THIS NEST IS BEING MONITORED BY ANOTHER MASTER NATURALIST IN 2013. SEE 2013 information below 2012 log.
The nest is situated on a newly erected platform at Queens Lake Marina, in Queens Lake, York County, VA. Osprey returned to the area 2-24-2012.
Look for 2 adults on the nest. The adult pair will show pair bonding behaviors such as vocalizations, aerial sky dances, and the male feeding the female fish. You may see the pair copulating, which typically begins 14 days before laying eggs.
Females will lay 1 - 4 eggs at a rate of one egg every 1 - 2 days. After laying, incubation starts. Look for adults taking turns sitting low in the nest incubating eggs. The incubation period can last 35 - 43 days.
Chicks hatch ~39 days after incubation begins. Look for adults bringing food to the nest and making "head bows" into the center. Chicks typically can't be seen until they are 2 - 3 weeks old, so feeding behavior is the only way to know chicks are there.
Around 4 weeks after hatching, look for the heads of chicks to show over the rim of the nest, particularly when adults bring food to the nest. Other times they lie flat and are harder to see. Count the number of chicks in the nest before they learn to fly
Chicks begin flying around 7 - 8 weeks old, and are still fed by the adults. Count the number of chicks who have successfully fledged the nest and are observed flying.
Chick Last Observed
4 - 10 weeks after fledging, chicks begin leaving the nest area to migrate south, once they have learned to fly and feed themselves. Record the date that the last chick left the nest.
Look for signs of nest failure like adult abandonment, adults no longer incubating eggs or feeding young.
11:30 am Humid
When I arrived, the female was sitting on the nest. I could not see any chicks. I did notice something moving in and out of an opening in the nest material and I became concerned it might be a small chick. I eventually moved slowly closer and realized it was a piece of plastic bag.The male arrived and sat next to the female but no feeding took place. I kept watching and and when the male took off and the mother stood up I saw a good size chick quite clearly. Later, I may have photographed a slightly larger chick as well. Further visits will clarify...
Partly cloudy, cool, breezy 61
Female low in the nest - she moved around a little but did not stand up. I observed another osprey flying near - but not too near- the nest. No altercations just some calling by the female. The other osprey was circling around, assume was the male looking for fish. Female did not seem on alert.
Master Naturalist Jan Lockwood spotted a pair of osprey "rehabbing" the nest. The male would fly off and return with a large stick and drop it on the nest. The female appeared unsure of what to do. This nest has been followed since 2012, and I have followed it since 2017. I always thought we had the same pair returning but the last few years have not been as orderly and smooth as the first few that I monitored and we can't be sure if any of the osprey we see now on the nest are the "original" pair.
Master Naturalist, Cheryl Jacobson, observed what appeared to be one female and two males engaged in an aggressive territorial battle. I had visited the nest for the first time just the day before and noted only a small amount of built up nesting material and no osprey in any of the other nests I monitor at Queen's Creek.
Male and female both seen on the platform together on 3/2/22. The male flew off and didn't return by the end of my visit. Female was calm and no disturbances occurred. Photo of the pair together was taken on 3/3/22 by C.Jacobson
Since early March the pair has not been consistently observed together. Occasionally an osprey will sit on the nest but not for long. There is another pair of osprey nearby at nest #7155 and there may be some territorial issues. There has also been an eagle and other osprey seen in the area.
Very mild day. Female osprey observed on the nest. Suspect the male has arrived, but have not seen a pair on the nest yet. The female appeared anxious and flew off when a group of people arrived on the pier.
Observed female on the nest for about 45 minutes. She was very calm, didn't call out and didn't get off the nest. I did note one feather in an unusual position (photo included). The male did not arrive while I was there.
This afternoon a monitor noted three territorial disputes. When the monitor first arrived, no birds were on the platform. Then a female came in then another flew near and then both flew off far towards the river. This behavior was repeated three times.
A territorial dispute at the nest was observed - One osprey flying low by the nest and female in nest spread wings wide and low in defense of her territory.The nest was thought to be active. Both birds followed each other in the air but no aerial battles observed
Today I observed the pair together on the nest. I could not go down to the marina because of construction. As I was driving away, I saw one of them fly low over the creek and appeared to be returning to the nest.
When I arrived at the nest I observed one adult sitting on the nest. Another Master Naturalist,however, reported that earlier in the day the pair were both seen on the nest and the male was carrying sticks.
I was looking at the water and what appeared to be a croaker or spot but it was not moving forward just staying still when suddenly the young osprey were calling and a man yelled from the deck "Look at that hawk!" no sooner he said it I saw huge wing-span swoop down, grab the sizable fish and fly off -struggling to find it in my camera or binoculars -I was unsuccessful but it did not bring the fish to the osprey nest. I waited for quite a while - perhaps later the young were brought a meal --the fish was large enough to generously feed the family of five! See enhanced contrast photo of the fish on this site
The chicks appear to be close to adult size now -they stay close together and wait patiently for the parents to deliver food. When they call out in unison and with great "urgency" I can tell one of the parents is near. I captured a photo today of the three very large young. They are approximately nine weeks old and will soon be learning to fish!
The chicks are all growing well despite the fact that I rarely see the male in the vicinity and when I do, I haven't seen him deliver a fish -but the photo I got this time clearly showed the care the young are receiving - the healthy growing pictured close together well guarded by the mother.
For this visit I observed the mother and her chicks, but it was difficult see all three chicks in clear view at the same time The red eyes were clearly visible for two of the chicks and the mother's yellow eyes also clearly visible. Photos posted on this site may be hard to see, so on the gazebo bulletin board at the marina I post photos of the major milestones in size or development.
At last confirmation of three healthy nestlings! The mother calls out and I hear some return osprey calls but have not seen her mate at the nest,. The female left the nest for a very short period and the three babies called out for her and watched her circling over the water,
3 hatchlings caught on camera! At first it seemed there were only two. The female called often perhaps expecting the male to be returning with food. She left the nest a couple times, flying low, and returning quickly. At one one time, another osprey flew by the nest with a fish in its talons, but did not stop to deliver it. The female called often. We did not see the male return to the nest before we left. Observation time: about 20 minutes.
Hatchlings likely?! Although no direct evidence of hatchlings has been noted, the behavior of the pair seems to indicate the likelihood. They both sat only on the sides of the nest during the entire observation period and never sat in the nest cavity. When last observed on 5/8/18, the female was still sitting down in the nest. According to the timeline, the eggs should have hatched by May 10 (40 days incubation) and could have hatched earlier and the sitting behavior noted on the 8th could have been brooding not incubating. Today was very warm and brooding may not be needed as often and will likely be complete in a few days depending on hatch date. Looking forward to confirming chicks ---any day now.
Master Naturalists met at the marina here to share information, ask questions, and provide updates on the nests being monitored. This nest was chosen for the meeting location as the nest platform on the creek is easily observed especially with a spotting scope. It has been 35 days since incubating activity was first observed Although we won't be able to see the chicks, we should be expecting they will hatch very soon.Then the young will brooded for another 10 days after hatching. Interestingly, during the meeting, Robin Culler, Cohort XII, noticed another active osprey nest. It is inland from the creek near the tree line and will be added to the website. Earlier in the season a pair of displaced osprey from last year had been observed but hadn't settled down. This may be the same pair.
It was a cold and drizzly morning during my observation time today.At around 10 am the temperature was 45 with a light breeze. The female was very low in the nest. Perhaps they have built up the sides a little more. The male brought her food and fed some to her. No other osprey or eagles were around during this time.
The behavior of both the male and female today seemed to indicate that there is an egg in the nest. The female sat low in the nest for most of the time that I watched (40 mins). The male was with her all the time except for when he brought in a fish. Both the male and female arranged sticks on the perimeter of the nest and I observed the female once, perhaps turning an egg. There was a lot of activity today around the nest with people and boats as well as the two osprey that had previously occupied nest #679 that is no longer there. Photos today show the position of the male and female that was typical during my visit. (photos #14 and #15)
When I first arrived the female was alone on the nest resting (not standing) The male arrived about 10 minutes later. The nest has been generously rebuilt and the female seems comfortable. Two osprey were observed sitting together on a sign in the vicinity of nest #679 but since their nest from last year is no longer there, we don't know if they will stay,
Quiet day today. No eagles, no other osprey noted except the female on nest during observation period of about 30-40 minutes. I have added more photos that show how much they have built the nest back up since arriving. The photos appear more close up as I used the zoom on the computer screen and then took a screenshot. Jan Lockwood's photo (left most in both rows) has the best resolution.
This evening I kept watch for about an hour but did not see any of the osprey return to the nest. I could hear osprey in the trees distant from the nest, and could see two osprey in trees near a different nest.
Today when I arrived one fledgling was on the nest and the other on a sign about 100 ft from the nest. I observed the fledgling on the nest take off and circle the creek around the nest. The juveniles did a lot of calling but I didn't see any adults return to the nest. However, I saw one adult osprey across the marsh in a tree. I also saw two osprey flying high in the vicinity of the nest. I observed for 30 minutes or so and did not see any successful catches.
Both chicks have fledged!! Putting the approximate date of fledging at June 26, that would make the chicks 57 days old at the time (Norm is 50-55 days)
Today when I first arrived, the nest was empty. Then the male and one fledgling returned. They both called from the nest and twice the male left and returned. I stayed for close to an hour but did not see the female or the other juvenile. When I left the juvenile was alone on the nest.
The chicks are approximately 40 days old and continue to grow and develop both in body and behavior. They are becoming interested in their surroundings and occasionally exercise their wings. Over the next 10-15 days the chicks will be developing their flight muscles to get ready to fledge by the time they are around 50-55 days old. An exciting time!
Similiar story today - male circling around fishing, female waiting on the nest. This time calling out. Chicks are very hard to see and couldn't get photograph or video but through my binoculars I observed -very briefly--one head and then two heads bob up and down. Mother watchng but not feeding. Believe she was iwaiting for the male to return with food.
Two hatchlings! Both eating well. Although some of the behavior seen earlier meant it was likely that there were hatchlings, today was the first time I observed two active nestlings being fed and attentively cared for. The time from first observing signs of incubation to first noticing signs of hatching was between 39 and 42 days.
It appears that the pair is now expecting a hatchling very soon. The female is not sitting low in the nest anymore and frequently leans over and tends to something. I observed the pair sitting together, and the female watching and tending.
A very warm day. The osprey are still incubating. I observed the pair exchange nesting duty. Based on the date of when incubation was first observed, it has been 4 1/2 weeks --clutch hatching should be soon.
When I arrived today it was very windy, but the rain had cleared. The female was on the nest calling out often and the male was flying nearby or sometimes sitting on the signpost. He returned to the nest briefly and the female stood up just long enough to turn the eggs then settled back down and did not call out for the rest of the time I was there. Today's photo was taken after the female turned the eggs and the male was about to fly off the nest.
This nest was the site of the monthly meeting of Master Naturalist Osprey watchers. It is the only one in the group we know of so far that eggs are being incubated! At this stage, one of the adults will almost always be seen sitting low in the nest or turning the eggs with their feet. We don't know how many eggs are in the nest but most often it is 2, and one will hatch before the other. A likely time that the eggs could hatch will be the fourth week of April.
Today the female was sitting on a sign about 100 ft from the nest when I arrived and the male was low in the nest. The female returned with a fish and the male flew off the nest momentarily but returned and landed on the female and mated with her before he flew off for the remainder of my visit.
UPDATE: On 03/25/17, another observer reported seeing the female turning the eggs with her feet. I also saw this behavior on 03/26/17
Today was the first day I saw one osprey deep in the nest (I saw an eagle and perhaps the other osprey flying nearby) The osprey in the nest didn't get up -- just poked its head up and around. I watched for about 20 minutes. I assume it is incubating eggs. All other times the osprey are standing in the nest and are actively looking about and ocasionally one or both fly off. I did see this activity yesterday.
Observed the male and female sitting on the nest together then the male flew off and then the female joined. There were a number of birds flying in the same area - some vultures and some I didn't know the identity. Both male and female went off toward the trees and did not return before I left. It actually started to snow - very wet flakes.
I was fortunate to observe one of the chicks fly from the nest in a long loop along the Queens Lake Boathouse and back to the nest to join his sibling and one parent.
One of the chicks in the adjacent nest on Marker 20 has also begun to make short flights from the nest.
2 large chicks were seen on the nest with the female osprey. One chick flapped its wings vigorously and hopped a couple of steps in the nest. The female flew off and returned with a branch and began renovating the nest.
3/18/2015 - Male and female osprey observed perched together on nest during the late afternoon. Nest is in good shape following the winter.
Pair 03/14/2015 - One osprey seen perched on nest and another flying in the area and perched on nearby sign.
The female continues to incubate but sadly this nest may have been abandoned, given the time she has been incubating. The female left the nest twice, returning with sticks to add to it. She rolled the eggs before settling to incubate. During our period of observation we did not see the male.
The female is still in an incubating posture on the nest. She left the nest unguarded twice during our visit. After one flight she returned with a small stick which she placed in the nest. We could not see a chick in the nest when we viewed it through a telescope. The male was not seen during the hour plus that we were there.
The female continues to lie very low in the nest either incubating or brooding. There was no indication of young in the nest when she flew off after being disturbed by boats. The male flew in to the nest twice during the 45 minutes I watched, but did not bring food on either occasion. After his second visit, she repositioned a couple of sticks in the nest before resuming her incubating position.
5/29/2012, The female osprey was seen on the nest when the male osprey flew in with a fish. The female did not move and he began to eat. After a few minutes she moved to join him but appeared to eat very little. Both osprey looked down into the nest. (Hatch period estimated May 27-June 3). The female resumed her incubating position. The male left and returned with a long twig, which the pair then positioned together in the nest, whereupon the male flew off again.
3-8-2012, osprey were first seen on the platform. 3/13/12, osprey pair observed building a nest on the platform. 3/22/12, male observed bringing sticks to the nest in which female sat. Female then seen to rearrange and position sticks in the nest. The nest is now approximately 6 inches high. 3/26/12, pair observed building nest with the male bringing sticks and the female bringing clumps of marsh grass, presumably to line the nest. 3/28/12, both ospreys were observed on the nest. The male left and the female remained on the nest calling while the male flew overhead. Her calls were softer and rapid. The male returned and the pair mated. The male left (to fish?). The female also left briefly. The male returned without food. The female returned and they sat together for a time, after which the male left again. 3/31/12, both osprey were absent from the nest. Two osprey were present at a neighboring nest and four osprey were observed circling and flying over the creek. At one point a mature Bald Eagle was the focus of their attention as they "herded" the eagle away from the area.The ospreys did not return to the nest during the hour plus that I was present. 4-4-2012, the nest was empty when observation began. Both osprey returned and mated. The male left, while the female remained at the nest calling.
4/12/2012, the nest is now about 8-9 inches high as the osprey continue to add material. Today, the female osprey was alone on the nest for more than an hour of observation. She was perched on the edge of the nest, crouched with wings and body quivering and calling loudly and continuously. She left the nest several times for about 2 minutes on each occasion. She moved to different parts of the nest but did not settle in it or appear to be incubating. Three osprey were flying in the area. After 1 hour and 5 minutes the male flew into the nest, mated and left again.