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From osprey to elephants, it’s must-see TV

Everyone loves watching wildlife. Taking a break to see nature in action is a wonderful change of pace when you are stuck at your computer all day. Perhaps your children want to really know what a peregrine falcon sees from way up high. Wildlife cams make it happen.
    Get to know some of the cameras keeping an eye on the wilds of the Bay. It’s must-see TV.

Osprey Cams

    Chesapeake Conservancy, Stevens­ville: Calico Tom and Audrey have returned to the nest on the Eastern Shore. Watchers are waiting anxiously for an egg to drop: www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/osprey-cam
    Severna Park High School: A pair has settled in and may be sitting on eggs: www.severnaparkospreys.com.
    Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis: The male osprey’s nest was relocated with some help from BG&E from atop an electrical pole. Watch as a good mate joins him on his new platform: www.cbf.org/cbf-osprey-cam-live
    Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge: The osprey pair have yet to lay eggs, but it could be soon: www.friendsofblackwater.org/camhtm.html.

Eagles

    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/The Outdoor Channel/Friends of National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, W.Va.: See two eaglets that are almost a month old be fed and eventually fledge: http://outdoorchannel.com/eaglecam
    Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge: The eagle eggs were abandoned by parents and eaten by predatory birds, so there may be nothing to see here until the next mating season: www.friendsofblackwater.org/camhtm2.html
    National Arboretum/American Eagle Foundation, Washington, D.C.: Bald eagles Mr. President and The First Lady have two growing eaglets, both born in late March. Watch for feeding and eventually fledging: www.eagles.org/dceaglecam
    Earth Conservation Corps, Anacostia River, Washington, D.C.: At least two eaglets in this nest are growing fast: www.earthcam.com/usa/dc/eagle/?cam=eagledc

Peregrine Falcon

    Chesapeake Conservancy, the TransAmerica Building, Baltimore: Falcons Boh and Barb await the hatching of their four eggs. Falcons have been nesting here for more than 35 years: www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/
peregrine-falcon-webcam
    Delmarva Ornithological Society, Wilmington, Del.: Trinity and Red Girl have laid a clutch of five eggs, due to hatch this week: www.dosbirds.org/falcon_cam2
    Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Harrisburg: This camera changes angles every few seconds, giving great views of Mom sitting on her four eggs, due to hatch any day now, and Dad delivering meals atop the 15th floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building: www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/falcon
Great Blue Heron
    Chesapeake Conservancy, Eastern Shore: This new camera takes you inside a rookery in the tops of loblolly pines. Rell and Eddie are taking turns incubating their eggs, due to hatch this month. The other nest on camera is a supply closet for the herons, with many stopping by to take sticks to their own nests: http://
chesapeakeconservancy.org/blue-heron-webcam

Black Vulture

    Tristate Vulture Cam, Newark, Del.: Watch two adult black vultures take turns caring for their recently emerged hatchling and waiting for the second egg to hatch this week: http://chimneyswifts.net/tristate/?page_id=294

Brown Pelican

    Virginia Living Museum Peli-Cam, Newport News: This camera watches pelicans and other feathered friends in the coastal aviary: www.beachcamsusa.com/va/newport-news/virginia-living-museum-peli-cam

National Aquarium, Baltimore

    Visit Blacktip Reef, where sharks, stingrays, tropical fish and Calypso the turtle make a great live screensaver: http://tinyurl.com/z98ssu4
    Pacific Coral Reef features puffins, anemones, clownfish and black guillemots: http://tinyurl.com/z6pla3a

National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

    ElephantCam: Watch inside the elephant enclosure: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/webcams/elephant.cfm
    LionCam: Prepare to see a lot of napping: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/
webcams/lion-outside.cfm
    PandaCam: Mei and Bei Bei loll, nap and chow down on piles of bamboo on-camera. Choose from two cams, one inside the nursery and one in the enclosure: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Web
Cams/giant-panda.cfm

For more cameras, visit Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s map of web cams around the region: http://tinyurl.com/jttlnu6

Catch the second weekend of fun and frivolity

Time-travel nearly 350 years from the court of King Louis XIV of France to Twin Beach Players’ version of Molière’s 1668 comedy of manners, L’Avare. The Miser, as English has it, completes performer/director Jeff Larson’s production of a Moliere trilogy, including Tartuffe and the Imaginary Invalid, spanning 14 years of theatrical performances by Twin Beach Players. Through all, he’s teamed with company president Sid Curl.
    Colorful and convincing characters embroiled in a twisting plot make up The Miser’s world. In two acts, we witness what happens when Harpagon, the miser, obsessed with adding to his sizeable fortune, secrets away his wealth. To add to these riches, he plans marriages for his two children. Those around him, however, are equally determined to carry out their own plans.
    These are familiar characters. Comedic archetypes we recognize had their roots in Moliere, including the bumbling Inspector Clouseau character of Pink Panther fame, first imagined as the Miser’s Inspector ­Sansclou. The characters use slapstick, physical humor and clever banter to keep us entertained.
    As in Moliere’s time, some characters break through the imaginary fourth wall that separates the audience from the performers onstage to engage with us directly. The technique is visually interesting and involving as well as revelatory of a character’s private thoughts.
    Larson’s blocking uses stage space wisely, helping to focus our attention toward or away from imposing character action or dialogue, especially when multiple characters share the stage simultaneously.
    Overall, acting is solid with some outstanding performances, including Luke Woods’ commendable physical and verbal character choices as Harpagon.
    Annie Gorenflo’s Elise balances youth and experience. Aidan Davis adds strength to Valere with a pleasing and resonant vocal tone. Tom Weaver’s Cleante is sincere and believably love-struck, while Jenny Liese’s Marianne is bright and affable. Jim Weeks shows commanding physical agility and range as La Fleche.
    Jeanne Louise as Mâitress Jacqueline Ze Chef is animated and excitable; her French accent is believable and her movements charmingly gazelle-like. Stage veteran Helenmary Ball is delightful as marriage broker Madame Frosine, offering impeccable comic timing, hilarious facial expressions and rich vocal variety. Kevin McAndrews masterfully performs his roles of Maitre Simon and Inspector Sansclou, shaping subtle nuances between them. Curl entertains in his cameo as Senor Anselme, drawing comparisons to the chameleon-like talent of actor Tim Conway in physical appearance, comic ability and vocal diversity.
    The production staff skillfully executes their technical responsibilities, giving legitimacy to time and place. Music designer Robert Snider’s selection of pre-show, intermission and post-show music is consistent with the Baroque era. An able stage crew professionally and discreetly transforms the sparse set in Act I to a more fully furnished set in Act II. Costume design and makeup include period wigs, curls and costumes accented with bolder hues to enhance characterizations.


Two and a half hours with a 15-minute intermission; light refreshments available for purchase.

Th-Sa 8pm, Su 3pm thru April 17 at the North Beach Boys and Girls Club, 9021 Dayton Ave. $15 w/discounts: 410-286-1890; www.twinbeachplayers.com.

Spread the word about this haunted place of miraculous possibilities where the crippled are made whole, body and soul

“I’m sure there is magic in everything,” says the invalid child Colin in The Secret Garden, “only we have not sense to get hold of it.”
    If you want to believe in magic again, see Colonial Players’ production of the children’s classic that has been delighting musical theater audiences for 25 years. With award-winning songs, clever staging and an animated cast, it delivers all the haunting magic of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Edwardian original and then some. Like a dream in black and white, this show blurs the line between this world and the next in spinning the tale of headstrong Mary Lennox (Madi Heinemann), orphaned in India and shipped home to her miserable Uncle Archibald’s (Justin T. Ritchie) English estate. It’s a haunted place of miraculous possibilities where the crippled are made whole, body and soul.
    Colonial’s tiny theater-in-the-round is perfect for the show’s musical narratives enhanced by sharp choreography and an imaginative set. Dance takes center stage as a plot device in the seamless prologue when a scarlet silk handkerchief passed among dancers illustrates the cholera epidemic that orphans Mary. One by one the victims fall, starting with her parents, Captain and Mrs. Lennox (Heather McMunigal and Kory Twit).
    Accompanying the dance is a sterling chorus of neighbors who provide back story and commentary on life at Misselthwaite Manor: Major Holmes (Cory Jones), Alice (Kaelynn Miller), Betsy/Mrs. Winthrop (Erin Branigan), Lt. Shaw (Kyle Gonzalez), Claire Holmes (Kaitlin Fish) and Lt. Wright (Greg Anderson).
    The manor is crawling with ghosts, primary among them Archibald’s wife, Lily (Lindsay Espinosa), who worries over him and their invalid son Colin (Reid Murphy), despite the ministrations of Archie’s jealous physician-brother Neville (Kevin Cleaver). But Mary has the company of a sympathetic maid, Martha (Ella Green), her young brother Dickon (Samuel Edward Ellis) and the gardener, Ben (Danny Brooks). With their help, she discovers Lily’s secret garden and brings its healing power to all the sick and restless.
    With just one piece of furniture, some tissue clouds and myriad special effects, this show conveys a better sense of time, place and action than more opulent productions I have seen. Innovative lighting evokes a full moon, thunderstorms, a skyline of minarets suggesting Mary’s homeland and a robin flitting overhead, symbolized by migrating red chaser lights. Three projectors broadcast films around the theater to simulate actions from the mundane act of opening the curtains to a bucolic train ride and the inner sanctum of the garden beyond its imposing walls.
    The costumes range from drab English earth tones to the tropical whites and lacy gowns of India’s ruling class, where only the turbaned Fakir (Aubrey Baden) and sari-clad Ayah (Fish) dazzle in color. Attention to detail is evident from the housekeeper’s (Cristina Shunk) magnificent key belt to the red trim incorporated into Mary’ dress as she warms to her surroundings.
    Among a cast of talented singers, Ritchie and Espinosa thrill in A Bit of Earth and How Could I Ever Know, and Green delights with her fine Yorkshire accent in A Fine White Horse. Cleaver’s duet with Ritchie (Lily’s Eyes) is unforgettable, and Ellis delights in Wick with a presence that feels metaphysical. Heinemann’s signature song, The Girl I Mean to Be, is charming but difficult to hear over the taped accompaniment — a dilemma common to the other children’s soli and the sole technical problem of this production.
    See this chestnut with someone you love, young or old, and bring a hanky.


By Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon, based on the novel by Frances ­Hodgson Burnett. Director: Lois Evans. Musical Director: Wendy Baird. Choreographer: Carol Cohen. Stage Manager: Andy McLendon. Set: Laurie Nolan. Sound/Effects: Julien C. Jacques. Lights: Eric Lund. Costumes: Jean Carroll Christie. Dialect/Vocal Coach: Nancy Krebs. Musical Accompaniment by Right on Cue Services.

Runs two and a half hours: Thru May 8, Th-Sa at 8pm, Su at 2, Colonial Players, 108 East St. Annapolis. $20 with discounts, rsvp: 410-268-7373; www.thecolonialplayers.org.
 

April is Adopt an Owl Month

Do you give a hoot about owls?     
    Having declared April as Adopt an Owl Month, Calvert County Parks is asking you to step up to protect the raptors, specifically the northern saw-whet owl and the barn owl.
    Maryland Department of Natural Resources puts the northern saw-whet owl on its list of Highly Imperiled species in the latest state Wildlife Action Plan. Barn owls are listed as High Risk of Extinction.
    The northern saw-whet has always been a rare breeder in our region. Not so the barn owl.
    “The change in the barn owl’s status is more significant,” according to Gwen Brewer of DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service. “We compared counts from a volunteer breeding bird atlas in 1983 to counts in 2006 and saw a 72 percent decline in the numbers. It is one of the largest declines of any breeding species in our region.”
    The tiny saw-whets nest in Garrett County but winter in the forests of the Eastern Shore. When the nomads pass through Chesapeake Country during their annual migration, park staff and volunteers are watching.
    “We rely on banding data to tell us more about where they are coming from and heading to when they pass through Calvert County,” says Andy Brown, senior naturalist for the Calvert Division of Natural Resources.
    “Studying and protecting these species can get expensive. We rely almost entirely on donations for our projects,” Brown says.
    That’s where you come in.
    Saw-whet adopters “can help us set nets to catch the owls and band them so we can find out more about their migration patterns,” Brown says. Volunteer and you’ll also get a unique band number to track your owl.
    Ghost-faced barn owls used to be as commo as barns in Maryland. Now they’ve declined dramatically, likely, Brown says, due to loss of nesting habitat in old buildings and open grasslands for preying and to poisoning, due to increased use of rodent-killing chemicals.
    Eagle Scouts and volunteers are helping to build nest boxes for the raspy-voiced owls. SMECO donates used power poles for the project. You can help by adopting a nesting box. Your donation of $50 pays for construction materials and predator guards. In return, you get a photo of your adoptee and its location plus a year-end nesting summary.
    “We want to ensure that these species don’t disappear,” Brown says. “When you lose a species it lowers your biodiversity. Low diversity isn’t healthy and that will eventually impact the human species as well.”
    Adopt an owl: www.calvertparks.org.