JJ finally got some fish…Sunday in Bird World

6 August 2023

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that you have had a really lovely weekend so far. Here the potatoes in the fibre bags are dying off at the top, signalling they are ready to be dug. Some tomato plants think they are finished producing, while others have substantial green heritage tomatoes waiting to turn red. The pepper plants produced one pepper each, while the cucumber plant gave me two delicious English cokes. This year’s garden winners were the Basil, which grew like a small bush, the thyme, and rosemary. The grape tomatoes were also abundant. There is a ‘feel’ in the garden, like the summer is ending, something that doesn’t happen until September. Everything is still emerald green…it just feels a little ‘off’. It has been a very strange year.

When I first left my urban existence to live on a small acreage in rural Canada, some things did not make sense. Surrounded by big corporate farmers, they had cut down the hedgerows that kept the topsoil from blowing away when the winds were high and the soil dry. This caused them to have to use more fertiliser. The end result of all of that was my pond’s poisoning and my orchard’s death. That was decades ago. It all came back like a tidal wave today when I saw this article on farming and the benefits of hedgerows and fens to bring back wildlife.

There are many simple things that we can do, too including working to create what I call mini-corridors for the birds in our neighbourhoods as well as the other small mammals. Think using native plants in your garden along with bird feeders and sources of water. Create a pathway with your friends and neighbours for the birds and animals to move from yard to yard – thriving. The idea that birds and wildlife can find food readily available in urban centres should become a reality – we destroyed their habitat. Let’s help do something for them.

There really is not a lot of news in Bird World as fledglings and their mums fatten up in the UK and Europe for their migration. The same thing is happening in parts of North America but there are still chicks on the nest to fledge like those in Newfoundland/Labrador. We all watched in agony as the osplets of Hope and Beau died on the nest but, what we didn’t see – because the nests are not on streaming cams – are the numerous other nests in the region that thrived producing at least two but, often, three osplets this year.

The big worry of the day came from Fortis Exshaw where intruders – at least one female intruder – caused havoc. I will let ‘H’ tell us all about it but, there are intruders everywhere. In Canada, we can imagine that those in the regions hit hardest by the wildfires lost their nest and/or, their mate, and their chicks. Others are floating around. Some are heading south from further places in the north hoping to get an easy fish. Around the Canmore, Alberta area where the Fortis Exshaw nest is there are numerous Bald Eagles, these intruders or floaters, 2 year olds looking for a mate and a nest, and gulls to name a few of those that would love to peck off a free fish from an osprey. They don’t know there are two hungry babies on the nest needing that fish!

But it is not only Canada that is experiencing intruder issues. We have seen this in the US and it is also happening at some of the nests in the UK. Some, like Dyfi, are having visitors – two year olds scouting for nests and mates before migrating.

Just look at that beautiful bird. The genetics running through her is exceptional. Indeed, one of my friends says the measure of the success of the nest and the good DNA – along with a lot of luck – is in the two-year-old returnees. The problem is seeing them!

Another view of this gorgeous two year old.

Here is the information on the Dad, Merin. Interesting bird.

Llyn Clywedog has its share of visitors as has most of the other nests. Hopefully they will land, look, and take off without causing any mischief.

But the news of the day was being made at FortisExshaw and here is ‘H’s report: “What a range of emotions for the viewers of the Exshaw nest on 8/5.  The youngest osplet, JJ, had not eaten in nearly two days, so we were hoping for a fish-filled day.  But, intruders were the theme for most of the day.  Louise and O’Hara were busy fending off intruders, and even when there seemed to be nothing happening, we knew that they were unable to bring fish to the nest.  On at least two separate occasions a female intruder spent some time on the nest.  (The video quality  was still pixelated most of the day, so it made it very challenging to figure out the identities of all the birds.)  The female intruder was actively preventing Louise from landing on the nest.  Then, an amazing move by Louise at 1339 . . the female intruder and O’Hara were both on the nest, when Louise flew in with a fish and landed right where the female intruder was standing, intentionally delivering the fish to the intruder.  The intruder quickly grabbed the fish and flew away, never to be seen again for the rest of the day.  Brilliant idea, Louise . . feed the intruder!  After that, several hours went by without a sighting of any adult ospreys.  We were worried for JJ.  Banff had eaten two fish the previous day.  At 1729 Louise landed with a huge headless fish, and of course Banff grabbed it.  Banff ate for 90 minutes before she finally walked away from a large leftover piece.  Finally after 52 hours, JJ had some fish to eat.  At 1936 Louise brought a very large whole fish to the nest, and Banff ate for a few minutes, but she was still too full.  At 2021 there was a bit of a kerfuffle between the sibs, and Banff stole the remnants of fish #1 that JJ had been working on.  JJ started eating fish #2 at 2046, and ate a pretty good amount of it.  Louise landed with fish #3 at 2054, and Banff ate some of it.  JJ quit eating from fish #2 and went to eat from fish #3.  But, Louise wasn’t done yet . . at 2140 she brought in a large live fish.  Louise started to feed Banff, so JJ returned to eating fish #3, but then he changed his mind and ate some more of fish #2.  There was so much fish that JJ had a veritable fish buffet, lol.  At 2150 Banff stopped eating, so Louise was able to eat from fish #4.  At 2153 JJ quit eating from fish #2, walked over to Mom, and Louise fed JJ.  Then, quite a memorable moment . . at 2154 JJ ate the tail of fish #4.  In my mind, JJ scarfing down that fish tail was symbolic of this family having overcome so many challenges.  Happy tears!  In case you were wondering, only fish #1 and #4 were eaten in their entirety.  Pieces of fish #2 and #3 remain somewhere on the nest.  Louise assumed her position on the T-perch for the night at 2200.  Good night to our beloved feathered friends.  SOD.”

Let’s keep going with ‘H’s reports –

Osoyoos – It was another very good day for the Osoyoos ospreys.  Olsen brought in nine fish for his family.  Olsen’s fishing success is especially remarkable in view of the continuing heat wave and smokey air quality. 

Severna Park – The juvies are still occasionally seen at the nest, and Oscar continues to provide meals for his fledglings.

Forsythe – Ollie spent most of the day at the nest, and Oscar brought her one fish.  To my knowledge, Owen was not seen. 

At the Patchogue nest, Mini had some nice fish. I counted at least three nice ones but there could have been more. She has a perch where she can see Dad coming in or she is on the nest waiting. The older ones do not seem to be coming in for fish – they would be fed ‘off camera’. In normal circumstances, the youngsters may try to fish (but not all do) and most are not proficient in fishing until they are on their own during migration.

Mini flies off at 0741 after eating her breakfast fish which had arrived at 0701.

She was full. You can see that lovely fish tail left on the nest. Dad will find it when he delivers Mini her next fish and he will finish it off.

Mini at 0844.

Enjoying a huge fish at 1503.

Collins Marsh: Both chicks have now fledged! Congratulations to everyone on a super successful season.

Clark PUD: Mum and the two osplets were hot and hungry when a big fish came to the nest. Mum wasted no time taking charge of that fish and all three ate. Well done, Mum!

MN Landscape Arboretum: Numerous small fish hitting the nest which is fantastic….sometimes the chick is not even hungry became they can arrive in such rapid succession.

Sandpoint: Two fish arrived – a small one and a medium one -. Like many nests, this one could use more fish!

Cowlitz PUD: The fledgling had at least two very nice sized fish on Saturday. Fantastic.

Boulder County: Cam 1 is back on line! And you can now return and watch the three fledglings eating beautiful fish with Mum and Dad close at hand.

Dyfi: Even with an intruder, all is well with the fledglings. Nice fish and the weather is improving.

Glaslyn: OH1 and OH2 are waiting for some fish! They are definitely not starving. Aran is a fantastic provider.

Poole Harbour: One chick has a crop and two are eating fish. What a fantastic nest this one is. CJ7 got herself a good mate by waiting.

Loch of the Lowes: The only ones around are Laddie LM12 and the first hatch, the female. I feel sad when I look at this nest plagued by intruders all season. Blue NC0 gallantly defended the nest and her babies so many times. she has not been seen since 15 July, and the second hatch, the male, has not been seen for some time. Is Laddie proving for him off camera?

Llyn Brenig: The crop in the top image and the fish in the second say it all. This nest is doing well.

Loch Garten: Asha and Brodie’s two fledglings waiting for fish, too. Brodie often brings in a late one so that Asha can enjoy some fish with whichever chick hasn’t had fish. They, too, have had their issues with intruders but the nest has been successful.

Loch Arkaig: Geemeff reports that there were so many fish brought to the nest by Louis on Saturday that Ludo could not eat them all. He was full to the gills! The nest even had intruders but hopefully Louis got some fine fish, too.

Finland #1: Fledgling waiting for fish. This is what we are seeing on most nests.

Finland #4. Apila really looks miserable – it is damp and its crop is really empty. This baby has yet to fledge according to the obs board for the camera.

Ilomantsin: All of the chicks have now fledged and all have returned to the nest and have, at one time or another, had a nice fish meal.

Sydney Sea Eagles: ‘A’ reports that SE32 got plenty of fish. “But today, like yesterday, the little one got plenty of food. Dad brought in two fish and mum brought in one, as they were a little smaller than those being caught last week. But there was plenty to go around and although SE32 had to wait its turn, it did end up getting three or four very good feedings for the day. The best position for it is behind SE31, so that it can reach over SE31 for food. Otherwise, if SE31 is behind SE32, it finds the back of SE32’s head just irresistible! …SE32 is becoming a trifle more confident, though it varies from feed to feed.”

SK Hideaways gives us a video of 32 getting lots of that fish!

Cornell Red-tail Hawks: Ferris Akel had his traditional Saturday tour and he found Big Red, Arthur, and L3 who was recently released in the area after being in rehab for around 9 months (please feel free to correct me on the time but it was many, many months).

Arthur out hunting new Holey Cow.

Big Red, our beautiful matriarch who is now 20+ years young.

L3 who is now flying beautifully and has her own red tail!

Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their notes, observations, videos, photos, posts, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog today: ‘A, Geemeff, H’, Ian L Winter and the Ospreys of Newfoundland and Labrador, Sally Whale and Friends of Dyfi Osprey Project, Dyfi Osprey Project, Osoyoos, Severna Park, Forsythe, PSEG, Collins Marsh, Clark PUD, MN Landscape Arboretum, Sandpoint, Cowlitz PUD, Boulder County, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Poole Harbour, LOTL, Llyn Brenig, RSPB Loch Garten, Geemeff and The Woodland Trust, Finnish Osprey Foundation, SK Hideaways and Sydney Sea Eagles, and Ferris Akel Tours.

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