We watched with fascination on Wednesday morning while Rick Cunningham told us, and showed us, the events that led up to our "owl watch" which, this very week, may provide us with two brand new owl chicks.  Rick came to the Landings in 2011 from Washington DC where he was VP of engineering for a start up that helped invent the field of reality simulators for training surgeons (like flight simulators but for doctors.)  Mal Welch of Skidaway Audubon accompanied Rick to our breakfast meeting.
 
We watched with fascination on Wednesday morning while Rick Cunningham told us, and showed us, the events that led up to our "owl watch" which, this very week, may provide us with two brand new owl chicks. Rick came to the Landings in 2011 from Washington DC where he was VP of engineering for a start up that helped invent the field of reality simulators for training surgeons (like flight simulators but for doctors.) Mal Welch of Skidaway Audubon accompanied Rick to our breakfast meeting. 
 
Initially called the Skidaway Audubon Eagle Cam project, it changed into the Owl Cam Project and then the Bird Cam Project, and came within an ace of being nothing at all. But first a brief note about Skidaway Audubon, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the sustaining and enhancing of the natural environment on Skidaway Island. This organization (it is not the Audubon Society) was launched in 1988 with the impetus of the Landings Club, now is supported by the Landings Association, funded by fund raisers and factored into the TLA long range planning. The organization recognizes that on Skidaway, as on all golf courses, there is much land that is never in play, but which is vital to wildlife. And there was, on the Palmetto course of Skidaway, an empty eagle's nest which had supported a family of eagles in 2013 and 2014, producing eaglets. They will return, was the conventional wisdom, and we prepared to watch.

There was plenty of professional help, from the Ogeechee Audubon, the Golf Course Superintendents' Association, the CCA, and Wild Birds Unlimited, among others. Rick's presentation switched to the empty eagle's nest, high up in a tall pine tree. We would put a camera up there, and take a front row view of the eagles and their new family. TLC ran an electrical cable from a nearby rest room, TLA funded help from Comcast, a cable was laid to the base of the tree, Southside Fire gave the help of their 85' ladder, and there was the nest, ready for its tenants, and a camera watching it. But mother nature had other plans. The tree is dying from a beetle infestation (although it is still supporting the nest.) There were massive lightning storms - at the end of last summer - the new system was knocked out, some of the new equipment was destroyed, and it was replaced. There were more storms - and the eagle came to look at the nest. She was alone. Her companion of last year, when the two of them fledged babies, never appeared. She went away. We watched the empty nest again....and two owls appeared! They settled in, we watched, and 16 days later, two eggs appeared!

Rick showed us adorable pictures of Mrs. Owl sitting patiently on those two eggs, looking so wise, her feathers occasionally ruffled by the wind. And now there is an online raffle for the first to guess the date of the happy hatch, take a look at the pictures online, perhaps by the time you read this they will be here!

The Annual Skidaway Audubon Golf Tournament will be on March 9th, come join us.
 
 
 
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