Here's an update on the cams. Good news and less than good news.
First the good--the transition work is complete and the still cam is online.
now the less than good--the video feed was on yesterday. That was only a test. As I mentioned earlier, the video feed will start full time after the first of the year. Sorry. I got pretty excited too when the cam was up yesterday.
thanks for your continued comments of support. We really appreciate it.
On the live link, click here. This will give you the realplayer link. Once it's downloaded on your desktop, doubleclick on it and that will open the live feed link. If any of this info changes I'll get it out to you folks ASAP.
Here's some info from Bent's on Bald Eagle plumage and molting:
Plumages.--When first hatched the downy young eaglet is completely covered with long, thick, silky down, longest on the head; it is "smoke gray" on the back, paler gray on the head and under parts, and nearly white on the throat. When the young bird is about three weeks old this light gray or whitish down is pushed out and replaced by short, woolly, thick down of a dark, sooty-gray color, "hair brown" to "drab." The plumage begins to appear on the body and wings, scattered brownish-black feathers showing on the scapulars, back, and sides of the breast, when about five or six weeks old; at this age the wing quills are breaking their sheaths. At the age of seven or eight weeks the eaglet is fairly well feathered, with only a little down showing between the feather tracks, and the flight feathers are fully half grown.
In fresh juvenal plumage the young eagle is uniformly dark colored &quo…
We are going to outsource the web access this year to allow the still cam a much better refresh rate than the 30 seconds that our network folks afforded us last year. I've mentioned to a few folks that we face significant hurdles regarding network security and bandwidth limitations, and we believe this approach gets us past these issues. We are working through the contracting now, and have targeted Dec. 6th as the start date. We will strive to hit that target.
We will also experiment with a wide shot camera along with the existing cam. We recently got a brand new microwave receiver which should help with cam reliability.
The live video will start on or around February 1, and will stay on through the end of July.
We are also looking now at technology for next season that will improve the cam, and add audio. Based on the behavior of these eagles, we figure we only have a couple of we…
We recently held a meeting here at NCTC to discuss new plans for this year's eagle cam. We are fortunate to have a new staff member on board who previously worked for a company that sells webcams for use with wildlife, so our expertise in this area just took a huge step forward.
We should have a game plan for what we plan to do this winter, and when we have some decisions , I'll post them here. Some ideas includ: multiple cams, robotic cam that can be controlled remotely (moved), and audio so we can hear what's going on.
Can't say how this will settle out just yet, but we are excited for a new nesting season, assuming our pair comes back, which we ceretainly anticipate.
update: Forgot to mention, heard a bald eagle squacking yesterday here at NCTC, and saw a bald eagle soaring over the Potomac River at Harper's Ferry last evening (there's a nest a mile or two downriver from Harper's Ferry on the south bank.
Thursday post. I know some folks have been trying to get in touch with me. Please indulge my lack of communication and or response.
We are in final crunch mode on a 350 person conference here at NCTC that starts tonight and goes through the weekend.
Folks from all over the country are coming in for an invitation-only dialogue on the issue of children becoming disconnected with nature. We have been living and breathing this event for the past two weeks.
The inspiration for the event is the recent book by Richard Louv--Last Child in the Woods--Saving our Children from Nature-deficit Disorder. Highly recommended. thanks-Steve
"I’ve been watching the Eaglets since they were eggs and blog on your blog all the time.
I have a question. Yesterday driving home about 1:30-1:45 PM, I-495 North was at a standstill going over the Potomac from VA into MD. (Nothing new.) In any case, I saw 3 Eaglets just circling around, very slowly, over the river, just sort of gliding. I got a good look at them, and do believe they were eaglets. They had their wings out, end wing feathers looked like fingers, and their tails were spread out like a fan. They were all black, large birds. Quite awesome to watch, actually. (The one time in my daily commute I DIDN’T want the traffic to start going again!) Anyway, could they be our Eaglets? Well, I mean the NCTC Eaglets. Would they be that far from Shepherdstown? They were circling around the bridge and the Potomac, but they don’t have to go that far for food, the Potomac is near their nest, isn’t it?
Cam Update--The guys did extensive additional testing today and have determined that the problem is in fact up the tree. This is not good news. They are planning to try to get up the tree next week. We'll see how things progress. Not the way we wanted things to end for the season, but we are optimistic that we'll have an improved system next year based on everything we have learned this year. More as I learn it.
Update and plans as we go forward, and there are two scenarios:
Scenario One-- we are working on the fix for the current still cam issues. The problem is a battery in the system that may need to be replaced. If we can do the fix easily without buying a replacement, the cam should be back up soon.
The cam would be then shut down on August 1 for maintenance and off season adjustments. Steve thinks the fledged eaglets will be off on their own around that date, so it's a good time to take a break. As you all have noticed, the cam has been down a bunch in the last month or two, indicating the need that we do some real work on it. Also, our contract for the live cam ended last week, thus the live cam is now down as well until next season.
Scenario Two: We can't easily fix the cam without ordering replacements parts, and this results in us shutting things down this week.
Regardless of which scenario plays out, the plan would be to keep the cam down until sometime in November wh…
Thanks to all for your support and kind comments. We plan on starting the cams all over again next nesting season. While there is a small chance the adults would move on, that is unlikely--they will probably be with this nest for many years. As far as I know we will keep the still cam on. If it shuts down for a time I will let you know.
It is truly amazing that the three eaglets fledged and are all still around several weeks later. These birds have beaten tremendous odds. We have all observed and experienced a rare event in the natural history of bald eagles.
We'll keep the blog on and rolling, and we'll all be ready when the action starts again at the end of the year.
We have been talking here about the end of the season activities that we are seeing right now. While the nest is still gettin g an occasional visit, I'm sure folks have noticed that most of the time the eagles are out and about. Within the next few weeks, the young eagles will move on, leaving the adults to stay.
Soon the live feed will be shut off due to the end of our contract with our partners in Wheeling. We will work again in the late fall to bring the live feed back on.
The actual nest cam we will leave on for now.
I'm also happy to continue to keep the blog rolling through the hext nesting season if folks prefer.
Our resident eagle expert Steve Wunderley told me he saw a immature bald eagle soaring over his house this last weekend. Eagle eye Steve lives in Falling Waters (seven miles upriver), so he says the likelihood it was one of our eagles is high.