6 November 2023
Good Morning Everyone!
I hope that the weekend was good and that the beginning of the week is even better for each and everyone.
It was a damp Sunday in southern Manitoba. It rained. Not enough to melt all the snow but enough to make you worry if you went out if the temperature drops quickly and turns that rain into ice. Still, I wanted to get to the nature centre for some suet and walk around checking on the geese and ducks.
But, before we even start on that…Pepe and Muhlady have their second egg of the Bald Eagle season at Superbeaks!!!!!!!! 32 days til hatch watch. Write that in your calendars. 7 December 2023.
Now back to the nature centre. I spotted 27 Hooded Mergansers. Others have seen more. There were Ring-billed gulls, Downy Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, a Rusty Blackbird, two American Coots and 8 Mallards. I did not see a single Canada Goose.
You might remember that earlier in the summer, there were lots of young Hooded Mergansers being cared for by two pairs of adults. I believe that these might be those same waterfowl all grown up!
These are female Hooded Mergansers.
I saw two Males. You can tell them immediately by the white on their hoods and neck.
A małe Downy Woodpecker was really enjoying the suet. Remember when it gets cold suet provides wonderful energy for the birds with all the added fat.
It is the same little Red Squirrel hoping that one of the birds would cause some seeds to drop from the feeders.
Every time I go for a walk in the nature centre, I rub the Buffalo Stone.
In the winter, kids of all ages – seniors, too – will take their sleds to the top of the run and go down the ramp on to the ice of Devonian Lake below. Of course, the lake is frozen solid by then.
Devonian Lake. The only leaves left on the trees are brown. The branches are so bare. The sky is a light dove grey while the lake is a little darker. Everything here in the winter turns into blacks, espressos, deep browns and beaver brown, and a range of greys. I miss the colour of spring! And fall.
At Pork Lincoln, the waters are not as calm as Devonian Lake, but they are calmer than yesterday. Dad will bring in a fish at 08:08 and another one around 13:00 at the time of writing this blog. There could be more and there will also be the fish fairy delivery. There has been no real beaking of any consequence.
Look at the feathers and the down feet. #2 often stars Giliath right in the eyes. It is never the thing to do. One beak by #2. Giliath says not doing that to me. Returns the beak and all is over.
The osplets are getting stronger on their ‘feet’. Just look at Giliath.
Looking out to the world beyond. Those beautiful feathers coming in on the hand and at the tail.
Mum is telling Dad to get on with the fishing. The chicks are going to be hungry.
Mum has flown off the nest. It is nearly 1300. Babies are panting and are hungry. Dad will arrive with a fish shortly. Everyone will get their fill.
‘A’ gives us the remaining report of the day at Port Lincoln: “The fish fairy arrived late this afternoon and delivered five medium-sized fish, mainly red mullet. This was greatly appreciated by mum, Giliath and Little Bob, who ate and ate and ate. For over an hour. Even dad benefitted, because when he caught a fish at 17:39, he was able to eat most of it himself on the ropes. When he brought the remainder to the nest, mum deigned to eat a little before returning to the red mullet. Mum does love her fish, but she tries so hard to fill up those osplets. She feeds fast, and she is always conscious of both chicks, feeding them alternately most of the time (one bite for Little Bob, two or three bites for mum, two bites for Giliath, more bites for mum, three bites for Little Bob, and so on). Oh they are sweet. An osprey nest without undue aggression is a beautiful thing. Rare and wonderful. I have never truly enjoyed an osprey nest until now. “
This is the weekly summary report from Port Lincoln:
They have discovered another nest in South Australia with a wee Osprey babe and an egg.
At Orange, the eyases were looking out of the scrape in the golden glow of morning, waiting for Xavier to bring in the breakfast. Look at how much of the down is now gone. They are developing so fast. Yes, we could have a fledge in a week. That is hard to believe.
These are a series of images from the scrape. Marri and Barru spend a lot of time looking out of the window at the great big world beyond the scrape. The feathers on the bottom of the scrape box not only belong to prey but also have been shed from their back, wings, and head. You can clearly see the falcon head and shape appearing. At times, the pair look like they are on a haute couture runway in Paris with the latest layered satin capes with fine feathering designs. They are simply beautiful although a big bedraggled. In a few days we will not remember what they looked like with their baby down.
There is nothing earth-shattering about these images. They are not fabulous for any reason. I love the state that their plumage is in at the moment. The feathers appear to have a quilted pattern in the first image, with the fine little pieces of down being the ties. The down on their heads is confined to a mini-mohawk. Look at the drape of the cape at the back and imagine a winter wonderland.
‘A’ remarks: “At Orange, little Barru is ADORABLE. Okay, they both are. With their tufts of fluff rapidly disappearing and their feathers coming through, and most importantly those gorgeous eyes. Oh they are so beautiful. Mum and dad are almost reluctant to enter the scrape at this point, as they are immediately mobbed by the eyases, and Xavier needs to count his talons after delivering prey. Mum still feeds the chicks when they let her, but usually, they grab and self-feed, The tugs of prey are risky, as Marri’s near-tumble the other day demonstrated. She really did fall out of the scrape – it was very lucky she got a talon-hold on that tiny ledge beneath the ledge, as it were, and then that she had the strength to flap her own weight back up and into the scrape. It was very dramatic for a few seconds there. But as I said, she learned absolutely nothing from the experience and returned immediately to exactly the same activity in precisely the same spot. Food, food, food!! “
SK Hideaways gives us the video of Diamond not wanting to be in the scrape with the two eyases anymore! Watch those little dandelion feathers go flying…my goodness. This scrape got so small with these two! https://youtu.be/aOZRU7A-Epw?si=Zccfxse3FC1Jh9on
News from Sydney. Images of Rohan Geddes in my blog of for Sunday the 5th of November.
And from Jen for the 6th November, 2023 – As promised, news on SE32 from yesterday. SE32 is with Dad and Lady at river roost! Another thanks to ground obs team – Jen, for the awesome video of SE32 flying with parents. More from the team later on what they saw today. How do we know, which one? SE32 has a high pitched squeal, easily heard over the river and evident when parents were feeding (in mangroves).
And even better news from ‘A’: “November 6: Again all was quiet overnight. Ground crew was down by the river early – and reported both adults and what we think is SE32 in mangroves near River Roost. During the morning I actually spotted SE32 hidden away in the mangroves -superb camouflage and heard it calling. After I left, at around 13:20 SE32 was seen eating under the mangroves, with prey delivered by one of the parents, standing guard nearby. So one of the juveniles at least is with the parents and has been delivered prey, which is wonderful news. Later in the afternoon I again saw both adults in the mangroves in a similar spot, Lady eating a fish and then a juvie possibly eating as well, out of sight. We have possibly heard 2 juveniles calling from that area during the day as well. I went for a walk through the forest, though saw no eagles this time, nor currawongs warning of the presence of a juvenile.”
We are so delighted with SE31 and 32 and knowing they are with Lady and Dad, being fed, getting their flying skills even stronger and learning to hunt. But could you stop for a moment? In recent memory, Lady and Dad have not been able to enjoy these moments either. The eaglets were either lost or taken into care. This must be the most glorious year for these sea eagle parents. Smile. Shed tears. How many years have we waited to see these wonderful fledglings living their lives and being fed without the onslaught of the Currawongs…it is beautiful.
Connie has spent an inordinate amount of time in the nest she shares with Clive on Captiva. Will this be the second eagle couple to lay an egg this season?
Moving sticks and beaky kisses with Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear!
At NE Florida, Gabby is determined to get her nest just right. Now we need eggs!
On Sunday, Smitty had been gone from the NCTC nest for four days. We wait to see what will happen. The young male intruder was seen at the nest on Sunday.
‘A’ gives us a report from the Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head, New Zealand: “At the albatross colony, OGK’s brother has been confirmed as an arrival this season. And as we know, YRK has returned, seemingly aware that OGK will not be coming home. Discussion on this led to someone posting this: https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-55416365. What an amazing photo. There is so much we assume about birds and their emotions (or lack of them) and we actually KNOW so very little. So far, there has not been an egg laid at the colony, but as eggs begin to hatch in the second half of January after an average incubation period of about 11 weeks (77 days), that means we should be expecting eggs to start being laid within the next two or three weeks. They will candle all of the eggs to ascertain which are fertile before deciding on this year’s Royal Cam family. It is a very long period of dedication from the parents – nearly three months of incubation, then eight months of feeding their chick before it fledges. That’s the best part of a year! Now that’s parental devotion.”
The GPS tracking systems on the migrating birds are so good that you can locate the precise pole that the bird was killed on. Indeed, some of them will change the image on the transmission to a skull and crossbones when the bird dies. This is where Karl II took his last breath.
This was sent to me this morning by my friend, Sassa Bird. We had been talking about the great loss that Karl II’s death has done to the people who work so hard for this endangered species to grow in Estonia (and Latvia). We remembered Urmas. He has to be more gutted than any of us will ever know. He has worked tirelessly for the Black Stork families in Estonia.
“NFO BIRDMAP: An adult Black Stork, tracked with support of BAltCF project. Breeding in webcam nest of Karula National Park since 2019. Karl II owned the nest after the previous male stork Karl died during the spring migration in Syria. In the spring of 2020, the former female stork Kati did not return from her migration, and a young female, whom observers began to call Kaia, appeared belatedly in May. Kaia laid two eggs, but left the hatching unfinished. After the breedind appeared unsuccessful we got a chance to capture Karl II and install a transmitter on him. So we know that in the previous two autumns, Karl II made a long migration stop on the Black Sea coast between Kherson and the Crimea, and from there flew west around the Black Sea to Africa. During the 2022 migration, this area was a war zone, and Karl II’s data was cut off on September 4 before reaching the occupied area. The next data transfer took place only on September 22, when Karl II reached the Ukrainian-Moldovan border, in the Dniester River delta. Then we saw that Karl II had flown to his usual stop over area on the Black Sea coast at Perekop Bay by evening September 5th, but the next day he flew away from there, 80 km north to the Dnipro river flood plaines, while checking the feeding places of previous years. In 6-19 September, Karl II stopped at the floodplains of the Dnipro river, in a militarily sense rather hot place between Kherson and Kahovka. On September 19th, Karl II went to see if the conditions on the Black Sea coast had calmed down, but turned back to the Dnipro river and from there in morning of September 20th, he flew further to the northwest, looking for suitable feeding places. In two days, without finding a good place to forage, Karl II reached the border of Moldova, in the delta of the Dniester River (by the evening of September 22). We will see if that will be a longer stop over or only for a single night. When he arrived in Africa, the connection with Karl II disappeared, as it does every autumn. But at the beginning of March 2023, Karl II started flying towards Estonia from his wintering place (from the border of the Central African Republic and DRC). Karl II made a migration stop over on April 1 due to rainy weather, but the rain turned to snow on April 4, and according to the forecast, the snow will not melt until a week later. The north is free of snow, but Karl II probably doesn’t know that. Nevertheless, Karl II breeds successfully in season 2023. There grow up three chicks of four eggs. Last is Karl II to leave for autumn migration. He doesn’t know that it will be his last one. Between 1st and 2nd October Karl II lands on electric pylon for night, but got electrocuted. Turkish colleagues searched and found dead body, took away the transmitter.”
If you are in Malta, please read this and help.
North Ronaldsay is in the Orkneys. It has broken its own record with more than 226 species observed on the island.
We have Wild Turkeys in Manitoba. I remember with some disgruntlement when eBird told me that I was incorrect in spotting and hearing a Wild Turkey at Fort Whyte Alive in the spring. Well, turns out I was right and several others saw the turkeys, too. Want to know more about their behaviour? Have a read.
Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care everyone. We hope to have you with us again soon!
Thank you to the following for their notes, comments, videos, articles, and streaming cams that helped me to compose my blog this morning: “A, H, Sassa Bird”, PLO, Fran Solly, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, SK Hideaways, Rohan Geddes, Jen, Cathy Cook, Inatra Veidemane, FOBBV, NEFL-AEF, AEF, Sassa Bird, Maria Marika, Birdlife Malta, Bird Guides, and Cool Green Science.