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 NCTC - 2014 Nesting Season - Shepherdstown, WV
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By: Debs (offline) on Monday, September 30 2013 @ 05:01 PM EDT (Read 44583 times)  
Debs

Welcome

Welcome to Belle and Smitty's 2014 Nesting Season.

This thread is a tribute to Belle, Smitty and their kids and to documenting their life events over the next year with particular focus on the nesting
season.

Belle and Smitty will soon be spending more time in the nest getting it ready for "lil ones" and we will be right there beside them
documenting their progress with our observations, beautiful screen captures (scaps) and video footage!

Recognition and Thanks

Please accept our warmest thanks to all our members that contribute to our extensive journal here ... its your observations, captures and videos that enhances the learning
process, which makes our experience here that much more enjoyable for us all ... so warmest thanks to you all!

Special recognition and thanks is also extended to the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) for providing this live bald eagle cam and for all that they
do all year long to keep us connected to this beautiful bald eagle family we learn so much from watching them! Thanks also to the Outdoor Channel for their participation as well!

Summary of the 2014 Nesting Season

•adults return: This pair does not migrate they remain in the nest area all year long as there is food aplenty.

•intrusions: January 30 - 1st or 2nd Year Juvenile visited the nest; February 23 2014 - Raven(s) Alert Near Nest

•eggs laid: 3 - Feb 17; Feb 20 & Feb 24

•hatched: March 28 - March 29 2014 - April 1, 2014

Note: On March 31 from about Noon onward...we only had a visual of one chick; so it appeared one chick had died unknown causes .. Soar High Soar Forever Free Lil One ,,, Forever in our Hearts

•fledged - Approximately 11 Weeks Exact date unknown as we only had a limited view of the nest!

•juvies last seen: July 23, 2014 (Age-16 + Weeks)

Hatch Timelines

Click on image to download

Experience shows that the first egg often hatches around Day 38 and the second egg
hatches abit earlier than Day 38 likely as a result of the "cooling period"
of the first egg thereby promoting a closer hatch of both eggs. Added: Momma
Belle cooled the eggs one night for 6 hours straight and we speculated it was because
she had a third egg to lay...which turned out to be the case.

This extended cooling period was likely to promote closer hatches and so far Mom's strategy
worked...the first hatch occurred on March 28 2014, which was Day 39 for the first egg
(we assume it was the first egg that hatched) and the second hatch occurred the next day
on March 29 2014, which is Day 37 (we assume it was the second egg) and the third egg
hatched on April 1, 2014, which was Day 36 for that egg!


Important Links

Link to the 2013 NCTC Nesting Season

css.php?t=nouveau&i=css_d852d7c2db92684b0da73882e9fe5320

Link to alternate cam view that shows the "nest tree" only
http://outdoorchannel.com/eaglecam

Still Cam when streaming can be found here
http://www.fws.gov/nctc/cam/stillimage.html

Eagle Cam Updates from the NCTC & Outdoor Channel are shared here
http://outdoorchannel.com/content.aspx?id=3933

Note: The alternate cam focused on the tree went off line October 1, 2013. We hope that the cam(s) will be back on line soon.

Friends of the National Conservation Training Center

http://www.friendsofnctc.org/index.htm

Here are two Face Book sites that support and provide information on Belle, Smitty.
Please note these two sites are NOT operated by HWF and are independent sites.

Outdoor Channel Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/LiveEagleCam ........... Live Eagle Cam

Some fans of this pair post on Facebook here
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eagle-Ca ... 56?fref=ts ............. Eagle Cam

So many issues with the cams that we started to track the information.

Cam Outages Summary - June to December 2013


The Live and still cams went down on June 5, 2013 and never came back up until December 29, 2013 so we lost the
balance of the 2013 nesting season as there was no cam coverage on the nest.

On June 17, 2013 - An Alternate cam goes live; this cam shows a distant view of the tree only; no view of the nest.
On July 21 2013 - The Alternate cam goes off the air.
On July 30 2013 - The Alternate cam comes back on line.
On October 1, 2013 the Alternate cam goes off line.

On December 16 2013 the Still Cam comes back online.

On December 29, 2013, the live cam on the nest comes back on line after being off line for 6 months!

Cam Outages Summary - January to July 31 2014[/i]

February 6 2014 - Cams off line
February 7 2014 - Cams come back on line
February 12 2014 - Cams go offline; Live Cam comes back up; Still Cam remains off line
February 13 2014 - Live Cam goes off line
February 14 2014 - Live Cam comes back on line
February 18 2014 - Still Cam Comes Back On Line
February 19 2014 - Live Cam off line; comes back on line
February 20 2014 - Ongoing buffering issues with the live cam
February 24 2014 - Live Cam off line then back on line again
March 10 2014 - Live Cam off line; comes back on line later same day
March 11 2014 - Live Cam off line; comes back on line later same day
March 13 2014 - Still Cam freezing
March 18 2014 - Live and Still cams off line then back on line again
April 9 2014 - Live cam is off line; Still cam is working
April 10 2014 - Live cam comes back online
April 29 2014 - Live cam off line; Still cam working
April 30 2014 - Live cam back on line
May 7 2014 - Live and Still cams go offline.
May 15 2014 - Live cam comes back up after being off line for a week- Still cam remains off line
May 27 2014 - Live cam goes off line; Still cam remains off line
June 11 2014 - Live cam comes back up after being off the air 15 days; Still cam remains down
June 12 2014 - Still cam comes back on line
June 26 2014 - Live cam on and off line at times
June 27 2014 - Live cam on and off line at times
June 28 2014 - Live Cam freezing; buffering; difficult to access at times
July 1 2014 - Live cam off line at times
July 2 2014 - Live & Still cams goes off line
July 7 2014 - Live Cam comes back on line after being off line 6 Days
July 142014 - Still cam comes back on line
July 14 2014 - Both cams go off line
July 15 2014 - Live cam comes back on line
July 26 2014 - Live cam goes off line; comes back on line same day; Still Cam on line

In summary the web cams were off line for 6 months from June to December 2013, so we missed the balance of the 2013 season as there was no web cam coverage on the nest.
In 2014 the cams were off line for about 46 days and this does not include issues with regards to the cam buffering and/or audio issues, which were ongoing and sometimes daily issues with the live webcam.

Live Cam Outages - August 2014

August 5 2014 - Live cam went off line; message indicates cam is off for maintenance until Jan 2015!


Posting Guidelines

As a courtesy to all members please follow these basic guidelines:

We welcome all observations and discussions about eagles here and in doing so we ask all members to treat each other with mutual respect.

For continuity please use this video symbol to introduce your video Video Camera

Please keep bold and color text to a minimum.

Smilies are capped at three per post (less is preferred) and we ask that you not use smilies in the body of your observations.

Please limit the pictures in each post to no more than a total of 150,000 bytes (150KB) and to avoid horizontal scrolling
pictures or scaps (screen captures) may not exceed 500 pixels wide - though it's fine to post a 500-pixel-wide thumbnail that clicks
to a much larger picture.

Periodically we may tidy up this thread by deleting posts that are not directly related to keeping our journal accurate and an
up to date account of the life events at these nests.

We look forward to another great season ... growing along side Belle, Smitty and their kids Wub and we welcome your participation here hug


Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015!

May you enjoy all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life and remember to let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Monday, September 30 2013 @ 05:08 PM EDT  
Debs

Belle and Smitty - The Resident NCTC Pair

Family History


The nest is located on the National Conservation Training Center property and near the Potomac River.

2014 - Two Chicks - both fledged; we called the chicks Big and Lil
2013 - Two Chicks; both fledged; we called the chicks Kate and Will
2012 - Two Chicks; both fledged; we called the chicks Big and Lil
2011 - Smitty becomes Belle's new mate late in the season

Background Information on this beautiful pair.

Belle and Smitty became a couple after the resident male, Liberty went missing in the spring of 2011; Belle initially rejected Smitty
but this young smitten male refused to give up and eventually Belle warmed up to him and accepted him as her new mate.

2012 was Belle and Smitty's first nesting season together and it was a memorable season in so many ways ...
Belle and Smitty were a brand new pair building their relationship, as well as, raising two chicks so there were many memorable moments
along the way. Smitty's youth was obvious as he was still sporting a few dark feathers on top of his head and a few blended into his tail
feathers as well. We could sense his awkwardness as he learned to cope with his new role(s). Watching Smitty mature as a loving parent
was definitely one of the highlights of the 2012 season especially watching him feed his lil ones for the very first time yet the rest of the
season was just as memorable.

All of us here were touched by the "magic of this beautiful pair" and we all look forward to watching Belle and Smitty and their kids for
many more seasons to come.

Note: Smitty the resident male is called Shep or Ben by some fans & viewers on other forums

Belle and Smitty Red Heart





Belle, Smitty & the kids Red Heart





Smitty devoted to his beautiful Belle; loving Daddy and expert Fisherman!



As of 2013 Smitty was still sporting his tiny patch of dark feathers on top of his head...bless his heart he is some sweet!

Screen captures courtesy of Deewerms, Irish Eyes and Debs


Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015!

May you enjoy all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life and remember to let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Monday, September 30 2013 @ 05:09 PM EDT  
Debs

Belle and Liberty - The Original Resident Pair Wub

Family History - 10 Years of Joy

For many of us we started watching this nest when Belle and Liberty were the resident pair here. Belle and Liberty were very devoted to each other and we grew to love watching their interaction as a pair and also as loving and attentive parents to their chicks. Belle and Liberty were together ten years and together they fledged 11 chicks! When Liberty disappeared in 2011 just a day or two before the hatch of the first chick was to occur ...it was indeed a sad loss and his absence had devastating consequences for Belle and the newly hatched chick.

Here is a summary of Belle and Liberty's time together.

2002 - Belle and Liberty take up residence at the NCTC near the Potomac River
2003 – Belle and Liberty establish their territory & work on their nest
2004 – Belle laid her first egg on Valentines Day; Belle & Liberty raised & fledged two chicks
2005 – Belle and Liberty raised and fledged one chick
2006 – Belle and Liberty raised and fledged Triplets
2007 – Belle laid three eggs; none survived the spring storms
2008 - Belle and Liberty successfully raised and fledged Triplets
2009 – Belle laid three eggs only one hatched and successfully fledged
2010 - Belle laid four eggs during fierce winter storms; one egg survived nicknamed “Spring” & she successfully fledged
2011 – Belle laid two eggs; resident male Liberty disappears just prior to the hatch; likely deceased; intruder arrives and threatens the family;
one chick hatched but died from starvation as Belle was not able to leave the nest to hunt. Intruder is eventually accepted by Belle
as her new mate; the new male is nicknamed Smitty as he was so smitten with Belle.

There is an extensive journal of the tragic events that unfolded in 2011 located in the archives.

forum/viewtopic.php?showtopic=165694

This is the link to the NCTC Nest Observation thread ... which detailed the sad events and includes the entire 2011 nesting season as well! Even after all this time ... its hard to think back to the spring of 2011 without it tugging at our heart strings ... it was just that sad!

forum/viewtopic.php?showtopic=111358

Some captures of Belle and Liberty Red Heart

2011




2010 brought some powerful spring storms; Belle laid four eggs and one egg survived
and Belle and Liberty were blessed with one chick ... we called her Spring Wub












2009 Season


Screen Captures compliments of Irish Eyes, Deewerms and Debs


Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015!

May you enjoy all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life and remember to let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Monday, September 30 2013 @ 05:09 PM EDT  
Debs

Here is the Hunting schedule for the NCTC region for 2013....copied from the NCTC web site!

Note they have introduced lead free ammunition this year Bravo

Hope Belle and Smitty receive some free gifts again this year!

Deer Management Hunt to Take Place at National Conservation Training Center

This fall the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) is holding the eleventh annual managed deer hunt on the on the property. In order to help control the deer population on campus the use of archery, muzzleloader rifles, and shotguns with single slugs are again being used during the appropriate West Virginia seasons. Hunters were randomly selected from those who applied and are assigned to a certain location from which to hunt. The application process is now closed.

Every hunter is required to take an NCTC orientation program and go through State-certified hunter safety education. One significant change this year is the use of lead-free ammunition, which prevents lead poisoning of birds and animals that might ingest lead particles or fragments from deer entrails or carcasses.

The hunting dates are all on Saturdays: October 12, October 19, October 26, November 9, November 30, December 7, December 14, December 21 and December 28.


Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015!

May you enjoy all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life and remember to let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 01:11 AM EDT  
Debs

Belle was seen in the tree tonight...sure hope we have a live view of the nest to watch soon fingers crossed ... we miss seeing Belle and Smitty in their nest.

Good night Friends

sleepy


Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015!

May you enjoy all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life and remember to let your spirit soar :-)


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By: IrishEyes (offline) on Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 08:34 AM EDT  
IrishEyes

HAPPY TUESDAY, OCT.1, 2013

Good Morning NCTC , Debs, Doreen , Carolyn and all who visit here...

Thank you for setting up our new thread Debs.... Left thumb up I too hope we have a live cam soon...Clapping

WEATHER REPORT


Click on image to download

8:32am

Beautiful day for Belle and Smitty.... they must be down at the riverWub

Click on image to download


Helpful Hints ~~ Bev 2009


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By: IrishEyes (offline) on Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 11:43 AM EDT  
IrishEyes

UpDate

Click on image to download

Click on image to download


Helpful Hints ~~ Bev 2009


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By: Debs (offline) on Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 12:07 PM EDT  
Debs

Bev we were on the same wave length...thanks for the info and scap!

I emailed Steve this morning for an update and this is the automatic response i received Cry

The National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) is closed due to the lack of appropriated funds. The NCTC will reopen when funding is restored. For future NCTC classes and events, we will use 12:00 Noon Eastern Time on Friday to determine if classes and events will be conducted the following week. If the government is officially open for business prior to Noon on Friday, the following week's classes and events will be conducted as scheduled. If the government has not resumed operations by Noon Eastern Time on Friday, ALL of the following week's classes and events of any kind are cancelled. I will not be reading or responding to messages during a shutdown. NCTC's official operational status will be posted a voicemail on 304-876-1600. Please monitor the news and our main phone number with regard to NCTC's reopening.


This is very sad news indeed...storming the heavens everyone is back to work soon; thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by this shutdown hug


Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015!

May you enjoy all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life and remember to let your spirit soar :-)


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