Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz. Oh, What A Relief It Is!

Good morning from the lovely Eastern Shore of Maryland! The situation here at the secret location is certainly different than it was when I posted my last blog. When last we met, the battle of the Audreys had just concluded, Tom and Audrey (2) were getting reacquainted after their winter hiatus and we were waiting anxiously for the arrival of lovely osprey eggs. Although a month late, osprey life picked up right where it should be.

With Crazy Town on the back burner for now, it was time for life around the neighborhood to get back to normal. Tom and Audrey continued to add to their comfy cozy nest, and they got down to business making baby ospreys. Tom regained his favorite perch on top of the camera pole, and didn’t have to resort to his second and third choices.

Tom was hanging out on the boat lift on a bucolic afternoon. After being so rudely interrupted by a crazy lady hugging a camera, he headed back to his favorite perch on top of the camera pole. A downstairs tenant is perched on a protruding stick. Do you see it?

Tom arrives at his happy place, with Audrey keeping careful watch on you-know-who

Tom is surveying his kingdom while Audrey relaxes on a lovely spring morning

Tom isn’t the only one who enjoys hanging out on the crosspiece.

The basement tenant is heading home

There is always chatter in the Explore comments between those who have figured out the Tom vs. Audrey code and the camera watchers who still haven’t broken it. Here is a quick tutorial to help you make your decision.

This is Tom, looking at the left side of his head. Notice there are no breaks in the black under his eye.

The view of the right side of Tom’s head. Again, there are no breaks in the black under his eye.

Now on to Audrey.

This is Audrey’s head from the right side. In the above photo, it is very obvious that Audrey has a break of white under her eye. Her iris is also heavily speckled.

The above photo shows Audrey’s head from the left view. The white break is visible, unlike the area under Tom’s eyes that are black and have no break of white.

Tom on the bottom of the photo and Audrey on the top

I took the above photo from the Explore comments. If the rightful author of the photo comes forward, I will definitely give you credit in the next blog! The differences between Tom and Audrey are pointed out

The features I use to tell Tom and Audrey apart are the differences in the amount of black/white under their eyes, and the buff patch on the back of Tom’s head. I will point out visible differences in any photos I post where the differences are apparent. This particular Tom and Audrey pair can be difficult to differentiate at times. Our first Tom and Audrey pair looked so different that just a cursory glance was all that was needed to make the ID. Our first Tom had such a dark face he stood out immediately. Audrey 1 had almost no black on her face, and the difference between them was marked. No such luck with these two, but we are all up to the Tom v. Audrey challenge.

May 14, 2021 was a happy day indeed at the secret location. Audrey presented us with her first egg, with her second egg following right on schedule three days later on May 17. And the biggest event of all was the appearance of the third egg, again three days later, on May 20. When I say appearance, I mean appearance. For those of you who witnessed the event as it happened, or were able to catch a glimpse on the reruns, I think you will agree with the title I have selected for the blog. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is (with apologizes to the old time 1976 Alka-Seltzer commercial)!! A huge sigh of relief for everyone, with the welcome sight of three beautiful eggs, and especially the plop, plop of the third one. Please enjoy this short clip from the CBS Sunday Morning show (with a short ad at the beginning, just ignore it), featuring the origin of our blog title for today.

Sadly, one of the eggs became cracked and is no longer with us. It is believed to be the third egg that had been laid, which leaves us with eggs #1 and #2. The very first egg laid in the nest, which was by Audrey 3 on the very day that Audrey 2 returned, became buried shortly after it was laid, and would no longer be viable. There have been no confirmed sightings of Audrey 3 since the day she was politely asked to leave by Audrey 2 (sarcasm). We can only hope she has found a new mate, and is enjoying her life on the Chesapeake Bay.

In our nest, the typical time from an egg being laid to hatch is 39-41 days. If you do the math, we can expect the first egg to hatch sometime in the middle of next week, in the June 22-24 range. The eggs will hatch in the order they were laid, and with the same interval. So pip watch begins very soon. I would expect our viewer numbers will rise significantly in the near future. Hopefully the weather will hold out, and we won’t experience the marauding, nefarious, dastardly crows of last spring. Can you tell I don’t like the crows? The belated return of Audrey 2 may end up being a blessing in disguise, as the extra thirty days has certainly helped the conditions at the nest.

Our ospreys have been hanging out in their usual locations, with the exception of one. I have not seen Tom in Joe’s Big Tree two houses to the north of us. There is another osprey who hangs out there, but I do not think it is Tom. I have seen both Tom and Audrey on the boat lift and in the scraggly stick tree. Audrey continues to enjoy chowing down on fish from the top of the NEMA box, which is no longer the pristine piece of equipment it was when newly installed this past March. Both Tom and Audrey take turns in the nest incubating the eggs. Tom enjoys the perch on top of the camera pole, and the crosspiece that stabilizes the two poles.

Here is the current condition of the scraggly stick tree. Although quite diminished in size and leaning precariously over the water, it has leafed out quite nicely.

Audrey on the NEMA box with her gift from Tom
A piece of something is stuck in Audrey’s throat. I hate when that happens, she thinks
The NEMA box has officially been christened. What a mess! Are you planning to clean that up, Audrey?

Audrey in the scraggly stick tree with her half of a fish

Audrey in the scraggly stick tree from a different angle
Audrey tearing off a bite of fish. It sure tastes better when someone else catches it!

Tom is a happy camper incubating the eggs while Audrey snacks. You can see two marked sticks buried in the nest.

Tom is loving his incubation time. You can see how low down in the nest he is.

I managed to unintentionally chase Audrey off of the NEMA box.

Audrey has relocated to the dock next door to the south with her prize
Now that’s what I’m talking about! Yummy
Almost got that poop shot, a split second too late. Better luck next time, Mrs. COM

I chased Audrey off yet again. Sorry about that!

Audrey trying to escape the camera of Mrs. COM, which cannot be readily accomplished without flying out of range
Audrey in downstroke, still clutching her unfinished morsel. Damn you, Mrs. COM

Tom has reclaimed his rightful place on the camera pole perch.

Tom savoring his favorite place while Audrey performs her incubating duties

Although the lighting is not optimal, twilight has fallen with Tom on the crosspiece and Audrey in the nest.

A bucolic scene as the sun is setting and dusk falls upon our favorite osprey pair

Can you make out Audrey’s punk “hair”do?

Memorial Day weekend brought some nasty, cold, wet weather. We watched the nest carefully to ascertain if Audrey was receiving enough to eat so she wouldn’t leave the nest unattended, as visions of last spring’s melancholy events were still fresh in our heads. The crummy holiday weather only lasted two days, and we were able to fly the ginormous holiday flag before the weekend ended.

My artsy photo of the gigantic holiday flag with the pole complex in the background
Now that’s a flag! The poor flag pole didn’t know what hit it.

With spring come storms, and with storms we sometimes get a lovely rainbow.

Audrey on her perch looking for that pot of gold

I will leave you not with a sunrise, but another moonlit night.

Tom on the right side of the crosspiece, Audrey in the nest and all is right with the osprey world (for now anyway)

When next I write, we should be thinking about names for our two newly hatched chicks. Fingers crossed, everyone!

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 today. Thanks very much!