thrilling sight to see. We had no idea how rare this might have been. We were exhausted just watching…!

    • Hi, Amy! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. We always enjoy reading them. We have seen ospreys swim before, but that was the first time I have really seen it from beginning to end, and with such a big fish. I really was worried he would drown if the fish was caught in his talons and he couldn’t get out of the water. It was a really long swim with a really big fish, but he did it! Thanks for watching the camera and reading my blogs.
      I hope your ospreys have a wonderful time in Maryland. Here’s to a better 2021. Thanks, Mrs. COM

  15. Hi Mrs. COM! This afternoon between 1:00 and 2:00 (at least this is when I think it was), I noticed two attempts at mating in the nest. Now I will admit that it’s hard for me to identify which osprey is which, but on both occasions, I didn’t notice any rusty color on the back of the head of the male. And the female looked kind of jittery, not really like Audrey, and didn’t sound like her either. Am I dreaming or were the birds that visited not Tom and Audrey but another couple? Thanks for any insight you can share.

    • Hi, Pa Gal! I noticed the same thing yesterday, and was able to get a photo of the ospreys doing their thang. The couple doing the thang is the visiting new couple. They have been observed mating a few times, so there are probably more that we haven’t seen. I am not sure what is going on with them, but the male is also bringing back a few sticks and arranging sticks in the nest. I keep hoping they will have a clutch of eggs, but I don’t think they are at our nest enough for it to be in ours. Plus, they keep having skirmishes with Tom and Audrey, who are around, but we don’t see much of them in the nest. It’s been kind of crazy around here, and kind of hard to tell who is who sometimes. So we will just keep observing, and see what shakes out. There are a few close-by platforms that don’t have nests this year, so it’s not a normal year around the secret location. I do think it is because of the horrible cold, wet, windy spring weather. Thanks for checking in, send me a comment any time, I love receiving them! Stay safe. Mrs. COM

  16. Hi Mrs. COM I’m a bit late in commenting even though I read this blog entry a day after you wrote it. Of course a lot has changed in those several days, but I imagine that’s for the next story as things are still unfolding. I’ve been a cam watcher and enjoyed your blog for a few years now. I admire the work you do in setting up and taking down the platform. The video was great and you can never post enough pictures. You are giving us a window into things we don’t always see on the camera. I would have never known about Tom’s near drowning experience had it not been for this blog, as I did not see it on the cam. I can only imagine the plethora of emotions you must have had as this unfolded live. Thank you for sharing your ‘out of view from the camera’ experiences and your wonderful and colorful descriptions of the events as you see them live. Scott (ILB on explore)

    • Hi, Scott! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my blog. It’s always so rewarding to receive comments such as yours. It’s been an especially challenging season so far, as you well know. I really was worried about Tom when he wasn’t able to fly out of the water, figuring he had a very big fish and wasn’t able (or didn’t want) to let it go. It was fascinating to see him swim that huge fish to shore, and we gave a huge sign of relief when he made it. It was a really long swim for a little osprey lugging a big, squirmy fish. Not sure what is going on with the visiting couple, but they sure seen to have made our nest their home away from home. It should be interesting to see if anything comes of it. We are certainly seeing more and more of them, and less and less of Tom and Audrey, although they are both still around. I figure I am good for one more blog this month, then will take it from there. Thanks again for being a loyal camera watcher and blog reader, and for taking the time to post a comment. Mrs. COM

  17. Lest I forget, first thing; I too would pay for the pink robe and slipper pics…LOL.
    Thank you for update; the Video was great.
    .really brings reality of what our Tom and Audrey had to live through and explained a lot. Seems to me we can still call Tom the fisherman fool…re.i ds us of what can be done to sustain life.
    Bittersweet season; glad COM and MRS COM survived and worked so hard on behalf of Tom and Audrey and our Osprey community.
    Thanks for the wonderful pics and “play by play” action.
    We appreciate you.

    • Hi, Ruth Ann! Thanks so very much for taking the time to post a comment on my blog. Yes, it has been a bittersweet season, especially around now when we should be on hatch alert. It’s so sad to see Audrey out there on the nest, knowing what could have been. But Mother Nature has her ways, and nothing we can do about it, although we tried! I will publish another blog sometime this week. It has been rather interesting watching the interactions between Audrey and the new male. Take care, stay safe in these unsettled times. Mrs. COM

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