It has been quite the day in Bird World. It started out with gorgeous weather on the Canadian Prairies and my hunt for Wood Ducks. Were they still here? Yes, they were! There was only a pair at Kildonan Park but what cuties they were. I almost didn’t see them at first. They were both standing on a log back in a hollow with an overhang. I have so fallen in love with Wood Ducks the last six months.
The last time I visited the duck area of Kildonan Park, there had to be three dozen in the stream near the Witch’s Hut but, not today. I walked up and down the shore, down close to the water, and well, they had to be hidden really well if they were there.
This time it was also easy to count the Mallards. 25 in total. Each of the Mallards were busy either preening or dabbling for food. I thought I would give you a view different perspectives for a couple of the males. Their plumage is simply gorgeous.
In the image below, I love the soft feathers on the chest in contrast with the two white borders of that deep navy. Look at the curls on the tail and the horizontals on the chest. Stunning.
This is a great example of how waterproof their feathers actually are.
There were about 350 Canada Geese at various locations. Some were feeding on the grass, others were in the water. None of them liked the people walking their dogs.
Today was a problem because I wanted to get back and hear the updates and discussion about Grinnell, the injured falcon from UC-Berkeley. Sadly, I did not have as much patience with a little Red Squirrel that seemed to not like my taking photos of the ducks. It chattered away the whole time. Perhaps it wanted its picture taken? I decided that it didn’t because it would not give me one of those cute squirrel poses everyone else seems to capture. This little one was determined to hide behind that branch!
Oh, it screeched at me til I got out of sight! My phone told me that I had a little over an hour. Would it be possible to check on the duck pond closer to where I live? Were there any Wood Ducks there?
I scoured Duck Island at St Vital Park, walked the entire perimeter of the pond, and could only find three Wood Ducks – 2 females and a male in Eclipse plumage (the one in the middle). All of the others were gone.
There were not nearly the number of Mallards or Canada Geese despite the wide open soccer and cricket areas where they can feed.
It seems that the cooler weather a few days ago really did get many to head South. It will be nice when April comes and we can hear them honking overhead. I can’t wait.
I have reported on the update on Grinnell earlier today. You can read about it here and there is a link to the live event in my blog:
At this point it felt like the day was almost over and I had yet to check on the ‘regulars’ – the PLO osplets set to be banded on 8 November, the 367 Collins Street Four, and Yurruga, the Peregrine Falcon nestling at Orange.
The first was little Yurruga. I think I will stop using the adjective ‘little’. Yurruga is growing and changing. She is really beginning to loose that fluffy down revealing her juvenile feathers. Despite the fact that Yurruga has had short bouts of self-feeding, today was a bit of a surprise. I captured it for you in a short video.
Several hours later, Diamond came into the scrape and fed Yurruga the remaining portion of the Starling.
What wonderful training. Yurruga worked and worked on that prey item until she was tired. She did well. Mum knew to give her time and then come in and feed her little one. These are incredible parents. I also want to add that Diamond is walking much better! Her injury is healing.
Wow. Could it get any better? Well, I don’t know if it is better or not but I can say that the three osplets at Port Lincoln are even civil when wing flapping. They take turns! That said, I just about fell out of my chair watching them. Little Bob is flapping first. The trio are to be ringed on Monday, measured, given names, and at least one will have a sat-pak attached to its back. I just hope they are still on the nest! Can you imagine planning for that and they have literally flown the nest? It could happen!
Little Bob really wants to fly.
I am not certain which of the other siblings is featured in this clip testing out its wings. Mum is feeding – it sure doesn’t take long now to consume an entire fish! What a change from six weeks ago. Little Bob is on the right and unknown sibling on the left eating.
They take turns.
All three are getting some air. Oh, my. I was almost afraid to check on the 367 Collins Street Four for fear they had all fledged while I was away or doing other things. Relief. All four were on the ledge a few hours ago.
These are bittersweet moments. Fledge can happen at any time. At least one of them is more than ready. In an interview today, Victor Hurley, the lead researcher of Peregrine Falcons in Victoria, says he believes that there are 2 females and 2 males this year. How lovely!
It has been an exciting day with more to come in the next week. There will be fledges in Melbourne and Port Lincoln for sure.
Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clips: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.