9:40 a.m. I stopped at the farm to see this beautiful family, but no one was home! I did not wait long to see if they would return. I imagine they were all at the river on this nice morning.
10:55 a.m. The nest was empty! I see no osprey nearby, flying above, or perched anywhere. Just as I set up my camera, one of the fledglings landed back on the railing that surrounds the top of the silo and the nest. It remained there the entire time I was watching!
A large, black SUV headed toward the property exit where I was parked at the end of the driveway near route 632. I got out and introduced myself and explained what I was doing. I gave the gentleman my card. If he gave me his name I didn't get it. Later I learned his last name was Fitzpatrick. He is retired and a member of the Warren County Rod and Gun Club which owns this property which used to be a farm. He used to work for the federal DEP and is a biologist. He said he sees eagles and osprey along the Musconetcong which is across 632 and down the slope to the valley. The osprey catch fish, the eagles steal it! He thinks there must be an eagles' nest closer than Merrill Creek reservoir which he estimates is 3 miles away. I believe it is closer "as the eagle flies". I told him eagles often steal from osprey!
As I was talking with Mr. Fitzpatrick, Vince Russo drove up the driveway on a small front end loader. He is the president of the club. He and I spoke for a long time about raptors, and he told me his members have seen and know about a bobcat's den in the woods up behind their place. He wanted me to notify NJDFW which I did. Gretchen Fowles is the mammal biologist in the area and was to call Vince.
Vince said this osprey nest has been there "8-10 years"!! I believe there are plenty of osprey (and eagle) nests that are as yet unknown/undiscovered by NJDFW and by volunteer nest observers! He was well aware of the osprey family but as usual for casual observers, didn't exactly have the facts and details straight about fledglings, parents, etc. I try to explain and fill him in. I sent him some photos I have taken showing the difference between adults and chicks. I explained about osprey behaviors, life cycles, migration, nesting, etc. I gave him my last osprey brochure.
He could prove to be very helpful and said to call or text him anytime with questions or if I need help and said that we are welcome to come observe. It is always a great thing to reach out and establish good relations with the landowners! Vince and I exchanged cards and contact information.
12:35 p.m. The light was perfect and Mom and the three chicks were "posing" nicely atop their silo nest! One of the chicks was "branching" on the metal railing that encircles the top of the silo. The other two were sitting on the nest edge watching their brave sibling. Mom was also on the nest, watching out for her off spring.
I thought it was a bit strange that Mom kept calling persistently and constantly. Then I noticed at least four more raptors flying and circling over the nest. I believe they were also all ospreys and probably one was the male, warning the others to leave. After circling for awhile, they flew off and disappeared after which, Mom quieted down.
I expect the next time I observe this nest, these three chick will have all fledged.
7:15 a.m. The sun was perfect as I parked and set up my equipment! I was delighted to see Mom sitting on the nest along with three big chicks! I had hoped to confirm the number of nestlings at this excellent nest!
4:04 p.m. Mom was sitting down in the nest. I saw at least one chick stretch a wing as I arrived. The chicks were very inactive though. Except for the early wing stretch, I didn't see any activity. I still can't confirm for sure that there is more than one nestling.
3:00 p.m. Both adults were perched near the nest. The female was actually on the nest edge and the male was perched to the left on the metal piping encircling the top of the silo. The chick(s) were down and not visible. The female constantly called! I got a good look of one chick through the nest rails. A second nestling could be farther back, but so far I can only confirm one nesting for sure.
4:45 p.m. The female was eating while feeding the nestling(s). She was standing on the south (left as I watch) side of the nest. The male was perched to the right of her also standing on the nest. One chick stood to the right in back of the mother, but closer to my view point (chick head marked in photo) while she fed a second nesting which I did not actually see or get a photo of.
3:50 p.m. I could see one adult on the nest. I did not stay long because there was no activity and it was really late. I pulled into the farm driveway and saw a couple having a picnic under a canopy near the driveway. I visited with them for quite awhile. They were aware of and interested in the ospreys. They said this "farm" is now a hunt club and they were on vacation from Florida. I believe they used to live in NJ. They said they were sure no one would mind if I parked in the driveway while observing the nest.
4:25 p.m. I pulled into the Trout Hatchery but there were too many leaves and trees in the way to watch the silo from there. There is a good view of this nest from on the road, but one can't stop and park there and it is difficult to get fully off the road. I pulled into the farm. There appeared to be 2 residences and multiple out-buildings/barns/work sheds. As I arrived, an Amazon delivery truck pulled out. When I looked around, I saw no one and decided not to knock on doors this time. I will next time. I did find a place to watch for long enough to get a video showing an adult sitting very low on the nest. I could see its head moving between the sticks. I also checked out Google Maps Street View and it appears this nest was on the silo last year. The Screenshot from Street View is dated Dec. 2021!
11:30 a.m. I was driving northeast on route 632 heading to Butler Rd and the direct route over the ridge in order to check the other nest on a modern silo motor housing in New Village when I spotted this big stick nest on an older-style silo!! I took a photo but could not find a good place to pull over so decided to come back when I had more time and could work on finding a good viewing spot.