Thank goodness for the Fish Fairies…Tuesday in Bird World

7 November 2023

Good Morning Everyone!

It drizzled again today. There were so many birds at the garden feeders that sometimes it seemed like a solid wall of wings fluttering about. The Starlings ate at the suet cylinders and the table feeder, but I also noticed that they were cleaning out the bowls of kibble for the stray cats my neighbour leaves near her garage. Everyone was hungry! Everyone ‘is’ hungry. The cat’s outdoor feeder has now been positioned so that it is covered, and the dishes stay dry from the rain and snow. Tomorrow will be another shelter for another stray – a huge demand. Every shelter in our city is full and cannot take any more cats, yet there is a constant list of new finds. People struggle to feed themselves and their children to pay rent or mortgage. I have said this before, but it is so worrisome – that which gives us joy and comfort is thrown out to the street, hoping that someone else will take it in or that our ‘best friend’ will find food somewhere and stay alive. It is the beginning of winter. This breaks my heart.

A lovely chat over tea and cardamon buns this afternoon with my granddaughter revealed that the homeless in my city with mental health problems are also struggling. There is no affordable housing. A young man who cannot live alone and whose father died recently was lucky to find a placement, but many do not. She says that they are put on the street and have to try and find a place to sleep in the homeless shelters – people are no different than the cats and dogs, the family pets, that are abandoned. My goodness, what a world we live in. We can delight in discovering that a thirty-something singer now has over a billion dollars in net worth while families struggle to feed themselves on a few hundred dollars a month. Sorry. There is a point to all of this.

Donations to help wildlife are way down. Ordinary families that used to donate to their local wildlife centre – either in the form of cash, volunteering, or wish list items can no longer afford to do so. If they cannot afford to keep their family pet, we know they cannot afford to feed the birds and other animals in their garden. It is a vicious circle, and I have no answer. There is so much waste, and with some ingenuity, a couple of individuals can arrange to collect the food waste and find a suitable place to deposit it for the birds that would happily devour it. Of course, I am thinking about the Crows. (I did find a spot to feed the local ones, but it is a secret to protect their safety because of local health regulations).

Many of you reading my blog will find that the increase in food prices – what? 30% plus – has impacted your way of living. Remember, one thing you can do is to put out water. Water is life. Every animal and every bird needs water to survive. If you are up to it, you can remind your friends and neighbours that the wildlife rehab clinics much need those clean, used towels and sheets. If someone dies and their friends and family do not know what to do with their things and are simply going to ‘get rid of them’, ask if you can check if there is anything that might be useful to the local rehab clinic near you or the animal shelters. You have yet to learn how valuable your actions can be for the shelters and clinics that are now struggling. So, thank you in advance!

My girls are spoiled. Today, Hope spent much time sleeping in Missey’s basket. I think Missey has decided to ‘give it’ to Hope. Hope is a little sleepy head in the image below. Hope and Missey spent much time watching their bird video while Calico tried to find a place to sleep ‘without Hope’. I can promise you that will never happen!

Things are a little out of order because I am so excited about what is happening on the Parramatta River that I have brought it up between the day’s events with the kittens.

I am still so excited about seeing the sea eagles flying around the mangroves near the River Roost of Lady and Dad that I can barely sit still. I can only imagine the joy the adults have in raising their eaglets from egg to fledge to freedom, knowing that they have taught them everything to survive – something that they have not been able to do in past years.

These images were taken by the BOGs and posted on the Sydney Sea Eagle cam, and shared all over FB. They are marvellous and show how strong the fledglings are! It is very reassuring.

‘A’ has some more news this morning: “Tuesday 7: early morning, during the last of this season’s annual Bird surveys, several of us saw both adults and we assume SE32 over on the mangroves across the river. After 10am, we also saw one adult fly across the Nature Reserve Wetlands and then back to the river. Later at around 3:15, the juvenile was seen eating on the ground under the mangroves, after one of the parents brought prey in. Wonderful to see it eating. We have not spotted the second juvenile today. The juvenile osprey from a few bays away is returning to eat near the nest high on a light tower in a playing field. It is interesting to compare the post-fledge behaviour of the 2 species.”

This news, along with the extremely robust eyases at Orange and the Fish Fairies at Port Lincoln, means that the Australia streaming cams have had a good year – not 100% – but an amazing year nonetheless. I would love to have seen the CBD raise their falcons, but that is something to look forward to next year and let us all continue to hope that the Collins Street Mum is well.

It rained on Sunday and it rained a little today. The snow is melting revealing bright green grass. It is a nice surprise – welcome when everything else is grey or brown. The girls have been hanging out in the conservatory enjoying the warmer weather and several chapters from Margaret Renkl’s new book. Tomorrow we pick up another feral winter home for the outdoor kitties.

Hope is a big beautiful girl – almost as big as Mamma. She loves to pose.

Calico’s favourite perch. Missey likes the top and Hope loves the house and bothering Missey’s tail so they all can share and get along – which they are doing, thankfully.

Missey is getting quite ‘woolly’ for the winter. She gets brushed five or six times a day, which is still insufficient for her liking.

The December birdseed order has been delivered from the local farmers. One only handles Black Oil Seed, and the other does a mixture of millet, corn, safflower, and sunflower seeds. It seemed as if the Blue Jays were not so happy with just the Black Oil Seed, so now they have a choice along with the Dark-eyed Juncos, who are still here. If you feed birds, check out local farmers who bypass all the middle handlers and sell directly to those who feed the birds.

Moving on to check our active nests…

At Port Lincoln, Mum cleaned the nest and found some fish.

Meanwhile, Mum is waiting for Dad to get off the ropes and go fishing.

So grateful for the fish fairies. These chicks might not have made it to this age. They are 23 and 21 days old today. Mum waiting with Giliath and #2 for a fish delivery. Mum leaves. Dad remains on the ropes. Thank goodness for those scraps in the nest, too!

At 11:50, the chat says “Fish Fairies on their way”. Relief. Giliath and #2 are so precious. So is Mum.

A large Trevally lands on the nest. Oh, goodness. This will make some nice meals!

Dad will take the fish after the first feeding. He will have a good feed and return it to Mum, who will feed the osplets again and hopefully finish off the tail herself. I hope Dad will get out and bring another fish to the nest before evening.

‘A’s report is always welcome. She tells me that today is the Melbourne Cup and everyone stops everything for the horse race! “The osplets are hungry today, with nothing brought to the nest by either parent, although mum did discover some nestovers very early this morning (about 05:48) and fed a fish tail to the two chicks. We are told by the mods that the fish fairy is on her way as I type, so a large feeding is about to occur. The current joke is that mum and the osplets will be meeting the boat! Certainly, mum is gone for no more than two minutes when fish are delivered. She knows Janet by now and I think she is well aware no harm is meant by the fishmonger. Looking forward to watching this pair eat. I love them both but Little Bob is such a feisty lad, his sister being far more laid-back. Perhaps Giliath is also male. I have thought the size discrepancy made that unlikely, but even when both eat their fill, Giliath is definitely eating at least twice as much as its younger sibling at a lot of the feedings. So it’s hard to tell, but I would still have my money on Giliath being the big sister to younger brother Little Bob. The temperaments seem to be the reverse of what gender would suggest. “

‘A’ and I spend a lot of time discussing the Port Lincoln Osplets and we both wonder – as I have in this post earlier – what would have been the fate of this nest this year without the fish fairies: “Today was a day to wonder what may have happened in the absence of the fish fairy, whose single giant trevally (13:07) was the only fish of the day. There were two monster feedings from the fish, and of course mum ate a lot of fish herself (as always), plus dad took it away for a bit and then brought it back for the second feeding. What interested me the most was how confident Little Bob was – lining up first, getting the prime position, and then reaching for bites in front of his huge sister, who did not object in any way or at any stage. These two are the best of friends, and I would suspect two males were it not for the massive size discrepancy between them. There are times when Giliath does get fed a lot more than her brother because mum for some reason concentrates on her, but mostly Little Bob is eating as much as Giliath, and at all meals, he seems to eat as much as he is able to. (He turns away from feedings, too full to continue, then returns to rejoin the feeding or gets pursued by mum attempting to smother him in fish.) So I have to believe their difference in size represents a gender difference, though we won’t know until banding of course. I do love to watch this pair though. They are so amicable and it is just a wonderful nest to watch as a result. I wonder whether dad feels the pressure has been lifted by the fish fairy or whether fishing conditions were simply bad today. “

At Orange, Marri is beginning to look like a falcon, bigger than Diamond. Both share in the prey and continue to look out to the wide world. The parents will soon turn to doing flying demonstrations with prey in their talons in front of the scrape as fledge approaches.

Diamond appears to be smiling all over. Look at those eyes as she stares at her daughter, Marri.

Barru is a cutie-pie but not match for Marri in a tug-o-war. Thank goodness they get along brilliantly.

The Bald Eagles are either laying eggs, thinking about eggs, or working on nests in preparation for eggs in the US.

Martin and Rosa have made great progress on their brand new nest!

We are expecting at an egg with Missey and Pa Berry at Berry College any time.

Smitty is still missing.

The most recent visit of the male with Bella at the NCTC nest is caught by Deb Stecyk.

Poor Bella. She continues to work on her nest with no news of Smitty.

Gabby and V3 are checking out the nest bowl at NEFlorida.

An owl goes after V3 (for the second time in as many days).

The rails are high and the one camera is set low but Muhlady is in the nest at Superbeaks incubating those two eggs.

More GHOs looking for nests and thinking of those that belong to Bald Eagles! This time at the nest of Abby and Blazer.

Fingers crossed for this pair of Black Storks.

Had to check on the only storklet fledgling of Karl II’s to have a transmitter this year – Kalvi. He is now in southern Turkey. Stay safe, Kalvi!

Wonderful news coming out of Kielder from Joanne Dailey and from Jean-marie Dupart in Senegal:

As we know from the Black Storks flying together (Karl II and Kaia) as well as others, Audubon’s recent report supports the notion of flock migration.

As you might be aware, the names of American birds are about to be changed. Here is a good read on why this huge task of removing names related to individuals is taking place.

Thank you so very much for being with us today. Please take care. We hope to see you with us again soon.

Thank you to the following for their notes, videos, articles, images, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog for today: ‘A’, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam and the BOGS, PLO, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Gracie Shepherd, Dulles-Greenway Eagle Cam, Berry College Eagle Cam, Deb Stecyk, Paul Kolnik, NEFL-AEF, Lady Hawk, Superbeaks, Eagle Country, Maria Marika, Looduskalender, Joanne Dailey and Jean-marie Dupart, Audubon, and The Guardian.

Beaky kisses and SE32 eating in the mangroves…Monday in Bird World

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!

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: 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.

The osplets are ‘itchy’…Sunday in Bird World

5 November 2023

Good Morning Everyone,

Saturday was a day that fluctuated between blue skies and grey. It was also the day I learned all there is to know about making insulated homes for the feral cats that come to my feeder. Our winters are cold and can be wet with heavy snow. I often long for the dry snow that used to blow across the country roads, creating ‘whiteouts’ on the highway. Most often, I was told when I first arrived on the Canadian Prairies, people would go off the road and into the ditch but on the other side. Whiteouts are precisely that – solid white – opaque milk glass. You quickly get disoriented when you are driving, and the snow is blowing across the highway.

The insulated boxes mean ‘The Boyfriend’ and another friend (wonder who that will be?) will have warm and dry places to stay if they choose – under the deck. That horrid old carpet that needs to be replaced will remain til spring. It will keep the snow from falling between the decking onto the ground below. Hopefully, they will have a nicer winter.

Calico can watch them from inside, snug and warm. Gosh, I love how that cat finally came to trust me. The three girls are such wonderful gifts. They are creatures of ritual and the story reading one is very precious. It reminds me of the time when my children were small and cuddled in for their bedtime stories. Now they nestle on the scrap quilt my grandmother made beside me – Calico and Hope – with Missey either on the table or the cat tree. I am so lucky. If petting a cat removes stress, my life should be completely stress free!

Today I did put a little post in FB seeking out a very young male kitten, a little brother for them. I am looking for a little boy younger than Hope, perhaps 6-8 weeks. Fingers crossed.

Calico trying to catch a ‘cat nap’. Hope does sleep but rather than eat or sleep, she would much rather play!

In keeping to my promise to try and get out to the park for a walk at least 5 days out of 7, I headed off to check on the Wood Ducks, the Mallards, and the Canada Geese that were at Kildonan Park a week ago. There is an area by the ‘Witches Hut’ where people come to feed them seed.

There were no ducks in sight, but there were twenty-five Canada Geese.

Squirrels who are getting their thick winter coats were chasing one another all around the park, up and down the trees, and across the snow. Isn’t this one adorable with his paw across his chest? I bet he thought I might have a peanut. Sadly, I did not – which reminds me that I must get some peanuts for the feeders. They must be rationed because of Little Red, who will take them all and not share. Dyson and Gang, along with the Blue Jays generally eat the nuts this time of year.

‘H’ knows how much I love ducks and geese, and she checks on the Barnegat Light streaming cam regularly. Today, she sent me such a treat – a short video clip of the Brandt Geese. You should check out that streaming cam! Oh, I would love to be sitting in those dunes listening to them.

Wikipedia gives us the following information: “The brant is a small goose with a short, stubby bill. It measures 55–66 cm (22–26 in) long, 106–121 cm (42–48 in) across the wings and weighs 0.88–2.2 kg (1.9–4.9 lb).[4][5][6][7] The under-tail is pure white, and the tail black and very short (the shortest of any goose).The species is divided into three subspecies:[8]

  • Dark-bellied brant goose B. b. bernicla (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Pale-bellied brant goose B. b. hrota (Müller, 1776) (also known as light-bellied brent goose in Europe, and Atlantic brant in North America)
  • Black brant goose B. b. nigricans (Lawrence, 1846) (sometimes also known as the Pacific brant in North America)”.

Audubon describes their migration. It is possible that ‘L’ spotted one in Mobile Bay today!

“Long-distance migrant, travelling in flocks. Birds from central Canadian Arctic move down east side of Hudson Bay, then may make nonstop flight overland from southern James Bay to central Atlantic Coast of USA. In Alaska, large numbers gather at Izembek Lagoon and then depart almost simultaneously for long overwater flight to wintering areas on Pacific Coast. Migrating flocks may fly very high. Wintering birds may linger later in spring than most geese, as coastal breeding areas in high Arctic remain unsuitable for nesting until summer.”

Brant Geese” by flythebirdpath > > > is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Brant Geese” by Andrew_N is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

In her book, The Comfort of Crows, Margaret Renkl says, “The world will always be beautiful to those who look for beauty.”

In the garden, it was damp and grey today. The snow is melting and everything looks ugly. I’m not too fond of this time of year. When you leave your garden to be messy to help the birds and insects, there are some weeks when everything looks so dishevelled, so rotten, in such a mess. I must remind myself that all of this is for the greater good and hope that a large dump of snow will come and cover it with a winter blanket until spring!

The European Starlings flew in and out, and a Blue Jay has been searching through the Black oil Seed to see if the Sparrows left him anything. It is time to go and get some food just for the Blue Jay, but, of course, that will not work as the others will want to share in the goodies, too.

This is Junior, the Dad. He was at the feeder with the youngest of the fledglings the other day. Several appear to have moved on. Often Junior will stay for most of the winter.

It has been especially difficult to get a good image of the Starlings when they come in during the day. They are fond of the solid suet and have consumed many large cylinders this past week in their attempt to keep warm.

Now if I misspell names, tell me! Bazz not Bazza, Giliath. I put an ‘a’ in there. It is Barru and Marri. Apologies all around. My fingers sometimes go faster than my brain!!!!!!!

At the beginning of the season at Orange, my wish was for one healthy eyas. Instead, we have two. Double happiness for Diamond and Xavier this year. And that second hatch is quite the character. Barru and Marri have their ongoing tug-o-wars for prey and then, in a wink, sit there and pull off pieces, sharing their lunch. What great siblings!

It has been a glorious year at Orange.

Just look at how much soft white down is coming off the backs and wings of these two. Imagine if you will that it might well be all gone, flying about the scrape along with the feathers from the prey being plucked. Marri and Barru are turning into ‘falcons’.

‘A’ reports: “There was much wingercising, eating and screeching, along with zoomies around the scrape. THOSE EYES! Oh how gorgeous are those sidelong glances? So very cute. And we’re only a week from fledge watch!! Surely not. Already? Here are today’s time stamps: PREY 07.02 04, 08.16.37, 09.50.37, 17:10:18, 19.09.00, 19.18.35 FEED 07.02(M,D,B), 09.52(M,D,B), 11:57(X scrap from floor), 17:10 (M&B), 19.09(M&B), 19.19 (M,D). HIGHLIGHTS: 17:18 Barru takes the prey! 18:05:46 Marri shows off her giant wings but 18:07:18 Barru wins the winger competition. 18:08:23 they discuss it with beakies. 19:18:38 tug-o-war between Barru and Marri. Barru wins the tug-o-war at 19:18:49. We will miss this pair. What huge personalities they both are. As always, Diamond and Xavier do raise one male chick each year who is a very memorable eyas indeed. Izzi. Yurruga. Rubus. And this year, Barru. I do think this is their first female chick in many many years – Marri is definitely female IMO, as she is as big as her mum (bigger with all that fluff) and towers over poor little Xavier.” 

The water at Port Lincoln is choppy. Will Dad get a fish in? How will the boat ride be for Fran and Bazz as they head out to get fish for the nest on the barge?

Giliath and #2 are getting almost too big to fit under Mum comfortably. You will be able to notice the pin feathers coming in if you look carefully.

The kids are preening. Feathers are itchy!

It is 1244 and no fish has arrived at Port Lincoln yet – not from Dad or the fish fairy. Thinking they need a tank!

It is mid-afternoon. Dad appears on the ropes. Mum and kids in the nest waiting for fish. I hope the fish fairies are not having difficulty finding the catch of the day.

‘A’ reports: “At Port Lincoln, dad brought in only one small fish for the entire day (at 10:07:20), which fed both osplets a small snack. So it was indeed fortunate that the fish fairy delivered an extra large whole trevally (709 grams) at 14:51. This fed both kids to their gills (the feeding lasted 69 minutes), and there was another feeding from the same fish at 16:27 which was listed on the Obs Board as small but apparently lasted for 29 minutes. Either way, both osplets had full crops at bedtime.” 

It is raining in the Sydney Olympic Forest home to the Sea Eagles and the two fledglings SE31 and 32.

Several years ago, a dear ‘late’ friend, Phyllis Robbins, introduced me to Cathy Cook. Cathy lives near the Discovery Centre, and you might remember that she has helped spot the sea eagle fledglings when they are grounded. She has helped on more than one occasion to get help for them, even riding with them in the van to the rehab clinic. I so admire her dedication to these beautiful raptors. Today, Cathy has some news for us that will make you smile.

Then there is more great news!!!!!!!!!!!! Just tape that smile on your face. Look at this sea eaglet.

‘A’ sends the report from Sydney: “November 5: Rain and wind this morning. No action on the nest during the day, but great observations from our ground team again. One juvenile, we think SE32, was seen with the parents across the river in the mangroves, possibly eating as well. Both appear to be still in the area. The watching and listening continues.”

Gracie Shepherd caught Irv and Claire at the US Steel Bald Eagle nest in Pennsylvania. Bravo! I keep missing them. So glad they are both home safe and planning for a new season.

Gabby and V3 continue to work on their nest near Jacksonville. Have these two ever mated? ‘A’ has been sceptical for some time. Now, I am starting to wonder. Why would V3 be camera-shy?

And at Duke Farms…

There are beautiful eagles in the trees with their fall leaves at Decorah.

It was a stunning morning at Big Bear, but I did not see Jackie and/or Shadow at the nest (yet). Don’t you love the way the sun rising creates those beautiful diamonds?

Pepe and Muhlady are taking such good care of that precious egg. Look for another soon!

The situation at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest of M15 and F23 – or is it the nest of the GHOs – is worrisome. Whose nest is it? M15 and F23 have not been sleeping at the nest. Do they know that the owls are staking it out as their own?

Some news from around the world:

A growing colony of terns! Oh, I do love terns. My friend ‘S’ has some terns living in her garden on the Hawaiian islands, and they are so pretty. We also have terns in Manitoba during the spring and summer breeding seasons.

Banana noses????

Short-tailed Albatross incubating eggs on Midway.

The Black Stork migration continues. Maria Marika reports that many are flying over Egypt. They are almost to their winter homes. I hope Kaia is with them and she is safe. It would be grand if Karl II was by her side – hard to imagine we lost him.

The Royal Albatross continue to return to Taiaroa Peninsula to find their mates and start the process of nest building and egg laying!

Do you know this nest cam with squirrels and songbirds in Nagano?

Please share. Once, when we were trying to protect some Cooper’s Hawk nests in my city, I was told repeatedly, that the hawks had been carrying away the local dogs! The gentleman who told me this was busy trying to locate all the nests in the area so he could destroy them. It took great effort and one of the local wildlife officers to deter his actions.

Thank you so much for being with us today in Bird World. Please stay safe. I hope to see you soon.

Thank you to the following for their notes, their posts, photographs, videos, graphics, articles, and streaming cams that helped me write my blog today: ‘A, B, H, L’, Wikipedia, Audubon, Openverse, Margaret Renkl, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, PLO, Cathy Cook, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, Gracie Shepherd, Rohan Geddes, NEFL-AEF, Duke Farms, Raptor Resource Project/Explore, FOBBV, Superbeaks, Androcat, Bird Guides, The Petrel Station and Seabird Tours and Research, Holly Parsons, Maria Marika, Lady Hawk, Nagano Songbird Cam, and The Medina Raptor Centre.

Saturday in Bird World

4 November 2023

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that finds you all well and that your weekend will be a lovely one.

‘M’ sent me an image of Bald Eagles along our river. A gathering of eagles is called an aerie or a convocation. There were apparently hundreds of eagles, of various ages, yesterday along the Red River.

The raptors are coming down from the far north, feeding at our rivers in the south. The Partridge and Grouse are about and lots of small mammals.

The girls are recovering from their big day on Thursday. They mostly slept but I was delighted to see that Missey and Hope were playing on the big cat tree and chasing one another around the house. Missey has been eating lots of organic chicken and I do hope that she is on the mend from missing Lewis. He was her best friend. He was always with her. I know that she has been lonely and missing that companionship.

I did not have my camera when they were together but here is Missey watching Hope on the floor getting ready to pounce and run!

It could be a better image. All of these used the phone camera, but here they are on the same cat tree- Calico and Missey. Who is the boss?

The day hovered right around freezing and then in the late afternoon the temperature began to rise a tad. It is -6 C at 2130 Friday night and tomorrow our high will be -1 C. I hope the wind is not bad. I am wondering if any ducks or geese remain anywhere. Hoping to get out to check on Saturday.

In the meantime, ‘EJ’ wrote to me about a book. It is called The Comfort of Crows. A Backyard Year. by Margaret Renkl. This is an incredible read. The girls and I began, and we are now halfway through. Renkl digs deep into her soul as she looks out at the birds in her garden and her new year’s bird, which happens to be a Crow. She closely examines all things – flowers, weeds, the vines climbing up a tree, the knots in the wood to help us appreciate the natural world even though we are destroying it.

Renkl has a wonderful way with words. Writing of winter she says, “Even the most ideologically stubborn amongst us have finally come to understand how fragile winter truly is. It is only the first week o February, but the daffodils have already begun to bloom. There can be no reasonable argument about what is happening to the planet, now that daffodils so commonly bloom in February.” In another chapter, “I’m not trying to hide from the truth but to balance it, to remind myself that there are other truths, too. I need to remember that the earth, fragile as it is, remains heartbreakingly beautiful.”

Renkl addresses the need to leave our leaves: “An unkempt garden offers more than just food for the birds. The late offspring of certain butterflies, like the black swallowtail, spend fall and winter sealed away in a chrysalis clinging to the dried stems of what’s left of a summer garden…These days we don’t drag fallen limbs out to the street for the city chipper service to clean up, either. A good brush pile is a boon to ground-foraging birds, who eat insects from the decomposing wood, and to all manner of small animals hiding from predators or sheltering from the wind and snow.”

“According to birding tradition, the first bird you see on the first day of the new year sets the tone for your next twelve months.”

I love how she describes the beauty that surrounds her – asking us to look at what is near, to notice what we might not have seen, to treasure what is before us now – staring us in the face – before it is gone.

Moving on to a quick check around Bird World.

Where is Smitty? Are there more battles? Is Smitty healing or injured and cannot return to the nest? We know that he has been away in the past for periods of time – some so long we fear his demise. What will happen at the NCTC nest this breeding season?

We almost lost an eyas at Orange. How many times did we worry about the chicks falling off the ledge at Collins Street in Melbourne? Well, during a tug-o-war, we almost lost Barru at Orange.

Early morning recap at Orange:PREY 06:43:16, 06:49:48, 07:34:38, 10.37.35 FEED 06:43(M&B), 06:49(M), 07:35(D), 09.22(D earlier juv star), 10.37(M) RECAP 06.47.40 Barru slips off ledge & recovers

SK Hideaways catches that fall for us:

Besides the fright of Barru almost being lost to us, a huge storm went through the area. Hail came flying into the scrape! Barru and Marri were both curious and afraid but look at Diamond’s eyes as she takes cover in the corner.

I want to – for a second or third time – thank Fran, Bazza, and Janet for their foresight in providing fish for the Osprey family at the barge. It would be possible to gather the stats on the fish provided at various osprey nests over the past several years – nests that have fledged 2 or 3, sometimes four chicks. I hope to see Dad bringing 4-5 nice-sized fish to this nest for this family of four daily. Indeed, I would like for it to be more. That is not happening regularly. His average appears to be about two fish. The supplemental fish are keeping the bonking down and the family fed. I fear what would happen if this were not the case.

Galiath’s little wings.

More copper-red feathers coming in.

Hoping for fish.

It is nearing 1100, and there has been no fish at Port Lincoln. It is now 1158. Dad has been in the shed on the barge and is now on the nest. No fish. The fish fairy cannot come soon enough. The chicks are being good, but it is clear that they are hungry, and so are the adults.

‘A’ gives us the report: “That half fish dad brought in at 16:16 was the last for the day, and there was a short feeding from it, largely going to Giliath because Little Bob was not really interested. Both were still full from the feeding that had not really ended after the visit of the fish fairy at 15:38. The interesting part was the osplets waiting until 12:27 for breakfast, with the bonking incident that resulted more from boredom than from hunger I think. When breakfast/lunch finally came, it was huge and the feeding lasted for 42 minutes. Both also ate extremely well at the 38-minute feeding that followed the fish fairy’s visit. So fewer feedings (only three really) but larger ones.”

And then there was this from ‘A’s Australian report that really put a smile on my face!

“I’ve left the best till last. I know this is clutching at straws but the news from WBSE is marginally (okay, I know, but just a tiny bit) better than the two days before. Here is tonight’s report from Ranger Judy:

November 4: neither parent was seen on the nest overnight, but were seen down on their river roost in the morning and later during the day. Our ground team found SE31 and watched her for about 3 hours. She then flew off strongly and was seen again later several times. Earlier, one of the parents caught a fish and then the other had bird prey – both flew with prey over the wetlands, as if encouraging a juvenile to approach. We have not definitely seen either juvenile feeding though the ground team are fairly confident they have seen or heard both today. Whenever either has been seen, other birds have been swooping still. Late in the afternoon, Dad brought in a large bream which he then ate himself. It is a pity neither juvenile was there to get it. All is more positive though.

‘A’ recalls, “I know, but remember two things. First, SE32 definitely had a crop when he arrived at that nest nearly three days after fledging. Before he rested on the nest most of the day and ate the fish his dad brought him. He had definitely eaten since fledging. And second, on the occasions SE32 was seen being harassed by smaller birds on the ground, he flew off strongly, with good lift, each time. “

Dr Sharpe retired. Really? He is out helping set up new cameras. One at the West End for Thunder and Akecheta at their new nest and now at Frazer Point for Andor and Cruz. So looking forward to eagle season on the Channel Islands.

The behaviour of the GHOs at the nest of M15 and F23 is continuing to worry some.

Baiba gives us a few minutes with V3 and Gabby on the nest.

This is the tower where Karl II was electrocuted. Someone asked me if Kaia would know if he died. They were flying in a flock. She is the pink line, and Karl II is the blue in the image below. You can see where their paths diverge.

This is a new tower. Why were safety measures for raptors and storks not put in place?

Here is the news for Kalvi – and fingers crossed.

I reviewed Carl Safina’s lovely book the other day about Alfie, the Owl, that he rescued. Here is a short article in the garden about what Safina learned. Enjoy.

As Bonfire night approaches in the UK, here is a reminder! Oh, how I love hedgehogs. They would eat the fruit in the orchard at the end of our garden and sometimes come for water at the back door. Warning, though. Do not pick one up. They are full of fleas ordinarily. Seriously. Adorable. Full of fleas.

All of the other nests appear to be doing well. That is excellent news coming out of Sydney. Fingers crossed for images of 31 and/or 32.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, graphics, videos, posts, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog this morning: ‘A, EJ, M’, Amazon, Deb Stecyk, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, SK Hideaways, PLO, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, IWS, Lady Hawk, Baiba, The Guardian, and Maria Marika.

Thursday in Bird World

2 November 2023

Oh, good morning everyone!

It is a very special day at our house today. When our vet examined Calico and said she was not a year old and that her best guess was that she was only ten months at the time, she asked me to pick a birthday for Calico. I picked 2 November. So today is Calico’s first birthday. We are having a little party full of lots of treats and an extra chapter of story time. We have now finished H is for Hawk and starting another book. Will tell you all about it tomorrow.

There will be some treats and an attempt at a birthday cake made of tinned food plus lots of love.

Some flashbacks…

Calico on 7 May 2023 when she was an outdoor kitty. She came regularly for food and slept under the lilacs. Often she slept under the deck.

30 June. By now, Calico is bursting and it is apparent that the kittens she is carrying will be born any day. And they were, two days later. She came to the feeding station many times during the day. She would eat for no more than 5 minutes and rush back to where she had hidden her kittens.

26 July. Her kittens are three weeks old. We have been looking for them.

26 August. Calico has joined the family inside. We hope to find her only surviving kitten.

The next day, Calico has relaxed.

Out with the rest of the family on 4 September. This will be a momentous day.

Little Hope shows up at the feeder. She will be humanely trapped and brought inside to join her Mamma and her new family.

Little Hope on 1 November 2022. She was born on 2 July so she is four months old today. Hope is a real treasure. Look at those eyes.

It is also another special day. It was one year ago today that Missey and Lewis joined our family. Oh, how I wish Lewis was still with us. He died way too young. Poor lad. You would not know that the fate of feline viruses would turn against him so quickly.

Lewis and Missey were so cute and tiny and so full of love for one another.And what a great day it was….these two brought me so much comfort and joy.

Missey still misses Lewis. She has lost some weight and we are monitoring her closely. Spending extra time with her and making sure that she gets lots of good roast chicken.

Once upon a time, the term ‘publish or perish’ was a big part of my university academic life. After a residency at Hospitalfield (the first art school in the UK) in Arbroath, Scotland, which focused on the environment, I became ever more critical of ceramics as a practice of making. Four book chapters highly critical of the teaching of the discipline came out of that residency. The last one will be published this summer.

Books take a long time to reach publication – this one some six years. Since then, I have retired and moved on to what truly sparks my life – osprey behaviour and conservation. It is nice to be putting this ‘to bed’ as they say.

The book ‘Finding Hope’ should be finished in the new year. It will address the tragedy of people dumping pets through the eyes of Calico and Hope. The proceeds will go to our local mobile vet unit that spays and neuters strays and feral cats in our City. Will keep you posted. It was a joy to write – just getting the illustrations perfect and the layout.

Now, let’s get to the three nests we are following and then to check on any recent news.

SK Hideaways gives us some chuckles thanks to Marri and Barru.

Oh, these two are so cute. They are both doing really well at the self-feeding and in the images below you can see that both are getting prey. Marri is flapping those wings and the baby down is flying all around the scrape. Marvellous.

Just look at those beautiful wings being revealed.

Barru is tired.

Just look at the difference in size between Galiath and #2.

Dad brought the fish at 06:48. Both had large crops, #2 achieved that goal first, I believe. They are both well and truly in the Reptilian Phase!

Look carefully at the nape of the neck and there is a hint of the copper feathering on Galiath. Their colouring is as dark as the ebony of their beaks with the pin feathers making them look like they are wearing a Donegal Tweed.

And the clown feet are here, too.

Babies are hungry.

Still waiting. No fish fairy either. Odd that there is not a regular time for the delivery of the daily supplement.

The fish fairy arrives. Mum eats and then feeds Galiath and #2. Dad arrives a little later with a fish but Mum has had the supplemental fish so Dad will leave with it returning with the fish tail which he will also remove as Mum and the chicks are full. All have eaten – Dad has to eat as well.

The experiment that is taking place is interesting. Will the number and amount of total weight of fish change as the chicks require more food? It reminds me of the kindness of Urmas and his team with the Black Storks in Estonia. They are endangered there, like the Ospreys are in South Australia. To attempt even a slight change of increasing the population, humans realised quickly that habitat destruction and weather patterns, lack of rain and food, meant that Urmas and his team had to provide food. Similarly, thankfully, Fran, Bazza, and Janet knew they had to help this nest.

She moves! #2 has a huge crop. Galiath is being fed. Mum and the two chicks will be full.

Galiath is full and turns away. #2 is still being fed. Mum does turn to see if Galiath wants some more fish then she takes some large bits for herself.

Oh, Galiath changed her mind! It could be the only fish they will have until tomorrow morning. Best ill up completely, crop drop and eat some more.

The report from Port Lincoln so far:

06:38A brief, morning bonking starts. Mum’s blocking the view. Looks like chick #2 started it and Giliath retaliates. Chick #2 submits.Couple of minutes later, Giliath nibbles at Mum’s talons.
06:48Dad in with a whole fish!Dad (L,Whole)
06:48 1Mum feeds. Giliath’s in front. Both chicks get full crops! Dad takes the fish. Mum eats scrapes on nest.
09:03Giliath bonks chick #2 and chick #2 submits. Then Giliath bonks Mum! Mum doesn’t react.9:18 Giliath bonking chick #2 again. Giliath gets distracted when Mum comes back into the nest with nesting material.
10:37Mum takes out some sea weed and brings it back in. Mum’s making trips bringing in some of nesting material.10:55 Giliath tries to do some nest work too. lolEven more nesting material! Chick #2 tries to help out with the nest work as well!  lol
15:073 supplemental fish delivered! 2 red mullet!Sup. Fish (M,Whole)
15:24Dad in with a partial fish!Dad (M,Part)
15:24Dad takes the partial fish off after Mum shows no interest with the supplemental fish.
15:37Dad back on the nest with his fish tail. Mum’s not interested and he takes it off to eat.

HeidiMc got the feeding on video! They love their Red Mullet.

The camera at the Sea Eagles nest points away towards the river and where we might see the adults flying about or even, in my most desired dreams, a juvenile. One eagle was in the nest over night (or were there two) and both were at the nest for a brief period in the morning.

I am more than worried about SE31 and 32 as there appears to have been no sighting of them in several days.

SK Hideaways caught their rendezvous. They must be searching for their children in the forest and around the river. Let us hope that they find one another.

M15 sure picked a beauty! Let us all cross our fingers and toes that their babies – their first clutch together – are safe from egg to fledge.

Work continues at the NE Florida nest of V3 and Gabby.

Fish gifts for Gabby?

There is snow at the nest of Little Bit ND17 and some concern that the new female is lost to us. Locals are keeping an eye.

It was a beautiful day for having a meal at Dulles-Greenway.

Pepe flies out of the nest taking much of that nice moss for his and Muhlady’s eggs on Wednesday. Oh, that makes me nervous. Seen too many osprey chicks and eaglets pulled off accidentally when nesting material gets caught in the talons of the adults.

There were 522 people watching the Big Bear nest of Jackie and Shadow hoping to get a glimpse of our couple. They were not disappointed.

Did Ron’s Rose at the WRDC nest fly into something that had white paint on it?

Dyson, not the squirrel, but the hooded crow, visited Loch Arkaig. So many visitors during the off-season for the Ospreys. It is lovely to see all the wildlife.

Cross your fingers and toes. Karl II’s chick of 2023 with its transmitter is in Turkish territory.

Falco continues to enjoy his freedom around New York City’s Central Park. Thanks Bruce Yolton for taking him down!

Remember we talked about Ospreys that are still in their spring and summer breeding grounds in the UK and Colorado. Here is one in Newfoundland, Canada today! Unbelievable. There is apparently an endless supply of Brown Trout going through the area at the moment. Maybe this is the smartest of the local ospreys!

Midway Island. This is from a year ago. There will be another count soon.

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

Thank you to the following for their notes, posts, articles, videos, and streaming cams that helped me to write my blog today: Wilfred Laurier Press, SK Hideaways, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, PLO, Heid Mc, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, Hazel sky, NEFL-AEF, Lady Hawk, ND-LEEF, Dulles-Greenway, Superbeaks, FOBBV, Geemeff, Maria Marika, Bruce Yolton, John Alexander, and the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels FB.

Karl II has perished in Turkey…Tuesday in Bird World

31 October 2023

Hello Everyone,

We had snow squalls. Friends report that the ducks – Mallards and Wood Ducks – were still at the park along with geese and Wilson’s Snipes, Crossbeaks, and Pine Siskins. At the garden feeders, there were double the amount of birds feeding while ‘The Boyfriend’ came and ate roast chicken. He has taken up residence in the heated insulated house under the deck and can hear me when I go out with food. Smart guy!

Hope has taken over Missey’s basket. Missey does not seem to mind at all. Little sleepy head. Hope is an absolute gem. I wonder if her ‘black’ will change. Calico’s is black mixed with white making her look like she is charcoal or ‘salt and pepper’.

When Bird World gets ‘sad’ and when I get so angry that humans with all our so-called progress kill birds every day through negligence, these cats calm the mind. They have given me much more than I will ever do for them. Today, was one of those days when their purring and insistence on story time helped me get through.

Calico has a fascination with the herbs drying in the basket. Caught her just before she jumped down. Oh, what a gift she gave to me – her trust and Hope.

Missey and Hope watching ‘The Boyfriend’ eating his chicken dinner.

Hope is truly gorgeous. She knows how to pose!

The saddest news. The most amazing Black Stork Dad, the male at the Karula National Forest in Estonia, has perished – most likely from landing on an electric pole. It appears that he was part of a flock flying through that also included Kaia. His transmitter indicated that he died on the 2nd of October.

He had flown 3318 km on his journey south to his winter home after raising the storklets almost single-handedly this past season. He made use of Urmas’s fish baskets in dire times to make sure that his babies lived and, for the first time, he also had to purge one of the storklets on the nest due to insufficient food. Kaia left the nest and fed herself knowing she did not have enough for herself and the storklets. Karl II was an amazing father. He will be missed..

You were incredible feeding those babies so they would live…summer 2023.

Gutted. The death of the amazing stork has hit hard. After worrying for several years

In great respect to Urmas and his colleagues and all those who worked so hard to keep Karl II and his family alive during difficult times in Estonia, my blog will be short today. I worried so much about him when he was in Ukraine foraging and he lived only to die unnecessarily on a power pole that should have had protections.

Remember the decoys and the fish baskets placed in the drying streams for the past few years. The rescue of Jan and Jannika’s storklets after Jan disappeared and the experiment by Dr Madis to raise them at the Vet School. Bonus could not have had a better role model than Karl II. If Karl II were human, he would have won awards for community service and for being an exemplary role model. For us now, stop and think about him for a moment. What a great loss.

I have a love-hate relationship with owls. Unlike my neighbours, I do not think the GHO that terrorises our neighbourhood is cute. The Crows come in mass to usher it out and away and are condemned for doing so. “Isn’t the owl cute?” The Corvids are only trying to protect their young – the Crows and the Blue Jays. I have been known to yell at Mr Crow when he took a Grackle hatchling out of the nest and ate it on the top of the roof looking rather smug as I told him he could have had roast chicken! Honestly. But here we are with the too frequent visits by the GHOs that live on the Pritchett property and have a nest not that far from M15 and F23.

M15 and F23 don’t seem to be bothered. They are preparing for their first family together.

Today, Goliath is 16 days old and #2 is 14 days old.

The morning behaviour of #2 on the 31st at Port Lincoln is puzzling. Lovely fish brought in at 0636. Very difficult to see if #2 got any fish as Mum was blocking the way but it appeared that #2 did not eat and was under the wing of Galiath. Is something amiss with the second hatch? or is it just sleepy?

The fish fairy arrives.

‘A’s report on Port Lincoln: “At Port Lincoln, it’s 18:54. Little Bob just did a healthy PS and both osplets look well-fed and happy. Little does a couple of crop drops. After the fish fairy’s four medium fish were fed to the osplets and eaten by mum over the course of the afternoon, with the chicks sleeping and growing in between snacks, a whole medium-sized fish was brought in by dad at 16:13. Both chicks ate well at the subsequent feeding, with giant crops on each of them. There appeared to be no bonking at any of the feedings today. The last feeding is listed on the Obs Board as small, but it certainly wasn’t. Both ate a lot. Giliath’s crop was enormous and Little Bob’s was large as well. It was interesting to watch the pair. Sometimes, mum would feed three or four consecutive bites to one, then eat some herself, then feed three or four bites to the other. As each chick ate, the sibling watched and waited its turn. There was not even competition for bites let alone aggression. Giliath is getting more to eat than Little Bob but then Giliath is bigger and so needs more food presumably. Little Bob is certainly not going without. Any bonking that does occur (and most days, there is none) is just as likely to be started by Little Bob, though if he persists, it is generally finished by Giliath (or just abandoned by both). And I still have not seen any aggression whatsoever at a feeding or in relation to food. The worst Giliath has done is use her little brother to lean on while she eats some more. She is not doing this to stop him eating. She is just making use of the available furniture to hold up her enormous crop. And if he wants to do so badly enough, he will eventually squirm out from beneath her wing. All ate well at Port Lincoln today. It will be light there for at least another hour or so, but I don’t think anyone could eat any more tonight! “

It was really windy in the Sydney Olympic Forest early on Tuesday. Lady and Dad came to the nest right around 0530 with breakfast for either one or both of the eaglets. So far no one has showed up. This concerns me.

No one slept at the nest.

They arrive around dawn.

The adults stay for forty-five minutes before flying off after eating the prey.

Xavier arrives with prey and Marri gets it. Barru would surely like some. More prey deliveries and feedings after. Xavier continues to be an excellent provider. His two eyases are changing every day and Marri is bigger than her Dad now. Just look at her mohawk and those tail feathers. She is a big girl. What a wonderful year it has been with these two this year at Orange.

‘A’ reports “

Here are the time stamps for Orange so far today (it is 7pm local time). PREY 07.26.47, 08.48.11, 11.17.07 (giant pigeon), 14.01.39; 18:53:41. FEEDINGS: 07.27(M&B), 08.06(X), 08.48, 11.19(X+D), 14.03, 18:54 (M takes from X and self-feeds); 18:54 D returns but watches M try to unzip the starling; B watches. 1856:13 D tries to retrieve starling from M and can’t, so starts to eat herself. B joins in and all three self-feed! 19:56:45 D grabs the starling and begins plucking it. 19:57 Diamond starts feeding B; 18:57:40 D turns to feed M. HIGHLIGHTS: 7.26.58 B bites X, 9.13.41 B nips D, 9.55.55 D eats leg, 13.04.40 Cilla in the tower, 13.10.42 Cilla opens cam chicks react, 13.12.30 D close up, 14:01:17 Ledge Cam X aborts landing; 14.45.13 D sideswiped by another ps; 14:52:06 & 14:52:35 D doing two ‘rouses’ in fairly close succession; 16:33:05 M ‘attacks’ D; 18:37:51 M balances on one leg to scratch her head. Diamond had a HUGE crop all afternoon, as is usual for Madame.  After that gigantic pigeon, the chicks slept a lot this afternoon, with occasional stretches and a lunchtime snack, followed by the early evening starling. All ate very well today. Xavier is just wonderful. “

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their letters, posts, videos, articles, graphics, and streaming cams that helped me write my blog this morning: ‘A’, Eagle Club of Estonia, Maria Marika, Looduskalender, Lady Hawk, SK Hideaways, PLO, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam.

Monday in Bird World

23 October 2023

Hello Everyone!

Sunday continued as a grey day with some drizzle. It did warm up a bit but we are now definitely into layers and toques (knitted hats). No gloves or mitts required – yet.

The fall colours are sensational.

There are still Mallards paddling in the ponds and there were approximately a hundred geese at mid-afternoon on the big lake. More will fly in at dusk.

At home, something wonderful happened on Sunday. All the girls were in the conservatory. Hope climbed up the big cat tree to play with Missey’s bushy tail while Mamma Calico was below on the floor. No problems. Everyone got along! Hope and Missey played for almost an hour. I was in tears. Missey has missed having someone to play with. I know the Feliway doesn’t work for all cats, but it has brought peace of mind to our house.

Hope is growing. Sometimes I have to look twice to see if it is her or Calico.

Hope also decides that she wants to share the same chair with Mamma.

About 1730, the garden came to life. The Blue Jays had been pecking at the seed on the big tray feeder. Then, the Dark-eyed Juncos arrived along with the little woodpecker. Dyson showed up with her three kits, and then Little Red had to come and push its weight around. He is a bully to all the grey squirrels. I think this is the opposite of what happens in the UK, but Little Red is decidedly ‘the boss’ and lets everyone know it. I find it unsettling when there is always plenty of food for everyone, and territory is not an issue.

The Dark-eyed Juncos are one of my favourite migrating visitors to the garden.

A female Hairy Woodpecker enjoying the new suet.

Dear Dyson. The Matriarch of the Clan still going strong. Dyson and her three kits appear to be in very good health. Their coats are lovely and their fur is getting nice and thick for winter. No one is missing a tail either!

Storm Babet hit the UK, leaving many without power, streets flooded, and damage to one or more of the Osprey nests and cameras. There are continuing worries in many areas. We wait for people to be able to get out and check – and they need to be careful – as the water is still high in many places, such as Alyth.

Stay safe everyone!

It looks lovely near the Loch Arkaig nest where there is another surprise visitor.

Lady is taking care of both of her fledglings on the nest. So far, so good. I am almost in shock – in a good way – that these two, SE31 and 32, are flying about and returning to the nest. This is priceless after years of the Currawong chasing them out of the forest the minute they fledge. So hopeful.

Fledge day for 32, if you missed it.

Both safely on the nest.

This was the summary from the WBSE. Thanks, ‘A’: October 23: a quiet night, with 32 sleeping on PB and 31 nearby – neither on the nest. However it was good to see them both find their way “home” in the early morning when swooped by currawongs. Dad brought a fish at 7:10 – as usual 32 quick, but Lady flew in and claimed it. She ate some then fed the eaglets, with 32 eating more. When Lady left 31 came back and self-fed a little. During the day, both were nearby, and swooped by currawongs at times. When I checked in the forest during the day, I could hear them clearly yelling at currawongs, though out of sight. In the late afternoon at 17:42, Lady brought in a gull, which she took off the nest to PB to de-feather. She fed 32, and then both, with them picking at scraps when she flew off. Shortly after Dad brought in part of a fish, which was claimed by 31. Both then preparing for the night, but not on the nest.”

Port Lincoln. Dad brought in a nice fish and both chicks got a reasonable feed at breakfast.

Dad came in with a nice big stick later but Mum was not impressed and despite the winds told him to go fishing!

He returned a few hours later. Fish!

‘A’ reports on the last fish delivery: “The day was very windy and no more fish were brought in for the day until 19:43. Again, the younger chick had the front position and mum gave it lots of bites. It did very well indeed at that feeding. It did become increasingly unsteady on its feet at one stage, even toppling over sideways, I think because it is totally unused to moving with such a gigantic crop. It has never had one before that I’ve seen. But both chicks ate well and will go to sleep with full tummies. That’s what we like to see. Leftovers on the nest for an early breakfast would make things ideal but this dad does like to help himself to them (though he does often eat, then bring back the last of the fish for mum and the kids). In this case, mum finished off most of the leftovers herself. There is a tiny bit of fish still on the nest. The family snuggled down for the night at 20:00.” 

Breakfast came early at Orange.

More prey later. Xavier is an incredible provider. Indeed, look at the summary provided by Orange: “Here is the day’s summary from Orange: PREY 06.02.38, 08:04:14, 09.10.54, 14:56:04, 19:03:58 FEEDING 06.03(X), 08:04, 09.15, 14:57, 19:04 XAVIER BROOD 13:07:24. PREY today: small grebe, eastern rosella, red wattlebird, starling, and pigeon for supper.”


Osprey counting in The Gambia with Jean-marie Dupart.

Thunder and Akecheta were at the old West End nest on Sunday. Oh, how nice it was to see them up close. Akecheta brought in prey and was eating it when Thunder arrived. There was not much left for her. (Akecheta still has his wing tag #61. Thunder lost hers).

Chase and Cholyn were home at Two Harbours as well!!!!!!!!

Gabby and V3 were very busy at the nest on Sunday.

At SW Florida, M15 is delivering food gifts to F23.

Nancy and Beau are creating a new nest. Sadly, there might not be a camera but after the unhappy season earlier in 2023, we all wish them well.

Rosa and Martin were working hard at Dulles-Greenway. Wonder how they will take to this new nest after their old one collapsed right at fledging.

There was at least one adult and one sub-adult at the Decorah Eagle nest in Iowa. Those fall colours are gorgeous.

Not much longer til the Redding Eagle Cam is back on line.

I know that we are all glad that Anna is greatly improved. She was back at the nest on Sunday with Louis, preparing for the upcoming breeding season in Louisiana.

The only Black Stork from the Karula National Forest in Estonia that is sending location transmissions is Kalvi who remains in Bulgaria.

On 12 October Waba was at the Taga Sea of Galilee in Israel. On 30 September Karl II was at Gold Lake, Turkey. On October 5, Kaia was at the fish ponds at Neve Eitan Israel. No transmissions for the three of them since those dates. Bonus’s tracker ran out of battery when he was in Ukraine.

Birds flying in areas of conflict hoping to find food makes me nervous.

More sad news as more birds and wildlife go extinct.

I know that many of you are fans of the owl nest in Corona and they are getting it all ready for season 4.