Zoe eats a whopper, Ervie, and where are you, Rubus, darling?

26 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The kittens thought it was about time that they got their pictures in the blog – again! It is almost impossible to actually call them kittens now. They are 4x the size they were when they arrived. That will be a month on Tuesday. If you look closely at Lewis, you will notice that his nose has some scratches. Those scratches are from his ‘sweet’ ‘never do anything wrong’ sister, Missy. Poor little, Lewis. She took a couple of nicks out of his left eye, too. Ah, it is always the quiet ones, eh, Lewis?

I am going to start off with some really good news. I know that any time we are feeling a little ‘low’, Ervie can always make us smile. Port Lincoln Osprey posted a video of Ervie enjoying a freshly caught fish at Delamere this morning. I wonder if he was out fishing with Dad?

Now for the worrisome. Rubus has not been seen since the 23rd when he was on the ridge of the building. There has been a break in the news and I just thought it was because Cilla had not been out and about but, turns out, Indigo has been seen and photographed but not our sweet little lad.

I have received a note from ‘J’ that included this announcement from Cilla Kinross. It says: “I am organising a bit of search tomorrow morning at 0830 with some locals. Not sure how many will turn up, but hopefully 3 or 4 so we can split up and have a good look for Rubus. The bird wil go to a raptor carer and if and when he’s returned, I’ll decide at that stage. Probably I would put him close to Indigo so easy for parents to find.”

This is not the news that we had hoped. Let us all get really positive and send that energy out to the grounds of Orange to help our wee lad.

I found this message from Cilla below the streaming cam: “NEWS 26th November 2022 1900h I had a good look around this morning. No sign of Rubus. I asked Security to keep an eye for him, especially if he was on the ground. Indigo was sitting quietly in the trees in Girinyalanha and I took some photos.”

At 1450, Indigo flew into the scrape box looking for leftovers and hoping for prey. He is big and strong and gorgeous.

Here is a video of Indigo arriving in the scrape box with prey!

Oh, what a darling Xavier is. He went into the scrape just to see how Indigo was making out with his prey. They are taking such good care and teaching Indigo such valuable lessons. Oh, I hope dear Rubus is found so that the family can be back together again soon.

Xavier you are the cutest!

It was certainly good news to see that Willow, Louis and Dorcha’s first fledgling of 2022 had been spotted in the same area as Paith from the Dyfi nest. There must be a message board somewhere for young osprey fledglings from the UK on good places to stop enroute to their winter vacation (or should I say their home for the next couple of years?).

Yesterday it was a bit of a feast at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest and this morning an extremely large flat fish (a flounder? they do have them in PL) appeared on the nest. Mum flew in when Dad arrived but Zoe took charge. Now, that fish was big enough to feed three but, it didn’t. Zoe ate every last bit of it. She worked on that fish for more than two hours!!!!!!!!! Mum gave up and went off to get her own. I can only imagine the number of fish Zoe’s mate is going to have to produce when she has a nest of osplets. Just think about it. I am not certain I have ever seen an osplet eat as much fish as our Zoe.

Mum waited for over an hour hoping to get some breakfast but, the fact is, Zoe does not share.

At one time there were gulls overhead and both Mum and Zoe were alarming.

No 16. The Red List. The White-fronted Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose” by Rick Leche is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oh, goodness. Isn’t that a beautiful goose? White-fronted geese are medium sized. The white face is set off by that taupe of the head and back, the splotched chest, and that orange bill of the Greenland geese with legs to match. On occasion, the bill can be pinkish – that of the Siberian birds. There is a fluffy white bottom under those grey-brown back and wing feathers. What is amazing is the ombre – going from the solid taupe head, to the lighter neck, then lighter still on the breast. Just imagine if someone took this into their hair salon and asked for the stylist to copy it! It would be quite stunning, actually. Females and males are similar while the juveniles lack the white face, the black barring, and their taupe colour is not as deep as that of the adults.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) DSC_0139” by NDomer73 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

They breed in the cold of the Arctic tundra areas in the spring and summer. Greenland is one of the sites. In his entry, Gill Lewis writes, “This Greenland summer has seen her new brood hatch and grow. Her proud gaggle follow her, tail-waggling and beak-nibbling on the arctic tundra. A family, feeding and fattening.” In his entry, David Stroud said, “…she hatched six goslings and, with her mate, led them three kilometres up the steep valley sides and onto the lake-studded plateau used for brood-rearing and moulting.” Can you imagine, those wee ones following behind their Mum and walking upwards for 3 kilometres? It would be an incredible sight. They eat grasses, clover, grain, winter wheat and potatoes, according to the RSPB.

These lovely geese then fly and spend their winters in Ireland, the Orkneys, and Britain.

Why are these lovely waterfowl on such rapid decline? It is interesting and can be remedied. But, first. In 1982 shooting of White-fronted Geese in the UK was outlawed. Even so, their numbers have been falling rapidly. There are simply not enough youngsters to replace the adults and the cause is well known. The warming of the North Atlantic is the primary cause with its climatic changes and heavy snow falls. Those snows are arriving earlier and earlier at a time when the geese need feed before laying their eggs. So little food. One other cause, the one that can be remedied and is being done so for some species is wetlands. Instead of draining land so that humans can take over more and more vast tracks of it, we need to stop and rebuild the wetlands that are required for all our waterfowl. Whether or not anyone will find a way to halt or even slow the warming of our planet with its land and oceans is another story – a particularly grim one. So sad, these geese have been flying back and forth from the Arctic to the UK for 2 million years – just think about it. And, oh, how quickly we have ruined the entire landscape for them – in a blink of that time.

So when rewilding and news of the creation of wetlands comes to your ears, stand up in support of it – and remember the White-fronted Goose when you do.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) DSC_0132” by NDomer73 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In the News:

Long-Billed Curlews” by FotoGrazio is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The Curlew. These amazing shorebirds with their extremely long curved beaks are also in rapid decline. Oh, how I love reading these short Country Diary Posts. I hope you do, too.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/25/country-diary-a-cloud-of-curlews-carries-me-away


Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Let us all collectively send our warmest and most positive wishes to Orange so that Rubus might be found safely and be cared for as he needs. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for the posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey, Port Lincoln Osprey FB, Orange Australia Falcon FB, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Openverse, and The Guardian.

Fish feast for Zoe…and other news in Bird World

25 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope those of you that celebrated Thanksgiving had a lovely celebration. It was another warm day in the garden. Today it will be 6 degrees C. The sky is a beautiful blue and the sun is bright. There should be a lot of activity in the garden. I am quite enjoying watching the Starlings and the Sparrows flit about their lives enjoying the Butter Bark and the soft suet. It is hard to imagine that they are both vulnerable and in decline and on The Red List in the UK but, as I am told by many, their lives are so precarious and the Avian Flu last year could rear its ugly face again this year.

I just think that the Starling below is quite stunning. The so called ‘white’ spots on their bodies during the non-breeding season actually look silver in the sunlight. That coupled with those magnificent rust and rust tipped ebony wing feathers make them stand out and yet, if you don’t know they are there, they blend in quite nicely with the bark on the branches of the Lilacs.

Dyson has been coming for peanuts for several days but, instead of running about storing them, she has stopped and taken the time to eat several before scurrying about. She is really adorable. I notice that her colouring is also changing. Some of the youngsters have great tufts coming out of their ears now. I will see if they will sit still long enough for me to get a photo for you soon.

Junior was about today along with a least one of the three fledglings but Mr Crow and his family were not about. I wonder where they found food. It always scares me if I see road kill as I know they will chance it to get some food. I wish everyone would stop and if they see road kill get out and move it to the side of the road, way off the shoulder, if it is safe for them to do so.

The Australian Nests:

I cannot possibly tell you how quiet it has gone in Bird World now that all of the Australian birds have fledged. You might already guess that Xavier and Diamond are taking good care of Rubus and Indigo and that Zoe is screaming her head off for a fish. Dad went out and came back with nesting material. What in the world is up with the fishing in Port Lincoln?

Cilla posted a prey transfer for Indigo that took place yesterday in Orange.

Dad brought in a fish for Zoe at 09:56. She ate the entire thing. The fish tail went down at 10:21:08. Dad ‘appeared’ to have a crop. Mum was sitting on the ropes as she is above. Will Mum get anything to eat?

With Dad appearing to have a crop and Zoe getting a fish, what is there for Mum? Has Dad decided now that the chick has fledged, his duty is only to feed it and him and Mum can fend for herself? It is certainly common at other nests.

Mum did not sit around. She has proven herself today. She brought in a nice fish for her and Zoe at 13:30:31 and another one at 14:39:40. Indeed, Mum was on the nest with Zoe and flew off quickly as if the fish had skimmed the water near the barge. Isn’t this just excellent! Everyone will have had a good feed today.

Indeed, Mum was just finished feeding Zoe the 1330 fish when she spotted the next one. We will have to start calling her ‘Eagle-eyed Mum’.

Off she goes!

Zoe and Mum are having feasts today while Dad sits on the perch. Good for Mum. She is going to make sure that her and her daughter are well fed.

In his book, After They’re Gone. Extinctions, Past, Present, and Future, author Peter Marren says of the Ospreys, “To survive the Sixth Extinction, it may help to be useful- useful to humankind, that is” (164). Marren continues on the following page, “In Britain, nesting ospreys and sea eagles attract tourists and hence income to places that need it” (165). Every place that has wildlife should heed Marren’s words. They should consider the environment and rush to bring it back to life because those beautiful animals and birds and the landscape that is cared for and respected will help with the economy in the future. Indeed, my granddaughter is looking for a place for a holiday to see birds and animals. It would be truly sad if I had to tell her to go to a zoo!

Making News:

a little change from plants- hen harrier looking for dinner.” by island deborah- New Book ‘Song of the Sparrow’ vig is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Well, to tackle this entire issue of the vulnerability and extinction of the Hen Harrier, Hen Harriers will be bred in captivity and released in England on the Salisbury Plain. Twelve birds, six males and six females, have been brought from France and Span to establish the breeding pairs. This is a project between Natural England and the International Centre for Birds of Prey. Their goal is to release 100 birds over the next 5 or 6 years.

Fantastic. You can read more about this intervention to increase biodiversity here:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/23/hen-harriers-to-be-bred-in-captivity-and-released-on-to-salisbury-plain?CMP=share_btn_link

I have become increasingly aware of these magnificent birds over the past year and have devoured as many new books on them that I could. There are a couple that I have quite enjoyed and will mention if you or someone you know is interested in the life and the plight of these magnificent birds of prey. They are Bowland Beth. The Life of an English Hen Harrier by David Cobham, The Hen Harrier’s Year by Ian Carter & Dan Powell

Hen Harrier male (Circus cyaneus) illustrated by the von Wright brothers. Digitally enhanced from our own 1929 folio version of Svenska Fåglar Efter Naturen Och Pa Sten Ritade.” by Free Public Domain Illustrations by rawpixel is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The problem is the illegal killing and the destruction of the land that supports these beautiful birds. So when will the courts begin to crack down on those who persecute the raptors?

A nauseating story is coming out of County Down, Northern Ireland of a lovely Buzzard found with a plastic bag around its neck hanging on a tree. Unbelievable. Just look at that face and that gorgeous plumage.

Inquisitive Buzzard” by John C Williams is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Here is that Story.

Dead buzzard found hanging from a tree in County Down – Raptor Persecution UK

Each year the Raptor Persecution UK puts out a report on the killing of raptors and, sadly, this year – 2022 – has been the second highest record in history. What a tragedy and why is this happening?

RSPB’s 2021 Birdcrime report reveals second-highest figure on record – Raptor Persecution UK

Fieldfare on a cherry tree” by hedera.baltica is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

No 15. The Red List. The Fieldfare

FF 031 ~ Fieldfare~” by Mike Hazzledine — British Biodiversity is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Fieldfares are a large member of the thrush family. The name Fieldfare comes from the Anglo-Saxon meaning ‘traveller of fields’. Look at the image above. They have the most beautiful light steel-blue-gray heads and wings. Their back, which you can see in the image below, is the colour of a beautiful Horse Chestnut. Their tails are black. Their ivory breast is spotted with a deep espresso tinged with chestnut. A peach wash makes a gorgeous collar. Their back end is a grey and they have black legs with touches of black around the eye. The female looks very similar to the male but has slightly more chestnut than the blue-grey and some consider the colouring more ‘dull’ on the female. There is an image of a female feeding her nestlings below. Make up your own mind if she is dull!

The decline of the Fieldfare from a handful of breeding pairs to now only one or two brings much sadness to many British birders. The author of the entry in Red Sixty Seven, Nick Acheson, writes about Joe Harkness another author whose book, Bird Therapy, speaks to the joy that birds bring to all of us. In writing about the Fieldfare, Harkness says that he is elated when two Fieldfares visit his garden during the winter’s snow and ice. Acheson says that Harness’s joy comes “not from the beauty of the birds, though beautiful they certainly are, not from their rarity, for per se they are not rare at all (globally). His joy comes from their shining witness, perceived – this once – in a place of domesticity.” Indeed, Fieldfares are not found in fields despite their name and do not frequent gardens but are mostly seen on the wet hawthorn hedgehops, Buckthorn bushes in the sand dunes along the sea.

Fieldfare” by Linton Snapper is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Fieldfare is not a thrush but it can be found spending time with flocks of thrushes during its migration from Northern Europe to spend time in Britain in winter. In the Scandinavian countries, they are known as Birch Thrushes or Bjorktrast. There they feed on berries until they arrive in Britain in mid-September where they roam the country side, the fields, the hedgerows and the gardens looking for food. In particular, they will search for berries from the Rowan, Hawthorn, and Holly. In farmlands, they feed on invertebrates and earthworms.

Fieldfare on a cherry tree” by hedera.baltica is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The decline of the Fieldfare is due directly to the steep decline in insects. Studies in Europe have shown that the biomass of insects in Germany has declined by 75%. The decline is serious in other countries and this is due directly to the use of pesticides. Climate change is also playing havoc with these lovely little birds. Milder temperatures in the northern countries and then quick freezes have cost the lives of nestlings. Many Fieldfare have also chosen not to migrate which is one reason there is the decline in numbers in the UK. Of course, the Northern European countries are not the only ones that are using pesticides. In the UK, there are similar issues and declines in birds that depend on insects for their food source.

Oh, thank you so much for being with me today. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Openverse, The Guardian, RSPB, and Raptor Persecution UK.

Zoe flies more, rare Albatross incubate their egg…and more news in Bird World

24 November 2022

Good morning to everyone and the best of Thanksgiving to those celebrating in the US today.

It has been wonderfully warm on the Canadian Prairies. I do not know if it is atypical for this time of year but, it certainly feels like it. The birds in the garden had some of their feeders rearranged and thanks to a lovely friend I swopped out some old feeders for some she gave me yesterday. One of the visitors today was a beautiful Starling. It’s an immature non-breeder. Note all of the white spots on his breast and it has yet to get its oily black head. The males and the female Starlings look alike. Did you know that? One difference is that the beaks of the males are a deep blue while those of the female are a pink colour. This then looks like an immature non-breeding male.

Look closely and you can see their rose coloured legs. It is also a pair of non-breeding adults. They are really loving this soft suet.

The Starlings will not perch on the metal. I do not know why. They want to lean down from the branches to get to the suet. You can see this behaviour in the image above also. So the feeder below was moved so they could more easily reach it! Who says I am a softie?

Junior was grateful for a bowl of corn today.

One of many varieties of the Sparrow family that visit the garden. They are particularly enjoying the Butter Bark Balls on these damp days.

The kittens have had great fun watching the birds and the squirrels. They continue to find places in the house to get into mischief. And they do not always come when they are called setting in a panic that they have miraculously gotten outside in the cold. Of course, they are somewhere laughing (do cats laugh?) while I panic!

Missy has discovered a Rodney Mott sculpture that is just perfect for hiding in. Lewis is in the overturned basket not even showing a whisker.

At the Australian nests, Zoe took off for her first flight of the day at 0901. It was an absolutely perfect take off and her landing at 0907 was spot on, too. She is a very strong osplet. I do hope she gets some nice fish. It has been 24 hours since she last had some food.

While the camera was down for a couple of yours, Dad brought in fish. We are only seeing the tail of the fish but I hope that Dad had some nice fish – the entire head – and that it was big enough for Mum and Zoe to also have a good feed. This family would really enjoy a day with several deliveries but, I am grateful to know that there was a delivery mid-afternoon.

Zoe had a nice crop.

At the scrape in Orange, things were decidedly low key. Xavier and Diamond in and out of the scrape box and Diamond enjoying sleeping in the box all by herself at night. They have busy days chasing after Indigo and Rubus. Little Rubus is, apparently, doing more flying and getting much better.

This was the news from Orange: “Rubus and Indigo both seen within the last hour. Rubus is exploring the campus, going from building roofs to trees etc. He fledged on 20th November. Indigo is way ahead getting flight training from parents, visiting the box etc. He fledged on 11th November at 41 days.”

If you haven’t checked out the FalconCam site in a few days, I urge you to do so. Someone is really adding historical data and you can go back to 2007 to see earlier chicks and read about the big events at the scrape. Here is that link if you lost it.

https://science-health.csu.edu.au/falconcam/home

Oh, it is stormy up near Jacksonville. Samson and Gabby have been on the nest today working despite the wind and the bad weather that looks like it is moving in.

I put this image in not so you could peer at the fluffy bottom of a big Bald Eagle but, rather, for you to see the colour of the legs and feet of Gabby. Then look at their beaks. This is a bright chrome-yellow. This is a very healthy bird.

Harriet and M15 are sleeping at the nest and so far no eggs, just like at NEFL.

At the E-3 nest in the Kistachie National Forest, they have their second egg today. Congratulations Andria and Alex.

There is also news coming out of the Midway Atoll about a very rare pair of Albatross.

As we give thanks for all the birds that bring our lives joy, remember that we are the cause of much of their suffering. Please spread the word to anyone you know – or where you work – that there are solutions other than using rodenticide to get rid of mice and rats. Also teach them about secondary poisoning. It could be their dog or cat but, it is often one of our beautiful raptors.

At small islands in New Zealand, Dr Digby and his team care for the rare non-flying parrot, the Kakapo. In 2016, they hand-raised more than a dozen of these precious little birds. Today they continue to do that work when it is required. The work that Digby and his team do to restore the health of these birds and to keep them safe and try and increase their numbers is remarkable. So thankful.

No 13. The Red List. The Marsh Tit

At first I thought these were out Black capped Chickadees. The Marsh Tit is small, it is mainly shades of a soft grey-brown or taupe with a shiny black cast, a black bib, and a pale ivory underbelly. The bill, eye, and legs are black. They are not plain by any means, look closely at the plumage patterns. Simply lovely.

The woodlands of the United Kingdom – and elsewhere – are changing and that it causing a huge decline in the number of this very small song bird, the Marsh Tit. The woods are more fragmented now, separated by grazing pastures, a growing number of introduced deer. Marsh Tits, according to Mike Toms, “favour woodlands with a complex understory and require surprisingly large patches of suitable habitat in order to breed successfully.” And they’re like their woodlands to be “wet”. Climate change has meant that they are now laying their eggs at least ten days earlier than they were 50 years ago. This change has had a decided impact on available or peak food supplies for the chicks which is also contributing to a decline in population numbers. The Marsh Tit is also known to visit older gardens, copses, and parks, and has sometimes been seen on feeders.

Marsh Tit” by Vine House Farm is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

They feed mostly on insects, seeds and berries, and often cache food over winter if they find a good supply. They nest in existing tree holes, rather than excavating their own, and produce seven to nine eggs.

Their song sounds like a sneeze “pitchoot”.

Here is their range.

Thank you so much for being with me today. I hope that each of you had a wonderful day no matter where you are — or will have a great day if you are just waking up reading this. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, NEFL-AEF, SWFL Eagles and D Pritchett, KNF, Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, A Place Called Hope, Kakapo Recovery and Dr Digby Twitter, Openverse, and RSPB.

Shaded nests for eagles, prey drop for Rubus and other news in Bird World

23 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

I hope that you are well. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States. In Canada, we have already had our harvest festival in October but, as one of the readers reminded me, it is a time to give thanks for all of those in our lives — so to all of you wherever you may be, ‘thank you for being part of this great community’. Your empathy, caring, understanding, and joy are remarkable and this year we have been so much together. And to all of our feathered friends, thank you for the joy and the tears and for reminding us that we are all in this world together, not separate.

Dyson sends greetings from all of us to all of you. She hopes that you have plenty of ‘nuts’ for your celebration while reminding all of us to share with the wildlife.

There is simply not a lot going on in Bird World. Only one thing seems to be on anyone’s mind now that Zoe has fledged. When will Rubus fly up to the scrape?  Rubus has flown. Shines reports that Rubus was on the ground and observed to fly 200 m to his perch. Indigo has been up in the scrape box and so have the adults. And he flew some more later and picked up a prey delivery (see below). Life feels good right now. All are well.

Interesting to note that Xavier was in the scrape box ‘scraping’ – is he already thinking about next year? A scrape is a shallow indentation in the gravel or sand in which the eggs are laid.

It is extremely heart warming to know that all of the staff at Charles Sturt University keep an eye out for the falcons. Rubus was found on the ridge of the Printery Roof. Here is a video showing a prey delivery for Rubus from Xavier. So, we can all relax. Xavier and Diamond are taking good care of both Indigo and Rubus and there are all kinds of caring eyes looking out for them!

Thanks ‘A’ for sending me the link to the video and this comforting news!

If you missed Zoe’s fledge, here is my short video clip. She was really working her wings earlier and her first flight took her right down to Dad’s shed. Perhaps Ervie will come and join them for a good old ‘chin wag’. Zoe is 66 days old.

Mum is in the nest and Dad is on the ropes. Zoe is still down in the shed. She will figure out how to fly back up to the nest. If I recall, this is what Bazza did last year! Please correct me if I am wrong.

There should be no worries. Zoe flew up to the nest at 1451 and booted Mum off. She is now prey-calling and I presume that one of the adults will be out to get their girl a nice fish for her accomplishment!

Zoe later flew back and forth to the perch and around the barge. It appears from all the time tables that Zoe did not get a fish after fledgling. Thanks to ‘A’, here are the major events from the observation board for Port Lincoln for the day: Fish count: Dad: 2, Mum: 0 Fish times: 08:37, 11:49 08:37 dad with headless fish, mum takes it away 08:46 mum returns, Zoe self feeds 9:00:56 Zoe eats the tail.

10:54:45 Zoe fledges from the nest and ends up in the mancave Facebook post on fledge 

11:49:45 Fish tail end by Dad. Zoe was in the mancave 11:55 Mum eats the tail. 14:51:55 Zoe returns to the nest, where mum was, who then leaves

18:40 Zoe from nest to close perch (and back and to the perch) and flying around the barge

‘H’ made a video clip that shows Zoe’s fledge and her subsequent flights which are not included in mine. Thanks so much ‘H’.

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Making News:

Dave Hancock of Hancock Wildlife is building shaded nests for the eagles to help them with the increasingly number of heat domes that are part of climate change in British Columbia. Here is an image of one of those nests with the Delta 2 Eagles.

The British Trust for Ornithology is watching with great concern as the migrant birds from parts of Europe arrive in the UK for their winter holidays.

BirdLife’s 2022 Photography Awards are in and there are some stunning images.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2022/nov/23/the-2022-birdlife-australia-photography-awards-in-pictures?CMP=share_btn_link

There are many categories and many birds that will be familiar that are in those winning shots including the Albatross, BooBook Owl, Wood Ducks, Petrels, Wrens, and Lyrebirds. Enjoy!

What you might not know is that you do not have to be Australian to enter. Maybe think about submitting some of your images next year. One section of the Birdlife website that fascinated me was the ‘tips and tricks’ to getting bird photos. Mine would never win any awards but I would love to be able to take better photos of our beautiful feathered friends. To check out on the regulations for the annual awards and to see the tips and tricks, please go to:

birdlifephotoaward.org.au

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In Senegal, Jean-marie Dupart reports that he counted 331 Ospreys in a stretch of beach measuring 143 km. That is fantastic news!

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In the United States, the Osprey breeding season starts after the Bald Eagles. Jack and Diane at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida have been visiting their nest. I wonder if they even know where to start with all the weeds that have grown up!

I keep heading over to the West End nest of Thunder and Akecheta to see if I can catch them at the nest but, no luck today!

I didn’t find anyone at home at Fraser Point either and they are playing highlights on the Two Harbours cam.

Harriet and M15 have been on and off the nest today. Many thought that today might be the time for the first egg’s arrival but, it doesn’t appear to be the case. Perhaps tomorrow!

Gabby is looking particularly gorgeous these days. She is keeping her eyes out for any intruders near the nest she shares with Samson at Jacksonville, Florida.

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No 12. The Red List: Ring Ouzel

Alpine Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus), Karwendel mountains, Austria” by Frank.Vassen is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In his description of this beautiful Blackbird with its white half moon torque on the male, Nick Baker says, “It’s the thinking person’s Blackbird, the connoisseur’s choice; a passerine, that keeps itself to itself and is somewhat exclusive, hiding away from the cheap (ing) twittering masses of other perching birds, other than the odd curved, Wheatear and pipit.”

Ring Ouzel male” by Rainbirder is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Baker likes the stunning black birds because they are elusive one has to “invest some kind of effort to find one makes them all the more appealing…” Baker lives in Dartmoor, where a small population of these passerines “hangs on.” He says “the situation is about as delicate as the frosted feather edges on the bird’s breast.”

This lovely print shows the adults and the wee one. Notice the silvery wing panels on both the male and the female. You can see them easily in the photograph by Rainbirder above, also. The male’s crescent moon is pure white while the female’s is ivory barred with a rust brown. Instead of a black chin, the female has vertical barring, dark chocolate on white. Once again, I think that the female is just as stunningly beautiful as the male – her head, back and tail are not the pure deeply saturated black. In fact there is more variety to her plumage. The spots on the chest of the juvenile with its brown head, back and wings remind me of the work of Denmark’s most accomplished ceramic artists, Priscilla Mouritzen.

Ring Ouzel (male left female above young right)” by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The ring ouzel is a member of the thrush family. It grows to approximately 24 cm or 18 inches in length. They are smaller than Blackbirds but are often misidentified as being a Blackbird unless you see that stunning half moon panel.

They breed in the drags and gullies of the steep valleys from mid-April through to mid-July normally having two clutches. Their nests are located close to the ground in dense heather or in a crevice. It would be very rate to see them nest in a tree. They feed their young earthworms and beetles and as adults they eat insects and berries.

The threats that these birds face are quite numerous. The predation of eggs is a start because of nesting close to the ground. They are disturbed by humans, their habitat has been destroyed due to deforestation in the areas where they winter in Spain and in Africa. Climate change has had a significant impact on the bird. The authors of the book noted below, possibly the very best study of these birds, notes that the landscape of the North York Moors might become completely unsuitable for them in the future.

One of the best books on this species is this volume, The Ring Ouzel. A New from the North York Moors. The retired duo hiked, observed, and gained considerable knowledge which they have passed on to us in a delightful little book. I keep thinking how wonderful they were to find this specific place now and provide us with insights into a bird that is most elusive.

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Migration News:

I am still following two of the four fledglings from Karl II’s Black Stork family from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. Those two are Waba and the foster chick, Bonus. The only surviving strolling from the last brood of Jan and Janikka.

Bonus remains in the area of Turkey (Konya Province) where he has been for what seems like forever. It is an area that can get cold in the winter with snow and everyone is hoping that he will decide to get moving!

Waba remains in the Sudan feeding on the Nile River. He travelled 242 km in the last few days (his tracker was not transmitting for some of that time).

Both of the Black Stork juveniles seem to have found water and lots of food and it appears that each is reluctant to leave their respective locations. It is always a relief to know that they are well but, like everyone else, I hope that Bonus will get an itch to fly and that he will head south to catch up with the remainder of his family in Africa.

Thank you so very much for being with me today. We will be keeping an eye on Zoe as she perfects her flying skills along with dear Rubus and Indigo at Orange. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘A’ and ‘H’ as always – so grateful, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross and gang, Port Lincoln Ospreys, British Trust for Ornithology, ave Hancock and Hancock Wildlife, The Guardian, Achieva Ospreys with Jack and Diane, IWS, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, NEFL-AEF, Openverse, and Looduskalender Forum.

Falcons and Football…and more in Bird World for Tuesday

22 November 2022

Good Morning to Everyone!

It has warmed up on the Canadian Prairies – and because of that the heating is not on as much and it is damp and cold. Believe me, we always grumble about the weather. It is to be 0 degrees C today! It will cause things to melt a bit and get all slushy – there is nothing worse than chills to the bone. It will be a good day to go to the pond and see if there are any of those Wood Ducks still hanging about. Images (sadly I do not have permission to share them – yet) have been coming in that are showing 50 or 60 Bald Eagles just south of our City in the trees alongside the Snowy Owls. It is quite incredible.

In the Mail:

There are times when we just need something to put a smile on our face. When I lived in Norman Oklahoma and went to the University of Oklahoma, it was impossible not to be an OU Sooners Football Fan. I can still smell the damp leaves in the fall covering the sidewalks on the way to the stadium. When ‘B’ found out about this, he sent me the most fabulous image. As we all remember – too well – there was a time in 2020 and 2021 when large gatherings of people were forbidden due to Covid. One of those was, of course, the popular football games in the US. So, the University of California at Berkeley, put up cardboard cut outs of viewers. Guess who got the prime seat? Look!

That is fabulous. Our own Grinnell. Alden is wonderful but there was just something about Grinnell that made him ever so special. It is hard to lose them.

Thank you ‘B’.

The other day Annie and Alden attended all the celebrations for the latest football game at Berkeley when the Cal Golden Bears beat the Stanford Cardinals 27-20. Our adorable Peregrine Falcon couple went up to the ledge, spent some time there recuperating (was it 3 hours?). ‘H’ sent me a link to the video of them sitting and leaving together that she made for us to enjoy. Thank you ‘H’.

Making News:

There is news coming in about the streaming cams and nests on Captiva Island -the Bald Eagle nest of Connie and Clive and the Osprey nest of Andy and Lena.

The Dfyi Osprey Project in Wales is reporting that there are two beautiful Red Kites on the Dyfi Osprey nest of Idris and Telyn. Aren’t they ever so beautiful? Just look at that plumage. I don’t know about you but I am simply mystified at how beautiful these raptors are – the falcons, the kites, the kestrels, the Merlins, and the Harriers. You can take the same colours and shake them up and each one is slightly different than the other. I have to admit that the Red Kites are quite stunning with those icy blue heads and amber eyes, bright chrome-yellow cere and short hooked beaks with its black tip. The terracotta or rusty sort of Corten Steel colour of the tails (reminiscent of the Red-tail Hawk) set against the dark chocolate trimmed with white is outstanding.

You can check on all the birds that use this nest by going to dyfiospreyproject.com

There is no rest for Dr Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies. Those who watched the Channel Island’s Bald Eagle nests will remember Dr Sharpe climbing up to rescue Lancer at Two Harbours, getting a chick of the cliff at the West End, and going in and taking Victor to the Ojai Raptor Centre last season. He is now busy working on the cameras. Here is the announcement from the IWS.

Everyone is getting ready for the Bald Eagle breeding season. Speaking of that, Samson and Gabby were caught mating on the nest today just like Harriet and M15 were a week or so ago. Eggs should be coming shortly. Will there be holiday eaglets?

Philippe Josse reports that progress is certainly being made on the Notre Dame Eagles nest – the natal nest of dearest Little Bit ND17. Please join the FB group Notre Dame Eagles for up to date information on this family.

Terry Carman is keeping track of the Bald Eagle eggs on the streaming cam. Here is the latest report — and all bets are on Harriet and M15 having their first egg today at SWFlorida! If you are looking to track Bald Eagle laying, please head over to this great FB group. There you will always have the latest information.

Checking on the Australian Nests:

Zoe is 66 days old today. She could fledge at any time. She is doing some good hovering and has nailed stealing the fish when Dad brings it to the nest! And you know what? She is gorgeous. When the wind whips her crest up it accents those focused piercing eyes and that very sharp hooked black beak. The dark black eye line just makes her that more gorgeous.

The winds are at 26 kph right now. Gusty for our girl. I hope she does not get swept up when she is practising her hovering. Zoe is getting better each day at that hover but, still. We saw what wind gusts can do with Rufus. I prefer that they take off on their own!

In Orange, Xavier and Diamond seem to be having prey drops with Indigo. She is really doing well!

Look carefully over at the trees!

Yesterday Shines found Rubus on the ground next to the road and put the little fella back up in the Waddle Tree.

I have to admit that I am a wee bit worried about Rubus and that is only because there have been no reports of any feedings. That is not to say they have no occurred. Diamond and Xavier are cracker parents and I think they are decidedly trying to lure Rubus back up to the scrape. It is possible that he does not feel confident to fly. Has anyone seen Rubus flying since he fledged/fledged?

Some more photos of Rubus higher in the Wattle Tree.

Every once in awhile one of the parents goes up to the scrape. I think they are really trying to lure Rubus back into the box.

Xavier is keeping an eye over everything happening with his two fledglings from the ledge of the box.

At 1540 Indigo comes up to the scrape box prey calling, very loudly, and Xavier immediately takes off. Indigo stays in the scrape looking for prey amongst the feathers. Will Xavier return with something from the storage vault?

Indigo spent the night in the scrape box last evening.

I urge you to check out the wonderful website that has gone up at Orange. Cilla Kinross and her great team have put together cracker content and you can get up to date information on our falcon family there with their photographs.

That link is: falcon cam.csu.edu.au

No 12 The Red List: The Merlin

Merlin Falcon” by minds-eye is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oh, it is hard to imagine that this lovely little raptor is on the vulnerable list in the UK. But, if it is happening there, it is possible that there are declining population numbers elsewhere. Ruth Tingay, writing in Red Sixty Seven, describes the birds as feisty and dashing with their “rapid fire kek, kek, kek, kek, kek” that demands everyone’s attention. Tingay first saw Merlins in the wilds of the Hebrides, those remote islands off the west coast of Scotland. She then saw them again in an urban setting in Idaho and said she was shocked because she always associated them with great open spaces.

Look at the colour of the plumage! They are smaller than a Peregrine Falcon measuring at most 30 cm or 12 inches in length or the Red Kits who grow to approximately twice their size. The male Merlin has dark steel blue grey upper wings, tail and top of the head. The underwing – the primaries and the secondaries are the same dark grey barred with a lighter grey. There is a fine white eye line, magnificent rusty-orange with dark chocolate barring on the underneath, on the legs and the upper part of the wing. The deepest dark 70% cocoa eyes, a white beard and throat. The beak has a black tip fading into that grey blue and a yellow cere. The legs are chrome-yellow with deep black talons.

Merlins are described as “our smallest falcon, male smaller than the female, not much bigger than a Blackbird.” They live on the moors and open fields where they breed but travel to the south and the coasts of the UK for their wintering grounds. Here is their map.

Seriously adorable but, in the sky and hunting, they are formidable for the smaller birds.

Falcon” by Terry Kearney is marked with CC0 1.0.

The Merlin was a popular hawk of Mary Queen of Scots and became known as the Queen’s Falcon or Lady’s Hawks. Royalty and women of the aristocracy would use them to hunt Sky Larks. They are a fierce hunter capturing their prey from the air, high up meaning that they have to have a very calculated effort. They normally hunt small to medium sized birds bit have been known to take pigeons, ducks, and even plover.

Sadly, they are quickly losing their habitat, pesticides and secondary poisoning, and of course the shooting by the keepers of the estates where Red Grouse hunting takes place. Other causes of death are collision and cat predation. There are many other threats. Corvids, such as Crows and Jays, will eat the eggs and the nestlings if they find them and, indeed, Merlins do not build their own nest but reuse the nests of others including Crows. Larger Raptors such as Peregrine Falcons, Great Horned Owls, and even Goshawks are a threat but all others tend to steer clear of this small falcon because of its aggressiveness.

Climate change will impact this small spirited hawk. Audubon has set up a programme to try and predict the changes to its breeding habitat. As you can see they will be pushed further north to where it is cooler. With the polar ice melting and the seas warming, I wonder how long it will be cooler in the north?

Some new books have arrived and I will be anxious to tell you about them as I work my way through. For now I am trying to scout out all the birding sites on the island of Grenada in the West Indies so that I can – hopefully – send you some images of birds that are either old friends or new ones. My son will probably never invite me again! He gets another location or two each day – . I was told tonight to bring my gum boots and lots of mosquito repellent. So for dear ‘L’ who was worried that the newsletter might stop while I am away, ‘no’ it will not. You are all going on my birding adventure with me!

Thank you so much for being here today. It is so nice to have you with us. Please take care of yourself – and I will see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their letters, their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘B’ so grateful for that image of Grinnell, ‘H’ for her great videos, Captiva Island Eagles and Ospreys FB, Dyfi Osprey Project FB, IWS, Notre Dame Eagles, Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and News, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the Falcon Cam Blog, Open Verse, and Audubon.org.

Annie and Alden, a whopper for Zoe and some serious hovering…early Monday in Bird World

21 November 2022

Oh, the best of the morning to all of you! I hope this newsletter finds you well and happy and taking some time to de-stress out of doors if you need it — or watching our marvellous birds from inside your home or on the streaming cams. It is so nice to have you hear with us.

The weather continues to be wintery with no break now until spring, late spring normally here in Canada. The garden animals have been all flooded up keeping warm. Me, too! It is, however, very hard to imagine that in 40 days it will be a brand new year.

Dyson never disappoints in her ability to find and get food efficiently. She has a perfect spot on a branch where she sits and can eat right out of the bird feeder!

The Starlings really are lovely. This one flew down to check out what the Blue Jay was interested in on the deck but, normally they always stay in the lilacs or the back trees.

The Starlings and Sparrows share the Butter Bark.

In the Mailbox:

‘J’ sent a link to a blog that some of you might find interesting. It goes to the heart of our earlier discussions about birds and emotions. Thank you ‘J’!

Website of Gaby Schulemann-Maier: https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.birds-online.de%2Fwp%2Fen%2Fbirds-online-english%2F&data=05%7C01%7C%7C49ef41f33eef4818ef3508dacb2dc009%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C638045694605754558%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=v%2Fr%2BhO5flt0reUFvtxw5W3DyZoKqhMrl8uH5CodWB7E%3D&reserved=0

‘BG’ and I both agree that we neither fans of soccer or Twitter but, a World Cup of Birds – yes! Each team in the World Cup has been assigned a bird. Let’s follow and see who wins. Thanks ‘BG’ for sending me this!

Jer Thorp: “We’ve got 4 days until the World Cup. 4 days to decide the MOST important question: Which country in the tournament has the best national bird? 16 birds have already flown home. 16 are ready for glory. Welcome to the knockout stages of the #WorldCupOfBirds!!!”

Making News:

‘B’ sent me a note. Annie and Alden were on camera at The Campanile on the grounds of UC-Berkeley on Sunday. I admit to shedding a couple of little tears – tears of joy – to see them together and with such a nice crop. Looking forward to screaming eyases. Can’t wait. Thank you ‘B’. I know that everyone has been wondering about this lovely couple – Alden another one of those amazing males that stepped in and saved the season.

Emyr Evans of the Dyfi Osprey Project in Wales has permission to post all the information about Paith. Faith was the youngest of the three osplets (2 females, 1 male) of Idris and Telly at the Dyfi nest. The information that Evans has comes from early September – so awhile ago but he just received it. Faith was in Brittany, one of the northern most areas off France and due south as straight as a crow could fly from her nest in Wales. Is she on her way to Africa? or will she overwinter in France?

To get the full story and see the maps, and migration ages of the osplets from Dyfi, please go to dfyispreyproject.com

Tiger Mozone has also posted some information that indicates there are Ospreys that do over winter in this area of France. I think this is really interesting because it is always presumed that the birds go all the way to Africa. It appears not and we do know that many are now over wintering in Portugal and Spain. It may help with the decline in populations due to migration incidents and it might also speak to the changing landscape in Africa in terms of fish availability.

Congratulations goes out to Dave Anderson who has won the prestigious prize – the RSPB Species Award. Anderson is well known in the UK raptor world for his work with White-tailed Eagles and, in particular, promoting research on them by using satellite tracking. I cannot think of a more deserving person. You can read all about him and his extensive work with raptors – a life dedicated to bettering theirs – by clicking on the link in the announcement below.

Australian Nests:

Early Monday morning in Australia, Xavier went to the scrape box with a nice prey item for breakfast. Was he trying to lure Rubus and Indigo to the box?

Indigo will arrive in the box and will be seen on the top of the tower but, Rubus did not fly up to join Indigo. They have been seen in the trees and it would appear that all is well. Xavier was there with them for some time and Diamond was photographed flying around the trees keeping guards on her precious fledglings.

News has come in regarding Rubus today: “Rubus fledged yesterday at 0818 h and has been found alive and well in a pine shelterbelt a few hundred metres from the tower. He was in a tree (so can fly at least a bit). He was still in the same area this morning, but a bit closer to the tower, He was found on the ground and placed in a tree in the woodland.”

Shines found Rubus and wrapped him in a blanket and placed him on the tree branch. Thank you, Shines!

Xavier and Diamond have both been in and out of the scrape. It is entirely possible that they are trying to lure Rubus back into the box so that he can rest and they can feed him there.

In Port Lincoln, Dad flew in with a whopper for Zoe at 1015. Port Lincoln has a severe wind alert for gusts up to 34 kph. Mum and Dad are very smart. This is one way to keep Zoe on the nest – a big fish!

Mum flies in while Zoe mantles the fish.

Just look. Dad had a good feed and Mum is looking down knowing there should be some left for her, too. I wonder if Zoe will want all of this fish to herself?

Zoe is trying. She has her talons in the fish holding it down and is doing a pretty good job eating away.

That is a big fish!

Mum would really like to have some of that nice fish but Zoe isn’t quite ready to give up.

At 11:56 Mum takes control of the fish. Zoe looks like she wants Mum to feed her. She has not made much progress on it herself.

Mum had different ideas. She wants some fish, too and it looks like Zoe ate enough to have a nice crop. Mum flies away with that fish so she can enjoy it all to herself. I wonder if she will bring any of it back to Zoe?

Zoe was not happy!

Of course, the answer is ‘yes’. Mum ate her fill and returned to the next some time later to feed Zoe.

That fish was sooooooooo large that the entire family had a nice big meal. How grand. Thanks Dad!

Zoe did some serious helicoptering. She is ready to fly! It will be soon.

No 11 The Red List: Montagu’s Harrier

Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus” by Ian N. White is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Montagu’s Harrier is the most rare of any of the birds of prey in the UK. This incredible raptor was not in any nest records in the UK in 2020 nor in 2021. Their numbers began to decline in 2015. That year there were only 5 nests in the UK. It is feared that they might already be extinct, not just vulnerable.

These are magnificent raptors that fly low, like the Hen Harrier, in search of rabbits, small birds, lizards, insects, and shrews. They also soar high above the fields in the thermals and their flying and hunting has been described as ‘spectacular’.

Just look at that stunning plumage. Again, it is anything but a drab grey. How about a light blue steel grey on the wings with a light cream around the eye, a very slight dark blue grey eye line and band around the cream. How else would you describe this magnificent species?

Montagu’s Harrier – Circus pygargus (male)” by Tarique Saniis licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

They are a medium sized raptor, 43-47 cm long, that is slim with very long pointed wings like a Hen Harrier. They have a long tail. The upper body of the male is grey. The primaries are black and the secondaries have a black stripe or band across them. They are white underneath. The female is a gorgeous dark brown. The bills are hooked and black with a bright chrome-yellow cere. Their legs and feet are also chrome-yellow. Notice the striking yellow eyes.

The demise of the Montagu’s Harrier is due to the over and expanding use of pesticides, the expansion of fields into modern agriculture, the destruction of their nests which are on the ground in the fields during harvesting. In addition, their food sources have declined dramatically due to the use of pesticides! These raptors need protected areas for nesting and an end to the use of contemporary pesticides that kill the birds by secondary poisoning or by killing their food source. The Montagu’s Harrier migrates to Africa and so, in both of their respective homes, they are subject to ever expanding agricultural practices and the use of deadly poisons. Those poisons should be banned internationally. They are also quite dangerous to humans. Ask anyone who has lived around a farm in Canada who has developed asthma and breathing issues early in their life.

This is an immature. Notice that gorgeous rust brown above the yellow legs, the barred tail with the grey and espresso brown, the light grey around those chrome-yellow eyes…what a beauty.

Montagu’s Harrier immature” by Rainbirder is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

I couldn’t leave without posting an image of a mature female Montagu’s Harrier. These females are stunning in their own right. Look closely. Their plumage is anything but a drab brown. Starting with the head and around the eyes, that bright chrome-yellow cere stands out amongst that deep chocolate brown. The white around the eyes with the espresso eyeliner and eye liner inside of the dark espresso band on a camel coloured head and breast are brilliant. It took a lot of the crayons out of the box to come up with this outstanding colour palette. That camel mixes with the deep chelate again on the back, and the wings while holding its own on the breast, chest and underparts. She is gorgeous.

File:Montagu’s Harrier, juvenile, Bangalore, India (edit).jpg” by Cks3976 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Oh, thank you so much for being with me today. It is always my pleasure to carry on and on and on about the beautiful feathered friends that bring us so much joy – and most often, tranquility. Take dare of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘BG’ for the World Cup of Birds, ‘B’ for letting me know about Annie and Alden, ‘J’ for her great link in the mail re birds and emotions, Cal Faldons, Dyfi Osprey Project, Gregarious J Toonen for Ospreys Pandion Haliaetus FB and Tiger Mozone, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Open Verse.

Sunday News in Bird World

20 November 22

Greetings from a wintery wonderland on the Canadian Prairies. We have snow – thankfully not like what has been landing in the Great Lakes area of the US. Just lovely snowy drifting down giving everything a crisp clean Hallmark card ‘look’.

Before I go any further, Rubus and his fludged-fledge has been located in a tree near to Indigo by Shines. Later Indigo flies up to the scrape but has difficulty due to the very strong winds getting the landing perfect. It was like Rubus who had little control with those winds as he exited the scrape but greater control near the ground. Both are safe and sound. We can all breathe a little lighter! Zoe remains on the nest as I write this. So everything is, so far, alright at both of the Australian nests we have been watching. Only one fledge to go, Zoe, the Port Lincoln osplet.

If you missed it, here is Rubus’s start to his great adventure:

Thanks to ‘B’, who sent me this link, we can see Rubus and Indigo perched in trees! Thank you so much ‘B’.

This is the feeding recap for Zoe at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge up until 1500. ​06:14 Dad with partial fish. 06:14:12 Zoe steals fish from Mum.8:24:50 Partial by Dad. Zoe self feeds. 9:10:50 Zoe finishes the tail.

Making News:

Paith, the third hatch at the Dyfi nest of Idris and Telyn of 2022, has been spotted in another country. Emyr Evans needs permissions for all the details, etc. but this is fantastic news. Oh, tears. Need these third hatches to do well!!!!!!

The Melbourne Four make the news again and they are right. Who needs Netflix when we can have Nestflix?

https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/bird-s-eye-view-who-needs-netflix-when-you-can-tune-into-nestflix-20221116-p5bywe.html?fbclid=IwAR2MHVlDtBYcr46mtwCPkpd9gkSg7bJDEqoFy_7MiTjJu6XQcAoFQbneNiE

There was also just an amazing season tribute to the Melbourne Four that included ‘Old Dad’ (M17). Thank you for this! It came on a day when we needed some really positive news with Rubus fledging/fludging.

The Black-naped Pheasant-Pigeon was thought to be extinct. It was last seen in 1887. It has been found in New Guinea.

The very first egg of the season at the Kistanchie National Forest nest has been laid on Nest E-3. Congratulations!

Big Red was spotted on the Cornell campus along with one of the juveniles. It is always great to see Big Red, the international star of all Red-tailed Hawks! She is all flooded up to keep warm. Big Red had been spotted earlier out hunting – and it was successful. There is great comfort in knowing that she is alright. It seems that L4 is also still around the campus. That is also wonderful news.

No 10 The Red List: The Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)” by gilgit2 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

I have never heard of a Tree Pipit. As far as I know, we do not have them in Manitoba. Ed Douglas describes them this way, “Pipits are often regarded as dreary-looking birds, the avocado bathroom of the avian world. That only makes me love them more, but telling these flecked brown birds apart visually is a task of tooth-grinding attention to detail.” The Tree Pipit is a bit bigger than the other Pipets and its beak is thicker. “The Tree Pipit has a touch of swagger, strutting across the ground, tail pumping rhythmically, like a wagtail, as it hunts for insects.” The birds also breed on the ground laying a clutch of approximately six eggs in the grasses beneath the trees. Indeed, the birds like the woodlands and the fringes at the edges for raising their families. They flutter through the air in a way not dissimilar to a Black Capped Chickadee.

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)” by gilgit2 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Personally, I do not think they are Avocado Bathroom at all. The colouring is marvellous. Stop for a second and examine the range from a soft silvery white to the creams, the darker ash blonde, moving into the very dark blond and on to that deep 70% chocolate. They are stunning! Notice the white eye ring and the very subtle eye line.Move on to the wing and the teardrop pattern with the dark espresso lined by the white. Incredible. Striations only on the upper breast. This melody of brown and its hues is all topped off by velvety light rose legs and beak. I expect this little one to be wearing a matching light rose velvet hat with feathers carrying a matching handbag!

There are parts of the world where the Tree Pipit is of least concern but in the UK, its song and it are in dramatic decline. They migrate annually to Africa and when in the UK, their diet consists of insects gleaned from the woodland floor and old rotting trees. Declines can also be attributed to the use of insecticides and herbicides both in the UK and in Africa – to kill the insects which are then eaten by these small birds causing them to die. Secondary poisoning.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/13/country-diary-the-song-of-the-tree-pipit-is-a-rare-pleasure?CMP=share_btn_link

Migration News:

Little Waba is still in the Sudan fishing at the Nile River near Nori. She is obviously doing very well. The temperature in the area today was 26 degrees C.

Bonus is also in the same area in Turkey in Konya Province. It is considerably cooler there at 13 degrees C. Bonus also landed on a transmission tower today and everyone was very, very concerned because of the deaths from electrocution. He left, thankfully!

Oh, the time just flies by. It is hard to believe that we have our first Bald Eagle eggs in Florida and in Louisiana now and that we have only one more raptor to fledge in Australia, Zoe. It is a good time of year to take a deep breath, to remember those lovely feathered friends we have lost, and to be ever so grateful for those that survived.

Thank you for being with me today. Please take care of yourselves. Looking forward to having you with me again soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘B’, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Looduskalender Forum, OpenVerse, Suzanne Arnold Horning, Cornell Bird Labs, US Forestry Service KNF Bald Eagle Nests, CTV News, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, The Age, Ospreys. Ringed Birds and Sightings (UK), and 367 Collins Falcon Watchers.

Hovering, Nest building…Saturday in Bird World

19 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

I hope that you are well. So nice to have you with us this morning. It is a blue sky cold day, -14 C, on the Canadian Prairies. The kittens are up carrying toys and watching the Crows come for their morning feeding. The Grackles have already been to the suet feeder and the little Sparrows are all puffed up keeping warm in the lilac bushes.

It is a type of soft suet that the Starlings like. They can stand back and poke at it with their long sharp beaks.

The Blue Jays that fledged from the nest across the lane are still here. One was eating peanuts while these two were in the lilacs sunning themselves.

Nest News:

Yesterday Zoe got some really good height in her hovers. Thankfully she remained on the nest and did not fledge into those strong winds as that storm did roll in.

If you missed it, here are those beautiful early morning hovers.

Later, Mum is down in the nest with Zoe taking care of her only ‘baby’. Dad was not out fishing. If you remember, Zoe ate really well on Friday so did Mum. On Saturday morning, Mum took Dad’s fish and returned with the tail portion for Zoe. That has been the only meal so far and if the weather stays, it could be it for the day. Zoe will be fine. She is not going to starve.

Indigo continues to fly out of the scrape and return. This is excellent. Most of you watch the Bald Eagle nests as well as the Ospreys and it is ‘normal’ for fledglings to return to the nest for food, to fly and strengthen their wings being fed by the parents for a period of 4-6 weeks.

Rubus continues to do his wingers and the pair enthusiastically eat all that is brought into the scrape. There are still a few dandelions on Rubus but not many.

The brothers 9 days ago.

Just look at them all covered in down with Indigo revealing some lovely back and tail feathers.

Oh, little Rubus had to get to the front and jump in the beginning to get some prey. Hard to imagine now when both of them are screaming and running all over the scrape. Diamond and Xavier have raised two healthy feisty chicks.

‘A’ reports that it was raining so hard in Melbourne yesterday that the wipers had to be on full speed. Of course, all we can think of are the fledglings from 367 Collins Street. Positive wishes out to them to be safe and fed.

As the season in Australia winds down, everyone is on egg watch at the nest of Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers, Florida. The pair have been working diligently to rebuild their nest after Hurricane Ian. Sadly, that GHOW continues to plague our beloved eagle couple. Oh, I wish their nests were further apart!!!!

Harriet and M15 continue to work on their nest together. They are amazing.

Samson and Gabby have been at their nest, too, working away. They have had a three year old Eagle visiting the nest and I began to wonder if it could be Jules or Romey.

Mum and Dad have been rebuilding the nest in St Patrick’s Park in South Bend, Indiana. You will remember that this is the home nest of Little Bit ND17. They are making good progress and now, some snow has arrived. I sure wonder where Little Bit is! Gosh, we long for them to fledge and then we grieve to see them again hoping they survived that almost insurmountable first year.

Humane Wildlife Indiana sent out a clever fundraiser. They are asking for donations for the strays in their care to have a full fledged Christmas dinner. You can purchase one for one animal or more. I wonder why more animal sanctuaries do not do this? You might mention this to your local care group. It is a marvelous idea.

Making News:

Sadly, for the wrong reasons the adorable Melbourne Four make the news.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/collins-street-falcon-chick-dies-days-after-taking-wing-20221115-p5byi1.html?fbclid=IwAR22J_pnOqqPaRA8JqL7WcplN8ddPreG3bIpfCVw8kNgpVudjgCKWoSHXgI

Oh, our beloved Canada Geese are making news in the UK.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/18/country-diary-canada-geese-are-on-the-move-with-a-melancholic-honk-but-why?CMP=share_btn_link

No 9 The Red List: The Nightingale

It is the song of the Nightingale that has attracted writers for thousands of years. Pliny the Elder described its song more than 2000 years ago when animals were denied artistic abilities. He wrote: “the sound is given out with modulations, and now is drawn out into a long note with one continuous breath, now made staccato . . .” Ellen Finkelpearl continues in her short article on Pliny and the Nightingale that he did believe, strongly, that the natural world including our feathered friends can be artistic!

https://classicalstudies.org/plinys-cultured-nightingale

If you are a lover of Shakespeare, you will know that the Nightingale shows up in more of the plays, not just when Juliet educates Romeo on the wonderful song of the Nightingale.

Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.

Here is a fantastic blog that captures the portrayal of the Nightingale in all of Shakespeare’s works.

https://blogs.bl.uk/sound-and-vision/2016/04/shakespeare-and-the-nightingale.html#:~:text=The%20morning%20after%20their%20secret,is%20not%20yet%20near%20day.

In his entry in Red Sixty Seven, writer Luke Massey says, “…We should be ashamed that in our quest to clean our landscape, in our acrimonious divorce from nature, we have forgotten this songster and let it suffer. Despite its song we have ignored it ; we have let it fall silent in our copses, our scrub and our hedgerows. We have failed it and with that we have failed nature. Will we really let this be the last song of the Nightingale?”

Its very last space in the UK is under threat.

https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/2018/04/last-stronghold-of-nightingale-under-threat

There are problems with the Nightingale’s wings getting shorter due to climate change. That is mentioned in this great report for The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/01/nightingales-at-risk-due-to-shorter-wings-caused-by-climate-crisis

Changes in farming practices, the destruction of hedgerow and copses for more modern farming are all adding to end the life of this most beloved bird who nests are on the ground. There are fewer and fewer sites for this beloved bird to raise their young safely.

As I read more and more of what we have done to halt the lives of so many birds, it is readily apparent that the world needs to return to some of the ‘old ways’ and continue policies or re-wilding if we are to save our precious wildlife.

In the Mailbox:

‘EJ’ was wondering how these transmitters work – like the one put on Zoe at Port Lincoln. She found a great article and you might be wondering how these transmitters work, too. Thank you, ‘EJ’. Here is the link. You should be able just to click on it.

Technology (ospreytrax.com)

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care everyone. As I look at the weather report there is a severe weather alert for wind in both Orange and Port Lincoln. Maybe Zoe and Rubus – as well as Indigo – will take care today. Send best wishes to them!

Thank you to the following for their posts and their streaming cams that make up my screen captures: RSPB, The Guardian, Osprey Research, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, The Age, Lady Hawk and SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, NEFL-AEF, and Notre Dame Eagle Cam.

Hovering with Zoe!

18 November 2022

The eyes are all on Port Lincoln where it is the morning of the 19th of November. Zoe is all wound up just like Indigo was before she fledged. Oh, she wants to fly and she is getting some really good wind under those wings. We are so close to that first flight – the fledge!

I took a video clip for you to enjoy.

The problem is the weather. I am seeing overcast skies, chopping water, wind, and 100% chance of rain starting in less than six hours. Not a good day for a fledge unless Zoe is going to fly and return to the nest. We have come this far. I would hate for anything to happen to this super osplet.

Take care everyone. See you tomorrow!

Thanks Port Lincoln for your streaming cam where I took my video clip.

Indigo fed on top of tower…and other Early Friday news in Bird World

18 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope this newsletter finds all of you well. It is the end of the week. In a fortnight I will be on the island of Grenada in the West Indies visiting my son and looking for birds. He doesn’t know it but I have plotted the spots on the island and I am hoping that we can see at least 25% of the birds on the island – that would be about 40 new species. There are Ospreys right by his office and I am told hummingbirds and hawks in his garden. Can’t wait. With the pandemic, it has been far too long since I have seen him. There are many birds that I do not know or some that have similar names such as the Coot but the one in the Caribbean has a white shield on its head along with its white beak. There are any number of shore birds. So excited. I have a copy of the small book, Birds of the Eastern Caribbean on my desk to help me get acquainted.

In the Mailbox:

An absolutely timely and great question from ‘H’: “Funny you mentioned about the three Stepdads for Peregrine families. I was just thinking about that yesterday. I had wondered if you had ever known any other species where that had occurred. Have you known of any cases where another male had taken over responsibilities of hunting/incubating/parenting duties at the nests of Ospreys or Eagles, for example? (Not including where a chick had intentionally been placed on a different nest) Is this just a Peregrine Falcon thing?”

A bit of background for those not familiar. It is hard to imagine Diamond without Xavier. I recounted in my last blog how Xavier came and helped Diamond with her eyases when Bula disappeared. He was named Xavier because he was a saviour to our dear Diamond and her clutch. The eyases would not have survived having just hatched without Xavier bringing food to Diamond. We all know that Alden stepped in for Grinnell at the University of California at Berkeley scrape belonging to Annie. And we have recently witnessed Male2022 help raise Male2017’s eyases at the ledge scrape of 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. There are a number of instances coming out of the UK where a step dad or extended family members have helped raise clutches including fledglings. But, to get back to the question at hand.

Ospreys go absolutely crazy at the thought the eggs that are in the nest might belong to another male. I posted a couple of video examples a few months back of an osprey kicking the eggs out of the nest that he believed belonged to another male. I have never seen a male Osprey raise another male’s osplets. I have also never seen an eagle of any species take over the role of the male and raise another’s eaglets.

There are, as you seem to have indicated, many instances whereby the fostering of eggs and/or chicks has been successful but that is an entirely different situation to what you are asking. I have tried to find literature on the topic to more fully answer your question and if there is anyone reading this that knows of examples other than Peregrine Falcons becoming active step-dads, please do bring that to my attention.

After reading about ‘J’s’ budgie, Wolpe, Raj writes that they had a very similar incident with their pet birds. ” My pet budgie Daisy was best friends with Blue. Both inseparable. Loving each other always side by side. One day Daisy died. I held Daisy in my palm. Blue was so distressed and loudly screeched when Daisy died. Blue was very quiet not eating or playing.” When a new budget, Sky, came to the family, Blue was not interested. He was only in love with Daisy.” Thank you, Raj. This another beautiful example of the emotions that our feathered friends feel and express.

In the News:

Humans must steer clear of Yew trees as they are very poisonous to us but, not to our charming Nuthatches!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/16/country-diary-the-nuthatch-takes-a-toxin-that-can-paralyse-our-hearts

Australian Nests:

Zoe is a big girl. We knew that when they weighed and banded her but today, Mum purposefully left a nice fish (sans head) for Zoe to see what she would do. Well, Zoe took the fish and ate every last bite including the tail as watchers cheered her on. The fish tail was horked at 11:11.

Zoe takes pulls the fish over so she can eat it as Mum looks on. This is crucial – Mum is full and knows that Zoe needs to self feed and will be fledging soon.

“Nice talons you have, Zoe.” “All the better to scratch you with!”

At Orange, panic might have set in if you looked at the scrape and did not see any eyases in there. Indigo flew out and was on top of the tower. Look carefully and you will see Rubus sleeping in the corner – bottom left reveals his tail.

A really nice and informative interview with Cilla Kinross about the history of the scrape and the Peregrine Falcons at Orange.

Indigo left the scrape at 101439 and he returned at 121012. Diamond had been in the scrape with prey and flew out with it right when Indigo came back. Rubus was really wondering what was going on and gave some of his very loud prey cries.

After a busy morning with 4 prey deliveries in 5 hours – and one being removed – the two lads, Indigo and Rubus, settled down to a nice sleep on the ledge.

I don’t know about anyone else but, I am really pleased that Indigo is returning to the scrape box, flying off for short periods to strengthen him flying techniques, and then returning again for prey and rest. Surely this will help him to be much more successful!

‘A’ sent a link to a video of Indigo being fed on top of the water tower. Thanks, ‘A’! Great clip.

The Red List. No 8. White-tailed Eagle

White – tailed eagle” by gcalsa is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

At one time there were thought to be at least 1400 pairs of breeding White-tailed Eagles in the United Kingdom. By the beginning of the 20th century, the White-tailed Eagle was almost extinct. Before their recent re-introduction, the birds last bred in England and Wales in the 1830s, in Ireland in 1898 and in Scotland in 1916.   The RSPB reports that the last UK birds was shot in Shetland in 1918.

White-tailed eagle” by Ignacio Ferre is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Reintroduction efforts began in 1959 and 1968 in Scotland. They were not successful. Then in 1975, juvenile eagles brought to the UK from Norway were released on the Isle of Rum in the Hebrides. The first pair bred successfully a decade later and now there are 130 pairs of White-tail breeding Eagles across the west and north of Scotland.

White-tail Eagles have added much to the economy and at the Isle of Munn where there are so many, the boost to the local coffers from bird tourism was 5 million GBP. Still, humans kill these beautiful birds.

The reintroduction efforts were the hard work of Roy Dennis and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation. Continuing efforts are now overseen by the Sea Eagle Project Team – a joint effort of the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage. The biggest threats are predation by illegal killing particularly around the grouse hunting estates and secondary poisoning.  

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

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: ‘A’, OpenVerse, The Guardian, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and OmarGlobal.