It has been several weeks since I travelled to check on the two osprey chicks in their nest at Grand Beach Provincial Park. A friend sent me word on Tuesday that the two chicks were still at the nest with mom. Circumstances kept me away until today. It was a bright sunny day with no chance of rain – seemed like the perfect chance to go and have a last visit with the osprey family if they were still home.
Manitoba is a summer breeding ground for Ospreys. They arrive in April and are usually gone by mid-September. Due to public outcries because many of the birds were electrocuted on hydro poles, our public utility, Manitoba Hydro, began erecting platforms for the birds in the hope that they would build their nests on them and not on the high voltage lines. The place that I visited is Grand Beach Provincial Park. Close to the West Beach is one platform that is occupied. There is another platform near Grand Marais, only a few moments away. It is unoccupied and was not in good condition. The water around it seems to have dried up eons ago and it is very close to the highway.
The nest that I visited is located on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Locate Winnipeg and then move your eye 45 degrees north-northeast til you see the green type indicating Grand Beach.
Lake Winnipeg is the world’s 10th largest fresh water lake. It is very shallow by most standards. On average it is only 3.6 metres or 12 feet deep although there are a few places where it is 10.9 metres or 36 feet deep. The lake measures 436 kilometres or 270 miles in length and 111 km wide or 68 ft at the widest point. It has more than a 1609 kilometres or 1000 miles of shoreline – many areas with beautiful white sand beaches.
It is a perfect place to raise an Osprey family!
This young lady was the only one home while we were there. She was food calling most of the time despite the crop she had. It reminded me so much of Tiny Little. You could hear her half an American football field away quite clearly! She was not letting up.
What was especially funny was the large chunk of fish she was holding in one of her talons. Did she want mom to come to the nest and feed her?
Along with the food calling this juvenile certainly did a lot of wing flapping but, she never left the nest while we were watching.
The sun played havoc with the lighting casting everything almost in silhouette.
Look at those big beautiful wings. She has no idea what is in store for her but she has imprinted on her brain the fresh water marsh and the lake where she hatched. If she survives, she will visit this nest or a place near to it in the future.
For an area that tends to have lots of water birds, it was relatively quiet. There were only a couple of Canada Geese, a Crow, a duck, and some small birds.
There was a crow who came to see what all the commotion was about with the Osprey and to make sure that I didn’t cross the barrier to get closer to the nest.
There was also this lonely little duck all by itself. My Manitoba birding book suggests that this is a female Common Goldeneye. She is so far away this is the best I could do in terms of an image.
This seems like a perfect place for this little diving duck that is 41-51 cm long. She could be looking for tubers, frogs, insect larvae, or even small fish.
In North America, the Labour Day long weekend marks the end of summer and all of its activities. Everyone will be back in school in a few days. The beaches will be empty and the leaves will continue to turn yellow, orange, and gorgeous shades of red. Meanwhile, the birds who are still here will ready themselves for their long migration south. The seasons are changing. It is in the air and the smell of the leaves when you walk on them. There is no more need for air conditioning but, rather, a light jacket. I love this time of year.
Before I leave, I want to show you the map of the Black Stork’s migration today. I am so proud of little Pikne, the last one to leave Karl II’s nest. She has headed straight and is doing so well. She is in Moldova. Indeed, all of the birds are progressing at a good pace it seems.
You can also see that Julge – the Black Stork that got on the boat heading the wrong direction – is now in Germany. Udu is crossing Poland. Both of them appear to be going the Western route but Udu might correct his course. We wait. Karl II is relaxing on the shores of the Black Sea.
Thank you for joining me on my short visit to check on our Ospreys and the Black Storks. I wish them good winds, lots of fish, safe travels, and a long life. Stay safe everyone!
I want to thank the individuals in charge of the tracking of the birds and their posting of the current maps on the Estonia Eagle Club Forum pages.