Good morning from the lovely Eastern Shore of Maryland! Well, we all knew that one day our sweet Audrey 2 would not be returning from her winter digs in South America, but hoped she would be with us for a few more years. I had a funny feeling this winter that we wouldn’t see her again, but tried to put those negative thoughts away and and stay positive. Unfortunately, my worst fears have come to pass, and our years with sweet Audrey 2 have come to an end. She was with us from 2010 through 2020, and was a noble and fearless companion to our last two Toms. Who can forget the night she was knocked off the nest in the dark by a Great Horned owl, and lost one of her newly hatched chicks and an egg? She was a noisy osprey, and I can still hear her in my mind squawking away. Her most special memory has to be the great adoption story of 2015. It was the first season with our current Tom (3), who was initially known as Calico Tom due to his mottled coloring. The Fishing Fool part of his name came later. Audrey laid three beautiful eggs that year, but none of them turned out to be viable. She sat on those eggs way past the date they should have hatched. Those of you who were with us that year will certainly remember how heartbreaking it was to watch her day in and day out, faithfully incubating those three eggs, even after the experts told us there would be no hatch. But all was not lost, and Tom and Audrey raised three beautiful young ospreys. How did that happen, you might ask? If you want to know the rest of the story, and I think you do, check out two of my blogs from that summer- “Who Said You Can’t Fool Mother Nature”, dated 7/9/2015 and “E.T. Phone Home”, dated 7/23/2015. Take a look, I know you will enjoy both blogs. It was a fascinating story with a delightful ending. All of the old blogs are archived at the end of each of the other blogs.
Here is my little tribute to Sweet Audrey Two, living it up somewhere warm, sunny and full of fish with Audrey 1, Tom 1 and Tom 2.
Fond adieu, sweet Audrey 2. We won’t forget you.
The order of events in my 2021 blogs has gotten a little cattywampus. Since I already wrote about the arrival of Calico Tom the Fishing Fool, I am going to go back to late February/early March before he arrived and fill you in on the happenings at the secret location before his joyous appearance. Then I will jump forward to the happenings after Tom’s arrival, and we should be all caught up for now. Sorry for the confusion, I am just keeping you on your toes. It should be smooth sailing after this blog. Here goes!
Time marches on, and here we were at the beginning of a new season full of hope. As the 2020 season ended with the take-down of the poles and camera, the 2021 season started with the equipment being installed with a brand new, spiffy camera. The new camera is a 4 megapixel delight, up from the old 2.8 megapixel camera. You should be able to tell the difference in the quality of the images. Due to the change in the field of vision and different size lens, the poles had to be moved further apart from each other. But before the poles could go up, the new camera had to be readied for the task at hand. The new camera is hard wired from the pole to the NEMA box at the end of the dock, then goes wireless from the NEMA box to our house. The old camera was hard-wired all the way from the pole, through the water, under the dock, through a trench in the back yard and up to the house. In addition to a new camera, we also have a new NEMA box. NEMA is an acronym for National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association. The NEMA box contains switching gear, electronic connections and an external wireless antennae, which transmits to an antennae located outside of COM’s office in the house. The new NEMA box looks just like the old one, except it is clean, has an external antennae and is not covered in old, petrified fish guts.
The technician, Mark, is getting all of the technical equipment ready to go. COM is the equivalent of a sous chef to the executive chef on this one.
With all of the technical equipment readied, it was time to install the poles. We hold our breaths every year, hoping that an osprey will not return before the poles are up. Of course, we are also keeping our fingers crossed for a low tide, gentle breezes, a reasonable temperature and no inclement weather, not too much to ask of the weather gods. I had to work away from the house the day of the installation, so missed some of the action. Fortunately, I was able to sneak home for a little while to grab some photos and distribute the home made lemon poppy muffins.
By the time I got home, the nest pole was already up.
After the poles were in place, it was time to sit back, watch and wait. One day during the lull, COM asked me to take a look at a really big bird that he just could not place. So I went out with my trusty Nikon, and was thrilled to observe this magnificent creature.
Things began to get interesting as the days clicked closer to the end of March. Our first visitor was a beautiful osprey with a very dark necklace. As neither Tom or Audrey had a dark necklace, this lovely bird was new to us. She stopped by a couple of times, piqued everyone’s interest and caused much speculation about the whos, wheres, whens and hows. But she was not destined to be the one.
And then Tom arrived, but you already know that from the last blog.
Everyone was anxiously waiting for the return of Audrey. When I was home, I spent a fair amount of time glancing out the window at the platform. As Audrey had returned before Tom for many years, I was getting a sinking feeling. At the very end of March, a new visitor arrived. It took some looking to verify that it was not Audrey 2. A new chapter at the secret location had begun. Welcome home, Audrey 3, now known as Audrey.
Since we installed our very first osprey pole in 1995, our osprey pair has always been Tom and Audrey. These names were selected in honor of our two dear friends (you guessed it), Tom and Audrey. They were living in Alaska at the time, having moved there from the Washington, D.C. area. In true quid pro quo fashion, they named the moose that visited their yard after me and COM. Hmmm, we were not quite sure if we should have felt honored or insulted! So the names Tom and Audrey have a long history in our household, and all of our ospreys have maintained those names. This season, we are hosting Tom 3 and Audrey 3, and are delighted to have both of them.
One issue we didn’t expect with a brand new camera was no sound. It was frustrating for everyone involved. COM was in close contact with the Explore folks trying to troubleshoot and fix the problem. One chilly day a couple of weeks ago, COM trudged out to the junction box while on the phone with the Explore gurus, and attempted to regain the sound.
I know you must be sick of reading about people and poles and cameras and the like. So I will finish up with the subject which brought you all here, ospreys!
It didn’t take Audrey long to get comfortable with her new digs. Much to Tom’s chagrin, one of her new favorite places to hang out is on the perch on the top of the camera pole, which has always been Tom’s domain. She also likes to sit in a tree by the water at our neighbor’s house two to the south of us. Tom spends a substantial amount of time on the boat lift and the swim ladder on the dock at the same neighbor’s house where Audrey likes the tree. I have only seen an osprey in the scraggly stick tree a couple of times this year, which makes me kind of sad. But maybe that’s a good thing, because the tree has certainly seen better days.
It is time to close for now. As I write, Tom is on the boat lift and Audrey is on the perch on top of the camera pole. With my current work schedule, I haven’t been home very much when the lighting is good for photographs, but I will keep on trying. I leave you with a couple more sunrise photos. The winner of the photos from the last blog was #2, which happened to be my favorite, so thank you very much!
Our eggs last year were laid on 4/17, 4/20 and 4/23. In previous years, the eggs were laid only two days apart. Either way, it’s time to go on egg watch, how exciting! I’m hoping to have some great news to write about in a couple of weeks!
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!!
Thank you, Linda
On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 9:10 PM Osprey Camera Blog wrote:
> ospreycam posted: ” Good morning from the lovely Eastern Shore of > Maryland! Well, we all knew that one day our sweet Audrey 2 would not be > returning from her winter digs in South America, but hoped she would be > with us for a few more years. I had a funny feeling this wint” >
Hi, Linda! Thanks for your comment. We are very happy to know you are enjoying the camera and blog! Mrs. COM
Dear Audrey II, we’ll miss you. Your successor has some big shoes to fill. Let’s hope that she and Tom make some beautiful little ones this year.
Thank you for the update, as always Mrs. COM. The pictures and commentary are much appreciated. And the reminder about the nesting season from 2015 put a big old smile on my face. Have a lovely day!
Hi, Pa Gal! Thanks for checking in once again. We will all miss A2, but I think we have some great potential with A3. I like her, she’s a spunky one! And her incessantly squawking is so reminiscent of A2. Glad you always enjoy photos and commentary, I really do try to keep things interesting! I hope some of our new fans take the time to read the two blogs I mentioned from July 2015, it was truly a summer to remember in our little osprey world! Mrs. COM
Good morning and I was excited to check out your new blog! I was a little teary eyed when I read your wonderful tribute to Audrey 2 but I was also reminded of her beauty and how we all fell in love with her and rooted for her along her journey with Tom! Once again your astounding photography makes us feel happy and joyful. The new camera certainly is great quality and I can’t wait to see the eggs and babies up close! Well I vote for sunrise number 2 as swans present also. Enjoy your time on egg watch! Well adios from Moe on Cape Cod where the osprey arrived a few weeks later! Thanks to the Conservancy crew and Explore and camera operators!
Right along with you Maureen! 😍
Good morning to you, Moe! We are always happy to hear from you with your kind words. Although I am sad about A2, I am liking A3. She should be a great mate for Tom and I am looking forward to photographing and reporting on her antics for years to come. Thanks for your great comment! Mrs. COM
As always, another great blog. Your pictures are amazingly clear and sharp, and I always enjoy seeing life beyond the livecam! That, and your commentary is what makes watching this nest so special. Audrey 2 will always have a special place in my heart, her quirky behavior will be missed, and she was such a good mom. Season 2015 is a classic! The guys always do such a good job of installing the camera and platforms, but I have to give a special shout out and big War Eagle to Emily! I saw that shirt she was wearing! The nest is looking really good, now it’s time for eggs! Evelyn from Macon, GA
Looked again at Emily’s shirt and I guess my eyes are worse than I thought. It looked like the top of a big Auburn AU logo in the first pic of her. Now I’m not sure!😀 Oh well!
Hi, Evelyn! I will have to get Emily to take a photo of the shirt and I will make sure to post it for you. I wasn’t here for the entire operation this time, and only saw her when she had on her waders. But I know what you mean about aging eyes, I have a pair of those myself! Mrs. COM
Hi, Evelyn! It’s always great to hear from you, so thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! It’s good to let folks know what goes on behind the scenes, and to give credit to everyone who makes our osprey fix happen. Here’s hoping for a couple of viable eggs. It’s always touch and go with a new breeding female, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed! Thanks for your comment! Mrs. COM
I am so sad Sweet Audrey 2 did not return to us. wondering if, due to age, an osprey may stay put and choose not to migrate. probably not.
Sent from my iPad
Hi, Joan! We are all sad about Audrey 2, and are so lucky to have had her in our osprey lives for so long. At least she had Tom well-trained to take on her successor, who I think will be a wonderful addition to our little osprey family. COM asked Dr. Bierregaard the same question you had about migration. His answer was that an osprey wouldn’t choose to stay put and not migrate. They are genetically wired to head north when it is time, and either they make it or don’t or haven’t survived the winter to try. I guess that is Mother Nature’s way. Thanks for your comment, and here’s to a successful osprey season! Mrs. COM
Thank you sir for your wonderful Block. I am sorry to hear that we lost Audrey. Thank you and your helpers for all you do.
Hi, Annemarie! You are very welcome for the blog. It is a labor of love and I put a lot of time into each one. Knowing that so many fans are out there keeps me going! Audrey 2 had a wonderful long osprey life with us and we will all miss her. But I think Audrey 3 will keep everyone on their toes, so it should be a fun season. Thanks for reaching out! Mrs. COM
What a wonderful, informative blog Mrs.Com! Thank so very much!
😍 J. Luray Schaffner / Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay
Hi, Luray!! Always good to hear from the osprey group. I am happy to know that folks are still enjoying the blog and camera. Sometimes I feel like I am repeating myself, but I do try to keep things interesting! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Mrs. COM
Thank you for your wonderful tribute to our Audrey Two. She was a super mom and a great companion to Tom. She certainly managed to keep him in line. The year of E.T. and the adoption of the two chicks will always be the best Chesapeake osprey year ever. Thank you Mrs. Com for all you do to keep us informed.
Hi, Mary! You are very welcome for the tribute to Audrey 2. The problem I had was choosing from the hundreds and hundreds of photos I have of her over the last eleven years. I hope some of our newer fans will take the time to read the two July 2015 blogs I referenced. It was really a special summer here at the secret location! Always good to hear from you. Thanks for being a loyal camera watcher and blog reader! Mrs. COM
Thank you. The beginning brought tears to my eyes, your writing is so beautiful. I do remember the year of the “foster” parents and all of us holding our breath….then the “lost Juvie” that thought he found home. What sweet memories. I once again thank you and your family and family of friends to allow us all to be a part of this amazing window into the life of Ospreys. Your sense of humor does not go unnoticed 🙂 Cheers to a great 2021 season, from here on.
Hi, Cathryn! Thanks ever so much for the wonderful comment! I really do take great pride in knowing that folks are enjoying my blogs. I spend a big chunk of time getting them published, so it is really nice to know that my efforts are worth it to so many osprey fans. I am so fortunate to be able to look out the window and see what is going on. It is rewarding to be able to share a little bit of life outside the nest with all of you. Fingers crossed for a successful 2021 season. Mrs. COM
Thanks Mrs. COM once again for such an educational and entertaining blog post!!! Your photos are beautiful! We will all miss Audrey 2 but the circle of life goes on and the new Audrey has a very spunky personality and seems to have captured Tom’s heart. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of work your family puts into maintaining this nest for all of us to enjoy. It’s obvious this is such a labor of love and I hope you know how much we all appreciate everything you do! Can’t wait for eggs!!!
You are blessed to live in one of God’s beautiful locations with the Osprey, additional wildlife and nature in person. We are blessed with your family sharing your experience! Your blogs are a tribute to your writing skills! Saying thank you seems insufficient to express the joy that you bring every year! Be safe and enjoy our experience hopefully with little ones.
Hi, Martha! A heartfelt thank you and leaving a comment are all the thanks we need! Thank you for being a loyal camera watcher and blog reader. It’s a two-way street, and knowing people like you enjoy and appreciate what we do make it all worthwhile! Stay safe and have a wonderful weekend. Fingers crossed for some good news soon! Mrs. COM
Hi, Debbie! Thanks for the very astute comment. It made me smile inside to read your words. At this point, life is looking normal for Tom and Audrey. But things can change drastically at the drop of a hat (or arrival of a nefarious crow, as we know all too well). Given that Audrey is probably a young female, there are other things to worry about as far as success with eggs, but time will tell! Here’s hoping, and fingers crossed! Mrs. COM
Thank you, thank you, thank you Mrs. COM for all the time and effort you and COM put in to keep us all informed about what’s going on with the nest. After reading all the comments, I don’t feel as foolish for having shed a few tears thinking of our beloved Audrey 2. How can one get so attached to an osprey that we have never seen “in person.” I live on the Magothy River and have a nest at the end of my pier, but I I don’t get to see inside the nest like I can with your camera and great photography. Last year the nest, along with the eggs, was blown out by a storm so we had no babies either. Hopefully we will all have a better season. Please thank COM for all his hard work. And a big “hello” to Osprey Girl.
Hi, Nancy! I hope you are doing well in these crazy times. I am very relieved to be fully vaccinated, as is COM, so hopefully we can all turn the corner very soon. Such sad news about your nest and eggs getting blown away. Unfortunately, I know all too well that sick feeling when you realize there won’t be any little ones. But here’s hoping for a better year for man and bird alike! Thanks ever so much for your kind words, and for being such a loyal camera watcher and blog reader. Fingers crossed for some good news in the couple of weeks! Mrs. COM
A wonderful blog chock full of great behind the scenes photos and information. Can’t thank you enough for the entertaining read. Admire your dedication & hard work for the benefit of nature and some very appreciative cam addicts.
Hi, Marguerite! It’s always so nice to hear from some new folks! Or maybe you are not so new, just haven’t said hello. I love to read the comments, so thank you for taking the time to reach out. The very appreciative cam addicts keep us going, and of course our fine feathered friends! Hopefully we will have some egg action very soon! Thanks again, Mrs. COM
Thank you Mrs. COM for the incredible update. I don’t know if you’ve ever discussed your career, but I sincerely hope it has something to do with comedy, pen and paper. If not, we are lucky to have you to ourselves on this lovely blog. It is always amazing to see the effort by so many people so that we, sitting in our comfortable homes, can watch nature unfold like it’s right outside our own windows. It looks exhausting setting up platform and camera. But the payoff of watching these magnificent birds is worth it the effort (Said from my couch with a glass of wine) and I thank all involved. What a beautiful slice of earth you sit on and share with us. Welcome back Tom and Audrey! Verna
Hi, Verna! Sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine sounds divine right about now! No, I have never discussed my career, but it does not involve comedy, pen or paper except when I am trying to keep my blogs fun and informative! Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. Yes, there is a lot of effort put forth by many dedicated folks to keep our ospreys interested and bring their lives to our loyal camera watchers and blog readers! We are incredibly fortunate to live where we do, and are very grateful to be able to share some of it with others. Here’s hoping for a successful season! Thanks for reaching out. Mrs. COM
BIG THANKS to you and the entire team for maintaining the set-up every season! And a special shout-out to the new cam! We are now able to ID Tom and Audrey even in the trees in the distance – as long as the foliage allows. Not to mention the restored audio… Looking forward to a successful season!
Hi, Regina! Thanks for your comments. It takes many folks to keep this operation running! Fingers crossed for a successful season! Mrs. COM
I waited a few days to read the blog, mostly as it was difficult to accept Audrey wasn’t going to return. You picked the best picture of her, as she was always good at giving Tom an earful. I’ve always liked leaving this cam on my screen at night, there was always something reassuring about looking in and seeing Audrey perched and ever so vigilant and dedicated to her nest, many nights, many times all night. She had such beautiful soulful eyes and I loved the way the feathers poofed up on the top of her head in the evening winds, I sometimes thought of her as the little punk rocker bird at those times. She seemed a bit ‘distant’ to me towards the end of last season, but I might just be projecting because I was sad about what happened to the eggs and then seeing her at the nest later as if she were reflecting. As always, as a technical person I always enjoy reading about the set up of the poles and cam. It’s probably very difficult, but you somehow make it sound like fun. Also, nothing beats a headless fish comment to lighten things up. Audrey 3 is beautiful and spunky and since Tom will have a new mate, I think she is a great choice. I’m looking forward to the new season and will be on egg watch. Looking forward to the next blog! Take care 😉
Hi, sscheidt1963! Maybe you should be writing the blog instead of me, what a lovely message! I do like Audrey 3, she will keep Tom on his “toes”. We will all miss Audrey 2, but life goes on and Mother Nature has sent another lovely osprey to grace our nest. Thanks every so much for your comment. Fingers crossed for an egg in the near future, but with a young female, it may be touch and go. Here’s hoping! Mrs. COM
Great stories and history with Audreyll
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks very much, cuspidqueencda! Glad you are enjoying the camera and blogs! Mrs. COM
Beautiful story and incredible photos! I’ve enjoyed the cam over the years with my grandchildren who now are all in college. I’m hoping they will put the osprey app on their laptops and continued to enjoy it as much as I have. Many thanks for sharing!
Hi, Ann! Thanks so much for reaching out to let us know how much you enjoy our camera and blogs! The events of today are certainly a head scratcher. I will try to get another blog published this weekend, so stay tuned and enjoy the ride! Mrs. COM
Not 30 days yet into accepting Audrey 3 and mourning for Audrey 2 and now we believe she has shown up again, what a turn of events! Though we still need the final confirmation from you, I imagine your next blog is going to be a doozy!
Hi, sscheidt! Crazy, huh? Yes, this is definitely Audrey 2 showing up from who knows where. The Chesapeake Conservancy should be posting something tomorrow on their sites and on the Explore comments. I am planning a blog for this weekend. Thanks for touching base! Mrs. COM
Wow, what a turn of events! I do love Audrey 2 and feel sorry about Audrey 3, and Tom is probably very confused.
Mrs. Com, I was looking at all of your wonderful photos again earlier and noticed a photo that shows a black cord with lots of electrical tape on it, could that be the bad wire causing the intermittent sound? I know I’m butting in where I know nothing, I just wish I could hear Audrey, she’s such a character. And, we’re getting tremendous winds here in the city, if you’re getting the same you’ll have plenty of new sticks for the Osprey.
Hi, Lillie! Crazy, isn’t it! I am working on a new blog today, hopefully it will be out soon. Never a dull moment here at the secret location. Hope all is well with you and your family. Mrs. COM
Hi, Lillie! Great to hear from you. COM has checked out all of the wiring very carefully, but I will certainly have him take another look. I know everyone is missing the sound, but the issue has been in Explore’s corner, COM has done everything he can at this end. Thanks for reaching out with your idea! Mrs. COM