GROTON–A crew from several conservation organizations and the state Department of Environmental Protection extensively renovated the osprey nesting platform and its supporting structure at Haley Farm on March 16, 2005.
Jim Morgan, of the Potapaug Audubon Society of Old Lyme, took the lead in erecting the platform on a marsh near the shore of Palmer Cove. He was assisted by Linda and Ed Bireley, of the Lyme Land Trust; Sidney Van Zandt and Doug Smith of the Groton Open Space Association; Jon Lincoln, state parks and recreation supervisor with the DEP; and Rick Niedojadlo, park maintainer.
Mr. Morgan and his crew used a cordless electric drill, a small gasoline-powered chain saw, a level, and a hacksaw in shaping and assembling the platform in an approximately two-hour operation on the partly frozen marsh. They carefully preserved the matted mud, grass and sticks that formed the nest on the old platform. When construction was complete, Mr. Morgan carried them in a bucket to the platform, making several trips up a ladder, and spread them out neatly for prospective new tenants.
The Potapaug Audubon Society paid for the materials used in the structure. The column on which the platform sits is bolted to an “A” frame in the front of the base and to a long supporting board behind. Together, the frame and supporting board provide three “feet,” each anchored by a sharpened wooden stake driven into the marsh. A fourth anchor is provided by the column itself, the bottom of which was sunk into the marsh. The platform is elevated about 12 feet above the marsh and is protected from potential climbing predators by a downturned metal collar on the column below the platform.
Mr. Morgan estimated the structure would last for 20 years. He has been building and repairing nesting platforms for 30 years, and he shored up the Haley Farm platform last year, to what he said was the alarm of the osprey parents occupying the platform at the time.