Good news at Port Lincoln…Wednesday in Bird World

25 October 2023

Good Morning Everyone,

It is currently -1 C on the Canadian Prairies and snow is expected to arrive later today. And so…it begins. Hopefully, we will have spits and starts to winter with some beautiful days full of blue skies and sunshine before the depth of winter sets in.

The news at both Port Lincoln and Sydney is a bit scattered. I put the latest decisions by PLO first and the other news later. It is all good.

I am on a bit of a rant today – leaf blowers. Today, when I travelled to the marsh and then to my daughter’s and home again, at least a third of the homes I saw had people blowing leaves with those noisy machines. It made me go ‘wild’ for a few minutes. What is wrong with having leaves? If someone doesn’t like them scattered over the lawn, then rake them gently into a pile in the corner until next May. You will have benefited the environment and the life of our songbirds. Those noisy leaf blowers – so the leaves under the shrub will move so that the owner can have the ‘perfect’ lawn. Why? And what with the noise?

It is a small way that you can aid in conservation. It costs nothing – not even your energy – to let the leaves sit until the spring! So I am thinking that if the fashion magazines can go from having only 00 models to having real people – young and old – smooth skinned and those with wisdom lines – then maybe those home magazines can go from having flat green lawns aided by toxic chemicals to look healthy and green – to having lawns full of bushes and leaves and no grass (or hardly any). Can you hear me quietly screaming?

Please spread the word. Let us all work together for a healthier planet for all living things. Thank you!

The fear of snow sends everyone outside on the Canadian Prairies if it is a sunny day – and Tuesday was sunny. There was a bit of a brisk wind, and I had my down jacket and toque on, along with a turtle neck sweater hiking boots and big woolly socks. Quite comfy.

The geese are still flying in. There were Canada Geese, Ross’s Geese, Cackling Geese, and Greater White-fronted Geese. There were a number of species of ducks including Gadwalls, Green-wing Teals, Redheads, and Ruddy Ducks.

There were also four Black Terns flitting about one of the ponds, which had hundreds of geese and ducks.

I took my 70-200 mm fast lens – of course, I wish I had taken the big heavy long lens but never mind – you will need to squint. My apologies.

It was simply a fantastic day. There is nothing better to lift one’s spirits after a string of damp grey days than being outside with the birds.

So what is the good news at Port Lincoln? This is going to be out of order but it should put a smile on everyone’s face who reads my blog. You will know that for years we have been calling for supplementary fish at Port Lincoln barge when needed. Much information was sent to various members last year that was collected by myself and I am certain by many others. Well, the response has been positive. ‘H’ put together the chat roll for us:

Fran & Bazz:  “After a review of the latest scientific research we have decided this year to provide a small amount of supplementary feed. Generally nest location would make that hard but we have a unique opportunity here. Fish numbers and size are being monitored and we will record any supplementary fish. We know some will disagree with this stance. So today we have taken the failed egg to have examined, removed the plastic and left some fish. Today was unusual in that we had to go on to the barge (5 minutes) for the egg and the plastic that would not normally be the case. Supplementing will be “when we feel it necessary” “

Port_Lincoln Osprey:  “This is a difficult decision. Some people are very happy about it, some are not, but we are in an ideal situation where we can feed daily if needed. It will be interesting to see the result.”

This action might have saved Middle’s life last year. We cannot go backwards but this is excellent news moving forwards. Thank you Fran and Bazza.

“Watch carefully. This is how you pluck a Starling.”

At Port Lincoln, the chicks had an early breakfast and what appeared to be a snack a couple of hours later. Dad was over on the ropes and Mum is wanting more fish.

Many have been wondering why Giliath has a name and the second hatch does not. Here is the answer from Bart M, one of the nest/chat moderators:

“We are all waiting for number 2 to be named. Unfortunately that might not happen soon. The process of naming the chicks is very important to Janet: It gives her the chance to honour a person who has contributed to the well being of this nest, or who is just important to her. The name has meaning for the person who she asked to name a chick and is usually gender specific. So sometimes it makes sense to wait until the gender is determined and we are assured the chick has survived.. and that happens at banding in a few weeks. Giliath is a genderless name and therefor it could be given at once, but in hindsight it might have been better to name at a later moment.. and we are sorry if this leads to any confusion.
The number 2 chick won’t mind not being named yet though. So.. It could be that a name is decided on before banding, or it could as well be possible that we as a viewer, will have to wait until banding has occurred. I hope you understand and respect this decision.
Until then.. we will call it #2, number 2 or Two. Thanks, Bart”

‘A’ sent us a round up of the day’s feedings and a visit from the fish fairy who left gifts when they removed the plastic bag and Dudley: “Little at PLO ate very well today. Dad brought in a whole medium-sized breakfish at 06:36. Little was in front position and mum fed the two chicks alternate bites. Both had a good breakfast. Mum finished off the fish at 06:48. Dad brought in a second fish at 09:12. Mum obscured the beginning of the feeding but when we can see, Little is again in front position and mum is feeding the two alternately. Again, both eat well. At 09:22 Little is tired and takes a break. Mum finishes off the second fish. There are then no fish delivered until a convenient pan of the harbour area shortly before pm. When we return to the barge at 14:58, we see that Dudley and the plastic bag have disappeared from the nest and a feeding is underway. There is a fish in mum’s talons and two dead fish to her right. It seems the ‘fish fairy’ has visited the nest. At this meal, while Giliath remained asleep for the first part of the feeding, Little got really well fed, eating bite after bite. Mum feeds hiim first. He has a build-up of fish on his face by 14:59 but is undeterred and continues to eat. Finally, Giliath wakes up and gets to the table at 15:09. Mum finishes off the third of the supplementary fish at 13:17. At 16:36, Dad brings in his third fish of the day (the sixth, including the three supplementary fish). Yet again, Little has the front position and mum feeds the two osplets alternately. The feed ends at 16:49 with Little in a food coma, and takes away the remainder of the fish. At 16:59 he brings back the leftovers from his dinner and mum starts yet another feeding. AGAIN, Little has front position but is still in a food coma from the previous meal, so Giliath has to eat over the top of it! Eventually,it wakes up but is stuck beneath Giliath and take a while to get out. When it does, it has a few more bites. Both are absolutely stuffed. Mum finishes feeding at 17:11 but hangs onto the fish tail. They still haven’t filled in details on the Obs Board after this time, so it will be worth checking to see whether anything exciting happened in the three hours between 5pm and 8pm. According to the chat, I missed nothing important in this period. At 20:08, dad brings in a piece of fish and mum gives the kids a bit of supper before setting down for what will be a chilly night (the temperatures have suddenly plunged in southern Australia, from 30 degrees two days ago to 14/15C yesterday and today, with commensurately cold overnight temperatures). This pair has had a wonderful eating day, and thanks to the decision regarding the role of the fish fairy this season, it is likely that will continue. I wonder whether the total lack of bonking thus far will last – the reptilian phase approaches rapidly.”

My heart still sinks when I think of the Sea Eaglets but inside all this news is some rays of sunshine – at least for SE32..

‘A’ found the latest news for us (earlier news below): “Wednesday 25 October: more adventures. Neither was seen near the nest on camera in the morning. While searching about in the area for either fledgling, we saw an adult fly in over the nest with prey at 11:13 – circled then left – chased by ravens. Alarm calls indicated one under casuarinas just before that –near where we saw one yesterday, then it flew off. We saw one in the forest, just behind the DC at 11:28, sheltering in the leafy canopy, with lots of swoopers. It flew off strongly – and was then seen flying over Silverwater jail at 11:41. Just before that at 11:40 an adult flew over Silverwater jail as well. We assume we have seen at least one eaglet in that time – flying strongly and seeming to be in contact with parents. Lady brought in a bird to the nest at 12:24 and Dad a fish at 12:57 – both ate their own catch. At 2:14, as I approached the nest tree quietly, thinking no eaglets were there, I saw one sitting on the adjacent camera tree -and backed straight out. We feel this is SE32. Then we were able to capture it on camera, sitting below the nest. Late at 18:19, dad brought in a mullet, which was taken by Lady. We have not seen the eaglets being fed yesterday or today but it is pleasing to know that at least one of them has returned to the nest area. . At dark, both parents were near the nest and we are unsure where the eaglets were.”

Image of eaglet in the branches of the nest tree:

Earlier images.

SP just sent me the latest from Ranger Judy. We are both taking this as good news – the fact that the adult knows where one of the eaglets is!

“We saw an adult fly in over the nest with prey at 11:13 [on 25 Oct], circled, then left – chased by ravens. We thought [there was an eaglet] under casuarinas just before that – then flew off. We saw one in the forest, just behind the DC at 11:28, behind the fire hydrant; flew off strongly, then seen flying over Silverwater jail [at] 11:41. Just before that at 11:40, adult [flew] over Silverwater jail as well. We assume we have seen one eaglet in that time flying strongly and seems to be in contact with parent.”

Gabby and V3 continue to work on their nest.

At the Southwest Florida Eagle Nest of M15 and F23, there appears to be a rush to finish the nest. Will they be the first to lay eggs this season?

Just look at that nest. Quite different than I recall Harriet’s nursery.

Pepe was working at Superbeaks. Gosh, any thoughts on who will have the first egg? Superbeaks or SW Florida?

It is so good to see things getting back to normal with Smitty and Bella after Smitty’s 29 day absence from the nest.

The girls have decided that the house is a good race track for playing chase! No more clear photographs unless they have completely stopped and are asleep or falling asleep. Point the camera and they run!!!!!!!!! Hope then Calico and Missey who stops for a minute to look out the window.

Thank you so much for being with me today. I am over the moon with the change of heart at Port Lincoln. Did the fact that the ospreys are so endangered in Southern Australia and the election of the Green Party to power with its mandate for protecting wildlife not help this situation, along with the tonnes of information sent to PLO after Middle died? Whatever it was – thank you. We can rest assured that the two osplets this year have a fighting chance to get to the fledge line.

Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, posts, articles, videos, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog this morning: ‘A, H, SP’, Baltimore County Master Gardener, USDA, Environment, David Suzuki Foundation, PLO, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sydney Sea Eagles, Sassa Bird, NEFL-AEF, Lady Hawk, Superbeaks, and Deb Stecyk.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks so much Mary Ann for all the updates and photos! I love the ducks and geese photos and the kittens too!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    So glad and thankful for the good news at Port Lincoln and at the sea eaglets. 🙏🙏❤️❤️
    Good luck to all our eagles and it will be exciting to know who is first one to lay the egg!
    Have a great day and see you soon here !

    1. Oh, thank you, Linda. That is so nice to hear! Sometimes I wonder if I include too much about the kitties! Hoping all is well.

  2. Sassa Bird says:

    Oh, I am so happy for Port Lincoln! Not only for the supplementary fish, but for their proactive approach removing the egg for inspection and that plastic bag so quickly. Great job! New hopes for this nest – what a nice feeling! And as for the naming, it’s such a small thing…I feel that each of us can call them whatever we like anyway. For now, I’m somehow sure that WBSE youngsters will be ok. This season is going so much better so far already! Of course, that may be a false calm..hope not…And the egg race for our beloved bald eagles is on! Exciting! I so agree with you about leaving the beautiful leaves in the garden…okay, they turn brown and may look not as appealing after some time, but let’s save us unnecessary work and body pains, and thus provide our gardens and their inhabitants with exactly what they need. I must admit I have become more educated in this regard only in recent years, but for at least three years I do not bother myself with leaves. Everything in nature happens for a reason, what are we to say otherwise. And I probably come off as annoying to some people when telling again and again why my yard looks this way and why all of them should be like that. But that’s a small price to pay! Winter is approaching fast anyway. Thank you for another great post, Mary Ann! A must-read every day!

    1. Oh, thank you. How kind. I am over the moon about Port Lincoln. I know that Fran, Bazza, and Janet fought hard for intervention, and I am so pleased that they prevailed. It is a new beginning for the nest. I didn’t think I would be so excited about the first eagle egg but surprise – we all are! It is definitely a race and I haven’t even mentioned (hardly) Pa Berry and Missey, Abby and Blazer, etc. We should know in about ten days if not sooner!

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