5 November 2023
Good Morning Everyone,
Saturday was a day that fluctuated between blue skies and grey. It was also the day I learned all there is to know about making insulated homes for the feral cats that come to my feeder. Our winters are cold and can be wet with heavy snow. I often long for the dry snow that used to blow across the country roads, creating ‘whiteouts’ on the highway. Most often, I was told when I first arrived on the Canadian Prairies, people would go off the road and into the ditch but on the other side. Whiteouts are precisely that – solid white – opaque milk glass. You quickly get disoriented when you are driving, and the snow is blowing across the highway.
The insulated boxes mean ‘The Boyfriend’ and another friend (wonder who that will be?) will have warm and dry places to stay if they choose – under the deck. That horrid old carpet that needs to be replaced will remain til spring. It will keep the snow from falling between the decking onto the ground below. Hopefully, they will have a nicer winter.
Calico can watch them from inside, snug and warm. Gosh, I love how that cat finally came to trust me. The three girls are such wonderful gifts. They are creatures of ritual and the story reading one is very precious. It reminds me of the time when my children were small and cuddled in for their bedtime stories. Now they nestle on the scrap quilt my grandmother made beside me – Calico and Hope – with Missey either on the table or the cat tree. I am so lucky. If petting a cat removes stress, my life should be completely stress free!
Today I did put a little post in FB seeking out a very young male kitten, a little brother for them. I am looking for a little boy younger than Hope, perhaps 6-8 weeks. Fingers crossed.
Calico trying to catch a ‘cat nap’. Hope does sleep but rather than eat or sleep, she would much rather play!
In keeping to my promise to try and get out to the park for a walk at least 5 days out of 7, I headed off to check on the Wood Ducks, the Mallards, and the Canada Geese that were at Kildonan Park a week ago. There is an area by the ‘Witches Hut’ where people come to feed them seed.
There were no ducks in sight, but there were twenty-five Canada Geese.
Squirrels who are getting their thick winter coats were chasing one another all around the park, up and down the trees, and across the snow. Isn’t this one adorable with his paw across his chest? I bet he thought I might have a peanut. Sadly, I did not – which reminds me that I must get some peanuts for the feeders. They must be rationed because of Little Red, who will take them all and not share. Dyson and Gang, along with the Blue Jays generally eat the nuts this time of year.
‘H’ knows how much I love ducks and geese, and she checks on the Barnegat Light streaming cam regularly. Today, she sent me such a treat – a short video clip of the Brandt Geese. You should check out that streaming cam! Oh, I would love to be sitting in those dunes listening to them.
Wikipedia gives us the following information: “The brant is a small goose with a short, stubby bill. It measures 55–66 cm (22–26 in) long, 106–121 cm (42–48 in) across the wings and weighs 0.88–2.2 kg (1.9–4.9 lb). The under-tail is pure white, and the tail black and very short (the shortest of any goose).The species is divided into three subspecies:
- Dark-bellied brant goose B. b. bernicla (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Pale-bellied brant goose B. b. hrota (Müller, 1776) (also known as light-bellied brent goose in Europe, and Atlantic brant in North America)
- Black brant goose B. b. nigricans (Lawrence, 1846) (sometimes also known as the Pacific brant in North America)”.
Audubon describes their migration. It is possible that ‘L’ spotted one in Mobile Bay today!
“Long-distance migrant, travelling in flocks. Birds from central Canadian Arctic move down east side of Hudson Bay, then may make nonstop flight overland from southern James Bay to central Atlantic Coast of USA. In Alaska, large numbers gather at Izembek Lagoon and then depart almost simultaneously for long overwater flight to wintering areas on Pacific Coast. Migrating flocks may fly very high. Wintering birds may linger later in spring than most geese, as coastal breeding areas in high Arctic remain unsuitable for nesting until summer.”
In her book, The Comfort of Crows, Margaret Renkl says, “The world will always be beautiful to those who look for beauty.”
In the garden, it was damp and grey today. The snow is melting and everything looks ugly. I’m not too fond of this time of year. When you leave your garden to be messy to help the birds and insects, there are some weeks when everything looks so dishevelled, so rotten, in such a mess. I must remind myself that all of this is for the greater good and hope that a large dump of snow will come and cover it with a winter blanket until spring!
The European Starlings flew in and out, and a Blue Jay has been searching through the Black oil Seed to see if the Sparrows left him anything. It is time to go and get some food just for the Blue Jay, but, of course, that will not work as the others will want to share in the goodies, too.
This is Junior, the Dad. He was at the feeder with the youngest of the fledglings the other day. Several appear to have moved on. Often Junior will stay for most of the winter.
It has been especially difficult to get a good image of the Starlings when they come in during the day. They are fond of the solid suet and have consumed many large cylinders this past week in their attempt to keep warm.
Now if I misspell names, tell me! Bazz not Bazza, Giliath. I put an ‘a’ in there. It is Barru and Marri. Apologies all around. My fingers sometimes go faster than my brain!!!!!!!
At the beginning of the season at Orange, my wish was for one healthy eyas. Instead, we have two. Double happiness for Diamond and Xavier this year. And that second hatch is quite the character. Barru and Marri have their ongoing tug-o-wars for prey and then, in a wink, sit there and pull off pieces, sharing their lunch. What great siblings!
It has been a glorious year at Orange.
Just look at how much soft white down is coming off the backs and wings of these two. Imagine if you will that it might well be all gone, flying about the scrape along with the feathers from the prey being plucked. Marri and Barru are turning into ‘falcons’.
‘A’ reports: “There was much wingercising, eating and screeching, along with zoomies around the scrape. THOSE EYES! Oh how gorgeous are those sidelong glances? So very cute. And we’re only a week from fledge watch!! Surely not. Already? Here are today’s time stamps: PREY 07.02 04, 08.16.37, 09.50.37, 17:10:18, 19.09.00, 19.18.35 FEED 07.02(M,D,B), 09.52(M,D,B), 11:57(X scrap from floor), 17:10 (M&B), 19.09(M&B), 19.19 (M,D). HIGHLIGHTS: 17:18 Barru takes the prey! 18:05:46 Marri shows off her giant wings but 18:07:18 Barru wins the winger competition. 18:08:23 they discuss it with beakies. 19:18:38 tug-o-war between Barru and Marri. Barru wins the tug-o-war at 19:18:49. We will miss this pair. What huge personalities they both are. As always, Diamond and Xavier do raise one male chick each year who is a very memorable eyas indeed. Izzi. Yurruga. Rubus. And this year, Barru. I do think this is their first female chick in many many years – Marri is definitely female IMO, as she is as big as her mum (bigger with all that fluff) and towers over poor little Xavier.”
The water at Port Lincoln is choppy. Will Dad get a fish in? How will the boat ride be for Fran and Bazz as they head out to get fish for the nest on the barge?
Giliath and #2 are getting almost too big to fit under Mum comfortably. You will be able to notice the pin feathers coming in if you look carefully.
The kids are preening. Feathers are itchy!
It is 1244 and no fish has arrived at Port Lincoln yet – not from Dad or the fish fairy. Thinking they need a tank!
It is mid-afternoon. Dad appears on the ropes. Mum and kids in the nest waiting for fish. I hope the fish fairies are not having difficulty finding the catch of the day.
‘A’ reports: “At Port Lincoln, dad brought in only one small fish for the entire day (at 10:07:20), which fed both osplets a small snack. So it was indeed fortunate that the fish fairy delivered an extra large whole trevally (709 grams) at 14:51. This fed both kids to their gills (the feeding lasted 69 minutes), and there was another feeding from the same fish at 16:27 which was listed on the Obs Board as small but apparently lasted for 29 minutes. Either way, both osplets had full crops at bedtime.”
It is raining in the Sydney Olympic Forest home to the Sea Eagles and the two fledglings SE31 and 32.
Several years ago, a dear ‘late’ friend, Phyllis Robbins, introduced me to Cathy Cook. Cathy lives near the Discovery Centre, and you might remember that she has helped spot the sea eagle fledglings when they are grounded. She has helped on more than one occasion to get help for them, even riding with them in the van to the rehab clinic. I so admire her dedication to these beautiful raptors. Today, Cathy has some news for us that will make you smile.
Then there is more great news!!!!!!!!!!!! Just tape that smile on your face. Look at this sea eaglet.
‘A’ sends the report from Sydney: “November 5: Rain and wind this morning. No action on the nest during the day, but great observations from our ground team again. One juvenile, we think SE32, was seen with the parents across the river in the mangroves, possibly eating as well. Both appear to be still in the area. The watching and listening continues.”
Gracie Shepherd caught Irv and Claire at the US Steel Bald Eagle nest in Pennsylvania. Bravo! I keep missing them. So glad they are both home safe and planning for a new season.
Gabby and V3 continue to work on their nest near Jacksonville. Have these two ever mated? ‘A’ has been sceptical for some time. Now, I am starting to wonder. Why would V3 be camera-shy?
And at Duke Farms…
There are beautiful eagles in the trees with their fall leaves at Decorah.
It was a stunning morning at Big Bear, but I did not see Jackie and/or Shadow at the nest (yet). Don’t you love the way the sun rising creates those beautiful diamonds?
Pepe and Muhlady are taking such good care of that precious egg. Look for another soon!
The situation at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest of M15 and F23 – or is it the nest of the GHOs – is worrisome. Whose nest is it? M15 and F23 have not been sleeping at the nest. Do they know that the owls are staking it out as their own?
Some news from around the world:
A growing colony of terns! Oh, I do love terns. My friend ‘S’ has some terns living in her garden on the Hawaiian islands, and they are so pretty. We also have terns in Manitoba during the spring and summer breeding seasons.
Short-tailed Albatross incubating eggs on Midway.
The Black Stork migration continues. Maria Marika reports that many are flying over Egypt. They are almost to their winter homes. I hope Kaia is with them and she is safe. It would be grand if Karl II was by her side – hard to imagine we lost him.
The Royal Albatross continue to return to Taiaroa Peninsula to find their mates and start the process of nest building and egg laying!
Do you know this nest cam with squirrels and songbirds in Nagano?
Please share. Once, when we were trying to protect some Cooper’s Hawk nests in my city, I was told repeatedly, that the hawks had been carrying away the local dogs! The gentleman who told me this was busy trying to locate all the nests in the area so he could destroy them. It took great effort and one of the local wildlife officers to deter his actions.
Thank you so much for being with us today in Bird World. Please stay safe. I hope to see you soon.
Thank you to the following for their notes, their posts, photographs, videos, graphics, articles, and streaming cams that helped me write my blog today: ‘A, B, H, L’, Wikipedia, Audubon, Openverse, Margaret Renkl, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, PLO, Cathy Cook, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, Gracie Shepherd, Rohan Geddes, NEFL-AEF, Duke Farms, Raptor Resource Project/Explore, FOBBV, Superbeaks, Androcat, Bird Guides, The Petrel Station and Seabird Tours and Research, Holly Parsons, Maria Marika, Lady Hawk, Nagano Songbird Cam, and The Medina Raptor Centre.