Port Lincoln Osprey Nest, check in

Today was a day for me to go outside, walk, and enjoy a beautiful, warm, fall day in the country. I did check on the Port Lincoln Ospreys before I left and Dad had brought in a fish and they were eating. It is now noon in Port Lincoln, Australia and there have been two feedings. Everything is fine. I believe the following images will dispel any concerns. We had great days with 8 to 10 feedings and then they slowed down. The chicks are older and their crops can hold more so they get more food but there are less feedings. The older two are in the reptile phase. Some people love the rubbed oil effect and the bald heads, the dark plumage – I am usually glad when they get through this phase!

So here, with little narration are some images from the first 4 hours of the day. Check out the time stamps as you go through.

I love the golden rays of the morning sun falling on Mom and the nest. She is really beautiful.

First feeding. None of the chicks are fighting and this fish came in much earlier today than yesterday (past noon).

Mum makes sure that everyone is full. You can see, look carefully, that all three chicks have nice crops. She is still checking to see if Little Bob wants any more bites.

Right now it is really easy to tell Little Bob from Big and Middle Bob.

Mum is eating some fish. She deserves to eat just like dad and it is hard to get bites in with these three. But, look, does Little Bob want some more fish?

If anyone says this mum feeds herself before her osplets, they are wrong. She is breaking off a piece above and below she is offering it to Little Bob to make sure that he is full.

Look at the crops and the bald oily looking heads. Oh, dear! These kids are changing right before our eyes.

Oh, gosh. Little Bob just finished and now the other two are up at the table again. Mom is feeding both Big and Middle again.

“Last Call at the Fish Bar!”

Mom lets them fall into food comas and makes sure they are covered and warm. Maybe they will sleep for a few minutes.

Oh, no. They are starting to wiggle their way out. Just look at those pin feathers. These babies are going to be doing a lot of preening very soon.

An hour later and Mom is feeding them again. This is feeding 3 and they still have crops from the earlier feeding. No one is going to feel hungry today.

Little Bob stays up at the table. The other two are full.

Finally – food coma.

Happy, full Osplets sleeping in a pile!

There will be more fish meals today. These three are doing fine. We had one worrisome day. Let us all hope that is the last for this family. Right now – in this very moment – all is well.

Take care everyone. Thanks for stopping in. See you soon!!!

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

Everyone is Fine

One of the problems with the streaming cams is the ‘chat’ feature. There, I have said it. The same persons come on at different times of the day, every day or every other day and say the same negative things. There is one on the PLO chat that always says, ‘The mother never feeds the youngest’. ‘Mama feed in order never feeds youngest.’ Seriously! Either they can’t rewind, they don’t watch, or they just want to stir the pot of negativity. I think that it is all three. So I go back to an old cry out of mine, Streaming cams need 24/7 knowledgable moderators. They need them to stop the bots coming in and they need them to stop the negative chatter. Even more so, if something happens on the nest they need to have emergency numbers to call or place them on the streaming cam site at the top.

The Port Lincoln Osplets are doing fine! And it is something to celebrate. One of the most exciting things is to watch them grow and grow they are. these chicks are losing their light grey coat to get their second, darker grey down. You can see the little pin feathers starting. still, each retains a tiny bit of its egg tooth. The feet are getting bigger, wings are growing and the tiny tails are starting. If you didn’t know the different species at this age of 9-10 days, just look at that beautiful dark mask going from the cere to behind the eye. that is the distinctive bandit mask of the Osprey!

Dad comes in with another fish. the big one that arrived earlier is all gone.

The chicks are getting bigger and they don’t like sleeping under Mum like they did when they first hatched. Indeed, these little ones seem to be tumbling around underneath her much of the time.

Awwww. Such sweeties.

Because it is winter in Australia, the light changes early. Mum and dad are on the nest and the little ones are getting another feed. Notice how much they have grown. It is as if someone took them and stretched them in the last couple of days. They no longer appear like short fat little chicks but they are entering another phase where they will begin to look like thin reptiles with long necks.

Each is doing fine. There were not as many big fish yesterday as during the high winds but everyone was fed and no one was left out.

I literally checked into the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest to see how WBSE 27 and 28 are doing. Lady was feeding them.

That is WBSE 28 at the front of the nest with its big crop. 27 is practicing its self feeding with a small piece of prey.

This nest will have two fledges this year. I so hope the Pied Currawong do not chase them out of the forest so they can fly and return to the nest for more meals while they get their piloting in order.

Lady Hawk did a video of 27 learning to self-feed and 28 nibbling at her toes. Have a look:

The strongest earthquake in recorded history hit Melbourne, Australia yesterday.

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/earthquake-tremor-felt-across-melbourne-and-regional-victoria/news-story/f8dca1048e48a500e3308dabedfdb1c1

The first thing many thought of were the four eggs of the Peregrine Falcons at 367 Collins Street.

Dad was on the eggs at the time and stepped off wondering what was happening.

Everything appears to be fine. Some buildings were damaged but no one was killed. Thankfully! We are nearing hatch watch for this couple.

In Orange, the running joke has been Xavier wanting his time to incubate the eggs.

Xavier doesn’t want to give up his incubating time!

Do you know why the male Peregrine falcon is called Xavier? It is one of those heart wrenching stories that makes you love this little male bird even more.

Diamond’s eggs were ready to hatch. Her mate, Bula, disappeared and was presumed dead. As we all know, the chicks would have died. Instead, enter a new male who starts helping with the chicks and raises them as if they were his own. Because he was a ‘saviour’ of the family, he was named Xavier.

The researcher at Orange is Cilla Kinross. She did a cute video of the negotiations between Diamond and Xavier over the incubation duties.

Everything is changing at these four nests in Australia. The White-Bellied Sea Eagles are exercising their wings, jumping, and hopping about. They are getting more adept at self-feeding although 27 still is the one that gets to the prey first it seems. Lady does come in and feed them. Branching will be next but not for a bit, thankfully. We will be watching for the four at Collins street to hatch in about four or five days. Diamond and Xavier’s chicks will follow but not for a week or a little more. And, of course, the change in the Osplets at Port Lincoln will be significant. They will look like skinny reptiles all wound around one another. The key is that everything, at this moment in time, is just fine. There are no worries. So enjoy them!

It is another beautiful fall day in Manitoba. The Green Heron has departed and I always missed it. Perhaps another will come next year! The Blue Heron is also gone but I hear there are waves of Dark-Eyed Juncos headed towards the city. I cannot wait. They love to pick apart my red outdoor carpet. Such cuties. I am going out for a long walk and to check on the Wood Ducks. Perhaps they will cooperate and there will be some good photos for me to share with you.

Thank you for stopping by. Check out the streaming cams – the birds are doing great. And, if you feel up to it, shut down the negativity. There is already enough in the world. The birds bring us joy. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street by Mirvan, Falcon Project Cam at Orange, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Oh, Little Bob!

Oh, another glorious fall day on the Canadian Prairies. The sun is shining bright and the sky is blue. The leaves of the vines looking like stained glass ranging in colour from rust to orange, light yellow, and chartreuse. Just stunningly beautiful.

I always worry about the third hatches. I have worried about the third at the Port Lincoln nest the minute the egg was laid. Last evening one of the chatters called #3 “Tuffet.” That is a great nickname for Little Bob.

And Little Bob looks like such an angel. If you are having trouble telling who he is, he still has his egg tooth today. That is him wide awake smiling at the camera.

My goodness. I have begun to feel sorry for Mum. She has only to wiggle or get up to stretch and he has his mouth wide open!

Big and Middle are not bothered at all. Little Bob still has a crop but he is sure curious as to whether or not Mom will give him some bites!

“What cha’ doin’ Mom?”

Little Bob is decidedly not hungry. When I last left the family Dad had brought what was left of the ‘whale’ that he had brought in at 12:35:44.

There was another feeding around 13:08.

If you are wondering, yes, that is Little Bob being fed!

By 13:24 Mum has them all tucked and Dad is over on the ropes.

Around 16:00 the chicks are fed again.

With the whale finished, Dad is going to need to go out and fishing. At 16:49 Dad comes to have a consultation with Mom. She puts in an order for a fish as the kids are growing restless.

The delivery comes in half an hour. Well done, Dad. I wonder if he has a stash of these nice large fish?

Notice that all of the chicks have some fish still in their crop from the earlier feeding.

Oh, dear. That fish was flapping. Hope that little one is OK. It sure isn’t stopping Little Bob with his crop from wanting a meal. There he is near that flapping tail.

Oh, these three are really going to be a handful when they are older. Dad is going to have to bring further reinforcements for the walls. Mom finishes feeding them and then…

She moves the fish and starts again! They all line up again.

Look carefully at the back of Little Bob on the end. Can you see the two dark stripes starting to emerge? and just look at how adorable those little wings are. Gosh these kids are cute.

Dad will remove the fish and return it at 18:20:01.

There’s Little Bob flaunting his crop – wondering if his is the biggest or not.

Mom probably thought she could have a few bites in peace and quiet. What do you think? Yes, that is Little Bob with his mouth open! Poor Mom.

Now another wants some fish. You can still see their crops from the 18:22 feeding. But there is also something else we can see. Look, pin feathers are coming. Soon they will look like reptiles. Their light coat of down will be replaced by a darker woolier coat at 10-12 days. That is followed by the reptile phase.

We are entering the second week. Already these chicks have more than likely tripled their body weight. It should, in fact double again in the next three to four days. The fastest period of growth will come at 15-30 days. This is when we need fish on this nest.

It is possible that when Mom got up to eat some fish she fed some of the Osplets around 21:13.

It was hard to tell because Mum swung herself around so we couldn’t see.

Little Bob wiggles his way out from under Mom in the middle of the night and is calling for fish!

And we are back where we started. Around 1:13, Mom wants to stretch her legs and Little Bob thinks it is time to eat again – crop or not.

It is now 2:51 in the morning, 22 September in Australia. Mom and chicks are fast asleep. No doubt Little Bob will be right up front at the table the minute that fish lands on the nest.

This third hatch is anything but shy or afraid. This nest has really turned itself around thanks to the good deliveries of fish by Dad and the continuous feedings by Mom. No one on this nest has been hungry.

The crucial period is not here yet. We need to make it through weeks 3 and 4.*

Looking for hatch watch with the Peregrine falcons in Melbourne in 6 days. That will liven things up a bit. Over at the WBSE in the Sydney Olympic Park, the parents are dropping prey now that the eaglets are self-feeding. Most of the time 27 gets the food. Yesterday, Mom did the feeding. 28 had a nice crop. The first seen in awhile. The pair continue to work their wings.

Thank you so much for joining me today — and thank you for your interest in the Eastern Ospreys at Port Lincoln, Australia. So far, so good. Continue to send warm wishes to all the nests.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

* Last year, the feedings were not as good at the PLO. Around Day 15 there was a perceived drop in food delivery. Siblicide occurred and sadly, little Tapps died when he was 18 days old.

PLO rock

It seriously does not get better than this: I take a break to check on our federal election results and turn around to check on the chicks at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest and they are being fed —— again!

The whale of a fish that Dad brought in this morning still has some left even after the last feeding. I have genuinely lost count of the feedings but we are up to at least five and I think maybe six. The last one began with Dad bringing the remaining fish to mom at 12:14. The kids ate and it is now 12:36 nest time. They will be fed at least three or four more times before they tuck it in for the night. Fantastic. Like the little songbirds in their nests whose parents fly in and out continually, this trio of osplets are thriving with more frequent feedings at this stage in their development.

It was time for a nap. One of the chatters was worried about Little Bob being out from under Mom. You can also see the heads of Big and Middle Bob sticking out. Little Bob was too warm or he would have been under. And if he got chilled, he would push to get under mom. If she was worried she would have scooped him up. She did look and check on him several times.

There is still some fish remaining that you can see at the bottom right. The chicks were full when mom finished feeding and got them settled again.

Less than an hour later, Dad is back on the nest. Just look at mom’s eyes. You can also see one of the wee babes with its head out.

Mom feeds the babies again! I don’t even know if they were hungry.

Everyone is fed and tucked. Dad is over on the ropes and I bet mum is wanting to catch a little sleep. It looks like the whale of a fish was finished.

During my walk today, I noticed a lovely pine tree. It had three Black capped chickadees on the branches. Then I stopped at another yard and saw no less than 15 bird feeders and various bird baths and watering containers. At the corner was the house with the pollinator garden. Long before it became a stylish phrase ‘I have a pollinator garden’, my neighbour was doing just that. People reported him to the city authorities because, well, his boulevard and yard looked a mess. Today, the flowers are growing in the pots hanging between the trees and the rest are native plants helping the environment. I don’t think anyone looks at that garden with disdain any longer. I mention this because I got a note this evening from a reader asking me what are all the things they can do to help the birds. Gosh, I didn’t know where to start there is so much to be done. So let’s start with the basic principle that everything is connected. Here are a few ideas and we will add to them on a regular basis.

  • Shrinking your lawn is one of the first one that comes to mind. In their book, Planting in a Post-Wild World, the authors suggest that we think of turf or lawn as an area rug, not the whole floor. Use the grass areas to draw attention to something. Most eco-gardeners suggest having no more than 50% turf. It is suggested that you set your mowers to 3 inches or 7.5 cm. You will not kill your grass by cutting it too short and you will also not kill the turtles or little bunnies that hunker down. Do not mow at sunset as many species come out at that time of day.
  • Do not treat your turf with anything. No matter how green the companies claim their products to be, if they kill something they will also kill other things. You can also save a lot of money.
  • If you are doing some fall planting, use native plants and pollinators. These will be good for the insects and small birds.
  • Plant a native tree.
  • Do not rake your lawn. Leave it. Just leave it alone. If you must, rake the leaves into areas and spread them being as gentle as possible.
  • Locally we are recommending leaving out hummingbird feeders. The little ones are still staying in some of our more northern areas. They are migrating through and really can use the energy.
  • The small songbirds migrating have really been eating my suet cylinders. That fat and those specialized seeds and insects give them fuel also.

I will stop there. There is so much we can do from supporting bird friendly coffee and building bubblers (small fountain areas) and little ponds, window decorations to stop bird strike, etc. A friend of mine wrote to me today and they had been in an area where there were no birds. They said that it was ‘eerie.’ Can you imagine a world without birds?

Thank you so much for checking in with me. It is going so well for the family at Port Lincoln. What a joy! Take care all. See you soon.

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

A whale of a fish for the PLO kids

In the middle of the night, the osplets were restless. Mom needed to stretch her legs and they all stood up, beaks wide open thinking it was time for yet – another – meal. They were so well fed during the day it is hard to imagine them being hungry at 02:45 but they thought they were.

Mum worked hard and finally corralled Big and Middle back under her wings and chest! But not before they peeked out again and had another try for a feeding! Just look at how wide they can open their mouths. Goodness.

Mum went sound asleep and was looking really comfy when this image was taken at 05:10.

Mom needed another stretch before the sun rose. Oh, goodness. It was mayhem.

Big and Middle started pecking one another and Little Bob ducked! All I could think was get a fish on this nest quick.

Mom was having none of it. She sat on the chicks and stopped all the nonsense in its tracks. I thought she looked rather pleased with herself.

A couple of minutes later, Dad was on the ropes with a whale of a fish. He ate part of the head and got rid of the sharp teeth before transferring it over to the family.

That fish is big enough to last them all day! What a great catch.

They all got themselves lined up nicely in order of age – Big Bob on the outside, Middle Bob, and then, of course, that character Little Bob eating first! Yes, his crop does get full and yes, he does pass out in a food coma. This kiddo isn’t afraid of anything. It was almost slapstick comedy watching him duck when Big and Middle thought they would have a go at one another. Smart kiddo.

Nice crops!

Feeding is over. Dad returns to pick up the fish.

Dad returns the fish. It was so sweet. He waited a bit watching her feed their three healthy little ones.

I don’t know. These two are like a well oiled machine this year, synchronized. I want to knock on some wood. It is like they went to parenting classes or something – a sea change from last year. I want this so much to stay throughout the season to fledging.

Mum decides that feeding is over. Just stop for a minute and look at the size of that fish on the nest. I am still amazed. Everyone is full and the chicks are falling asleep.

Dad returns to the nest. The adults have a chat and they decide that Dad will leave the fish on the nest as Mum will need to feed the little ones again soon.

I sound like a broken record but this year we have seen fish delivered to nests that were described as ‘big’. I am referring to a few that went to the Collins Marsh Osprey nest. This fish is ‘big’. Look at its circumference and length. There is lots of flesh for this family on this one catch. It is not a twiddler.

Isn’t Mum cute? She is hungry and has figured out a way to brood the babes and eat in peace! Enjoy it Mum. You have earned it!

Dad has returned and has removed the fish after Mum had some good bites. He will bring it back, no fear. Look at those two little heads poking out. How cute.

No doubt there will be a lot more feedings throughout the day. This Osprey nest is in excellent shape. Dad has proved that he can fish in high winds and Mom can keep the peace with the youngsters and make them line up and eat properly. I am so impressed.

If you missed it, Lyn Brenig’s proposed all terrain World War II vehicle tours around the nature centre has been scrapped after public protest. If you think your voice doesn’t matter, it does!

This news is not about Ospreys but, we might discover that our beloved fish eagles will also be breeding farther north. Birdguides.com is reporting the successful breeding of the Audouins Gull on France’s Atlantic coast – farther north than has ever happened. Have a read:

https://www.birdguides.com/news/audouins-gull-successfully-breeds-on-french-atlantic-coast/?fbclid=IwAR2I1fHwgsu9gmObxB9AE1HxbzcHZeWFBKSw5ldICoPX_K0HvYgmKi7xVQk

Last, but not least, another mention of the documentary on the Ospreys that has been in production for several years. Everyone will have to check their local PBS stations to see when it will be available in their country. I did write them and a DVD will be sold later. Here is that great trailer to get us all excited:

Keep sending your warm wishes to the Port Lincoln Ospreys. Life is good there. We want it to stay that way!

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

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

Blustery winds in Port Lincoln

The blustery winds and water blowing onto the nest have made for a rough morning at Port Lincoln. Still, hats off to Dad. He managed to land one hefty fish that he brought to the nest at 6:49:35. Did he catch another? or return that big fish at 7:59:26? It was a bit chaotic. Right now the nest is rocking and the winds are blowing steady at 34 kmh.

Fish were coming and going and feedings and attempted feedings with the wind and the mist off the water.

The weather really turned and Mom hunkered down on top of those babies. She cannot afford for them to get wet or even damp. It is only 9 degrees C.

Notice that Mom has kept that big fish on the nest.

As soon as there was a break in the weather, she fed the kids!

Even then Little and Middle Bob were cold and tucked under Big Bob after they had some bites.

The bad weather is still holding on in Port Lincoln. Mom is doing her best to keep those babies dry and warm.

I really want to say how impressed I am with this Osprey family. Both Mom and Dad are there for these three and at every opportunity they are trying to get some morsels in them – maybe not a lot but some – because they really cannot afford to have them get damp. Send your warm wishes for the winds to calm, please.

It did get up to 29 C on the Canadian prairies and everyone who had a kayak was out on the river. Yes, that meant that the Green Heron was no where in sight! I will try again this week. The fish are still jumping and there will be no let up in our nice weather so the heron should still be here. Wish I could send some of this off to Port Lincoln.

Mr Squirrel and Mr Blue Jay did make an appearance at the bowls at precisely the same time. One wanted nuts and the other wanted a bath.

It is always wonderful when they arrive about an hour before sunset. Nice to know that they are safe and sound.

Mr Blue Jay was not pleased with the amount of water in ‘his’ bowl. He refuses to use the bird bath. Only this ceramic bowl. Notice the square chipped out. That is from his talons! Every year I have to drag this bowl out. He refuses to go to any other even if they are full.

Notice that the Vermillionaires are still blooming. The hummers love them and there was a sighting in our City today of a hummer so they have not all migrated.

I love how he has his crest up. Look at this image from the front and then the next one from the side.

Mr Blue Jay is quite adorable.

Let us all hope the weather calms completely down at Port Lincoln. That said, Mom and Dad are doing everything they can to feed and keep those babies warm and as full as they can. Everything in the other nests is fine. We will be on hatch watch at the Collins Street falcons in about 6 or 7 days. After that it will be Xavier and Diamond’s hatch. The sea eagles continue to grow and are vigorously flapping their wings. The Bald Eagles are working on their nests in the US. Meanwhile, us Osprey lovers are waiting for news of our favourite birds being sighted on the way to Africa (or Spain).

And did you say an Osprey Plushie? Seriously, I did. When the Dyfi on line shop opens in October they will be for sale. I have never seen one. What a brilliant fundraiser! If you are outraged that they will have all terrain vehicles roaming around Lyn Brenig, get on to their website and tell them so. First the filming crew, then the nest being cut down, and now this. What is the purpose of a nature centre? and if it is funds that need to be raised then why isn’t the government understanding how valuable our wildlife and wild areas are to getting this planet a little more normalized.

Thanks so much for stopping in. Take care!

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

Little Bob loves his fish

I find myself continually checking on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. In part it is because of the death of the third hatch, Tapps, last year. It is also because this nest has a history of siblicide. With the hatching of the three osplets so close together this year, everyone is hopeful that each will thrive and survive. If they do, there is a satellite tracker waiting for them so we can follow their lives like we do Solly’s.

Dad was on the ropes of the barge moored at Port Lincoln, Australia, eating some of the fish that he had just caught. This was his second catch of the morning. It wasn’t long til he shifted it over to Mom on the nest for the family breakfast.

The weather report has removed the forecast for rain but the winds are picking up. They are blowing at 34 km/h in the early afternoon. That is 21.1 mph.

It is hard to tell -when the camera was pulled out- who ate.

Turn around Little Bob! Or did Little Bob eat and we didn’t see it?

This feeding is over. You can see the fish left and another tail of a fish in the upper right. There is no shortage of food on the nest. That makes for happy osplets!

At 13:30 Dad brought in a big sized fish. This is so good. That fish, if left on the nest, will feed these wee ones for the rest of the day.

You could hear the wind blowing on the camera. It is very strong and the bobble heads are even more of a challenge for Mum to get tiny morsels into everyone’s mouth. Here she is trying to feed the little one in the middle and its head won’t stay still.

Aren’t those little wings darling?

I have not seen any targeted aggression with any of the three osplets.

Little Bob and Middle Bob have their mouths wide open.

Little Bob decides he is just going to take a bite out of that fish! How cute.

The feeding continues. All three have crops – not huge – but it is a cool wind. I wonder how long mom will feed them? will she stop before they get a chill?

Little Bob even went for the steal on this bite.

It is too funny. Mom is going to cover them up but Little Bob still wants to take a bite out of that fish! Priceless. (You can see his little crop). Oh, Little Bob, you are quite the character already. You are going to be a handful for your mother later!

Oh, my goodness. It is only 14:16 and so far this is today’s tally at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. Looking at this everyone should be completely relieved. Mom is doing what is best – little frequent feedings. Additionally, she is getting them back under and warm so they do not catch a chill. This nest is really doing well this year. I am much more optimistic.

Fish deliveries: 6:11, 8:16, 13:30

Feedings: 6:11, 8:16, 9:12, 9:25, and 13:30

Please continue to send all of your positive warm wishes to this family so that all three fledge.

Thanks for stopping by for this quick check on the Osplets at Port Lincoln. Take care everyone.

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

Friday in Bird World

Someone has a sense of humour over at the Dyfi Osprey Project. Have a look at their season highlights (oh, I had forgotten what a horrid spring these birds had!). There are some great images in this video compilation.

There was a really short feed at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest before the sun came up.

The golden rays of the morning are falling on mom has she has those three little osplets under her keeping warm. It is 11 degrees C – coolish and the winds are blowing at 23 km/h. Brisk. I hope Dad has a good day fishing. The forecast is for rain on Saturday and Sunday.

Glaslyn has officially announced that Aran is now on his migration. He has not been seen since Tuesday.

Closer to home. The Great Blue Heron wins the award for patience. He stood positively still and because of that, he was very successful in his fishing today in a river south of Winnipeg. I wish I could find the words to describe how quiet it was on the river and what a privilege it was to see this really beautiful bird catch its dinner.

This Great Blue has been keeping the juvenile Green Heron company but if the latter was around, he is still alluding me.

There was not a sign of a Wood Duck or a Cormorant but the Mallards and the Canada Geese were the usual suspects at the urban pond today.

For some reason today, the grass seemed greener to the geese on the other side of a major paved thoroughfare. We ushered them back but not without a lot of hissing and honking. The grass was definitely not greener and the cars were not being respectful. If you see geese, please slow down.

How many of you are Big Red and Arthur fans? The Red-tail Hawk couple at Cornell University? If so, the folks at the Cornell Bird Lab have put together a compilation video like the one for the Dyfi Osprey Nest. Here it is:

It is that time of year. First, I remind everyone to please not rake your yard. There are insects growing there. Just leave the leaves. Someone’s ears will thank you for not using the blower as well. And, finally, this is the time of year that the eagles, the condors, and many other bird species show up in the wildlife clinics because of lead. Please tell everyone you know that fishes and hunts to use lead free kit. Thanks!

The Bald Eagle is not, of course, the symbol of Canada but many breed here during the summer and we want all of the birds safe.

I hope that each and everyone of you have a wonderful weekend. Maybe the weather is sunny and dry – go for a walk, say hi to your favourite birds. Check out the little ones at the PLO nest or WBSE 27 and 28 at the Sea Eagles nest in Sydney. Hatch watch for the falcons is still a ways away.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Cam where I took my screen shots.

Very Impressive

I find myself continually checking on the PLO nest. Do you?

It is a sunny 18 degree C day in Port Lincoln, Australia. The problem is the speed of the winds. The rate is 42 kmh or 26 mph. The water is choppy. The barge is moving a bit. Add that together with three ‘Bobbling’ Bobs and well – could you feed these three hungry Osplets moving about every which way? I am certain that I could not! Dad has even delivered the fish despite the waves and wind. I really am finding myself being totally impressed by these two adults.

After the osplets hatch, the Mom tends to stay on the nest most of the time. That said she does take breaks and, at this nest, Dad can be seen relieving her so she can have a stretch and a relaxation break. Still, his primary role is food delivery – ‘Daddy Door Dash’. Alan Poole reminds us that the number of fish deliveries doubles and triples in the first 20 days after hatch. This is the rapid growth period. It is during these first weeks that we do not want to have cold rainy weather either – it seems to both impact the fishing as well as the health of the wee babes.

Ospreys are semi-precocial. This means that they are not as developed as ducks or chickens who, after 24 hours, can walk, are covered with feathers, and feed themselves. Ducks and chickens are precocial. Songbirds, on the other hand, are born altricial –naked and require complete care. Osplets are in between. They are born with down but still need the parent to keep them warm and feed them. They cannot regulate their own temperature until they are 2 to 3 weeks old.

In terms of growth, osplets should “triple their body weight in the first 8 days after hatch and then double that again in the next 4 days” according to Poole. By the time they are a month old, if all has gone well, they will be 70-80% of their adult size.

Mom has the task of trying to make sure that each open beak gets some fish. She is ever so gentle. The pieces of fish are so tiny. It is difficult to image those small morsels in that large beak of hers meeting up with the tiny, tiny beak of a wee babe. But she does it! Instead of still pictures I thought a couple of videos would help illustrate how impressive this female Osprey is at feeding.

I have to admit that I always worry about the third hatch. In the first video both Big Bob and Medium Bob had some bites. Little Bob had his beak wide open but I didn’t see any fish go in.

In the next video, Mom makes a point of feeding Little Bob. Look at how she stretches over Big Bob to reach Little Bob’s beak. What a relief!

These Bobs are doing so well. They still have their egg tooth that they used to get out of those hard shells. And, of course, we can see that bold dark eye stripe so characteristic of these fish eagles.

One day they will resemble their parents but there is a lot of growth and development that has to take place before then. Right now they have a coat of soft light grey down. This will be replaced by a darker wool and then the osplets will enter the reptilian phase where they look more like their dinosaur relatives than birds. The rusty-gold and coppery red of the pin feathers is gorgeous.

The three osplets in the nest below – not the PLO nest but another just for illustrative purposes show a bit of the range of plumage development. There is the lighter grey down, then the emergence of the charcoal and the one on the left is entering the reptile phase.

“7-10 day old Osprey young” by Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Their flight feathers will emerge last.

There are certainly exciting days to come but, for now, I want to focus on the magic as they seemingly grow right before our eyes. The stated range of fledging dates is 55-60 days in Australia. Those days will pass very quickly. Let’s enjoy them while we can!

I do hope you enjoyed the short videos of the three Bobs at the PLO nest having a feeding today. I do find myself continually commenting on how cute they are — and they are ever so precious.

Thank you for joining me. Send your warm wishes to this nest so that Dad’s fishing ventures are successful and that all three grow healthy and fledge. That would be remarkable. I am so hopeful this year.

Thank you to the PLO Project and their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clips.

Wednesday in Ospreyland and elsewhere

The water on the lake is very smooth today. Strangely there were no gulls, only one Cormorant fishing, and a lone duck. The bison were not in their enclosure but the sky was the most beautiful blue and the Aspen trees are nothing short of gorgeous. It was a good day. I also learned a lot by plunking myself down and talking to the chap that runs the Nature Centre. So first with the terrible photos. The blame is on my ‘finger’. The setting on the camera was definitely not where it should have been.

This cormorant was rather amazing. He dove into the water and came up about 15 metres from where he went under – but not for several minutes. Incredible. I hope he found a fish for his efforts.

Feel free to help me identify this duck. I have three bird books in front of me and none of the descriptions fit this one. Ideas? I was told that there is a duck that should not be here but should be in British Columbia. I wonder if this is it?

The fawn was not going to cooperate! And why should it? But I do wish it would have turned and smiled.

Driving through the hills and gravel roads is such a change from the urban asphalt. These colours were stunning and changed from area to area in the park.

The national parks in Western Canada from 1915-1946 were built in part by some ten thousand foreigners, the unemployed, the homeless, conscientious objectors, and people deemed to be enemies of the state. I understand that they were not criminals but were perceived, at the time – during the Depression and the wars – to be persons who might cause civil unrest.

Four hundred and forty German POWs worked at Riding Mountain National Park. They were originally in detainment camps in Alberta that were crowded. They volunteered to come to Manitoba and work in the forests cutting wood. Each man’s quota was 3/4 of a cord of wood a day. Their camp was at Clearwater Lake. There were no fences and no barricades. In conversations with staff at the park, it was known that the men would often sneak out of camp and go to dances in some of the small towns. No one seemed to mind. They would be back in the POW camp in the morning for the roll call.

The men worked eight hour days. There was not a lot to keep them busy. They began wood carving. Many made dug out canoes from the large spruce trees in the forest. They raised pigs and grew vegetables in their gardens. They also caught a bear and tamed it and it became the camp mascot.

A number of the men returned to visit Riding Mountain on the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII. It is totally fascinating – a part of the history of my province that I did not know.

Times have certainly changed. Look at the old canvas tent and the chairs. I love the moose calves. Not sure the rangers would like to see this happen today! I can’t wait to learn more about this beautiful area where I live.

This is a short video about the POWs and their role at the park.

Now to turn our minds back to the birds for a moment. The sun is just rising over the water at Port Lincoln, Australia. It is kissing the back of our Osprey mum with its golden rays.

Six or seven hours after the third Osplet hatched, it was holding its head high wanting some fish.

I am not quite sure where it is during this feeding! It will be a scramble but hatching out of that egg took a lot of energy and many do not even eat the first 24 hours. I have a feeling that this little one is strong. Let us all hope so and send good wishes down to them and their parents. I want to see this nest fledge three this year!

What a beautiful place for an Osprey nest. I hope there are a lot of fish for Dad to bring to the nest. Fingers crossed.

Looks like everything is going well at Port Lincoln. Here is another image of its first feed, less than six hours after hatch. Fantastic.

The researchers and administrators at the Port Lincoln Osprey Project have posted a number of videos on the Port Lincoln FB page. You do not have to be a member of their group to watch them. Check it out!

Thank you for stopping by. I hope to do a full check on all the nests – including returning Bald Eagles – tomorrow night. Take care everyone. Stay safe!

Thank you to the PLO for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.