Learned and Flew

Osprey Chicks fly from the Nest

Osprey Chicks fly south for a couple of years to mature

The abruptness of nature, she follows her own rules. Got up Friday morning, looked outside at the phone lines looking for the birds, then to the nest with nobody home.

A little history; Wednesday, the 2nd of September the parents were gone when the sun came up. So, the kids hung out for 2 days and then off they went. Picture them lifting off at dawn and heading south, guess they would rest in southern New Jersey on their flight to their new home. We wish them luck.

Qwen, an 8 weeks old osprey, hanging at the Gilgo Marina.

Resetting the Bay Cam back to a 4 or 5 scene rotation of views of the Great South Bay and the marshland behind Gilgo Beach, hope to have it up and running soon.

UPDATE 9/26: last of my 4 Pella Sony and Canon cameras., total of 5 in the junk pile since started in 2004. So no camera for the Bay Cam as of now. Will update if i get one…

Osprey Nests on the Barrier Beaches

Have been interested in Osprey since a nest appeared this April. In looking into the birds, found that the height of the nest is a good indicator as to how long a nest has been at a site.

Decided to drive out the area from Gilgo Beach to Captree Island and found 6 nests as follows.

Gilgo Beach East side of Marina; a new nest on gilgo.com

Gilgo Beach West side of Marina; been there a long time

Oak Beach by Cable Dish; this nest was just moved from the power lines to a safer pole

Robert Moses Causeway south of big bridge; 1st one you see as drive south

Robert Moses Causeway at Captree Island exit just before the 2nd bridge, it looks relatively new.

Robert Moses Causeway exit to Ocean Parkway west; look back as you exit to Ocean Parkway West from the Robert Moses Causeway.

As you can see from the photos, we have a couple of newer locations along with some nests that have been here a long time. In thinking about osprey nests in the area, there might be 4-5 more that are set back in the marshlands. Good reason to take a boat ride. Will update.

Osprey Flight

2 weeks ago on August 16th at 8-9 am on a quiet Saturday morning, my neighbor Paul called me to say he saw the young osprey fly! Wish I would have been looking, this is what he said happened.

He did not see them take flight off the nest, He looked out the window and saw 4 birds circling around the nest about 100 feet up in the air. After a couple of circles around the nest, they landed back in the nest one at a time. Nothing dramatic, just a couple of steady circles and a landing.

In the week before they flew, they had been exercising their wings more and more. Just flapping away in the edge of the nest. They became stronger and noticeably more coordinated during that week.

Since then, they have been building strength, endurance and skill each day by flying and I mean flying a lot. They chase each other or other birds all around the meadows. They practice flying over marina and dive bombing to the water where they skim their feet in the water as if plucking a fish.

Seems when they are not flying, they spend a lot of time on the Electric and Telco wires that run behind the homes on Cottage Walk. Sometimes for exercise, other times to hang out and then sometimes to catch a nap.

Wilson, the bigger of the 2, chilling on the TV lines.
Qwen sitting on the roof taking in the morning sun, August 31st, 2020.

All of the above is to build the energy, strength and endurance for the flight to the southern United States in the fall. Qwen and Wilson will fly south this fall and will not be coming back soon. Young Osprey stay down south for a couple of years and then come back to mate and procreate!

Mom and Dad should be back to do it all over again in the spring! The height of an Osprey nest is a good indicator of how many times a pair has returned.

The Gilgo nest at the east end of the marina was started this year so it a small structure. Take a look at the nest from the west side of Gilgo, it has been here for years.

Snapped a photo as the sun came up on August 29th, 2020, guess they spent the night.

Wind Readings Light on Weather Station

UPDATE: August 19th

Internet came back up, seems lack of power was the problem for the last 2 weeks. In past storms, Cablevision had trucks with generators powering up the cable system. Many beautiful days went by with power and we had no TV or internet as their receive site had no AC. The State Cable Commission states that cable systems have to respond and repair outages within 2 days! Something has changed and it is not for the good.

UPDATE: August 17th

Surf Cam and weather station down as Altice’s Optimum Internet Service at Gilgo Beach is still not working since the storm on August 4th, 2 weeks ago!

Have called Altice a number of time to talk to a machine or a person who has no idea of the geography of the area.

The company offers a terrible response to problems and outages violating many of the rules of the state cable commission concerning service disruptions and responses to customers.

Call the NYS Cable Commission to complain at 800-342-3377. The cable company is required by law to respond to customer complaints within 48 hours!

Finally August 17th around 9 pm, internet was restored! 15 days later. Great service and communications from Altice.

Weather vane arrived on the 12th. I installed it on the 13th so when the internet comes back up, wind readings are accurate again.

Original post; Found that the wind reading from the gilgo.com weather station were coming up low. Many thanks to John from the the NY Kite Center for the heads up. The Wind Anemometer bearings are failing, ordered a replacement unit and will advise when installed. Estimated to receive the shipment by August 12th.

I stopped surfing three years now, due to body parts failing, so do not follow the weather as I used to. Thought wind reading were off as cups were not spinning in light winds last week. After John’s email, can say during tropical storm this week, we showed maximum wind speed of 54 mph and max gust of 60 mph. Most stations on the South Shore of Long Island showed maximum gust over 70 mph with a 78 mph gust at one station.

Walked the beach after the storm, beach looks like it lost 30 to 50 feet, saw the high water marker 30 feet or so away from the base of the dunes so the beaches flooded pretty good. The beach was packed good the morning after but the swell was a disappointment, guess the storm tracked to far inland.

Looks like there will be plenty more chances for waves, check out NOAA Hurricane forecast for the rest of this year.

Facing South August 4th from the top of the path across from the park entrance. All photos below from the same location.
Facing South with a little West August 6th.
Facing East August 4th.
Facing East August 6th. See the high water line.

They Want to Fly

The family weathered the storm, easily. The adults clung to the nest with the babies under them, flat as can be. Would see them peak up every once in a while when the winds were 40 mph plus. Not sure what they did during the 50-60 mph winds, but they were just fine the next morning.

Both the chicks, Wilson and Gwen, were exercising this morning, doing Wing Flaps and Body Bobs. They are so much more coordinated. When they bob, they peer out over the edge of the nest looking like they are going to jump and fly.

The lady spreads her wings! Gwen and Wilson have so much more control this week
Wilson looking good. Their feathers are filling in! Pop admiring his son.

Took a late after SUP drift past the nest, nice and easy. I tryed to make the osprey sound with little success. Whistled low and easy the pretty bird whistle and they looked right up. Guess it works with more than parrots! Betty the mom took off as usual, but the chicks stayed up instead of flatting out in the bottom of the nest.

Was able to take this picture of Wilson on the right and his sister Gwen chilling beside him from 20-30 feet away from their nest. A note; updated this post the next morning with above photo. This morning there were exercising their wings flapping them as if flying without leaving the nest, They did it for about 15 minutes on and off and then have been mostly quiet since then.

Attempted the same SUP drift the next day, Saturday the 8th. The whistle didn’t work too good. Pretty bird did better, got them to sit up and take notice which is the featured image on this post now.

Breakfast at the Nest

Watched the male osprey Skip come back with a fish, think a fluke, and start to eat it while sitting on the post in front of the nest. Betty, the mom, starts yelling at him and then comes down to the post and takes the fish up to the nest. I think he was making sure the fish was good to eat.

Momma Betty feeding bite sized morsels of fish to one of the chicks.

The momma osprey then bites little morsels of meat off the fish and feeds then to each chick. Watched her do this for at least 10 minutes. She fed each chick one morsel at a time, sometimes a couple of times in a row to the same chick. The other chick would wait patiently for their turn. It was a very controlled feeding, no mad rush at the food.

Pictures have gotten clearer as i have gotten use manual focus. My telephoto 600 Tamron lens auto focus servo motor failed back in April. The good news is the repair center for the USA is located in Commack, NY. The bad news is the repair center is closed due to Corona. Manual focus is super sensitive at full zoom, has taken time to get better at it.

The chicks picking thru the leftovers after a fluke breakfast.

Amazing how big the chicks have grown, they are almost as big as mom and dad. Biggest difference right now is their speckled feathers while adult ospreys are a more solid color. In the photo above, the 2 chicks are in the foreground of the osprey nest with their speckles quite visible.

Osprey Family July 22nd

Decided to take some pictures to see how the osprey chicks Wilson and Gwen have grown / matured in the last week. Saw Poppa Skip deliver lunch, so the 1st photo is Mom and the 2 chicks enjoying their fluke lunch.

Focus on food, the osprey heads stayed down for 10 minutes. Dad flexing after delivering lunch.

Estimate the chicks are 6-7 weeks of age. Check out Wilson’s wings! He seemed to control them pretty well, flight attempts coming!

Wilson spreads his wings, quite impressive! Gwen still hungry picking at the leftovers.

The Osprey chicks, Wilson and Gwen, are growing up quickly, hope to see them learn to fly and fish in the coming weeks.

The young ospreys will hang with Mom and Dad for rest of the summer learning their skills.

Gilgo Osprey Update 7/14

Osprey Cam Update

Osprey cam video of the nest at the east end of the Gilgo Marina has gotten softer or more out of focus in last week or so. Clean window and lens to no avail.

I have use the Sony Pella cameras for the web site, Went thru the other two spares I have from over the years, they are all 15 to 20 years old. Both had issues. The ocean surf cam is a Pella living on borrowed time, it has been running since 2006.

I have a Canon CB-50i, it was the Long Beach Cam for 10-15 years. Always thought it was sharper than the Sony, but think full zoom Sony better than Canon in this application.

Took the day, but changed out camera for the Osprey Cam at Gilgo Beach and we are back up.

Osprey Family Update

Now as to the fam… they seemed to be doing well. The parents stay mostly at the nest, Betty with the chicks Wilson and Gwenny while Skip keeps an eye out on the post out in front of the nest. Skip does the fishing keeping mom and the kids fed and safe. Hope to see the chicks try to fly in the next week or so.

Osprey Feathers

Baby Osprey 12 days later

A beautiful Sunday afternoon at Gilgo, looking around the wetlands caught a glimpse of one of the baby osprey thru my binoculars. Set up the camera and was quite surprised as to how much she had grown and all the feathers!

Based on the nest finally secured on April 15th , thinking the eggs would have created around May 1st. The female osprey incubates them for 5 to 6 weeks so the eggs would have hatched around June 7th. I think the baby osprey were 3 weeks old on July 1st as shown in the image above.

Young osprey spend days practicing to fly, right around their nest. The bird gets their first flight at seven to eight weeks. Based on the estimates, this chick is 5 to 6 weeks old.

Amazing amount of feathers, the chick had trouble lifting her wing, the photo makes her look more graceful then she is. Still very much learning her body. Reminds me of my Great Dane Jackson, as a pup, learning to walk.

Shrinking Gilgo Beach

Parking Barriers Installed May 11th at Gilgo Beach

Not sure what and why this is happening. Guess it is about coronavirus control. Someone has decided that the beach is a problem and so I guess this is their answer. Open the beach but limit the parking. Estimate they blocked off 50% of the parking lot, about 175 parking spaces.

Concrete blocks to prevent approx 200 cars from parking at Gilgo Beach July, 2020

As of today, the Town of Babylon has blocked out all the parking spots east of the entrance. Not sure why they would use concrete barriers unless they are planning to limit the parking for a long time.

Would guess it cost at least 15 thousand dollars to do what they have done thus far. Had the Excavator towed here approximately 30 miles. Then 4 dump trucks hauled the barriers with 4 pickup trucks to assist. Total 10 trucks and men for the day plus whomever where on the other end loading the barriers.

Cuomo says June 6th latest date, have heard June 25th also. That is in a couple of weeks, so whats with the town installing barriers? Heard happening at Cedar Beach also. The state ocean beach parks are open, Tobay Beach is open. Guess we will find out in the coming weeks.

UPDATE JULY 1st, 2020

The town came couple weeks ago and moved all the cement blocks to a corner of the parking lot so that the lot is back to capacity. Note; thus far, the town is closing the lot when it is around 50% capacity.

UPDATE JULY 12th, 2020

The traffic coming over the Robert Moses Bridge hit the ridiculous stage this morning. By 9 am traffic was backed up to Montauk Hwy!

This afternoon around 2 pm, for as far as I could see in both directions on Eastbound Ocean Parkway, hundreds of cars were parked up on the dunes with people going over the dunes to get to the beach.

Empty side of Gilgo Parking Lot due to capacity reductions with cars parked along Ocean Parkway instead .

The number of vehicles on Ocean Parkway West that are airing down and up at Coast Guard entrance to Gilgo State Park has increased. Maybe people are thinking it is OK to park after driving by.

Maybe this is happening due to frustration of driving for hours in traffic and not being able to get into any of the town or state beach parks. There has to be a better way.