When feather loss is nothing short of beautiful!

6 August 2022

I am up writing this short blog after midnight. The weather has turned agreeable in a place where I desperately want to go and check out the shorebirds. I am not an early morning person like so many of my birding friends who rejoice in getting out to see the latest arrivals before 0600. Tomorrow, however, I plan to leave early for me which means…I need to check on our feathered friends on line sooner! I am also awake because of the worry over Poole Harbour and the attack. How is the family?

First of all ——– let’s have a shout out and a drum, roll. Stephen Basly understands that we will not be 100% certain that the fledgling photographs contain Little Bit ND17 without a clear view of THE BALD PATCH. It is only now that I want to thank ND16 because this is complete proof that our Little Bit is flying and is doing well. It is nearly three weeks since Little Bit was released. He is definitely eating – whether or not he is catching some of his prey or having it delivered is not clear and — is now utterly irrelevant. What a relief…Thank you Stephen Basly for keeping an eye out for this amazing juvenile for all of us.

I had a question and it refers to Finnish Osprey nest #4 but, in fact, it applies to all Osprey nests post-fledge. The reader was worried that neither parent had shown up on the nest with UNA.

We are going to begin to see the nests being empty for a lot more time than when they are occupied now. It is always worrisome. We do not know if something has happened to the parents and/or the chicks. More often than not everything is good. It is a natural progression. The adults initially feed their fledglings on the nest. Sometimes both parents bring food to the nest for the chicks…we have also seen this at the stork nests with Karl II and Kaia both feeding their four and also with Bukacek and Betty. At some point, the adults might begin feeding the fledglings ‘off nest’. Big Red prefers, after the eyases fledge, to only feed them off the nest. She first feeds them on a flat roofed building called Rice directly across Tower Road from the nest. Sometimes she gives in to feeding on the nest and Arthur likes to sneak food there! At some point the female disengages from feeding the fledglings. Dad takes over completely allowing the female to bulk up her weight and add some fat before she begins her migration. The chicks will continue to be fed by Dad. Then they will feel the call to fly and they will start a journey to a place they have never seen which will become their forever winter home. The males leave last – only once they are assured the fledglings have all departed.

The #4 nest is mostly empty now. I have caught UNA there a few times but no prey deliveries. The chick appears fine and can fly quite well. It does not appear that there is any cause for worry.

The absence from the nest might also lie with the fact that a Goshawk attacked it. Just as you will see that the Ospreys at Poole Harbour are stressed about returning to the nest – and have not so far.

Daylight is just coming to the Poole Harbour nest.

No one slept on the nest last night. None of the family members have been seen on camera since the attack including Dad, Blue 022, and the other fledgling, 5H1.

Here are two stills from the attack on the Poole Harbour fledgling who is eating a fish on the nest. In the first one you will see CJ7’s head and her talons extending in front of her from the top left. The fledgling kind of melts into CJ7’s image. You can see the intruder (dark shape) also on the left – at 0900 on the nest.

In the image below, from left to right: the fledgling 5H2, the goshawk staring at the throat of the fledgling. The goshawk appears to have at least one leg and talons in the side of the nest. Some people have thought that it had its right talon in the wing of the fledgling. That is not really clear from the image. That right foot might also be caught in the rim of the nest pushing the primary feathers of the fledgling outward. CJ7 is on the far right. It is possible that she has one of the talons on the left food catching the goshawk’s wing. The talons of CJ7’s right foot seem to be embedded in tip of the goshawk’s wing – but this could just be the camera angle. This attack takes place in a couple of seconds – not even a minute. Was the goshawk successful? That really is unclear. Everyone went tumbling from the nest. It is very hard to wait to find out what has happened.

MORNING UPDATE FROM POOLE HARBOUR: The fledgling 5H2 was located alive with an injury to its flank. It has been taken into care. Blue 022 and CJ7 were located and they are alright. They are monitoring for 5H1. Here are the announcements:

The latest news.

Camera glitches when the chicks are near fledgling cause a lot of stress. Thankfully the camera on the Boathouse Osprey platform is once again working. The change in the three osplets is remarkable. Dory looks so tiny next to Schooner, Slapjack, and Sloop. ‘H’ has reminded me that they are 49, 48, and 46 days old today. We are nearing fledge watch.

Soo and the chicks at the Osoyoos nest have weathered another day – thankfully not such a hot one but others are coming. The chicks have been fed and also practiced some self-feeding. We are some days away from fledge.

Fish deliveries continue on a nice pace at the Fortis Exshaw nest. The parents have been going on and off the perch today. If you watch eagles, you will know that ‘branching’ is the first step to fledging. I wonder if the adults are showing the osplets the perch for the same reason?

While Mrs G is both a grandmother and a great-grandmother, Glaslyn was so happy to announce that Mrs G current mate is now a grandfather. His female chick of the 2018 season KS1 (middle chick) has fledged two chicks this year at the Bolton Estate in Yorkshire with her unringed mate. Well done! Here is the official announcement:

What the announcement does not tell you is that this is the first time since 1800 that osprey chicks have hatched at Bolton! 222 years. Incredible. They made the news with photos of the two grand chicks.

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/environment/first-osprey-chicks-recorded-in-yorkshire-since-1800-hatch-at-wensleydales-bolton-castle-estate-in-landowners-dream-come-true-3795431?fbclid=IwAR2AJF2zV0GGoz3xTLz8-TwEqV77gAznHdTfS7sdCz8ehFRoPeV3EoWSzOQ

If you are waiting for the banding of QT chick on Taiaroa Head, it will now take place Tuesday August 9 – Australian dates.

The Mispillion Harbour Ospreys have been given names. The adult female is Della and the adult male is Warren working its way into the state where the Osprey nest is located, Delaware. The two chicks are Bay (eldest) and River (youngest) representing the Bay and the inlet where the two chicks were raised this year. Super meaningful names. Thank you ‘H’ for always going the extra mile to get this nest noticed – and the family loved.

Next year, ‘H’ is going to start a Facebook group for this wonderful Osprey family. So everyone remembers this nest – the Mum loves yellow! ‘H’ has dressed them up.

While Lindsay was resting on the ledge of The Campanile she had a visitor – Alden! Oh, how precious. Be sure to also check out moon_rabbit-rising Instagram’s account for recent photos of Annie hunting in the area.

Thank you for joining me this morning. Like so many of You I stayed up waiting for news of Poole Harbour. Wishing 5H2 a quick recovery! I am heading off to areas west to check on shore birds. I hope to have my regular report on Sunday. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam, Tweets, or FB postings where I took my screen captures: Mispillion Harbour Ospreys and ‘H’, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Notre Dame Eagles, Fortis Exshaw, Osoyoos Ospreys, Audubon Explore, Birds of Poole Harbour, Finnish Osprey Foundation, and Cal Falcons.

4 Comments

  1. B says:

    Great shot of the feather loss on ND17. I have been confident that it is 17, because I was trusting the judgement of others, but this photo shows the feather loss so clearly that even I can tell it is definitely 17 !!

    1. Hi Bill, I could not agree with you more. II was so happy to see that bald spot though. It was just that final confirmation. No mystery, no questions but just utter relief – he is doing fine. The boots on the ground adore him and it is wonderful that they can spot 17 out of the others. So grateful to them! Now to see Victor being released!

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for the wonderful update. I’m so thankful didn’t win over our Osprey family! I pray little 5H2 will
    Be ok and I hope 5H1 will stay with the parents and not return to the nest in case the goshawk is still watching. 🙏
    I’m so glad ND17 was confirmed. ❤️ It’s so wonderful to see them all
    And know they are all doing well.
    Good luck to all the nests and all the osplets and eaglets fledglings 🙏❤️
    Thank you for the photos and links and information today Mary Ann 🙂
    Have a good evening and see you here again soon!
    Linda

    1. It is so very nice to see that bald spot on that eaglet! Glad Little Bit is doing well…fingers crossed for all the others. Thank you for your caring..

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