17 May 2023
It was gorgeous weather on the Canadian Prairies yesterday, Tuesday, the 16th of May. That meant it was neither rainy, windy, or too hot. That called for a trip to Oak Hammock Marsh, the wetlands jointly managed by the Province of Manitoba and Ducks Unlimited. I have my qualms with DU – guns and shooting ducks, but they have played a considerable role in creating a network of wetlands that are home to so many migrating geese and ducks with trails surrounded by shrubs that are home to all manner of songbirds. Yesterday was no exception.
Just before arriving at the site, there was water still standing in the fields from the spring flooding. Talk about ducks – I had to take photos to remember all of them!
A male Northern Shoveler taking off in the centre. Below a Red-winged Blackbird. The water was full of Shovelers! Along with Pintails, a few Mallards, some Gadwalls. It was a surprise to see so many ducks on this one field. Grateful for spring flooding!
It is an enormous area.
The great stand off. The Red-winged Blackbird taunted the Canada Goose who was protecting its mate and their nest all afternoon.
Tree Swallows are the most common of the North American Swallows. They have this stunning iridescent blue-green upper parts – head, neck, wings, back with a spotless white underbelly, throat, etc. Two-toned! The lack of trees and woodpecker holes means that these birds are entirely dependent on nesting boxes for their breeding.
Oh, what damage we have done to the habitat of so many birds.
Purple Martins are the largest swallow found in North America. They used to build their nests and live in abandoned woodpecker holes but now, in the wetlands, and across the Prairies, they rely entirely on the goodness of humans to build them birdhouses so they can breed.
A pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds. Oh, I wish the light was better. They have a beautiful sepia-coloured head on an iridescent-green black body. These two had a nest in this tree and they were diligently keeping four Grackles at a distance.
A male Redhead. Easy to spot with that gorgeous and rather trendy brick-red upper neck and head! They are diving ducks and you will only find them in North America. Redheads like to lay their eggs in other ducks nests, more than any other duck, according to The Pocket Birds of Canada, 2nd edition (23).
Then when I walked the trails, it was a blessing that there were benches every 10 metres or so. Not because I was tired but overwhelmed and trying to identify all of the birds. Thank goodness for Merlin Sound ID and the Notes app on my phone!
It was a lovely time. Nothing was rushed…the stopping all around the trails allowed me to simply savour all those beautiful sounds and the smell of the marsh. There were children in the distance getting ready to go out in canoes and kayaks..they were laughing. Priceless.
As I write, Dyson and Scraggles are on the deck after peanuts, Little Red is going after the table feeder, Mr Crow is flying in and out, telling them the peanuts are his! What a blessed life. I cannot imagine, for a second, not having the sound of birds around me.
The big news of the morning is that Pale Male, the legendary Red-tail Hawk of Central Park has died. What a way to wake up! Thanks, ‘H’. He was called ‘Pale’ Male because of his light plumage. He was notorious for having his nest on one of the most expensive buildings around the Park and was the focus of the movie, The Legend of Pale Male. It is free online and if you haven’t seen it – or if you have – and want to honour this amazing raptor, have another look-
He was rescued by Bobby Horvath of WINORR.
At the WRDC Bald Eagle nest in Miami-Dade, Ron and Rita’s R5 fell out of the nest and has been taken for evaluation. He appears to be fine but whether or not he will be returned to the nest is another story since R4 could bolt.
‘T’ reports that the rescue of getting the nylon wrapped around one of the storkelets in Lindheim, Germany was a success.
The Loch of the Lowes nest is not strictly out of the ‘woods’ yet. The fish are not coming on the nest like they are at Rutland but, fish is coming. Continue to send your warmest and most positive wishes. Just look at those two sweet little babies.
Laddie brings a flapping fit to the nest at 1330 on the 16th.
These will be the only two hatches for Laddie and Blue NC0 this year. The first hatch was the second egg….and, as my grandmother always reminded me, things do work out. We might not always know the reason but, they do. In this instance, Blue NC0 has always struck me as a female osprey who can deal with, at most, two in the nest unlike Maya who has easily handled four three times. It has been a rough start and two healthy little ones is better than three sick and starving.
The Woodland Trust has put out a statement about the nest and the events of the last week.
These two are seriously cute…let us hope that Laddie can keep up the fishing.
Laddie had only delivered on fish on Tuesday and then, right before 2100, he came in with a nice big one. Everyone went to bed with full tummies.
The wildfires in Canada are having a huge impact on the air quality not only for humans but for wildlife. This is the Fortis Exshaw osprey platform near Canmore, Alberta. The smoke is coming from fires at a distance. There are currently at least 81 fires burning in that province of Canada.
Oh, it would be nice if the pouring rain in Tennessee was in Alberta getting rid of the smoke. As I am writing Angel is keeping RTH5 snug and dry as the drops come down through the leaves and branches of the nest tree. There was snake on the menu today along with some of the usuals. RTH5 is growing, getting feathers, and is nothing short of adorable.
Tom’s deliveries to Angel and RTH5 caught on video by Arlene Beech.
Continued positive wishes for Lake Murray Ospreys. All their efforts on the night of Monday the 15th paid off – the GHO did not get C2 Monday night and let us all jointly send energy that it never does. Wish them well.
Thankfully C2 is cleverly camouflaged on that nest! Still, the GHO knows that it is there.
Lake Murray Osprey has put in more strobe lights, moved the mannequins around, put out some more bicycles – all in an effort to deter the GHO.
Big Red in all her glory! The Ms are growing and Arthur simply cannot stop hunting.
The little baby at Decorah hatchery is anything but a baby. It is walking stronger and flapping those beautiful wings as more and more juvenile feathers come in.
There are many advantages to being the only baby in the nest. Look at those legs and that fat bottom. Incredible.
All is well at Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg. A really nice big fish came late in the afternoon. I am not sure about prior deliveries. Big is so busy working those wings while Middle is enjoying that fish.
Oh, and then another big whopper came on the nest! Everyone at Achieva had a good fish day.
My goodness Blue 33 is a good provider! I lost count and couldn’t even go back before noon…fish after fish. Big ones for Maya and the kids – not little twiddlers. I cannot see a pip in either of the other two eggs. That does not mean it isn’t there, though.
These two have been together and raised so many osplets. They are like a very expensive Swiss watch in terms of their coordination and timing.
Oh, my goodness. The eyases are outside screaming when Lou lands on the ledge with lunch! They are so loud.
E22 is still on the nest and might have caught its first fish on Tuesday. It is, however, unclear if the fish was provided and brought to the nest by M15 or, after all the work that E22 has been doing trying to catch a fish at the pond, she finally got one. What is good is that E22 is still at home, still learning, gaining new skills, and of course, growing in confidence and strength. All of that will help ensure a long and prosperous life. Oh, don’t you wonder what has happened to E21?
Vija caught the event on video. Oh, that squeeeeee of 22’s.
For those watching the Golden Eaglet in Japan, Nina, she is growing fast and the parents have been delivering pheasant and deer for their little one! These are such beautiful eagles!
This is very worrisome. Only two more mutations required before it spreads quickly through humans. If you can help prevent bird flu by funding clean up activities, by volunteering, or even cleaning your bird feeders, please do. We have no concerns in Manitoba and no one is telling us to take down feeders. H5N1 has been moving to the West in North America but it is still spreading amongst waterfowl in the UK where this article was written.
That is a quick check on some news and events we have been following. Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care, everyone. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their notes, updates, posts, videos, and streaming cams that helped to make up my blog today: ‘A’, ‘H’, ‘T’, WINORR, Storch Lindheim, LOTL, Scottish Woodland Trust, Fortis Exshaw, Window to Wildlife, Arlene Beech and Window to Wildlife, LMO, Cornell RTH, Raptor Resource Project/Explore, Achieva Credit Union, LRWT, Cal Falcons, SK Hideaways and Cal Falcons, Vija and SW Florida Eagle Cam, and The Guardian.