One of the most severe winters on record in Massachusetts did more than make life difficult for its human residents - it also impacted many species of wildlife. Mammals had a hard time moving through the deep snow and food was scarce for all wildlife. And the extended duration of the frozen landscape seems to have delayed migration back into Massachusetts for many species of birds that normal apprear in March like American Woodcock, Piping Plover, Great Blue Heron and, of course, Osprey.
Greenbelt's volunteer citizen scientist Osprey nest monitors are reporting occupied Osprey nests around the county but the earliest report I recieved (April 1) was a full week later than the past few years. And there are still a number of unoccupied nests that were active last year. I am not too concerned because some of the adult Osprey fitted with satelitte transmitters in Rob Bierregaard's research project (http://www.ospreytrax.com/) on Osprey migration are still on there way north and well short of their breeding sites. So i am speculating that the entire Osprey nesting season is going to be delayed in 2015 but I still anticipate a similar number of pairs if not even more.
The really good news is that Allyn and Ether reappearred at the webcam nest in Essex. Allyn may have arrived on April 7, as a single Osprey was observed between 8-9am bringing in nesting materials, but both birds were on the nest April 8, working on the nest and even copulating a few times. If you check the webcam (http://www.ecga.org/what_we_do/osprey_cam), you will notice that Ethel has a band now on her right leg. She was captured simultaneously when Flow was capture in August 2014.
Ethel (l) and Allyn back together on the nest for the first time on April 8.
Finally, we have not yet insalled any new platforms in 2015 but we plan on at least installations in the next few weeks. We will not be placing satellite transmitters on any more Osprey in 2015 as Rob Bierregaard is winding down his research project. However, we will continue to monitor Flow through our website (http://www.ecga.org/what_we_do/osprey_research), where we can see that he is alive and well in central Cuba, where he has been since October 2014 and where is should remain until late winter of 2016 when he will begin to migrate north for the first time. The solar powered transmitter can last for many years, so our hope is that we can get the opportunity to follow him back to wherever he decides to return to to breed.
So that is the update for now. Also follow Greenbelt on FaceBook for more regular updates and photos.
Greenbelt is grateful to several professional and staff photographers whose work is featured prominently within our website.
Thank you Jerry Monkman / ecophotography.com, Lynne Holton, Kindra Clineff, Adrian Scholes and John Raleigh.