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 NCTC - 2015 Nesting Season - Shepherdstown, WV
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By: Debs (offline) on Wednesday, August 27 2014 @ 01:09 PM EDT (Read 75043 times)  
Debs

Welcome

Welcome to Belle and Smitty's 2015 Nesting Season.

This thread is a tribute to the NCTC resident pair; Belle, Smitty and their kids specifically to document 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 nest observations (NO), beautiful screen captures (scaps) and video footage!

Recognition and Thanks

Please accept our warmest thanks to all our members that contribute to our journal here ... its your observations, captures and videos that enhances the learning process, which makes our experience here that much more enjoyable ... 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 family as we learn so much from watching them! Thanks also to the Outdoor Channel for their participation as well!

Also, the Friends of the National Conservation Training Center are a valuable support and resource to the eagles so warmest thanks to them as well.

Summary of the 2015 Nesting Season

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

•Intrusions: Feb 6 2015 - Sub Adult Visits Nest (signs of intruder days leading up to incident but Feb 6 was first visual in nest)

•Eggs Laid: 3; Feb.12, Feb.15 and Feb.18

•Hatched: ..
First egg hatched March 22, 2015 - (Day 38)
Second egg hatched March 24, 2015 - (Day 37)
Third egg hatched March 27, 2015 - (Day 37) Chick Died at 10 Days old

Sadly the youngest chick nicknamed Lil One passed away on April 6 2015 at age 10 days. One observer reported below the cam the youngest chick got caught under a large fish during a feeding; adult was feeding chicks at the time and did not notice the youngest chick was missing and in a bizarre accident may have stepped on the fish during the feeding; crushing the Lil One. There was no video archive option here so there was no video footage or screen captures documenting this sad event.


•Branching - First Chick - June 4 2015 @ 9 Weeks Old; Second Chick June 9 @ 10 Weeks Old

•Fledged - The Outdoor Channel reported fledge dates of June 4 (Age 10 weeks) and June 10 (Age 11 weeks) although our fledge dates based on nest observations were a week later!

•Juveniles last seen: July 9 2015 (Age 15 Weeks/Based on size likely a Male) and the larger juvenile presumably the female is still visiting the nest as of July 31, 2015 (Age 18 Weeks/Based on Size likely a Female)

Summary of the 2015 Nest Season Table
Click on image to download

Hatch Timelines

Experience shows that the first egg often hatches around Day 38 and the second egg hatches a bit earlier than Day 38 as a result of the "cooling period" of the first egg thereby promoting a closer hatch of the eggs. Once all the eggs are laid then the birds generally incubate the eggs continuously. Last season (2014) Belle cooled the egg 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.

Here is how the Hatch Watch Timeline for 2014 as a comparison and reference point for this season!



Important Links

Link to the 2014 NCTC Nesting Season

forum/viewtopic.php?showtopic=570321

Link to live bald eagle web cam view
http://outdoorchannel.com/eaglecam

The live cam went off line on August 5 2014 - message below the cam indicates they will be back in January 2015 although we hope it is much sooner. The still cam is still working.

Still Cam 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

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.

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

Live Cam Outages - There has been lots of down time and issues with the current cam so we starting tracking the information

Good News....we have been advised that NCTC is working towards getting a new cam system ... if you would like to help out please contact Friends of the NCTC the link is listed above under important links!

Posting Guidelines

We welcome all observations and discussions about eagles here and 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 as the use of both is sometimes viewed as a form of intimidation so please keep it to a minimum thank you so much.

Please do not animate or alter screen captures that you share here.

Smilies are okay but are capped at four per post (less is preferred) and please do not use smilies in the body of the eagle observations; thank you.

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. Three captures per post is recommended.

From time to time we may deleting posts that are not directly related to maintaining an accurate journal here.

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


May you embrace all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life ... let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Thursday, August 28 2014 @ 12:01 PM EDT  
Debs

Belle and Smitty - The Resident Pair Wub

Family History


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

2015 - Three Chicks - Youngest chick died at 10 days of age; Two Chicks fledged successfully
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

Note
On Sept 25 2015; a new pan tilt zoom; high definition camera was installed in the tree.
The ptz cam became a reality as a result of the generous support received from the "community of family" that supported this project many thanks to you all!
Click on image to download

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 and Debs


May you embrace all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life ... let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Thursday, August 28 2014 @ 12:03 PM EDT  
Debs

Belle and Liberty - The Lovees - First Resident Pair Wub

Belle and Liberty were the first resident bald eagle pair at this nest. This pair was very devoted to each other and everyone watching via live bald eagle cam grew to love watching their sweet interaction as a pair. Belle and Liberty were attentive parents to their young and they spent ten years together fledging 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 turn of events at this nest. Liberty's absence had devastating consequences for Belle and the newly hatched chick.
A young male eagle arrived on the scene around the same time as Liberty's disappearance ... his presence kept Belle on the nest leaving no opportunity for her to hunt and provide for her new chick. Sadly the chick died of starvation and Liberty was not seen again. Sometime later the staffers at NCTC found the carcass of a dead eagle ... likely Liberty.

Belle & Liberty - 10 Wonderful Years - Their History 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 also includes the entire 2011 nesting season!
Even after all the time that has passed it is hard for many of us to think back to the spring of 2011 without those events 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 Deewerms, Irish Eyes and Debs


May you embrace all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life ... let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Thursday, August 28 2014 @ 12:10 PM EDT  
Debs

Here is a link to the Hunting Schedule for the NCTC grounds for 2014

http://training.fws.gov/campus/deer-hun ... -Times.pdf

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

NCTC Deer Hunt 2014 (shared from NCTC site as information)

NCTC is now accepting applications for persons to hunt deer on the property. This fall season will mark the twelfth year that this managed hunt has been held. In order to maintain the deer population on campus, the use of archery, muzzleloader rifles, and shotguns with rifled slugs will again be allowed during the appropriate West Virginia hunting seasons. Hunters will be randomly selected from those who apply for a given date and assigned to a designated location from which to hunt. Hunters may apply for multiple dates.

Hunters interested in participating are encouraged to complete the Online Orientation and Application.

A paper application may be obtained by calling 304-876-7272. Orientation sessions and archery proficiency tests that were held at the property are no longer required. A day for pre-hunt scouting of stand locations is still being offered. The use of lead-free ammunition will be continued. This prevents lead poisoning of birds and animals that might ingest lead particles or fragments from deer entrails or carcasses.

This managed hunt is open to West Virginia residents as well as out-of state applicants. Before their first hunt day the hunter must be licensed in West Virginia and have received a hunter safety education certification. Hunters with disabilities are welcome to participate, and accommodations will be made as needed.

http://nctc.fws.gov/campus/deer-hunt/De ... ements.pdf


May you embrace all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life ... let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Friday, September 19 2014 @ 05:51 PM EDT  
Debs

Sept 19 2014

Afternoon Friends wave

Welcome to the new Nest Observation (NO) and eagle discussion thread for the 2015 NCTC Nesting Season!

The resident pair Belle and Smitty have been visiting the nest in the early am and in the evening at dusk and soon they will be busy doing restorations in preparation for the 2015 nesting season.

Note:

The live cam remains off the air.
The Still Cam is operating.
A new Cam is in the works but likely will not in place until the 2016 season!

6 pm
I checked the nest a few times today and each time
the nest was MT.

Click on image to download


May you embrace all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life ... let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Saturday, September 20 2014 @ 01:00 PM EDT  
Debs

Sept 20 2014

Morning Folks wave

Look who visited the nest early this morning Wub

Thanks to our Eaglecam friends on FB for the wing up on this visit and for sharing come captures for us to share Bravo

652 am
The Lovees are in their nest.

Click on image to download
Click on image to download
Click on image to download


May you embrace all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life ... let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Saturday, September 20 2014 @ 01:02 PM EDT  
Debs

Click on image to download
Click on image to download
Click on image to download


May you embrace all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life ... let your spirit soar :-)


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By: Debs (offline) on Saturday, September 20 2014 @ 01:04 PM EDT  
Debs

702 am
Still poking about the nest
Click on image to download

704 am
Nest is MT again.
Click on image to download

Wonderful to see the birds visiting the nest.


May you embrace all the "blessings and gifts" that surround you in your life ... let your spirit soar :-)


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