Mom returns to Collins Marsh and a Pip Watch in Australia

The female Osprey with a chick on the Collins Marsh Reservoir nest in Wisconsin was away from the nest for 21 hours. This is most unusual. At this time, no one is clear about what happened to her or where she was. She remained on the nest all Sunday, without leaving once and Sunday night. She returned Sunday morning around 9:40 and began feeding the chick. She has already fed the chick this morning. There remain concerns for the condition/growth of the chick’s feathers, particularly those on the wings.

Update: I have just heard from Stephen Easterly, the DNR Biologist for the area, and he feels that the chick is progressing fine. It is walking, self-feeding and we will all now look towards a successful fledge. Thanks to everyone in Collins Marsh for their concern for this chick and their quick response to viewer’s calls.

Sadly, it is going to be another scorcher in Wisconsin today.

Did you watch the Barlineck Osprey Nest in Poland? That nest is on top of a 35-meter pine tree with an artificial platform. There were four eggs laid, but only two hatched – the first on 25 May and the second on 31 May. There was a huge size difference (of course) between the two. Despite that, I received word from Michael Zygmunt of the Polish Eagle Committee in Poland this morning that both chicks fledged successfully. Their camera is out of operation. They replaced the router but discovered that the cable connecting the camera and box is damaged. They will not repair it while the nest is active. So please don’t forget about this wonderful Osprey nest next year. And so happy that both of those babies are flying.

Everyone loved Aila, Louis’s mate at Loch Arkaig, that did not, sadly, return this year from her migration. Louis has a new mate on a nest that has no camera. Today, a short video clip of the two chicks was put on YouTube when they were ringed. Both chicks are believed to be males, and their ring numbers are Blue LW3 and Blue LW4.

And, as the Osprey season dies down in the Northern Hemisphere with the chicks honing their flying skills and staying off-camera, things are about to pick up in Australia. The pip watch for the White-bellied Sea Eagles, Lady, and Dad, begins today, 27 July, in Australia.

The White-bellied or White-breasted Sea Eagle is the second largest bird of prey in Australia. They have a wingspan of 1.8-2.2 meters or 6-7 feet. There is the same reverse size-sex ratio in these birds as in other raptors meaning that the female is larger than the male. Sea-eagles, or Fish Hawks as they are called in some places, live along the coasts of Australia, Southeast Asia, and India. You can also see them in New Guinea, and there is quite a number around Singapore.

The adults have a white head and belly, underwing coverts, and tail. The upperparts are the most beautiful slate blue-grey. The juveniles change from a white fuzzy bobblehead to a bird with a light brown head and breast with underwing coverts of rust, a ginger red and dark brown mixed with white. Their tails are white with dark tips (only present in the first year). After several annual molts, the juveniles will change to adult plumage.

The breeding season is from June to January. A clutch of two off-white eggs is laid two to three days apart in a huge stick nest.

There is a nest cup in the middle. Both parents will incubate the eggs. As of 23 July, Lady has incubated the eggs for 215 hours, and Dad has incubated the eggs for 131 hours since the first egg was laid. Both parents feed the chicks, but, in general, the male brings in the prey, and the female at this nest feeds. The chicks will fledge at around 75-85 days. If all goes well, they will remain in the nest area for several months, being fed by the adults as they gain their flying skills.

Lady and Dad have their nest in an old Ironbark Tree in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park. There is restricted access around the nest during the breeding season.

It isn’t just the Sea Eagles, though. Mom and Dad have been busy refurbishing the nest on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. In fact, Dad has been cleaning up the coastline, bringing several plastic bags lately to the nest. Hopefully, someone will remove them. Why do Osprey males like to bring non-bird items into the nest? I wonder if Mom likes the softness of the bags compared to the sticks?

Last year’s fledglings from this nest, Solly and DEW, made the news on Sunday in Australia. The picture is of

Solly has a satellite tracker, and it has really helped with our understanding of Osprey.

The lead researcher, Ian Falkenberg, commented: “Solly has so far traveled about 520km from Port Lincoln. We didn’t expect her to travel that distance because ospreys in Australia are non-migratory,” he said. “The second thing that surprised us was the distance flown inland. They live predominantly on fish so why she would spend time out there in those areas we’re not sure, other than taking exploratory trips.”

Solly has spent most of her time around Streaky Bay and Eba Anchorage. A few days ago, she moved to Smoky Bay, where the fishing is supposed to be very good.

The last check on Tiny Little at the Foulshaw Moss Nest revealed no one is on the nest in the late afternoon in Cumbria! Apparently, Tiny Little no only held off its big sibling from getting its fish yesterday but got upset with Blue 464 and pecked at its head rather hard! Now that is a first, too.

Thanks, everyone, for joining me on a partly cloudy morning on the Canadian prairies. See you soon! Take care.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screenshots: WBSE Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Sydney Discovery Center, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Nest, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and the Collins Marsh Osprey Cam.


  1. Salliane says:

    Tiny Little is such an awesome osprey. The nest is empty and I wish them a good health and a long life in their journey ahead.

    I hope mom and dad at CM will be more diligent in taking care of this little one. I am so impressed as to it trying to self feed!!

    Thanks for another great newsletter, Mary Ann!!

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for some great updates on the newsletter! We will miss Tiny Little but wish them all a great life too! Hope they come back sometime and Tiny Little will eat the fish on the nest so we will get to see her again before she finally leaves for good! 🙏❤️
    Wishing the 2 chicks at the Poland nest a great life too! ❤️❤️
    I enjoyed the 2 chicks at the Loch nest and wish them a successful life as well!❤️❤️
    Wishing both of the Australian nests good luck with their nests too!
    Thanks Mary Ann for all the photos too! I always enjoy them so much!

  3. Linda Kontol says:

    Mary Ann thank you also for the info on the Collins Marsh nest! So glad things are looking good at this time for the little one there! Hope everything continues well there and I will continue to pray for this little one as well! 🙏❤️

    1. Hi Linda, You are more than welcome. There have been several conversations going back and forth. One thing has been cleared up. The port that the DNR biologist thought existed into the nest doesn’t. There is no safe or easy way to access the nest. Later on, I will suggest to the nature center that they get someone in where the cameras are and cut an emergency port into the nest after the Ospreys migrate and before the snow owls arrive. The chick was well fed yesterday. It can stand and walk. The feathers continue to be an issue for me but maybe not others. The blood feathers are showing and there is space between them that doesn’t look right but I am waiting to see how this little one progresses. For now, I would say we are OK.

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