Hello! Welcome to the Sandpoint, Idaho osprey cam, watching the nest at Memorial Field.
The cam is offline until May due to field construction. Get updates in Nest Notes below.
The Sandpoint Osprey Cam is a collaboration of the City of Sandpoint and Sandpoint Online, with support from Avista and Northland Communications. Consulting biologist is Janie Veltkamp of Birds of Prey Northwest. Maintenance help by Bestway Tree Service. Technical help donated by Video Security Technology. Cam efforts supported by Lake Pend Oreille Cruises. Cam bracket built by Selkirk Welding. To all… thank you!
This project is sponsored by:
… to the Sandpoint Osprey Cam. Located at the Sandpoint, Idaho, War Memorial Field on Lake Pend Oreille, the osprey nest here was moved in Autumn 2011 to a nesting platform atop a new lighting standard, as part of major renovation to the field facilities.
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Here’s an update on the new nesting season just to get under way from our Nestwatcher Robin Werner:
Just like clockwork, ospreys have arrived at Memorial Field! The first osprey reported being seen by our ground nest watchers was April 5. It is comforting to know during this time of uncertainty for us humans, where time seems to be standing still due to the coronavirus outbreak, that the ospreys are continuing with their life cycle unhindered. They don’t need to practice social distancing, no lines for fish, and soon they will begin to build their nest and start another family.
The new “lake nest” at Memorial Field.
The biggest decision they will have to make is whether to choose the new “lakefront property,” with its great view and (not coincidentally for us osprey fans) the live webcam – or be city slickers and take the “street nest” platform on the other side of Memorial Field along Ontario Street.
One of the first osprey on the field was checking both nest sites on April 6, shown in these photos. Field watchers subsequently spotted an osprey pair bringing sticks to the new lake nest.
“Street nest” on Ontario Street.
The lakefront nest is new this year because the light pole that formerly hosted the nest platform with the webcam was previously located in midfield. But with construction to install new turf on the field, the old light pole was removed. A new pole – with no lights, just for the ospreys – was generously donated by Avista and erected by the City of Sandpoint at the new location right along the lake. To see some photos from that project, click to the Sandpoint Online Facebook post.
That’s a nest with a view… and a cam!
While the new pole with all the cam equipment was erected in February in order to avoid disturbance at the nest once the ospreys arrived, as part of the bigger project on the filed the city must still trench and install conduit to bring the power and Internet connection to the cam. Complications due to the coronavirus restrictions on activity may slow work, but the city currently expects that trenchwork to be complete in May – which is when we will be able to again activate the nest cam. Stay tuned!
For followers of the ospreys at Memorial Field, this is a report on a big change under way with the nesting platform at the field.
The web cam here was placed on a nesting platform when a new light array was erected in Autumn 2011. This year, however, the city is doing a major reconstruction of Memorial Field that includes redesigning the baseball playing fields, installing artificial turf, and moving the pole on which the osprey’s nesting platform is located.
City crews are installing a new 90-foot pole, donated by Avista Utilities, in a location about 300 feet east of the current light pole and right on the lake shore. As part of the project the city will dig in a new conduit for the power and Internet cabling to the new pole and place the web cam back up at the platform. The project will provide an opportunity to do some improvements to how the camera is configured and to fix past issues with sound and intermittent outages.
The work to erect the new pole and nest platform will take place in early to mid March, to be concluded before the osprey return from their southern migration. The Memorial Field ospreys consistently arrive in the first week of April each spring. If all goes well the cam will be back online for their arrival; if trenching in the new conduit takes a bit longer, we’ll be able to finish connecting up the camera from the ground without disturbing the new nest platform.
Kudos to city officials for taking all this extra effort for the osprey nest and the web cam.
Ospreys have a high fidelity to their nesting location, and return to the same nest year after year. With this move there is no guarantee they’ll use the nesting platform in its new location.
But we’ll do our best to make a very inviting home for the ospreys to return to – and we will keep our fingers crossed, that the osprey get back safely from their long migration and take back up in the new location. Stay tuned!
It’s been an eye-opening season! (Screen capture by Cindi Collins Johnson)
With the season almost done for our ospreys before they migrate south, here’s a recap by our Nestwatcher Robin Werner:
The 2019 season has gone by so quickly and for us nest watchers it feels like an ending. For Pete and Sandy’s offspring it is a beginning…
Dover, the youngest of the two osprey chicks took her first flight on July 31 at 55 days old and Sagle, not to be outdone, fledged the following day, August 1 at 56 days old. Now both chicks are flying and gone from the nest more and more, but still visit it often. One was spotted attempting to fish! You can find them in the nest together, but they no longer sleep in the nest overnight.
There have been other ospreys flying around, and both Dover and Sagle fiercely protect their nest, together, from intruders. Each day brings them closer to beginning their new lives away from their parents and becoming independent adults.
We should still be able to enjoy them for another week or so until they decide to start their migration at any day now, or in early September. (Screen captures by Robin Werner)
Our osprey couple have a pair of chicks now hatched out and thriving. Nestwatcher Robin Werner writes:
Busy times on the nest now that two of the eggs have hatched. On June 6 nest watchers were treated to not only one hatch but TWO hatches, that came just four hours apart. The first chick, named Sagle, hatched at 10:43 a.m. and the second chick, named Dover, hatched at 2:42 p.m. The third egg is not viable but has remained in the nest for now.
Both Sagle and Dover – named after those two communities adjacent to Sandpoint – are thriving and are currently in the “dino” stage, with a much darker look than the soft, gray, fluff, they started with. They are waddling around and beginning to show some personality. You’ll want to watch everyday as the chicks quickly grow and change.
With our osprey pair, Pete and Sandy, diligently incubating their eggs the past month, the first chick could hatch anytime this upcoming week. Here is a report from our Nestwatcher Robin Werner:
Our osprey couple have built a beautiful nest and now have three eggs. The eggs were laid exactly the same dates as last season: April 28, May 1 and May 4. If they stick with the same schedule as last year for hatching we could see our first hatch on June 6.
Keep your eyes peeled and look for any chance to view the eggs. A pip, or small hole, made by the chick’s egg tooth, (which is a small, white, hard point on the chick’s beak), will sometimes be visible and is the first sign that a chick is making its way into the world. The infrared on the cam provides a great contrast at night of black and white. If Sandy shows the eggs you can often see the black hole or cracks and know to keep watching! It won’t be too much longer and our wonderful osprey couple will be very busy, if all goes well, tending to 3 hungry chicks!
Osprey pair, Pete and Sandy.
After a malfunction necessitated replacement of the camera April 19 – see post just below – osprey fans tuned in to see housekeeping well under way with the resident pair, who were first observed at the nest on April 11. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek report from Robin Werner, our lead Sandpoint Online Nestwatcher:
Enjoying a ‘breakfish’
Our resident adult ospreys, Pete and Sandy, have both returned for another exciting season of, “Days of Our ‘spreys!” The following episodes will continue to air daily: “DIY Nest Building,” “How to Goose a Goose 101,” “Getting to Know You Again (after vacationing separately),” “Fish Again? YES PLEASE!” and “Come Relax With Me While It’s Quiet.”
And stay tuned for three new episodes of, “Just Laid an Egg,” which is anticipated to air any day now.
Hope you enjoy the show! They’ll be here all summer!
Success up high! After a malfunction knocked out our nest cam the past several months – and then rains rendered the field too soft for the big ladder truck – today a small but intrepid crew was able to get up and replace the camera. Kerry Berg of Video Security Technology donated his hands-on expertise to replace the camera.
“Best part for me was enjoying the bird’s eye view of the osprey flying in close around us while we worked on the camera,” Kerry said afterwards. “Both birds kept a close watch on us and returned shortly after we completed all.”
Here is a huge THANKS to Kerry for the camera install and the overall masterminding required to make it work. And big thanks to many others, as well: It wouldn’t be possible to even get up to the nest without Dennis McIntire and the tall ladder truck of Bestway Tree Service. Northland Communications and Bala Bishop ensure that the camera has its current excellent high-bandwidth Internet connection. The project also wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of the City of Sandpoint‘s Kim Woodruff, Austin Hull and others in the Parks and Recreation Department. And for her oversight to ensure the ospreys’ health and safety, a big shout out to raptor biologist Janie Veltkamp, director of Birds of Prey Northwest.
See more photos from today in our Facebook post»
Thanks again to all. The new camera is getting great bandwidth and the picture and sound are better than ever.
No tax money is used for the equipment or operations of the cam. Want to help keep the cam going? Click to contribute.
Who knows, maybe this our eighth season with the cam will be the best ever! But knock on wood … as watchers of the nest well know, Mother Nature gets the last word. What we can do is observe this amazing natural spectacle, and cheer on our osprey pair in their season ahead.
Kerry Berg troubleshooting camera connections at our on-field Internet node.
Update for osprey fans: Although the osprey are expected back at any time as of this writing, unfortunately we have a camera malfunction that is keeping the nest cam offline. On Tuesday our cam specialist Kerry Berg of Video Security Technology – who has donated past expertise to the nest cam – conducted troubleshooting on the field. We believe we have isolated the trouble up at the camera itself, but to replace the camera we are coordinating with Dennis McIntire of Best Way Tree Service to utilize his tall bucket truck to get up to the nest. Tentatively we’ll conduct the repairs on April 11-12, but if rainy weather persists the field may be too soft for the truck. We’ll post an update here as we have news to report. To see a bit more, plus some photos, click to our Facebook page»
Taking advantage of small window of excellent weather, our crew got up to the web cam for some annual maintenance on November 20. In the bucket is Landon Otis of Keokee and Sandpoint Online, installing some new equipment, with Dennis McIntire of Bestway Tree Service operating the bucket. The maintenance was financed thanks to a fundraising cruise provided by Linda Mitchell of Lake Pend Oreille Cruises; the cruise also raised funds for a donation to Birds of Prey Northwest, whose director Janie Veltkamp acts as consulting biologist for the nest. Huge THANKS to Linda and Lake Pend Oreille Cruises, as well as Dennis and Bestway.
See more photos at Sandpoint Online Facebook»
Here’s a wrapup of the 2018 season at the Memorial Field osprey nest, submitted September 14 by Sandpoint Online Nestwatcher Robin Werner:
After fledging, Koko fiercely kept siblings from the nest. Capture by Dante Vassey.
It’s that time of the year that nest watchers greet with a combination of happiness and sadness. Empty nest syndrome has hit fans of the osprey nest, as Pete and Sandy and their trio of chicks have begun their migration south for their winter vacation. Pete and Sandy will vacation separately and hopefully return next April to introduce us to a new set of offspring. The chicks from this year – Kamloops, Kokanee and Koi – will find a place down south that suits them and stay there for a year until they return, typically in their second year, to begin their lives as adult osprey.
This season once again, Pete and Sandy showed what excellent parents they are, raising three healthy chicks. This is only the second time since the cam was installed in 2012 that three chicks from a clutch have all survived and fledged; the first time was in 2015.
Dad Pete waits with fish. Capture by Dante Vassey.
While there were thankfully no tragedies in the nest this season, we did learn some new things from observing this family. We discovered that females will intentionally cover the eggs with some grass and leave the nest; also, at night when the chicks are small, females will leave and even come back with a fish in the dark.
Younger chicks, even if they are female can fledge before their older siblings. Most surprising was the middle chick, Kokanee, fiercely kept her siblings from returning to the nest later in the season and claimed it as her own. For that reason we don’t know when Kamloops and Koi finally departed for their southern migration.
Mom Sandy makes a fish delivery. Capture by Sheila Ward Walters.
Sandy was last seen on the nest September 7, dropping a fish off for Koko, and Pete continued to feed Koko until he and Koko were last seen on the nest September 10.
The 2018 osprey season is over, but the joy they leave behind never ends. Expect to see the ospreys return from their southern sojourn at end of March or early April 2019. Meantime, the cam will be operating during the winter season for those who wish to catch a glimpse of our fair town.