15 September 2023
Good Morning Everyone!
Hope, Calico, Missey and Lewis – along with all the garden animals hope that you are well, that the weather is grand, and that you will get outside and enjoy the sound of birds and the smell of autumn which is upon us.
Calico’s incision looks really good. What a sweet cat she is. She sees the antibiotic cream tube and will go and lay down on the striped quilt and let me apply it. She is simply a marvel.
I have had animals all my life. When I was born my father had a three-legged dog that stood guard by my basket. She lived quite a long life – and it is because of her that I recognise that animals can adapt to many situations and live a full life. Trixie certainly did. In all those decades, I have marvelled at how smart these animals are, but I have never had a companion like Calico. She is quiet, affectionate, and sweet, and seems to simply understand that the cream is to help her. She has never – and this is apparently rare for a community cat – ever scratched or fought me. It has been the opposite. What a blessing she and that little bundle of energy, Hope, are.
Tonight, on my walk, I came across a woman who helped look for the kitten. She teared up at the sight of Calico and Hope together in the photos. We all need happy endings. At the same time, I was a wee bit saddened to see that the deck where Calico had her kittens had been enclosed with wire mesh. It was a good place for the community cats to be warm and dry in the winter. No one knew they were there – and while it is none of my business, it is an example of how quickly animals can lose a ‘home’. These cats have served an important role in our little neighbourhood. There are no mice that I am aware of. Numerous people feed birds, including myself. I attribute the lack of mice directly to these cats.
Calico and I have been reading an edited volume Not Too Late. Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility. One of the most moving and inspiring chapters is by Jacquelyn Gill, a Palaeontologist. The chapter is called “The Asteroid and the Fern”. Gill writes about her visit to a cave in Siberia and the Great Dying that took place 251.9 million years ago when “roughly 90 per cent of life on Earth was lost” (126). Gill adds that the “heat wave that triggered the Great Dying took around seven hundred thousand years to unfold”. She compares this to now where in a lifetime we have created disaster which “barely spanned the breadth of a human life” (127). Gill looks at what happens after adding that the stories of extinction in the past are as inspiring as they are sobering (126).
I look at the four animals in my direct care and those that live in the garden and realise that we must live in the present and not fall into depressing despair. We must work cooperatively to find solutions while living ‘in the moment’. If not, we will miss those beautiful lives standing right in front of us. Isn’t that what this is all about? The wonder of the seasons, the animals, the people we love. To ponder in despair what might come and to miss the now would be a heavy loss.
The beauty of the world does not have to be in an exotic location halfway around the world. Most often it is right before our eyes.
Bird World is going to take a wee vacation starting on 17. September. ‘A’ and ‘H’ and I will return on Monday the 25th. We urge you to keep your eye on Manaaki if he has not fledged by Sunday and to also watch for the start of the cams at Sw Florida.
First up – do you live in Maine? If so, please read the following notice carefully.
Geemeff gives us a year of highlights from nest 1 at Loch Arkaig – Louis and Vila’s old nest. Now it is ‘as the osprey soap opera turns’ – we wait to see who pairs up next year. Thanks, Geemeff. It is a beautiful nest that needs to be occupied with fish screaming osplets!
M15 and F1 at the SWFlorida Eagle Nest.
Thunder, the daughter of Chase & Cholyn from Two Harbours, visits the old nesting area she shares with her mate, Akecheta on Thursday.
Oh, we would give anything to see Mini on the Patchogue nest – have her just fly in like Thunder and recognise her. Mini was last on the nest on September 11. Locals noted that Dad was also seen that day but Mum has not been to the nest since Sunday the 10th. No one has seen them in the area since then and it is possible that they are elsewhere on the water or after left the area.
One of the Webster Texas eagles is back working on the nest!
Pepe was working on the Superbeaks Nest – gosh, Osprey season ended and the eagles are now starting work! How exciting is this?
The posting of the loss of Stormy and Simba touched so many. I have received numerous letters. Please don’t stop watching Jackie and Shadow – we won’t probably ever know what happened to those two gorgeous fledglings but, we can, each day, in our way, do something to hopefully make the lives of our wildlife better.
Sadly, a large number – the precise % each year is unknown – do not survive their first year. We must also celebrate those who do and cheer on those who live into their 20s. It has not been easy for them.
Sharon Dunne updates us on the status of fledging at the Royal Albatross colony.
‘A’ was able to confirm: “Quarry is confirmed to have fledged so it is just UQ and Manaaki now. Both the girls have left. UQ is far better at hovering than Manaaki is, so I do hope our boy does not try to leave before he is ready (which he really isn’t yet).” ‘A’ also adds: “At 18:35 at Taiaroa Head, the last of the light is fading and we can just make out Manaaki on his nest and UQ on his new ‘ nest’. (We can’t see whether he has actually constructed a new nest or whether he has simply relocated to the grass area next to Manaaki and a long downhill from him.) He seemed to move there permanently after Quarry left the area several days ago but has always been friendly with Manaaki. The girls (Quarry and Miss NTF) were constantly visiting UQ, displaying to him and generally being precocious and a little aggressive, which disconcerted UQ, who in turn sought refuge around Manaaki. The girls also tried similar approaches with Manaaki, but being not nearly as shy as UQ, he was always prepared to stand up to the girls and clack his bill at them, driving them away from his nest. He took no nonsense from either! Although UQ is the fluffiest and least adventurous of the four, his flying skills (well, at least his hovering) are way ahead of Manaaki’s, and over the past two days, UQ has been hovering so high he has been out of sight of the camera. He has also flown a long way across the downhill grassy area, towards the water, and has sometimes had to walk back up, although on other occasions, he has been able to glide backwards (I finally understand what the chatters meant about backward flying, which these albie chicks do all the time). The chicks try to ride the wind currents by simply stretching out their winds and allowing the wind to lift and carry them. If they get high enough, and are sufficiently balanced, they can tuck up their trailing legs and feet and actually glide quite a distance. It looked on more than one occasion as though UQ was off and gone this afternoon. Manaaki, on the other hand, is still not getting the same lift as UQ yet and is not yet balanced enough to control his movements in the air or to tuck up his legs and feet. Both of the boys still have too much fluff to fledge, in my opinion, and I am hoping UQ will wait another few days to lose his fluff and that Manaaki will wait at least another five days to a week to perfect his skills in the air. But as I said the other day, the wind will usually decide for them. And hopefully, the ones who are not strong or skilled enough will ditch in the bay, allowing their rescue, as we saw today. So it is only after they leave the waters near Taiaroa Head that they begin the exhilarating beauty and deadly risk that is their life as wild birds.”
At Collins Street, ‘A’ writes: “Little dad at Collins Street is a trooper. He did several lengthy incubation spells today, and not just the nearly two hours in the centre of the day but another couple of hours in the middle of the afternoon. He is a very dedicated dad, and as I mentioned, I’m sure he is providing food for F22, though she may be hunting for herself as well. Certainly, she has left the nest several times and then, very shortly afterwards, we have seen feathers floating down from a higher level while M22 looks upwards with that sweet sidelong glance he has, so I’m sure she has had no time to catch her own food in that time. Who knows what she does in that late morning/lunchtime period (90 minutes to two hours), which she used to take as down time last season as well, until that day when the chicks nearly baked (honey, I fried the kids). From memory, I seem to recall her being more diligent following that incident, although of course it was only a week or two after the baking incident that last year’s eyases started to make their own decisions on which end they wanted to inhabit, heading along the gutter at will. She takes her final break of the day at 18:07, with M22 taking over at 18:10 and remaining until F22 returns to the ledge at 18:16. As always, she is screeching (is that her normal mode of communication?) on arrival and dad leaves the nest and dives off the ledge. Fast. Mum settles down for the night shift.”
The Sydney sea Eagles have eaten well. There is some concern about Lady’s foot. ‘A’ observed this closely and adds, “At 10:11:06, and again from 10:11:22 to 10:11:24, have a look at the surface of Lady’s left foot. It appears to be a very raw wound or nasty scrape, not blood from a piece of prey. See what you think. At 10:13:02, as she walks to the back of the nest, it looks as though there may be some inflammation or mark on the back of the left ‘ankle’ area. Lady also has some blood on her head, at the top/back on the left side of the crown. I thought little of it earlier in the morning, but now, noticing the apparent wound on her left foot, I am wondering about the blood on her head. It is possible she scratched her head with the foot when it was bleeding and I suppose it is also possible it is from a prey item, as she has a piece of fluff or a feather stuck to her forehead at the top of her beak, between her eyes. She does not appear hindered by any injury nor does she exhibit any signs of discomfort. So perhaps I am worrying about nothing. There’s another close up at 11:14:18. It doesn’t look quite as bad as in the earlier shots but perhaps that is the light.”
On Thursday, Lady was bringing in new twigs for the railings to try and keep the sea eagles in. One of the cutest things is when these adorable eaglets start pitching in and helping being little Mini Mums.
At Orange, Diamond is impressed when Xavier arrives with a Rosella at 0908!
Eastern Rosellas are brightly coloured birds – blue and yellow along with some green, with a bright red head and white cheeks – that live in New South Wales and Queensland Australia. They live in flocks – usually of about 20 birds – and eat seeds, berries, fruits, nuts, and even leaves.
I saw no fish deliveries while watching or rewinding the Port Lincoln Osprey cam. Hopefully, since it appears to be a calm day, Dad2 will get on and haul in a big fish for Mum.
It is that time of year and the Osprey nests that ‘H’ has been observing are getting really quiet. She notes that the Osoyoos camera is once again down but she will continue to check for us to see if anything is happening. Audrey was not seen at Kent Island on Thursday and is believed to have migrated. “Duke at BL was seen a couple of times yesterday, and he has been documented to stay around as long as eight days after the last juvie left the area.” ‘H’ is also checking to see if the IR light will be turned on at Collins Street. Thank you ‘H’.
Birdlife International brings us a short but gripping story about birdwatching, yacht racing, the Southern Ocean and the decline in wildlife.
Before we go, another great image of Ervie finishing up the innards of his fish dinner. Always lovely to see you Ervie!
And more Ervie!
Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their notes, posts, videos, articles, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog today: ‘A, B, Geemeff, H’, Kshanti Green and Maine Birds, Geemeff and the Woodland Trust, SW Florida Eagle Cam, IWS/Explore, SL Security Pros, Paul Williams and Webster Texas Eagles, Superbeaks, Terri Ashmore and FOBBV, Sharon Dunne and Royal Cam Albatross Group of NZ, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Julie Lovegrove and Friends of Sth Aus, Bazz Hockaday and Friends of Sth Aus, and BirdLife International.