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Our Osprey Pair sadly lost their chick this spring. But they are continuing to work on building up the nest. They really like this location! 

Having severe bandwidth issues since Irma - this view is Cam3 with No DVR for the time being

Sincere Thanks to our generous Sponsors CCA Skidaway Island, Ogeechee Audubon, Wild Birds Unlimited, HDonTap, Savannah and Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association and many others - This year featuring nesting Ospreys!

Join us in this adventure by supporting our camera and our outreach activities!

The 2017 Season of The Landings Eagle/Owl/Osprey/Bird Cam Brought to you by Skidaway Audubon and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Find more about Weather in Savannah, GA   Click for weather forecast    

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We’re on “Hatch Watch” but meanwhile – you Will Not Believe this GHO rescue!

May 2, 2017 by Rick Cunningham

We’re very fortunate to have the support of the The Landings Club here on Skidaway Island. The nest tree is on one of the golf courses and the club provides us access to it and has provided assistance to Skidaway Audubon with just about every step of the process over the last four years. In particular, Chris Steigelman, Director of Golf Maintenance South and Phil Soukup, his deputy have provided assistance and advice to us every time we’ve asked, From teaching us how to operate a 105′ lift to providing assistance in maintenance of equipment, they’ve been there for us, and for the owls and ospreys.

So it didn’t surprise me to hear that another superintendent, at another golf course went above and beyond the call of duty recently to rescue a Great Horned Owl. Craig Loving, Golf Course Superintendent of Lost Creek Country Club in Austin, Texas rescued this Great Horned Owl after one of the club’s employees noticed that it was snagged by fishing line caught in a tree. You will not believe this video! The bird clacked it’s beak repeatedly but otherwise cooperated fully with Craig as he worked to free his wing. This is one lucky bird, and one nice guy – brave, too!

 

 

Egg1 is In The Nest – Let’s get this party started!

March 30, 2017 by Rick Cunningham

Welcome back to the 2017 Landings Bird Cam – this year featuring a pair of Ospreys. The first egg was laid on Monday March 27 at around 7:00 am. An interesting fact about Ospreys is that both the male and female have a brood patch and both share duties of incubating the eggs.

These birds are magnificent fishermen, able to catch and carry fish weighing as much as two and a half pounds – about 1.1 kg!

Here’s a shot of him (left) bringing a striped bass (we call them stripers) to her. Because their talons are such great fish hooks, it’s actually difficult to let go of the fish! She’s tugging at the fish and finally he’s able to get his talon loose.


Once she’s taken the handoff, she gets a good grip and then heads over to a nearby branch to eat her afternoon snack in peace. Meanwhile, he checks out the egg and settles down over it to keep it warm until she’s had her meal.

 

 

 

 

 

Someone mentioned that when she was brooding, her wingtips looked a bit like the “tail fins” on cars back in the 1950’s. Here’s the 1957 Chrysler that I think they might have been comparing her to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We would like to give a big shoutout to Ms Patterson’s kindergarten class at James Island Elementary School in Charleston, SC. That’s just up the coast from Savannah and we’re glad to have them following this brand new species of bird. It will be interesting to see the differences and similarities of the Owls and the Ospreys as they care for the eggs and chicks. Stay tuned!

And finally, here’s a webpage with a good fact sheet on ospreys

 

Finally Getting Some Action!

February 17, 2017 by Rick Cunningham

With the number of trees (about 9,000!) that were lost on the island due to the hurricane, tropical storm, and tornados of September and October, you would think that a great nest like this would be scooped up quickly, but even though owls, hawks, ospreys and even vultures have been frequent visitors, no one has moved in yet. However, we hope that’s about to change!

Lately, a pair of Ospreys have been visiting daily, and have been building up the nest material. They have even been seen mating at the nest, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they may take up residence!

We haven’t got the dvr capability working this year, and are working hard on it since we know everyone wants to be able to look back and see what they might have missed… Stay tuned!

 

A Tale of Two Storms

October 7, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

One month ago we were hunkered down, preparing for Hurricane Hermine. The storm arrived, and what we feared was the heavy rains and wind blown debris backing up street drains and causing water to backup and flood in some areas of the island. Public Works folks were out making sure everything was kept clear all night long on Sept 2, when a tornado was spawned by the storm. It cut a 1.6 mile swath across the island, destroying or damaging dozens of homes and snapping hundreds and hundreds of large trees. Amazingly enough, no one was killed or injured, and most of the island is back to normal now, with the obvious exception of those whose houses were destroyed or badly damaged.

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-7-35-38-amOnce the storm passed, we leased an 85 foot lift and went up to repair and remount the cameras. Take a look at the facebook page to see the progress of that work. The final result is three camera, one on the nest tree, and two mounted on a nearby tree pointing at the nest. Great news, right?

But now, just a month later, the entire GA coast from I95 east is under a mandatory evacuation order because of the approach of Hurricane Matthew. My wife and I are in Atlanta – on Wednesday we look at the predicted sustained winds over 80 mph, to last for a 24 hour period, and decided that discretion is the better part of valor. I’m not scared of heights, but I’m very respectful of hurricanes!

And as we went to bed last night, the sustained winds were still predicted to be in the 70’s, and we really wondered just how bad the damage would be and how many of us would return to wind and storm battered and possibly destroyed homes.

But this morning, as we took a new look at the predictions, the peak sustained winds were now predicted to be just below 50 mph. A HUGE difference, apparently being made by a very slight eastward shift of the projected track. The wind force is proportional to the square of the wind speed. The force from 86 mph winds is nearly 3 times worse than that from 46 mph winds, so we’re cautiously optimistic that the damages from the storm will be considerably less than previously feared.

But we can’t forget that this will still be a considerably more violent storm than Hermine, so there’s still very real danger to life and property, And the storm surge is predicted to be from 7 to 11 feet, so there’s still serious risk of wind driven tidal flooding, and I fear that many homes will be badly damaged by flooding as well as the inevitable felled trees. While things are looking better, they’re still looking very dangerous, so it’s a very good thing that people have for the most part heeded the evacuation orders. We hope and pray that any who may have stayed behind will be all right during the next 24 hours of severe weather. Stay tuned!

 

 

Getting Prepped for The Storm

September 1, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.08.21 AMIn the calm before the storm, with Tropical Storm Hermine off the coast of Florida, and then headed our way, we’re trying to make sure that we are ready for repairs to the cameras and their mounts when the storm clears. As you might be able to see in the chart on the right, this particular weather forecast has us getting winds of 39 mph on Friday Sept 2. Total rainfall may be 2-3 inches over Thursday and Friday. It then may clear up and give us a few days to dry enough to be able to get the lift out to the tree on Tuesday.

The storm currently has winds of 65 its and would be upgraded to a Cat1 hurricane if they reached 75. Once it makes landfall, Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.31.21 AMthe winds should start to subside, but there’s another system that will collide with it and may keep the winds up. The best thing we’ve heard lately is that the track is probably going to move a bit inland, which will mean that the storm surge and coastal flooding in the Savannah area will be reduced. The folks in Florida’s Big Bend area aren’t so lucky – if it does turn into a hurricane before hitting land, they will get the full force of it at landfall. The worst flood and storm surge effects will be to the right side of the track, in this case east and south along the Fla west coast, as far south as Tampa.

Here’s a graphic showing the latest compendium of computer models. All of them have the center of the storm passing to the west of Savannah, and the further inland, the less energy it picks up and the less the storm surge.

Tim Sears Design Page 2And…. we’re working on a new design based on this sketch from Tim Sears, HDonTap founder and our benefactor, that may let us keep both cameras mounted on the nest tree. Remember, without it’s branches, it’s a lot like a great big utility pole with a nest on top. Mounting cameras on poles usually  requires a bit of a cantilevered platform, which is what’s shown there. I shot some more drone video this morning to make sure that we understand where the attachments to the tree can be placed so that we can figure out what sizes of lumber will be required. Stay tuned for an actual proposed design.

 

 

Help us Redesign, Repair, and Relaunch the Nest Cams!

August 28, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

Over the next 10 days we will design new supports for both cameras, on this tree or a nearby tree. We have leased an 85′ lift for a week – it arrives on Wednesday Aug 31 and we will work as needed through the week and weekend to get things running again. We need your help to finance the project. The lift will cost $1800 and we’re still trying to determine the other costs. We currently estimate from $700 to $1000 for materials to build new camera mounts, as well as to purchase new cabling for both cameras.

Today we received a pledge from an anonymous donor. This person will match, dollar for dollar, the first $500 of donations to the cause. This is a fantastic boost, and is a wonderful way to kick off the fundraising. Please consider supporting the project. Any level of donation will help, and with the community behind us, we hope to be back online within 10 days.

To donate to the cause, just click on the image below and you will be taken to PayPal where you can donate via credit card or with a PayPal account.



This Ol’ Tree’s Not Gettin’ Any Younger..

June 20, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

The image on the left below is from Oct 4, 2014. Clearly visible are six branches supporting the nest. Not visible is the seventh branch on which the camera is mounted. The image on the right is from June 20, 2016. Notice that there are now only three branches visible, and the fourth still supports Cam 1.Three of the branches that were there previously are gone, having been broken off by high winds – the latest branch fell very early in the morning last Saturday, having been fatally weakened by a burst of wind at around 6:00 on Friday.

We’re trying to figure out how much longer the tree can hang on, but clearly we will have to think soon about when to take the cameras down. Meanwhile, the Ospreys continue to build up the nest and have mated a number of times, including just today! Are they going to nest soon or are they just practicing their nest building skills for next year?

 

Eagle Nest 2014-10-28 at 6.51.23 PM

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Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 3.16.01 PMEagle Cam 2014-10-04 at 8.32.53 AM

 

 

Everything old is new again!

April 25, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 6.30.43 PM
So what’s up in the nest? The owls are still in the area, but if last year is any indication, they may not be actually spending any time in the nest now that the two owlets are both confident flyers.

Mom was last seen in the nest on Saturday night around 8:00, and we haven’t seen the owls since.

 

However, today (Monday) at noon, a couple of Ospreys showed up andScreen Shot 2016-04-25 at 6.31.05 PM spent about 40 minutes checking out the view. This also is similar to last year, as the following goldie-oldie post shows. To the right are today’s photos as first one, then
another Osprey land and spend some quality time in the nest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And below, take a look at this post from 54 weeks ago! It’s Deja Vu all over again!


Ospreys getting serious – stand by for Act II ??? originally published April 9, 2015

The two osprey have visited the nest at least a couple of times this morning and between 8:30 and about 9:10 were seen together bringing in new nest material. When the second osprey arrives with a huge load of spanish moss, it gets caught on the end of a new stick that they have apparently added to the nest. Both of this pair seem to think this is a pretty good site. Now we just need to have them start picnicking here. I’m thinking sushi or sashimi would be a great sign!

And for those of you who are unfamiliar with the osprey, here’s some literally unbelievable footage from ARKive.

ARKive  http://www.arkive.org  is a unique global initiative, gathering together into one centralised digital library, films, photographs and audio recordings of the world’s species.

Alarums and Excursions In The Night – and now Back Home!

April 18, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

Owlet 1
left the nest at 8:00 on Saturday night and made it back to the nest about 35 hours later – at 7:15 this morning Owlet 2 was branching(!) and practicing “flying” back to the nest (or as Woody in Toy Story would say, “That wasn’t flying, that was just falling with style!”) when Owlet 1 hopped back on the nest. And then just a few minutes later, Mom arrived with a great egret and all were reunited again. Owlet 2 wanted to fly out of the nest as soon as Owlet 1 flew away, but after watching Owlet 1 huddling on a distant branch for almost a solid day, it started hanging on a lot tighter as it practiced it’s flapping skills! We don’t have much more time before they both are out of the nest, but I think they’re all happy for the nice roomy nest for the time being!

One of the cam volunteers, Becky Racaniello captured and posted this video earlier. (After watching the videos, see additional stills below)

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 9.41.43 AMScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 9.45.52 AMScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 9.47.24 AMScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 9.47.38 AM


In the images on the right from this morning, you see an empty nest! at about 7:02, then Owlet 2flies down from a branch, and a couple of minutes later, Owlet 1 comes back! And about 15 minutes later Mom arrives with lots of food. Owlet 2 stays glued to Owlet 1 now that it’s back home!

 

 

 

 

Owlet 1 Fledges!

April 17, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

Owlet 2 watches Owlet 1 fledgingWe’re not at all sure that it was on purpose, but last night at 8:02 Owlet 1 was branching very high up in a stiff breeze – when it came down at 8:07, it went right by the nest, and we were just a bit worried.

Here’s Owlet 2 watching it’s sibling soar by below the nest..

 

 

 

 

Owlet 1 has fledgedWe went out and tried to locate it last night in case it was on the ground, but it didn’t seem to be and we figured it had landed in the canopy of some lower trees.

This morning Patty Frothingham and Mary Lambright are out there and found all three owls, all looking just fine. Owlet 2 is in the nest feeling a bit left out,

 

Owlet 1 is in a tree that’s almost straight towards the sun, and Mom is watching in an adjacent tree. All are OK and looking fine – Yippee!

To get your bearings, below is a view from Cam2 or the location of the escapee (owlet1) – it’s perched in a tree that’s hidden by that branch – probably 30 or 40 yards away from the nest, and may well be exactly where owlet 1 landed last night! It’s a wild ride out there in the wind this morning. Use Cam 2 view to keep up with Owlet2, and Cam 1 view to keep up with Owlet 1. Or just use this Twin View Page.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 9.37.07 AM

 

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