Oh, what a day!
The banding and measuring of the Port Lincoln osplets began well after lunch once the boat – the Calypso Star (above) – that took tourists out to see the sea lions returned. The entire process took approximately two hours. Mum positioned herself on the boat anchored next to the barge with the nest on it. At various times she expressed her growing dissatisfaction. She wanted her chicks back on the nest. There she is in the image below on top of the mast.
When Mum got tired of waiting, she flew up to the barge pole and began yelling at the banders to hurry up!
There they are in the nest before the banding took place. All nice and calm.
First off, I was wrong! Little Bob is Little Bob. Big Bob is also Big Bob. Middle Bob is also Middle Bob. All three are judged to be male.
It was only after Janet Forster said they were all males on the chat that things began to fall into place. There is only 51 hours separating the oldest from the youngest. That is incredible in itself. I cannot comment on prey deliveries in former years but the fish were consistent this season leading to food stability. To me, this was possibly the calmest, most civil osprey nest with three chicks I have ever seen. Does gender play into that? Is a nest with three males much less prone to aggressive rivalry? than if there is a female on the nest? or two females?
It is almost 4pm in Port Lincoln. We are still awaiting the names and to see who got the tracker. PLO wanted the tracker to go on a male. This was because the tracker was put on Solly, the first hatch and a female, last year. Now they have a choice of three! Oh, I am hoping for Little Bob.
Chicks returned to the nest at 15:41:33 with some fish treats.
The chick on the right has a yellow band and has found a fish and is really doing well at the self-feeding. Some of the images are a little blurry. Everyone loves that Middle Bob got the yellow band – ‘Mellow Yellow’ they are calling him.
One chick is looking out to sea and not quite ready to have fish. And then there is the one right up front, right under Mum’s beak wanting fish. That chick has a black band and there is a sat-pak on its back. Can you guess who loves to be fed by Mum? and who is decidedly the ‘Big Cheese’ on the nest now – for certain? and who is always at the table first? I know you know who that is!
Little Bob got the satellite tracker! Tears are flowing down my cheeks.
The nest started off with seven fish. There are only three left now. Ah, now two. Dad came and took one and joined in the celebration.
Here are a series of close up images. You can clearly see the red band and look, there is also a metal band. It is the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme. Each bird (or bat) has a distinct number. If found, the number is called in to identify it for tracking purposes. There is a similar scheme in North America.
The sat-pak, if it is like the one that Solly has, should last for up to four years. It is going to be fantastic to see how far a male fledgling goes from the natal nest. You might remember that Solly broke all expectations when she moved more than 300 kilometres away from Port Lincoln to Eba Anchorage. No one realized the females would disperse that far. It brought a new understanding to the movements of the Eastern Ospreys.
So typical. Little Bob decided to come back for seconds.
The chicks have had a stressful day. They are doing fine and so are the parents. All that nice fish left by PLO surely helps.
Little Bob is looking through the nest for any leftovers! Typical. He stole a lot of hearts from the time he karate kicked his way out of his shell to putting a big sibling in its place a couple of times when they thought they might push him around a bit. It did not work. If he was hungry, he was always up at the table and ready to eat. No one would stop him. He is a great choice for this tracker.
We are just waiting for the names to come in. It is now in the wee hours of the morning in Canada. Someone just commented that while they will have official names, they think #3 will always be Little Bob. Could be. Someone else suggested Big Bobbie. I hope he lives long – I hope all of them do – and father many healthy chicks to help bring the population numbers of Eastern Osprey up.
This is a momentous occasion. So very happy for the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, all the people behind the scenes, and this amazing osprey family.
Thank you so much for joining me. Next stop at this nest: fledge. Perhaps in 7-9 days. That will come too fast. Names have not been released yet. I will post those tomorrow. It is nearly 2 am and I am zonked. Want to bet they will post the names the minute I publish this blog? Most likely. Take care everyone.
Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for supplying the streaming cam where I took my screen captures.