If you live in the Commonwealth you are celebrating Boxing Day today. Centuries ago, all people working in the manors and upper-class homes were given the day off after Christmas as a holiday. Small gifts from the wealthy would go to their help and the tradespeople who worked for them during the year. The tradition might have begun during the Roman-Christian era when alms boxes were outside the churches for the poor.
We lived in a wonderful small town when I was a student in England. Boxing Day was lovely – visits from good friends, small exchanges of food items. Most prized for someone who never loved mincemeat were the tarts with the orange pastry shells made by Jane. If you liked or needed to, you could begin paying for your Christmas dinner and all the treats in January. The milkman arriving with the electric float had a small catalogue. You paid by the week. The meal with all the trimmings was delivered when Christmas came. I was most impressed with the focus on being together as a family and sharing a meal – not on presents. Typically, children received a new bike and a sock full of treats and candies. We were extraordinarily fortunate to have the most wonderful neighbours and acquaintances. I can close my eyes and return to our living room on Gorse Road – magical.
Today, I hope that you have been able to be with a friend, friends, or loving relatives – in person or virtually.
Ferris Akel is having a wonderful tour today. He was at the Finger Lakes Regional Airport where there were two, perhaps three, Snowy Owls.
There were also Bald Eagles.
There was a male and a female Hooded Merganser.
There were ducks and geese paddling around the partially frozen water.
The ones with the white breast are Northern Pintails.
There were so many ducks.
I wished that Daisy was there with them paddling around and eating. The image is not clear but Ferris believes that the ducks below are Black Ducks (similar but different to Daisy).
There were Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans flying about.
Ferris also found a very interesting goose. Is it a pale Canada Goose? or is it a hybrid? It is smaller than a typical Canada Goose. Mind you, we see various sizes here in Canada – the small geese pair up with the same size, the larger with the larger ones. Ferris believes this to be a hybrid – a Canada Goose and a Snow Goose.
There were also Sandhill Cranes.
Ferris is on his way to Ithaca – hopefully he will catch sight of Big Red and Arthur!
Meanwhile in Hilton Head South Carolina, Harriet, named after Harriet Tubman, and Mitch, named after General Mitchel, either have their first hatch or are close to it. There is no rewind function for the camera but the images are crisp and beautiful. More than 400 individuals sent in names for the pair. Great choice!
Here is the link to the camera.
There will be twins again for Harriet and M15 with both eggs pipping this morning! The Pritchard family set the time as 09:55:54 on 26 December. Tears, Get your worry beads out. It will be rough and tumble in a couple of days!
M15 has had food in the pantry for Harriet who normally will not leave their eggs at this stage – no matter how persuasive M15 can be!
I am so excited. Harriet and M15 are amazing Bald Eagle parents and the Pritchett family has provided them with everything they need – including a stocked pond – and care when required. Here is the link to the camera. You will not want to miss these two!
It is very hot on the nest. Harriet is panting to regulate her temperature. She is used to the weather in Fort Myers so no worries. The eaglets will be listening to one another and that will give them momentum to hatch.
Last breeding season I believe there was only four hours difference between E17 and E18. Remember those two? How could we forget, you are thinking.
Not a week old and they go into care with CROW for conjunctivitis. The image below is after a couple days of treatment. Lucky eaglets, Thanks CROW. Thanks Pritchett family for insisting these kiddos got the care and treatment they needed.
E17 got time out in the peach towel because he was being too aggressive to 18.
Thank you for joining me today and for going back to look at these two wonderful juvenile eagles, E17 and E18. The time between when they hatch and fledge will pass as if you only blinked your eye. I urge you to stay tuned and watch this marvellous family go about their every day lives – feeding babies and protecting one another in Fort Myers, Florida.
Thank you to the Hilton Head Eagle Cam, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and the D Pritchett family for their streaming cams and Ferris Akel for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots. I also want to thank CROW for their FB Page where I took the images of E17 and E18 in care.