Ervie, fledges and more – early Tuesday in Bird World

9 August 2022

First a correction! Shame on me for saying we know where Telyn winters. It is not Telyn but, the beautiful Seren from Llyn Clywedog that spends her winters in The Gambia. I knew that and wrote Telyn. Thanks, ‘C’ for alerting me. Much appreciated!

One other clarification that ‘CE’ caught that needs explaining. Osprey fledglings are the raptors that do not require their parents to teach them to hunt or fish. Others do. You will have seen the eagles and hawks showing their fledglings how to hunt prey! I bet Ervie did chase Dad around in his efforts to find some good fishing spots, though!

Ervie, dear Ervie. Port Lincoln posted images after I had sent out my blog last evening so our dear Ervie is up first. Thanks to ‘B’ for alerting me to these.

As so many of you are aware, Port Lincoln Ospreys is working hard to introduce our fish eagles to Southern Australia. They are getting attention from government agencies and, of course, the population is growing to love these birds – many because of our dear Ervie. Here are the latest postings from Port Lincoln and the beautiful pictures of Ervie out fishing with Dad by Fran Solly. There are more on the Port Lincoln Osprey FB page. Head over and have a look. This is the place to continue checking on Ervie and his antics with Dad — or alone.

It is always good to see you, Ervie.

Is there room for you, Ervie??????!!!!!!

Remember when we worried that Ervie would only be able to catch puffers? Well, he has certainly adjusted to fishing without that other talon (I have not seen it fully grown in on the pictures but I would love to be corrected!). That is a beautiful fish. Well done, Ervie.

At the Black Stork nest in the Karula National Forest of Karl II and Kaia, Bonus, the adopted storklet of Jan and Janika, Bonus, fledged first today. He was followed by Volks who hears Bonus in the forest and flies off to the left.

Both returned to the nest. Ilks is looking at his reflection in the camera. Will you fly next? So funny when they find themselves. After fledging the Black Storks will stay at least a week around the nest being fed. If the food is plentiful they may stay longer before venturing out to find food for themselves and beginning migration.

As ‘B’ says, it is hard to beat the WBSE for cuteness. SE30 is a bit of a corker. When it was 2 days old, 30 beaked at 29. Not a good thing to do. We have all worried about 30 but unless there is an unexpected ‘something’, they should both be fine. SE30 gives as good as it gets and they both fool around with one another and then seem to stop before it gets too rough.

Chubby little bottoms. Their soft down on the head is giving way to pin feathers and the feathers are coming in nicely along the wings. They will begin to do a lot more preening as things get itchy. You can see their black talons and those big clown feet getting started. So cute.

Of the streaming cams in Australia, we now have the WBSE eaglets and the first egg at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge for Mum and Dad as of yesterday. We are awaiting the beginning of the season for Peregrine falcons Xavier and Diamond and the Melbourne CBD – 367 Collins Street. Xavier and Diamond are amping up the bonding in the scrape! Eggs before the end of the month?

The only chick on the Landscape Arboretum platform at the University of Minnesota fell off yesterday. It has not fledged. Here is the video of that incident. This could have turned out badly – and would have if not for the quick actions at finding the chick and getting it back on the nest. Thanks to all involved!

Boris and Titi (yet to fly) on the Janakkalan nest in Finland. 9 August 2022. Handsome!

All of the White Storklings of Betty and Bukacek have fledged. They seem to spend their time finding the parents and following them back to the nest for good feedings.

Look carefully. Bukacek is flying into the nest from the left (right above the grassy area at 930 on the nest).

All of the storklings came to the nest quickly so as not to miss a meal.

All of the UK chicks have fledged. This year the three at Foulshaw Moss did not get the best attention from me – in terms of publicizing the nest activities here on the blog. Last year I followed every move because of the third hatch – Blue 463 who survived and did extremely well. Waiting for her return next year! The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust have put out a very nice blog with an overview of the nest activities including some links to videos.

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/blog/alasdair-mckee/there-were-three-nest-and-littlest-fledged?fbclid=IwAR3EmfM6q7y1XNIqdvENXGlh8x4VhZve9AwmrsA4vAFcs_XRrvXubF76BhM

There appears to have been a fledge this morning at the Fortis Exshaw Osprey platform near Canmore Alberta. Thanks ‘H’ for the tip off! They seem to all be relatively equal – perhaps the others will fly today. You can see Mum looking on over the nest at her three beautiful chicks from the perch.

The fledge was a quick take off, fly around the nest and return landing on the right side.

I am counting a fledge as a flight off the nest and a return. In my mind, the chicks jumping up or getting to the many perches is equivalent to branching for Eagles, not a full blown official fledge. The real question is how far away is the perch? It is too difficult to tell. Mum certainly looks small and if it is a distance, then it might be counted as a fledge. If that is the case, then there were two fledges at Canmore this morning so far.

Big Red, Arthur, and L2 have all been accounted for by Suzanne Arnold Horning this week. Excellent news. Still no recent updates on L3 or L4.

L2 in the top picture screaming for a prey item and Big Red and Arthur calmly relaxing in the second.

Everyone remains curious as to how Victor got so much zinc in his system that he almost died. The Institute for Wildlife Studies has indicated that there are fishing lures coated with zinc. Thanks ‘B’. Here is the posting on the chat at the IWS. The question still remains: how much zinc does a fledgling eagle have to ingest to almost kill it? I do not know the answer to that question but I hope to find out.

The posting of the images of Little Bit 17 prompted a lot of mail. Everyone is thrilled and so very reassured that it is our little tenacious eagle. So grateful to the boots on the ground for chasing after this family and sharing their photos and videos with us on the Notre Dame Eagles FB.

‘CE’ had a very interesting analogy that seems quite fitting given the sponsors of the camera and the university that they are associated with – Notre-Dame. CE noted that the image of Little Bit looks like a Franciscan Friar with his friar’s crown. He said, “In the 5th century, the tonsure was introduced as a distinctive sign. In the East, the Pauli tonsure was used (all hair was cut), in the West, the Petri tonsure (only the top of the head was shaved). This was also called Corona Christi (Crown of Christ). Since the 16th century, the tonsure of regular clerics has been reduced to a small circle.” Friar Little Bit. It sounds nice.

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is lovely to have you with us and the birds. I will continue to monitor the nests during the day. Tomorrow I am heading north for two days to count and enter the GPS for the Bald Eagle nests in and around Hecla Island. That information will be sent to David Hancock whose foundation monitors bald eagle nests in Canada. I hope to get some good images of the adults and juveniles before they leave for their winter homes. There will not be a newsletter tomorrow morning but I will try my best to get some images out to you tomorrow evening. Please take dare. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

I want to thank everyone who wrote in and sent me news. I still have some of your images to post! Much appreciated. I want to also thank the following for their streaming cams and/or posts or their photographs that I used for my screen captures: Fran Solly and the Port Lincoln Ospreys, Suzanne Arnold Horning, the Notre-Dame Eagles FB, the Eagle Club of Estonia and Looduskalender, Mlade Buky White Storks, Fortis Exshaw, the Finnish Osprey Foundation, the IWS, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam, Landscape Arboretum Ospreys, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.

Ervie gets another Puffer!

Watchers of the Port Lincoln Osprey streaming cam have watched Ervie bring a Puffer Fish to the nest and a Toadfish. Ervie ate the Puffer but the spiny appendages and maybe the terrible taste of the Toadfish meant that it was left on the nest – toxic and rejected. Everyone has so wanted to see Ervie dive off the barge and catch a fish – a ‘real’ fish – and haul it to the nest. Soon we hope.

Most of the morning Ervie was in the shed with Dad. However, Ervie flew off when it appeared that Dad was not budging to go and get a fish for his boy.

Out of the skies we see Ervie flying in. At first it looked like a nice fish. It was 12:11:52. As Ervie’s wing moved a bit, we could see that it was another Puffer Fish!!!!!!!! It is his snack size lunch.

Dad was watching his boy from the shed. You can see his head turned up taking it all in.

Poor Ervie. It must have felt funny having a balloon like object under your foot trying to move around on the nest.

Our beloved Ervie was soaking wet. He must be proud of his catch. This one he can eat. That Toadfish was a big disappointment.

Ervie ate and ate.

Ervie ate every morsel of his fish. Good lad.

Here is a short video clip of the event:

I wonder if Ervie has found a special place where he can find the puffers? Perhaps he will go and catch a few more today in the rain.

This is exciting. I know it isn’t a great big ‘real’ fish but it is a fish and Ervie got it all by himself. We are all proud of you, Ervie.

Thank you for joining me. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project where I took my screen captures and my video clip.

From Port Lincoln to Kauai to Juneau

Oh, gosh. We really are going to miss these three boys when they finally leave the Port Lincoln barge. Ervie was wet this morning. He has been focusing very hard on finding a fish and catching it. We might never know, sadly, when that moment occurs – unless he brings it up to the ropes like Dad. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

Bazza seems to have landed the first fish this morning on the nest. Falky doesn’t seem bothered and Ervie had flown off earlier.

Port Lincoln gave us a nice image of Bazza over on the ropes. These three males are quite handsome.

When Ervie flew back to the barge he was really keen on preening those feathers.

You can really see that sharply hooked beak that helps to tear the fish so they are easier to eat. Unlike Peregrine falcons, Ospreys do not have a tomial tooth. In my images it is a bit difficult to see that valve which seals the Osprey’s nostrils when they dive for their fish but, it is there.

Looking at that beautiful image of Ervie below you will notice that the Ospreys lack that very heavy eyebrow of some of the other raptors. Instead, they have that incredible black line which passes from the eye down to the neck. That black line helps them with the glare.

Ervie missed the the 8:14:14 fish that Dad brought in. Falky claimed in.

Port Lincoln has reported that Ervie has been flying farther. They also note that he has been checking out the coast. Here is the latest map of Ervie’s movements from the barge.

Ervie and his siblings will get their adult plumage at their first moult which is fully completed by the time they are a year old. That change in plumage does not indicate Ervie’s sexual maturity. Osprey do not normally breed until they are three years of age. The 2019 fledgling from Port Lincoln, Calypso, has been spotted sitting on a branch with a male. Might there be chicks next year? That would be marvellous!

When Penny Olsen’s book on the raptors of Australia was published in 1995, the map of Australia indicated that the Eastern Ospreys were located only around the coast. Ironically, that map did not indicate any ospreys in the Eyre Peninsula. This is one of the things that has changed since its publication. We have to look no further than the Port Lincoln Opsrey Barge and Thistle Island. We also know from Solly being the first tracked Osprey that the birds do go inland. Not all that far but further inland than anyone had understood previously. We are fortunate that Solly was able to provide so much information to us in the 14 months that she was alive. Port Lincoln can now compare the dispersal of a female to that of a male with the tracking of Ervie.

There are many threats to Osprey. I imagine that everyone reading my blog can name at least four. I want to add warming seas and the decline in fish numbers as yet another.

As you know, I highly recommend Dr Marc Bekoff’s book, The Emotional Lives of Animals. He also wrote The Ten Truths with Jane Goodall. A very moving story is coming from the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Some of you might recognize the name of Hob Osterlund. She posted a very moving story that can be added to the cornucopia of evidence that Bekoff and Goodall have that support animals having emotions which they express. Once you have read those two reasonably priced books, you will never ever apologize again for anthropomorphizing animals again.

Here is that posting:

Tears.

One of my readers ‘B’ asked me if I had seen the snow at Glacier Gardens. I had not! So I went to check. Oh, my goodness, it is so beautiful. If you close your eyes you can see that beautiful Kindness using that nest and those branches like a trampoline. What a magnificent juvie Kindness was. She is off eating Salmon along the river.

On Taiaroa Head, 122 birds have been seen so far and there are 36 eggs laid. No mention yet on who the Royal cam stars for 2021-22 will be! Soon. And there has been no update on Grinnell. No further updates on WBSE 27 either.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and to Hob Osterlund and her FB page for that moving story. Much appreciated.

Oh, Bazza

Bazza, the first hatch at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, is the last nestling to fledge. OK. He hasn’t fledged yet but you might have been fooled at 06:15 this morning when you saw an empty nest. Bazza was doing amazing hovering. Maybe this will be his day to fly! Wouldn’t that be grand? Bazza could begin to explore the cove with his brothers, Ervie and Falkey.

He really seems to want to be out there enjoying all the fun! But to put all of this into perspective, Ervie fledged early at 60 days. Bazza is 65 days old and Solly fledged last year at 65 days. DEW did not fledge til 73 days. Ervie just got us all excited! And then of course, Falkey followed suit rather quickly, too. But if Bazza does fledge today it will be right in line with Solly.

Yurruga, the nestling Peregrine Falcon in the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia, is waiting for her breakfast. She is looking a little ‘ragged’ this morning. Almost all of the baby down is off!

Grinnell, the resident male Peregrine Falcon, at the Campanile on UC-Berkley’s campus, was released one hour ago in his territory. He has been in the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital and in ‘home care’ since he was injured in a territorial take over bid on 29 October. That is the latest news that I have. The cameras are being rotated a bit to try and get a glimpse of what will ultimately happen when Grinnell tries to land on the Campanile and take his place beside Annie. Will he succeed? Will the interloper? Here is a link to one of the cams:

It is nothing short of a blustery winter day on the Canadian prairies. Snow is blowing everywhere, some more flakes are falling, and the temperature is warm enough to be causing ice. It was a bit worrisome when I stopped at the pond and found a few ducks in a small open space of water.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves. No one seemed to have feather or wing issues but that open water is closing in fast.

There they are from a distance. It will give you some perspective on the size of the little pond.

I was surprised to see a few standing on the ice. Ducks – at least here – tend not to like to get their paddles cold.

My garden has been ‘very loud’ all day with about 200 or more House Sparrows all clamouring for food – which is in abundance. This little fellow was all puffed up to stay warm.

There was one lone Black-Capped Chickadee eating something in the Flame Willow. Like the sparrows, the chickadees are year round visitors to the feeders.

The two books from Roy Dennis Wildlife – Mistletoe Winter and Cottongrass Summer – arrived today. I have just finished Chris Packham and Meg McCubbin’s book and Isabella Tree’s on wilding to help restore the environment. It will be interesting to see what Dennis says in his latest book, Mistletoe Winter. Now for a nice cup of hot tea to go with it.

Send out positive wishes to Grinnell and all our feathered friends.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone and be safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Port Lincoln Lads

It was really difficult to keep up with the number of fish coming on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest yesterday but, everyone got something to eat. It does not appear that any of the brothers were left out and some, if not all, had two fish.

The winds picked up and the lads were all hunkered down at 18:57:22. It is often hard to tell what the weather is like just looking at the screen but it sure appears to be windy and later on the boys have some rain drops on their wings.

Dad is still out fishing for them. Ervie got the next fish delivery after being hunkered down. He was eating it at 19:49:37. Falky is hungry! Bazza is just watching.

Dad flew in with another fish at 20:22 and Falky got that one. So all the lads went to bed with some fish in their tummies. Dad, you are really amazing.

Bazza had a really nice fish at 14:03:54. He sure had to defend it. Ervie came flying in and the pair had a very short brotherly tussle but, Bazza maintained control. Good for you, Bazza!

It might have looked horrible watching it, these three have been so polite to one another. They may never have the competition for food some regions have but it is good to be able to protect your ‘fish’ and Bazza did a great job handling Ervie.

Bazza enjoying his fish in peace.

Today might just be the day that Bazza joins the skies with his brothers. I wish there were cameras all around the barge to watch them flying and having fun with one another!

The Audubon Society posted an interesting picture of an Osprey named Smedley. Some of you might know the story of Smedley. I didn’t and it is quite heart warming. Smedley fell out of his nest in 1998 and injured himself to the point that he would never be able to be released into the wild. He could not fly. He has remained at the Audubon Centre for Birds and Prey – count it – 23 years! His wing injury began to bother him and a sling was constructed so that he could move about comfortably.

There he is with his sling. What a wonderful story. Just heart warming. If you travel to the Audubon Centre for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida you might see Smedley. It is near Orlando.

One of the reasons this is such a heart-warming story is that many Osprey do not do well in care. Smedley is certainly the exception and maybe a look back at what – in particular – the rehabbers did when he arrived could help improve the success rate of Ospreys going into care now.

The Bald Eagles continue to work on their nests. Harriet was hit very hard by the GHOW that has a nest near to hers and M15s’ in Fort Myers. This was a growing problem last year with both the adults and the eaglets. Yurruga continues to grow and develop her self-feeding. She is adorable. There is no news on WBSE 27’s release. One of my eagle friends tells me that the GHOWs have been to visit the nest in Farmer Derek’s field but there is a problem – the raccoons have dug a hole in thee nest. She suggests that he get a raccoon baffle – great idea! Funny thing. We all loved watching those owls hatch and grow but my goodness they can kill everything in sight – and do.

Take care everyone. If I see Bazza fledge I will let you know. If I miss it – let me know. Thank you for joining me today.

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and to the FB page of the Audubon Centre for Birds of Prey where I grabbed that image of Smedley.

Port Lincoln Osplets have names

Oh, there was such excitement yesterday. The Port Lincoln chicks were banded and, in addition, there were rumours that 3 or 4 of the Melbourne eyases had fledged. Let’s put that rumour to bed. Mum is sleeping on the weather protector above the four. So everyone is still home. That is fantastic. Maybe they will all fledge from this end so we can see!!! Ironically, Victor Hurley said they would turn the camera around to face the other direction after his Q & A session so there was a better chance to see them fledge. With two ends and one camera, it is very difficult to predict which end will prove to be ‘the one’.

Port Lincoln wanted to band a male chick because they wanted to compare his dispersal to that of the female, Solly, who fledged last year from the PL nest and has a tracker. Solly has taught osprey researchers much including the distances that female osprey will disperse. In Solly’s case, she traveled 311 km to Eba Anchorage. There were rumours that osplet 2, Middle Bob, was to get the tracker because it was thought he was the only male. In the end, Port Lincoln had three males to choose from and they went with the one who weighed the most – Little Bob – who turns out to be the ‘biggest’ Bob.

Here are the names and weights:

  • Big Bob, first hatch, has a red band, weighed the least at 1280 grams and is named Bazza. The name celebrates Take 2 Photography’s husband, Barry Hockaday, who did so much to bring the Osprey Barge to a reality.
  • Middle Bob, second hatch, has a yellow band, weighed 1330 grams and is named Falky after Ian Falkenberg, the bander.
  • Little Bob, third hatch, has a dark green almost black band, weighed 1380 grams and is named Ervie. It is the name of the Scottish town where Australia’s current Minister of the Environment grew up. This choice focused on the fact that the growth in the Eastern Osprey population and this project would not be possible without the Minister’s support.

And that is how ‘never miss a meal Little Bob’ became the biggest Bob! And got the sat-pak! Well done, Ervie.

The chicks behaved as expected. When the boat came close they pancaked so much you could not see them above the nest. Each was removed and put in a small sack. There was no stress at all. A gift of fish was put in the nest. The parents returned within minutes of the chicks being put back in the nest. It was a beautiful process and so much will be learned through the monitoring of Ervie’s travels including dispersal and threats. I will not deny that I am a huge supporter of banding and tracking. It is the only way to learn where the birds go, where they breed, what dangers there are in the environment, what happens to them, etc.

I admit to being very tired this morning. I could not stay awake long enough to find out the names last night or, should I say I stopped waiting at 2 am in Canada. It was so nice to run to the computer and see all the information this morning.

Many wondered how they could donate to keep the cam running at Port Lincoln. It is complicated and it is my understanding that they cannot accept donations. That said, if you or someone you know is going to the area why not take one of Calypso Star’s nature tours? Go out to see the sea lions or get in a cage and watch sharks. That would be a great way to thank them.

Update on WBSE 27 on 5 November (in case you missed it): “SE27 is doing well, gaining in strength and is feeding by itself. It has moved to a larger raptor cage to allow it to exercise and recover. The treating vets have advised that SE27 will be in care for a few weeks while it recovers and will be released back into the wild as soon as it’s well enough. Healing takes time so please be patient. Updates will follow when possible.”

It is another gorgeous day on the Canadian prairies. 13 degrees C. The sun is bright and I can see the squirrels already hoping that their breakfast will be taken out to the deck. They are a little early.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Port Lincoln Osprey, update

It is currently late afternoon in Port Lincoln, Australia. The osplets have been flapping their wings steady all day. At one point, I felt that one or more of them might take flight.

The original timing of the ringing, measuring, naming, and attaching at least one sat-pak to one of the trio was to be Monday 8 November. That timing has been brought forward. It will now take place in the morning Sunday 7 November Port Lincoln time.

It is unclear to me if you will be able to see the process or not. Please check your local time with that of Australia if you wish to check to see what is happening live. The link to the streaming cam is here:

On Monday, the Thistle Island chicks will be banded and one will get a sat-pak.

Oh, I can’t wait! Time to set the alarm.

Take care all. Thanks to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shot.

How is Diamond?

Diamond is the female at the Charles Sturt University Peregrine Falcon scrape box on the University’s water tower. Her mate is Xavier and their only chick this season is Yarruga. Yarruga is 27 days old today. Its name means ‘Sunny’ in Maori.

Several days ago Diamond injured herself, probably in a hunting incident. Her right wing was a bit droopy and she continues to have difficulty putting all of her weight on her right foot. Her mate, Xavier, has often taken over the feeding duties of Yarruga because feeding requires putting pressure on the feet to hold the prey and pull up to get the bites off for the chick.

Yarruga was particularly hungry this afternoon. Diamond was on the ledge of the scrape watching over her baby, trying to get some sleep, and also attempting to keep the weight off the right leg.

Instead of writing how Diamond is doing, I thought it was just best to take a few video clips so you can see for yourself. They do say a picture is worth a 1000 words.

Here is the first one. Diamond has been resting on the ledge of the scrape. She has kept her right leg slightly elevated and has been able to sleep some. Yarruga is hungry and, since this is the big growth spurt for Yarruga, she sees a parent and thinks it is dinner time. Poor Diamond. Yarruga is prey begging.

Xavier brings in the Starling that was left over from an earlier feeding. The falcons have a place where they stash food. It is a great idea. They never waste a single bit of the prey they kill for food. (We could all take a lesson from them!). Diamond wants to feed Yarruga. The following two clips are from later in the feeding.

The feeding went on for some time. This is the last bit of where Diamond finishes feeding Yarruga and then flies off with the rest of the Starling. Despite the fact that she doesn’t like Starling (prefers pigeons and parrots), it would not be easy for her to hunt now while she is healing so she will happily eat the Starling leftovers.

It still appears that Diamond is in a lot of pain. She is really limping but her wing appears to be better. It must be difficult because she wants to take care of her baby. I think that is why I actually believe she is improving. She could have flown out and let Xavier feed Yarruga but she chose to do it herself. It is going to take some time for her to heal and we need to continue to send her our best and most positive wishes.

A quick glance at other nest news:

The 367 Collins Street ‘Four’ decided to run along the gutter and let us have some really good glimpses of how they are growing and changing today. Remember when you look at them that they are precisely one week older than Yarruga. It is hard to imagine that they were mostly covered with white down a week ago! Here they are wanting to fly – and way too soon, they will.

The down is really coming off. They are so curious about the world outside of the scrape. Mum and Dad have been doing aerial demonstrations for them. This is something that the adults do to try and entice the eyases to fledge.

The Port Lincoln Osplets will be banded, named, and at least one will get a sat-pak on Monday 8 November, Australian time. Remember! It is possible that we will only get to see the event on tape. It is exciting. I cannot wait to see if Little Bob is a female with those thick stubby legs!

Just look at the size of Dad’s wing. Together they would be wider than the nest! He is bringing in the second fish of the day. Now when Mum begins calling the chicks join in. It is really sweet.

Mum is so quick to pull that fish off Dad’s talons. I often wonder if the males ever get injured when this happens.

Today, Little Bob is more interested in watching Dad go down to his man cave on the deck of the barge than being first in line to eat. That is almost shocking.

The trio are pancaked. They have eaten so much. Mum brought another fish in at 13:50 – their third of the day. On average, the osplets have 7 feedings a day so far. Fantastic parents. Can’t say enough good things about how well they have worked together this season.

There has been no new updates on WBSE 27 since 1 November, Australian time. When I hear anything, I will let you know.

Thank you for joining me and checking in to see how Diamond is progressing. We just have to be patient – and that is hard when we see her in pain. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Charles Stuart University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

These Wings are Made for Flying

Port Lincoln, Australia is pretty but that is not what I am referring to. Just look at these gorgeous babes in the nest on the Port Lincoln barge. Stunning.

That is definitely a great portrait to go on a fridge magnet. It is as if the owners were standing on the barge asking the trio to turn around and – click! I think I could stare at these three all day. Did I say for the 500th time that this has been an amazing season on the PLO nest? I hope so because it certainly has.

These three are so close together that when one of them does something, another wants to try it or out do the others. And that is what happened on the morning of 2 November in Australia. It was a flapping extravaganza!

I can do that, too!

Watch me again!

They are very entertaining and yet there is this air of cooperation on this nest that is quite astounding given its past history. For those of you that do not know the Port Lincoln nest, its history is one of siblicide with often only one fledging. Last year there were two with one death. So if these three fledge – which there is no reason they won’t – it is a first for this nest. It also goes to show us that the events on a nest cannot always be predicted by the past. I am so very happy for them. These parents worked together brilliantly.

They are 49 days old for Big and Middle Bob and 47 days old for Little Bob. These three are just itching to fly and that nest is getting a wee bit crowded. The ages are interesting. In the UK, the norm is for Western Osprey nestlings to be ringed around the 35th day of hatching and never after the 42nd because it could cause them to prematurely fledge. The Eastern Ospreys which are also not migratory might have different dates after hatch. From the information on the Port Lincoln streaming cam, it appears that Solly, the first to hatch and the female with the sat-pak was 65 days when she took her first flight. Whew! That means we have a little more time with these gorgeous birds.

The first fish delivery of the day arrives at 09:21. There were at least seven yesterday. Here they are lined up eating, waiting their turn. Bliss. Sheer bliss.

Thank you so much for joining me and thanks to Port Lincoln Ospreys for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clips. They are doing an amazing job. If you want to watch this trio, here is the link to the streaming cam.

See you soon!

Oh, Little Bob!

The birds in my garden are always aware when I am watching them especially Mr Blue Jay and family. Sometimes he will stop and look right in the window and fly up into the lilacs and down to the corn as if he is teasing me. Other days he might sit on top of the deck chair calling to remind me that the corn cob has disappeared. Or maybe he is saying hello! Today, it was the youngest of the trio staring at me as he flew in and out to get kernels off the cob. Dad, Mr Blue Jay, was observing from the lilacs.

How do I know this is the youngest? He is a bit thinner and his legs are a charcoal grey, not black. I can also identify them by their facial markings and I still don’t know, after several years, where they roost or which is the male or the female. All I do know is that in exchange for a corncob, some peanuts, and some seeds, this family of three brings me year round joy.

Of course, the birds on the live streaming cams have no idea there are hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, watching them. Many have caught their reflection in the camera’s dome. I recall Izzi, the peregrine falcon eyas at Orange, and the little Golden Eagle in Romania liking to look at themselves. It is very cute.

Today, Little Bob was having some fun. It is a good thing he is not conscious or caring of anything to have to do with humans!

Yes, that is Little Bob. He is fanning out his tail like a peacock. While we are not able to see it clearly yet, Little Bob’s tail will have stripes, alternating white and espresso. This same type of barring will also be seen on the secondary feathers. The secondary feathers are those after the primary or wing tip feathers.

In studying other birds of prey, those dark stripes are often counted with the understanding that on a Red-tailed Hawk, for example, the nestling needs at least 5 dark bands to fledge. It is simply a way of gauging the length of the tail because tail length is one of the elements necessary for flight.

In the image below, Little Bob has lowered his tail a bit and is stretching his wings in what is known as the ‘W’ pattern. It will be familiar to you as it is the shape that gets tightened up when ospreys dive head long into the water.

The nest on the barge at Port Lincoln is getting crowded as these young ospreys grow. There is Little Bob looking out standing in front of Mum. You can clearly see that dark espresso line (it is neither brown or black) that runs from the beak, across the eye and down to the nape of the neck. This dark strip is your word for the day, it is the auricular. Many believe that this helps to stop the glare of the sun so the birds can see better.

There is a lot of speculation on the streaming cam chat as to the gender of Little Bob. Ospreys need strong legs and feet in order to fish and pull their prey out of the water. They grip their prey with their long black talons using those ‘scratchy pads’ – specialized barbs -on the bottom of the feet to hold the fish secure. They also are the only raptor to have a reversible outer toe which helps them secure their prey. They will, most often, position the fish so that the head is facing in front which is a help with wind resistance.

Ah, but back to telling the males from the females. Measurements will be taken when the three get their Darvic rings. Females tend to have thicker leg bones than males. A good example were the measurements taken of Laddie and NC0’s two fledglings, LR1 and LR2. With females being at least 20% larger than males (normally), the first to hatch and the largest was ringed LR1. The wing measurement of 337mm and weight of 1.51kg led the bander to state that LR1 was a female. The second chick was three days younger and had a wing measurement of 276mm. It weighed 1.4kg and was said to be a male. The differences are slight and the only real way to determine gender is through a DNA test or by seeing an egg laid.

Note: LR2, the male, is the fledgling that has been seen several times over the last week in Spain. Fabulous news!

That said there are a lot of people who believe that Little Bob is really Little Bobbette.

One of the other ways that people believe females are different is through their darker and wider ‘necklace’. Unfortunately, I believe this idea to be unreliable as there are a number of known males with very elaborate and dark necklaces. One good example is Blue 022 the ‘maybe’ mate of CJ7 at Poole Harbour.

It is often difficult to establish which chick is which on the nest. As my concern is in the third hatch, I have paid particular attention to Little Bob. Look at the top of his head. Whether you say Little Bob has a white V or a round circle on its head doesn’t matter – both apply. Look carefully at his head in the image below. One of the things that will not change over Little Bob’s lifetime will be the pattern on its head.

Oops… there Little Bob goes again!

Oh, my. This time he is going to spread his wings, too. Somehow I do not think Big Bob is going to be happy about that. Did I say this nest was getting crowded? Just wait til they all start flapping and hovering at once.

Just like Mr Blue Jay and family, Little Bob continues to delight me. I am so glad that he doesn’t know how many of us are watching his every move.

Take care and thank you for joining me. My newsletter will be late tomorrow. It is time to pick up a large order of birdseed and corn cobs for the garden animals for the winter.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.