Update May 28, 2020 – Not much new to report. The incubation phase for Annie and Squam continues. Squam is still bringing in numerous fresh fish daily, mostly river herring but the occassional small striped bass as well. One we roll into June the count down is on for hatching.
Annie or Squam? One of the pair of Cape Ann’s resident Ospreys (hopefully a family soon).
Update May 11, 2020 – All good news. Annie has laid 3 eggs, completing her clutch yesterday. So that would suggesting the first egg might hatch around June 15. Squam has been busily catching mostly river herring these days, feeding himself and Annie a steady diet of fresh fish.
Was anyone watching just now?? The male jumped on the female’s back in an attempt to mate. The mating attempt was very brief. A male will land on a female’s back many times without the “cloacal kiss” accomplished. Studies have shown only 30-40% of mating attempts are successful. Early copulations stimulate the growth of eggs within the female’s ovary and strengthen the pair bond. The last 3 or 4 days before eggs are laid are the most critical for fertilization.
Greenbelt’s OspreyCam is located in Gloucester, MA on Greenbelt salt marsh near LobstaLand Restaurant.
History: In 2017 a pair of young Osprey took up residence on the LobstaLand platform in July/August and made a small nest. In 2018 they returned in April, stayed until August and built a large nest but never laid eggs. We call this a “house-keeping pair”- almost always a young pair learning the ropes.
In 2019, the pair returned in April to the nest and produced a clutch of 3 eggs, all under the watchful eye of the newly installed webcam. The adults were named Annie and Squam. They hatched one egg, and eventually fledged one chick – named River. River was banded before he fledged. He left the nest for good in late summer.
2020 – Annie and Squam returned to the nest in mid-April, and since then they have been tending to the nest, preparing to produce a clutch of eggs. They have been very patient as we have been back and forth to the nest site many times getting the new webcam set up.
Update April 29, 2020 – The webcam is now live. We’re awaiting what this season will bring! We hope you enjoy with us.Ospreys adding sticks to their nest
Hello from Kate Bowditch canoeing on the Ipswich River
Enjoy this paddle on the Ipswich River with Greenbelt President Kate Bowditch. The Ipswich flows for miles through beautiful, pristine scenery, much of which is permanently protected thanks to years of generous support from you, our Greenbelt community. During these uncertain times, we hope that you will continue to support our work to the extent that you are able. Together, the land we conserve today is protected forever. Thank you.
This morning I had the joy to meet Don and Eleanor. Don built the fantastic Osprey platform that you see in the photos. Several years ago, Don noticed that an Osprey pair were trying to construct a nest on a post by the train tracks; the post that houses the all important train signals. Understandably, railroad workers had to destroy the nest as it was interfering with train operations. After watching the Osprey pair attempt to build a nest two years in a row, Don decided to build and install an Osprey platform in the marsh adjacent to his home. With some advice from Greenbelt, Don installed the platform early this spring. Wonder of wonders, his plan worked! The young pair built a perfect nest and one egg hatched.
Thanks to citizen scientists like Don and Eleanor and the Essex County Greenbelt’s amazing Osprey program, the north of Boston region is rapidly being repopulated with Opsrey. Don is already building a second platform with hopes of installing it in the spring of 2017.
Don reports that since the Osprey have been on the scene, they are no longer bothered by pesky crows. He witnessed a pair of crows trying to rob the Osprey nest of its egg. The Osprey swooped in, snatched both crows, and beat them down into the marsh. The crows have yet to return!
Many thanks to Don and Eleanor for their warm hospitality and efforts to help the Osprey.
Osprey nesting platform built by Don
To take some truly terrific closeups, a longer zoom lens is required than my own 400mm, but we can at least get a glimpse of the Osprey family with these photos.
So many thanks to GMG’s Paul Morrison for the excursion out to photograph the Osprey nest on the Annisquam. And thank you to Paul’s sister Kathy for the suggestion. We were there for only a short time when we began to see movement beneath the adult perched on the nest’s edge. After a few moments, the nestling’s shape became visible, but only for seconds, before it settled back deeper into the nest.
Some interesting facts about Ospreys:
Their population has rebounded following the ban on the pesticide DDT.
This hawk is easy to identify when flying over head as it has a whiter belly than other raptors.
The male gathers the nesting material while the female builds the nest. Osprey return to the same nesting sight and nest, building and rebuilding the nest up over a period of many generations. The man made nesting platforms that we see in Essex County are relatively new nests. Osprey nests that are built up over decades can reach 10 to 13 feet deep and 3-6 feet in diameter, large enough for an adult to sit in.
The osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish, nearly 80 different species of fish are eaten by osprey. Sounds like a Gloucester sort of raptor!