2013 Osprey Cam Season

2013 Blackwater Osprey Cam eggWelcome to another season of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Osprey Cam!

We apologize for the late start to our blog this year; things have been a bit hectic. For those who weren’t watching the Osprey Cam Gallery when we posted the photos showing our eggs, here is the scorecard:

1st egg
Laid: May 6
Possible Hatch: June 13

2nd egg
Laid: May 9
Possible Hatch: June 16

3rd egg
Laid: May 12
Possible Hatch: June 19

These hatch dates are based on the fact that we often see an osprey hatch at around 38 days, although they can hatch as early as 35 days.

This year was the latest that we’ve ever had eggs laid on the cam nest since we went live back in 2001. Usually late eggs means there is an inexperienced couple at the nest. In addition to the lateness of the eggs, we also saw some other signs that indicated we might have a young pair on the nest, such as the way they pushed the first egg around the nest a bit before they settled down to incubate it.

Things were going well with the incubating this year until Saturday morning (see the Gallery update) when during the rain from Tropical Storm Andrea, we got a good look at the wet and flattened nest cup and we noticed there appeared to be only one egg. Another photo today seemed to also confirm that we have only one egg. Finally, Laura from the UK captured a time-lapse video on Sunday that showed no real movement in the nest during the day, so we don’t think a chick hatched prematurely.

For those who were with us in 2008, you might remember that we had a young pair that year, and during a four-day rain storm they left the eggs to seek shelter, after which a crow came in and punctured the eggs. This was clearly an inexperienced couple that didn’t have the determination to stick out the weather, and sadly not long after they lost the eggs the sun came out and the rain stopped.

On Saturday morning, we did get reports that the 2013 osprey couple were off the nest for a while during the rain, even though the storm had not gone on that long, but we didn’t get any visual confirmation that a predator came onto the nest and took or damaged the eggs, so it’s a mystery at this point as to why we seem to have only one egg.

There is a chance that the other two eggs are buried out of sight, but it’s been a couple days and we haven’t had a clear view of more than one, so the odds of the eggs being “hidden” seem small.

At this stage we do have one egg, but we don’t know which one it is, so it’s hard to predict when it might hatch. If this is a young pair with little experience, it might be better if they have only one chick to feed this year.

So that’s where we stand for now. Lots of unanswered questions about our couple, so we’ll just have to sit back and watch.

Until next time,
Lisa – webmaster
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Categories: eggs, osprey cam | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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