Late Saturday in Bird World

I want to thank the person who wrote and thanked me for keeping everyone abreast of what is happening with the Port Lincoln Osplets. It is truly my pleasure. The situation of siblicide last year with Tapps really touched our or tore out our hearts. People can say that nature is not like Disneyland – and it surely isn’t – but, it is still hard. How many times did we want to scoop up little Tapps and feed him? I almost quit watching Ospreys entirely because of Tapps. I do understand – completely.

I began to wonder about these third hatches. The Osprey nests had such a hard time last year that there were few with three hatches that survived. The first was Tiny Tot at Achieva. Aka Tumbles. What an amazing bird. I will not bore you with all of the intricate details but, in the first two six weeks of her life, Tiny Tot had 12 days – 12 whole days – without food. At least twice, she went for 72 hours. That bird wanted to live. She was clever! And, yes, she got angry and lashed out at the older ones twice. I believe it was the last instance when Diane, the female, took notice. She began bringing in food to the nest. Those big catfish saved Tiny Tot’s life. And then Tiny Little at Foulshaw Moss. Neither of the Tinys should have survived but they did and were stronger birds for it. My interest in third hatches was cemented with the two Tinys. I want to see if their survival rate is higher than the big siblings. The problem is that so few of them are ringed or have satellite trackers. Someone in France just photographed Blue 494 from the Dyfi Nest. Maybe they will see Blue 463, Tiny Little, too. Oh, I hope so.

What I can tell you is that the PLO are doing fine. Little Bob has a good appetite. He can’t eat as many bites as Big Bob but at the most recent feeding, Little Bob ate enough to go into food coma! Mom seems particularly focused on making sure that each gets bites. She is doing really well this year and so is Dad with bringing in the fish. It is 11 degrees C in Port Lincoln and the winds are still blowing strong at 24 kmh. That is 14.91 miles an hour. It might not sound like a lot but it can certainly disrupt fishing.

Here is a close up. Little Bob is the one that is being fed. You can see that he already has the makings of a very good crop.

This is Little Bob getting some nice bites. The one that looks asleep is actually Big Bob. She has eaten and is taking a ‘breather’. Meanwhile Little and Middle Bob are enjoying the morning breakfast.

There is Big Bob back up at the table! Doesn’t take long. She can eat bigger pieces and more of them now. But there is no problem with Little or Middle Bobs eating. Everyone is doing well.

Every once in awhile their eyes lock on one another and my body goes rigid but, so far, nothing. Mom goes around making sure everyone has bites. It is that kind of security that keeps things tranquil.*

These are really well behaved youngsters. Food is plentiful and they line up with mouths open letting out little peeps. Middle Bob is getting some bites now while Little and Big wait their turns.

As I said, Little Bob has a very good appetite and he won’t leave the table until he falls over in food coma or mom calls it quits. Remember, she does not want them to catch cold. Right now the feedings are lasting about nine minutes.

Little Bob is full and in a food coma. The crops are filling on the older two. Oh, what a delight this nest is to watch this year. Of course, it can all change. Just continue to send the warmest of wishes to this family. We want three survivors! Three.

Closer to home. I was heading out to check on the Wood Ducks at the park. The last time I was there the male Wood Ducks – save for one – were in the equinox. They were moulting and getting their fall plumage. They were certainly not their brilliant beautiful selves.

As soon as I was out the door I could hear the familiar pecking of the male Downy Woodpecker in the garden. He comes several times a day. Rumour has it that he lives inside the 123 year-old Maple tree in front of my house.

In the winter I rub peanut butter suet on the bark and I often see him eating away. This summer he brought his baby to find the suet. The strange thing is – we have never seen the female. It is so odd.

Little Woodpecker is such a sweetie. One day when Sharpie, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, was in the garden, the little woodpecker was on the suet like he is today. For 45 minutes, he held on tight, not moving, just blinking his eyes rapidly. He was so afraid he was going to be Sharpie’s lunch. I felt so sorry for him. Sharpie was sitting on a branch under him pretending to be. feeder! Needless to say Sharpie wasn’t successful that day.

It is a beautiful fall day and the park was full of Canada geese and people having picnics and playing cricket.

Over in the pond, the male Wood Ducks really stand out. They have finished their moult. Just look at the range of colour in those feathers. Even the golden beige ones are gorgeous.

Here is a different one. The shape of the head is slightly different on this one.

The female Wood Ducks have really grown, too. My goodness. What a change in a a week. They were so tiny when I left but they seem to be growing by leaps and bounds.

There were definitely more females than males.

The Mallards were particularly annoying today. We noticed that the female Wood Ducks tended to stay close to one another.

Isn’t she beautiful?

The male Mallards are in the middle of moulting. Soon they will have those beautiful emerald green heads that are so characteristic. For now, they look a little bit like peeling duck decoys instead of living breathing water fowl.

There were lots of female Mallards in the pond today.

Two Canada Geese came flying in creating a bit of a ruckus.

Then they slithered along the surface of the pond. They looked rather strange and everyone stopped to try and figure out what they were doing.

We presumed that they were sipping water.

Speaking of water. The pond is pretty clean this year. There are two fountains and everyone is abiding by the signs and not feeding the ducks. If they do it is wild bird seed. What a huge difference from the algae infested muck of last year.

It is early morning in Australia. There will be more meals for the youngsters. All of the birds in our park are safe and sound tonight. We have had no frost. In decades past there was always a freeze in August. I wonder if this might impact migration dates?

Thank you so much for joining me. Have a lovely rest of the weekend. Tomorrow I am going to try and break my unlucky streak and catch that juvenile Green Heron that is hanging about our City. Take care all. Stay safe.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

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