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Truck Stop Overlook - 044-A-004
Nest Location Description:
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New Jersey Osprey Project
Show reports, diaries, and photos from:
2019 Nest Activity Report by
First chick fledging
Chicks last observed
Reason for nest failure
2020 Nest Activity Report by
First chick fledging
Chicks last observed
Reason for nest failure
Photos of this nest
9:00 a.m. In the morning, prior to meeting at a nearby Wawa for a bike ride, I checked this nest. The lighting was from behind the nest--this nest is better seen in afternoon light. I could see two fledglings through my scope, perched two tiers down from the top of the tower where the nest is. I did not see the third, but it has no doubt also fledged. I am estimating the fledge date as 8/8. In the photo, which was back-lit, you cannot distinguish the juvenile plumage, but it was evident through the scope.
1:40-1:50p.m. I am doing very quick checks of as many nests as I can after yesterday's tropical storm Isaias. The severely high winds took down many trees and could have blown nests and chicks down. This nest is intact and the three chicks are sitting up on the nest calling persistently. Two are easy to see, the third is hidden behind its siblings to the right in the photo. I don't stay long and don't see parents. These chicks should be fledging very soon, but still seem to be calling parents for a fish delivery rather than going out on their own.
12:51p.m. When I arrived, nothing much was happening. I saw two of the three chicks preening. At 1:00 p.m. a parent flies in. I now see all three chicks and they are excited and vocalizing. They appear to be self feeding now so the parent must have brought in prey. About this time, Joe, the owner of the Truck Stop, approached my car and asked about the birds/nest. I explained and gave him a brochure, info sheet, and my card. He is very happy the birds are there, and tells me he is happy I am there watching! He is super interested and friendly! He says, "It is really nice you are here watching. We are glad the birds are there, and happy to have you watching all these days (I have stopped a lot because this nest is near others)." He thanked me for doing it! Wow! He asked about the size of the nest and of the birds and many other questions about them! Very interested!
12:15 p.m. Mom is perched on an upper strut, and 3 big chicks are sitting in the nest looking away from me, which would be toward the river! Maybe they see Dad fishing? Mom preens, the chicks call persistently encouraging Dad to hurry up and catch lunch. I see one of the chicks vigorously wing flapping in the breeze and wonder if I am going to see a second fledge! 12:20 the adult male flies into the nest and it appears he has a fish. I hear excited chick vocals, but Dad immediately flies to a pillar and takes the fish with him! The chicks go nuts! He then flies back into the nest, but starts eating the fish himself. At that point, it is interesting, but the chicks sit and watch and wait their turn, they do not show any aggression, try to grab the fish, or mantle it. Eventually, they do get their share!
5:35-5:50 p.m. When I first parked and set up my scope and camera, the three chicks were moving around a lot. One especially was doing a lot of wing flapping. I got a great video of this one "flying" about 2-3 feet above the nest--getting really "big air!" After about five minutes, a parent flew in with something that I couldn't make out. I did not see the chicks make a move to eat whatever she brought, so maybe it wasn't prey, and perhaps they have already been fed. The parent perched on a pillar above the nest. Two of the chicks sat more or less inactive, and our "high flier" continued his strenuous wing exercises! These chicks look about the same age as others in the area. Will look for fledging very soon.
7:12p.m. The late afternoon light is good for viewing this nest from the truck stop parking and this is the second nest tonight that I was able to confirm THREE CHICKS! Mom was on the nest with the three for awhile. The young were wing flapping vigorously. Mom was not feeding, so the meal was earlier. Mom did busy herself moving sticks around the nest and then hopped to the top rail of the tower before flying off at 7:20 p.m.
1:30 p.m. This nest is on the way to the Pohatcong Quarry nest which is my priority today. Since I drive right past, I tried to get some good views from the route 173 bridge over I-78, but could only see one adult perched on a pillar. I then moved to the Truck Stop Parking lot. One adult, probably the female, was perched on pillars and calling persistently. I could see no chicks. Unfortunately I could not stay to see the male come in with the fish which the female was calling for. I had to get to the quarry which closes at 3 p.m. in order to see if I could determine if there are chicks at that nest.
10:45a.m. I approached on route 173 heading west and could see the nest from a different angle. I stopped along an overpass when I was quite close to the tower. It is a good view, but would be better very early before traffic and with morning sun, better still early Sunday! I see one adult perched and one adult eating. At 11:00 a.m. I move to the truck stop/gas station parking lot and see two chicks. The male flies off the perch and heads southwest toward the river. The female is vocalizing. I don't see her feeding the chicks. One is mostly down and out of sight.
3:40 p.m. I park in the back of the truck stop and set up my scope. I immediately see two active chicks and Mom at the nest. I am lucky I saw the two because soon they appear to lie down and aren't visible. In the photo, one has already disappeared into the deep nest.
9:45 a.m. I am trying to locate reported nests that have not been closely "followed" in order to have the osprey chicks in Central and North Jersey "counted" in our state totals. Driving along Edge Rd I locate this nest and it is very far away! However, I find a gas station/truck stop at the corner of routes 22 and New Brunswick (route 122) and pull in. The tower is right at this busy corner near the I-78 cloverleaf and the nest viewing and the parking is quite good. I see one adult sitting on the nest as if incubating or brooding. The mate then flies in with a stick at 10:12 a.m. I assume this pair either has eggs or chicks and will return soon to check again.