James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 3.95'
Flow: 2040 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 12:42am
Low Tide: 7:42pm

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RVA Osprey Cam is Now Live!

Andy Thompson

March 13, 2017 1:45pm

The ospreys in the nest this morning. Credit: RVAospreycam.com

The idea was born a couple of years ago: Showcase the natural wonders of Richmond’s downtown through an osprey cam atop a Richmond-Petersburg Railroad bridge piling. And now, finally, here we are. RichmondOutside.com is excited to announce the RVA Osprey Cam — to our knowledge the only entirely self-sustained (i.e. solar power, remote internet connection) urban raptor cam in America. And it’s in HD!

For the past few weeks, we, along with can-do partners Riverside Outfitters and local rock climbing legend Connor Riley, have made trip after trip out to the 40-foot granite pillar between the Manchester and T-Pot bridges. We had to climb the beast, rig up ladders, then haul hundreds of pounds of equipment up there — camera, solar panels, batteries, cable and metal frames. Then we had to secure a reliable internet connection. This can only be delivered remotely, since you can’t run an ethernet cable under the James. We owe a debt of gratitude to Rocketts Landing and Sam McDonald at Property Results for letting us use their roofs to facilitate the live stream. We think it looks great.

Connor Riley climbs the bridge piling early on in the osprey cam installation process.

The camera offers 360-degree pan and 30x zoom functions, so periodically we’ll pan around and check things out on the river. Maybe we’ll focus on a raft trip coming downstream or zoom in to see what’s going on at the Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge. Dominion Riverrock will be a great time to pan over to Brown’s Island to check out the action.

But of course, the birds will be the main attractions. We’ll get to watch them mate and lay eggs; we’ll watch those eggs hatch and the young eat the shad and herring the parents bring back to the nest. Then we’ll watch them fledge. Ospreys are migratory, but they won’t leave this area until the fall. We’ll have the whole spring and summer to get to know them and their young. Maybe we’ll even have a naming contests for the babies!

We plan to add some features to the site, FAQs, chat, ask the expert, etc., in the coming weeks. And we’ll be sending out highlights to anyone who signs up for the newsletter. Missed the eggs hatching because you were away from your desk? Not to worry. We’ll send you an email blast with the highlights. If you have any questions or suggestion for the cam or the webpage, feel free to email me at andy@richmondoutside.com.

In the meantime, RVA, meet your new neighbors. You can find them at RichmondOutside.com and RVAOspreyCam.com

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?