I'd like to share some exciting (to me!) news with you, with no intent to make you jealous, honest <img src="/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" /> .

As you may know (since I'm sure I've posted, many times), this past season I have been frequenting the DPOF (Dennis Puleston Osprey Foundation) live webcam site. I enjoy many webcams, the Kent eagles in Kent, Washington being among my favourites. But this osprey cam, on Long Island, New York, is the only one, to my knowledge, that has live streaming video and audio, 24/7. It has been so incredibly fascinating to watch from March, when the osprey couple (nicknamed Dennis and Betty, after the late founder and his wife) returned from migration, set up house in their nest and laid 4 eggs, all the way through the season, until the cam actually broke, just as the 3 surviving chicks were preparing to leave home. Being able to watch, and hear them has been nothing short of miraculous. We thank goodness the cam saw us through to this point and didn't break earlier!

What really made history, though, as we found out, was the message board and observation database there. Because the group of regular posters to those boards were from vastly diverse geographical locations (west coast of Canada and the US right across to Great Britain!), observation and monitoring of the nest and the bird behaviours was possible almost around the clock. From this motley cast of characters, came observations made from a bird's-eye view -- quite literally! -- and insights that have never before been seen or verified.

One of the guiding forces behind our season has been a book called *Return of The Osprey - A Season of Flight and Wonder*, written by David Gessner. This book was consulted and quoted widely, throughout the season, as we sought to learn more, know more and share more.

After the cam went down, we all felt somewhat at sea, as empty-nest-syndrome hit us with little time to prepare. However, as luck would have it, the best possible ending to this fairy tale season materialized with nearly as little warning. Betty Puleston, the wife of the late founder and owner and resident of the land on which the nest is located (private land, by the way, not open to the general public), invited the local cam site posters to a picnic at her home. A chance to see the compound, to see the actual nest, to meet and to chat with a remarkable woman, who, at age 86 is still energetic, vital and (according to my sources) has a sparkle in her step and a twinkle in her eye! Oh, did I forget to mention that David Gessner, author, would be there, as well? <img src="/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> Seems he was so impressed with the quality of the observations at this webcam site this season, that he wanted to meet the posters!!! After all, they (we) have witnessed what no human has ever before been able to witness, in real time, from the ground. He is now about to begin writing a new book, based partly on the info HE has learned from US, can you believe it?!! As one of our group posted the next day, "Dave Gessner is like an Osprey super-student. During the picnic, which was a general discussion and Q&A session, he devoured every tidbit of information we had like a starving man at a banquet. It was rather surprising to hear him say, several times, that some of the behaviors we have observed were not known by the experts."


Needless to say, I would have flapped my arms all the way, to fly there, myself, if I could have. But I couldn't. So I had to content myself with lots of photos taken by dear friends, and many wonderful board reports and *virtual tours* of the compound, posted on the board. The best, though, arrived in my snail mail box today: a card with a note from David Gessner, to ME. Here's what it said:

" To Shelley, My fellow osprey enthusiast. It was such a pleasure meeting with your osprey gang. I hope I have a chance to meet you on my next time through (or when I head north!)
In celebration of the ospreys' return, I'd love to sign your book!
In friendship, David Gessner"


Of course, I intend to be there for the celebration of the release of his NEXT book. They'll have to cage me to keep me away! :love: