Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Revisiting the CAMs

by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office

In early December, 2013, the VRPS blogpost (Smile for the CAM) spotlighted the top (subjective) 5 webcams in Virginia.  Today's post is worth a revisit:

#5 Wunderground Weather Webcams - all over Virginia

Weather Underground is a commercial weather service that provides real-time weather information via the Internet.

"View weather around the globe, as it happens."

#4 Shenandoah National Park Webcam

You can get real-time views of several areas in Shenandoah National Park from web cameras!
Our Air Quality webcam is a view from the Pinnacles area (near mile 36.7) into the valley to the northwest. This link takes you to an NPS air quality site that has live air quality data from Shenandoah, as well as links to webcams and data from other national parks.
The Mountain View webcam is also a view from the Pinnacles area into the valley toward the town of Luray. Use this to check the weather in the park or to track the fall color!
Big Meadows webcam looks south from Byrd Visitor Center at milepost 51. It's a great way to check the weather on the mountain, which can be very different from lower elevations. You can also monitor the changes in the meadow after the annual spring burn, or watch the wildlife that frequents Big Meadows!
There's also a Traffic Cam at Rockfish Gap at the southern end of Skyline Drive where it connects with the Blue Ridge Parkway near Route 64. This camera is operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation. This area on Afton Mountain can be treacherous when it's foggy, so use this camera to check weather and traffic.

#3 Eagle CAM

"Eagleholic" is a private website dedicated to tracking eagle watch events all over the country.  From this site is a reference to the RF EagleCam.
Livestream Cam Linkhttp://new.livestream.com/rfeaglecam/events/2525155
You Tube Cam Linkwww.RFEaglecam.net
Link to the RF nest FB group -- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1416807728576715/

The R F bald eagle nest is located North of Leesburg, along the Potomac River,in Northern Virginia on a large horse breeding and training farm.

A Little History

This is our ninth year watching this pair. Typically, they have had two eaglets survive each year. One year, only one survived. As this is only the second year with the camera, we have no idea how many eggs in prior years they have had. Last year, there were two eggs and both eaglets successfully left the nest. In 2011, however, three eaglets survived, and after leaving the nest, spent a few weeks together before moving on!

This is a nice very clear cam with an overhead view and zooming capability.

#2 Shad CAM

The shad are running, and the CAM is up!  Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries hosts this cam late March through early June:


Over the past 35 years, populations of American shad, hickory shad, alewife, blueback herring, striped bass, and other anadromous fish species have steadily declined in Virginia. VDGIF, in collaboration with a number of other partners, has been working to bring back these fish, mostly by restoring access to historic spawning areas throughout coastal Virginia. In the James River, these species were known to spawn as far upstream as Eagle Rock until two sets of dams, in Lynchburg and Richmond, cut off over 400 miles of the river and tributaries. In 1999, a fishway was constructed at Bosher's Dam, providing fish with access to 137 miles of the James River and 168 miles of its tributaries for the first time in nearly 200 years. A camera at the fishway provides visitors a peek into this incredible journey as the fish return to spawn in the spring.

Keep an eye out for…

American Shad (Alosa sapidissima)

American Shad (courtesy Duane Raver/USFWS)

Blueback Herring (Alosa aestivalis)

Blueback Herring (courtesy Duane Raver/USFWS)
The majority of fish species will ascend the fishway during the day while catfish species and sea lamprey will primarily move upstream at night. Spawning runs of anadromous fish in Virginia generally occur between March and early June.

#1 Falcon CAM


Downtown Richmond's rare -- and often dramatic -- falcons are off on another nesting adventure.
The peregrine falcons known as Ozzie and Harriet are tending three eggs on a 21st-story walkway at Riverfront Plaza by the James River.
The falcons often produce healthy chicks. But sometimes they produce eggs that don't hatch, and sometimes their youngsters fly into buildings and die.
“They have been dramatic,” said Barbara Slatcher, a Hanover County falcon aficionado who follows the birds on the Richmond Falcon Cam. “They have not been easy to watch sometimes.”
The Falcon Cam, run by the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, has been upgraded. It offers crisp, quickly updated images at falconcam.tumblr.com.
Harriet laid the eggs in late March. If all goes well, they should hatch in late April or early May.
Devastated by pesticides after World War II, peregrines are so rare that scientists are trying to help them come back. The crow-sized predators tend only about two-dozen nests in Virginia. By comparison, there are hundreds of eagle nests.
Richmond's falcons have nested downtown since 2003. Last year, they tried a new spot -- a 22nd-story nest on Dominion Virginia Power's building at Seventh and East Cary streets -- but their five eggs didn’t hatch.
The birds moved back to their longtime Riverfront Plaza nest at 901 E. Byrd St., where they produced four more eggs. Two chicks hatched but didn't survive. It was late June by then, and mid-90s heat may have been a factor.
Some falcons are better providers and protectors than others, and Ozzie and Harriet are among the best, Slatcher said.
“They are great parents...but for whatever reason, in some years the clutch fails.”

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