Poor Lena hangs on as Hurricane Ian comes to Florida and other news in Bird World

27 September 2022

Good Afternoon,

A brief check on what is happening at a few of the Osprey and Eagle nests that are on the edge of Hurricane Ian as it moves towards Florida and a peek at the Australian nests as the 28th of September begins there. At the moment, it appears that Port Lincoln Osprey barge is offline. Maybe that cam will start working again before I finish. The Sea Eagles appears to be offline as well.

I know that our thoughts are always with the people and birds when these treacherous storms arrive. Osprey Lena is hanging on tight to her new nest at Captiva as I write this. On top of having to hunker down and ride out what could be a category 3 or 4 hurricane by tomorrow, Lena also has not seen her mate, Andy, back at the nest. I just feel for her right now. The wind is blowing at 25 mph and the rain is intensifying at both the Osprey and Eagle nests at Captiva.

Lena continues to hunker down in the same spot.

An hour later she is holding on in the same spot. You can see on the live streaming cam the gulls and pelicans flying low to the water’s surface. Rain and wind are picking up.

At around 1700, Romeo, the young male tried to land on Lena and Andy’s nest so Lena not only has to contend with a hurricane coming but also is alarming and trying to protect her nest. She is not impressed.

Lena is blown off the nest.

There she goes.

You can watch the Captiva nest and Lena here:

You can catch the Captiva Eagle nest of Connie here:

The Achieva Osprey nest is starting to sway in St Petersburg and the wind seems to be picking up a bit at the nest of Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers. The nest of Ron and Rita in the Miami Zoo would make you seasick if you were so inclined!

The little sea eaglets – who are not all that little anymore if you look at that wing spread – are acting more and more like adults. Someone took a video clip of them sleeping. Have a look at how grown up they are standing with their heads tucked.

The Mum at Melbourne was doing some ker-chuffing at 0606. She did not take a break for several minutes later -at 06:10:43 -and she was gone long enough to have a nice meal and stretch her legs. While she was away the new male came to the end of the ledge. He did not incubate the eggs. He stayed for a few minutes and then flew off before Mum returned.

There she goes.

Mum appears to be a lot more careful when approaching the eggs and her body appears to be fluffed quite a bit. Can she hear her babies? From the pip to hatch can take anywhere from 24-72 hours. Oh, I wish we could get a real close up on those eggs!

Fluffed out and looking around.

This year Xavier appears to be spending much more time in the scrape box with Diamond.

Port Lincoln still appears to be offline. Send all your best wishes to the people and our beautiful birds in the line of Hurricane Ian. Captiva is S of Tampa and Tampa is expecting strong winds to hit tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you so much for being with me on this quick check as to what is happening. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Captiva Ospreys and Window to Wildlife, Captiva Bald Eagles and Window to Wildlife, WRDC, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

Tuesday morning in Bird World

27 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

It is clear blue skies on the Canadian Prairies this morning. The temperature when I began this blog was 2 degrees C. There was frost on the roof for the first time this year. The remaining flowers and herbs were not bothered so hopefully the second wave of hummingbirds that will be coming through will have some nectar. The Crows and Blue Jays along with the squirrels are busy collecting corn and peanuts this morning. Little Red has a new suet cylinder so all is well in the garden.

Making News:

Hurricane Ian is beginning to impact the Florida coast. This is the view of one of the Captiva Ospreys earlier this morning. For all of our raptor nests and everyone in this region – as I know so many of my readers are – we are all sending you our warmest thoughts. Stay safe. I will be checking on the Captiva situation throughout the day and evening.

It is currently calm in St Petersburg at the Achieva Osprey nest.

Some wind, which seems to be picking up in gusts, and rain at the nest of Bald Eagles Ron and Rita in the Miami Zoo.

You can hear the wind gusts at the Southwest Florida nest in Fort Myers of M15 and Harriet.

The winds at the Northeast Florida nest of Samson and Gabby appear and sound to be as strong as those at Southwest Florida.

Just checked. The wind speeds at Fort Myers (Harriet and M15) are at 17kph with Jacksonville, home to Samson and Gabby at 18 kph, and Ron and Rita’s nest in Miami at 19 kph. All have rain. We should expect these winds to pick up considerably later in the day.

This is the latest view from the Osprey nest at Captiva. There is one bird on a perch. You will have a front row seat to watch the storm according to the moderator on the cam. Hang on Lena!

Here is the link to the this camera:

Arctic Terns travel 44,000 miles during migration and now, once in the UK, they are met with Avian Flu. A good article that continues to discuss the demise of so many sea birds this year due to this wide spread disease.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/27/country-diary-a-cruel-end-to-an-arctic-terns-epic-travels

Dr Sharpe has boundless energy and his love for raptors is highly infectious. He is now looking to place streaming cam on Alcatraz for one of Grinnell and Annie’s daughters who has been nesting there and raising chicks for a couple of years. The Institute for Wildlife Studies posted this image of Dr Sharpe this morning checking out the situation.

Nest News:

We can all give ‘three cheers’ for Little Bob at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. At the mid-day feeding, Little Bob had himself right up there in the front row! This does remind me of our dear Ervie and it did take Ervie a couple of days to figure out the ‘sweet spots’ so he could get the most food. This is fantastic. Just look at that little bit of an osplet up there by Middle Bob. Gosh, he is a darling. Big Bob has such a long neck he can reach over both of them but what a tidy trio. It is also nice to see Dad on the nest. What a fantastic family this is.

Little Bob looks so proud of himself.

Dad came in at 1307 with a small headless fish and there was another feeding extremely close to the last one. By the time this feeding was over, all of the chicks were right ready for a good sleep!

The Mum at Melbourne seems to be ‘sitting’ on the eggs differently. Reports out of Melbourne seem to indicate that she is being fed and at one male did stand above the eggs, as if listening, yesterday. A soap opera in Falcon World. We wait but it should not be too long now. There could be pips as I am writing.

The two below appear to be the reigning adults at the Melbourne scrape. The female called simply a falcon (or Mum) has higher horizontal bars on her chest than the male. It is the only way I can tell them apart. Juveniles have vertical bars. The feathers of the female are darker than those of the male or the tiercel and, of course, she is bigger but it is often difficult to tell the size differential unless the pair are close together. I have watched the old male for quite a number of years and this tiercel does not look like him to me.

Mum was doing a lot of ‘looking down’ as if listening to the eggs beginning right after noon yesterday. She is quite beautiful but sure seems to give her ‘most fierce’ look at the camera sometimes.

Now she is being sweet and not so fierce.

It looked as if an eel were brought into the nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest with a wee bit of discord between SE29 and SE30 – but, in the scheme of things – that discord lasted 3 seconds with no pecking. Just a little feisty shuffle. Of course, the adults are watching everything that these two are doing.

Beautiful Diamond. At Orange, the eggs of Xavier and Diamond tend to hatch between 36 and 39 days. That means that the first pip should come on 1 October. As many of you know, the falcon eggs can hatch almost all at once. So 2-3 days. I do hope that these two have a very healthy chick or chicks. ‘A’ and I noticed that both Diamond and Xavier tend to be looking very healthy this year. Fingers crossed.

Thank you so very much for joining me this morning. We are really watching for pips and hatches at Melbourne and keeping our eyes and ears on what Hurricane Ian is doing to the nests within its range. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams which form my screen captures: Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Achieva Osprey Nest, WRDC, SWFL Eagle Cam and Pritchett Family, NEFL-AEF, NOAA, IWS, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

Late Monday in Bird World

26 September 2022

It stayed cloudy with temperatures reaching a lovely 15 degrees on the Canadian prairie. It will be a good evening to go and check out the migration of the ducks and geese as they move through the city at dusk.

I wanted to do a quick check on the Australian nests to see if there has been any change from yesterday, especially at Melbourne.

Making News:

It is the weather that is making news as Hurricane Ian could make a huge impact on the Florida nests! That purple and red is right in an area that could hit Fort Myers and the nests on Captiva. Look like it is lots of rain for the Gainesville area and Jacksonville.

Folks are expecting the hurricane to hit the Captiva area tomorrow. The individuals who built the new Osprey nest and perch have said that it has been built to withstand a hurricane. Well done, everyone!

Falcons are hatching on a balcony in Perth, Western Australia in a flowerpot and not for the first time! You can check them out at their Twitter feed.

In Britain, scientists are changes in autumn – in trees that are sending out more seeds and a decline in insects. All of that will have an impact on our birds.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/25/autumn-uk-milder-season-flora-fauna

Nest News:

The Pritchett Family has turned on the streaming cam for the Southwest Florida eagles, M15 and Harriet.

I don’t quite remember a year when everything seemed to be happening at once. The Bald Eagles are busy working on their nests or arriving to start work. Connie was seen at Captiva yesterday. I have caught three nests with adults visiting, sleeping and/or doing nestorations: Two Harbours where both Chase and Cholyn are active, West End with another visit from Thunder, and Andor and Mama Cruz were at Fraser Point.

Thunder simply looks majestic on the rocks at the West End nest in the Channel Islands. Isn’t she simply gorgeous in that early morning sunshine? Where is Akecheta? Maybe I have missed him.

At Two Harbours, one adult was on the nest looking about and it was not long before both were there greeting one another and beginning to work on those rails. Just look at the height of that nest above the sea. We were all so grateful that Dr Sharpe climbed up that steep cliff to rescue Lancet last year.

Cholyn will be 25 years old this year. Incredible.

They are certainly a power couple and if you didn’t know, Cholyn is Thunder’s mother!

Andor spent the night on the Fraser Point nest that he shares with Mama Cruz.

Mama Cruz showed up before the day began to start working on the nest. This couple fledged Lillibet and our beloved, Victor, this year.

Hello Andor. You are looking very handsome, indeed.

Gabby and Samson stayed at the nest tree near Jacksonville perched high on the branches and when the sun was up work began again on that nest.

The day is just getting ready to start in Melbourne and our beautiful new Mum, sitting on those precious eggs, could be feeding wee ones before long! And about these eggs – I am beginning to wonder if there is any possibility that they are a mix of old dad’s and new dad’s?? That would require DNA testing of everyone so…it isn’t going to happen. But, so far, fingers crossed for healthy and very lively eyases! Food is being provided and there has been no attempt to harm the eggs.

I am so looking forward to the little white eyases with their pink beaks, eyes and legs. Such a contrast to the wee Osplets.

Are the eyases cheeping?

Yesterday there was a flapping fish and wee moments of discord at Port Lincoln Osprey barge. It is a wonder those Bobs weren’t hurt by that whacking fish! You might recall that this happened at Manton Bay at Rutland when Blue 33 brought in a big size perch and it flipped and flapped landing on top of the wee babes. They did survive it – and so did the Bobs yesterday. Wonder what is in store for today?

As I write this, the trio at Port Lincoln are waiting for their breakfast.

In the middle of the night at the Sydney Sea Eagle nest, Lady is sleeping on the branch with her head tucked in. SE29 is standing with its head tucked in and SE30 still prefers to sleep duckling style.

These two are really antsy this morning once the sun came up in the forest. They are extremely interested in what is happening beyond the nest and both have been on the branch. True branching looks like it could happen soon.

Xavier waits for Diamond to want a break and let him take care of the eggs.

That is a quick look at what is happening at the Australian nests. Today brings new promise of a hatch at Melbourne and well, those Sea Eaglets are really jumping and flapping. And they are gorgeous.

Thank you so much for being with me. Take care and I will see you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or posts that were used for my screen captures: NOAA, Crawley Falcons, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Explore.org and the IWS.

Monday Morning in Bird World

26 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that the start of your week has been a good one. It is 10 degrees C this morning and the birds in the garden are not happy. The men have come to put the skirting on the conservatory and they have a big saw. It is not very appealing! I did work outside and have moved in the some hot pink trumpet plants to reside inside along with the Hibiscus. Perhaps it will feel like a tropical paradise on the coldest days of winter. It is supposed to be excellent weather for the goose and duck flight arrivals as migration truly gets underway this week. Sandhill cranes have been spotted south of me and the honking and quacking at the ponds around the City is louder each night.

In the Mailbox:

‘L’ sends us a joyful little video she found showing ducks, swans, geese, flying.

‘A’ wonders if there are any raptors unique to Australia.

That is a great question since we are primarily looking at nests with eggs or youngsters pre-fledge in Australia right now. I cannot, at the first instance, think of a single raptor that is unique to Australia. One might think of the largest eagle, the Wedge-tail as living in Australia only it doesn’t. I have pulled out Penny Olsen’s Australian Birds of Prey to scour over today and this evening with hopefully an answer tomorrow.

If you are looking for information on Australian raptors, you can do not better than Penny Olsen. The book is sadly out of print and should be revised and reissued. If you happen to be able to find a copy, it is worth gold so hang on to it. The information is detailed and Olsen has a very interesting way of making data seem quite interesting. Very informative book and there seem to be a couple available at a very decent price on an on-line Australian bookseller. Just Google the name of the book if you are interested. Should be in everyone’s library – and not just those interested in Australian raptors as it covers raptors that reside around the world.

Many of you will have watched the MN-DNR Bald Eagle nest of Harry and Nancy. Harry did not return to the nest and Nancy raised one eaglet to fledge. The other was pushed off the nest by its older sibling and subsequently had to be euthanized. Well, Nancy has been photographed on the nest with a new male interest. Congratulations, Nancy!

Another study for the reintroduction of the White-tailed Eagle to Cumbria:

Farmers are putting out water in the UK for all manner of wildlife. For us, living in other places, it is essential that the birds – songbirds, raptors, all of them, have water. They need it to rehydrate themselves while they are feeding so that they can have a safe and healthy flight – so please, keep the water out!

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-suffolk-62575058?fbclid=IwAR33H4tIitpYoIDG2Ixm-33435ppk3e-bU5t6W2DpENpWwg5rDniU_ZaYkU

The Swiss were set to be the first European country to ban factory farming on the 25th of September. Instead, they voted to retain the practice.

Nest News:

I could watch Samson and Gabby working on their nest in Northeast Florida all day. The moving the big sticks, the negotiating (or not) where they should go, and then moving them again. What an absolutely privilege to be able to see these two prepare for another breeding season.

They are an absolute riot – these two -you can laugh yourself absolutely silly for 10 or 15 minutes in one of these sessions especially if Samson brings in one of his huge twigs.

Thunder visited her nest at the West End Bald Eagle nest in the Channel Islands Sunday morning. She brought in a fish, ate it, and sunned herself on the rock. Isn’t she gorgeous?

SE29 has walked up to the branch of the White-bellied Sea Eagles in the Sydney Olympic Forest. This is not ‘branching’ – the eagles need to fly up to the branch but, we are getting close!

Dad brought in an enormous fish that has supplied the fish from Mum and the three osplets at Port Lincoln for four meals! Little Bob did miss a meal and sometimes he just gets turned in the wrong direction but, when he is up there he is getting full. Mum is fantastic at figuring out the feeding order.

Dad brought in more fish and at the end of the day, Little Bob had eaten so much fish and his crop was so big he could hardly stand up. Now isn’t that incredible.

Look carefully at the top image. There is Big Bob. Notice the head. After the chicks lose their fine light grey down they move into the reptilian phase. To me, they look like they have attended Carnival in Grenada and been out the morning when people throw oil, paint, or mud at one another as a way of freeing themselves from the past and in celebration of the new. That day is called J’ouvert and it marks the beginning of Carnival. Sometimes people dress as red and blue devils as they parade through the streets — and I always remind myself that it is in this phase that the older siblings can become unruly and domineering. Fingers crossed for Port Lincoln. Mum and Dad are doing fantastic and Little Bob is eating – not always at every meal – but, well.

It appears that the female at the 367 Collins Street scrape is accepting food gifts and that the bearer of those gifts is also on the ledge, sometimes in view of the camera and sometimes not. It appears that this is male 2. I stand to be corrected. The ID of the male falcons is very difficult unless you can see their neck!

The male arrived with a prey item when the female was off the eggs. He waited and then flew off with it. The exchange, if it took place, was off camera. Mum did not return for a few minutes so it is possible she was munching away on that nice food gift.

He is clearly looking for the female and he has made no indication of any attempt to try and harm the eggs. All of this is good news especially if the old male is no longer ‘in the picture’ and if those are the ‘old male’s eggs’. I will happily be corrected that this is the old male….

Peregrine Falcon males are, thus, quite interesting in their behaviours. If this is male 2 accepting the eggs and helping to raise the eyases (yet of course to be seen), then he grows a growing list of males that will help a female raise a clutch in order to gain the female and the territory. We know of both Alden and Xavier and studies in the UK have indicated that even fledglings of another year have worked to help with a clutch. These falcons get more unique. I would love to hear your stories if you have any examples.

Earlier in the day a male – I still cannot see the neck and the line that male 2 has – is on the ledge.

This is male 2 in the image below with the female. I believe then it is also male 2 in the image above that frequented the ledge several times on Monday (in Australia).

Diamond gave us a good look at the eggs when she left for a break today. Wonder where Xavier is??? He is missing eggie time.

1at the Captiva Osprey Nest in Florida, Lena is having nothing to do with the young male who keeps showing up. He has been dubbed ‘Romeo’ because of the small heart on his chest.

Migration News:

I want to begin with the news from the family of Karl II, the Black Storks from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. There is good news over the past couple of days. The father, Karl II, normally spends much time in the area around Odessa in Ukraine. When we last had a signal transmission from him, he was known to be in the area of heavy fighting on the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. Karl II survived! he flew 361 km after deciding he did not wish to stay in Odessa to Olanesti in Romania. He is very near where his mate, Kaia, is. Tears are flowing.

Bonus, the foster storklet from the nest of Jan and Janikka, is also in Romania! So three from the nest – Karl II, Kaia, and Bonus – were safely in Romania, out of Ukraine, on the 25th. Waba is in Moldova.

Here is a crazy colourful map to show you where they are in relation to one another.

It is hard to imagine how dangerous it is for the birds that must migrate back and forth to their winter and spring homes.

You can see what I am talking about in the bright white going right down the centre of North America. Where I live we are in the yellow area. Those light areas are beginning to spread eastward.

Oh, it is joyful to hear that Karl II and his family are safe. I find it very interesting that they flew west and got out of Ukraine. We must be watching for hatch at Melbourne. The eyases can be heard, close to hatch, and I have noticed – and perhaps you have also – that the female is looking at the eggs sometimes. Today is the 27th and it is the first day of hatch watch for these urban falcons. We will mark down the 1-3 of October for Xavier and Diamond. The Sea Eagles will be jumping up and down on the branches but let’s see which one flies up there first – and they must be working on self-feeding. These two truly do love Lady to feed them. By the end of the week all three of the osplets will look different – enjoy the last of that light grey fluff for now.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Everything seems to be going very well everywhere. What a relief. Perhaps I should not have said that! Take care of yourselves. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts where I took my screen captures: NEFL-AEF, Explore.Org and IWS, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Looduskalender, Stepmap.com, and BirdCast.

Early Sunday in Bird World

25 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone. Clear beautiful blue skies on the Canadian Prairies and a temperature of 13 degrees C. It is fantastic. The forecast calls for no rain this week which, is excellent. We are really into migration and it will be fantastic to bundle up a bit and watch the geese and ducks fly into the ponds this week without rain.

Last evening I went to a pond in an industrial area that I have started to frequent. The Canvasbacks had moved from the two smaller ponds to the big one and the Blue Heron was there as well along with a couple of Greater Yellow Legs, other ducks, a single Double-crested Cormorant, and some geese. The Blue Heron flew off to what I am now calling the secret pond to roost for the evening with the Great White Egret.

Canvasback
Great Blue Heron taking flight to the other pond.
Greater Yellowlegs swimming instead of punching at the mud.

Nest News:

It was a wet late feeding for the three osplets at Port Lincoln. Little Bob was absolutely soaked but, they all had full crops and did well even when the fish was flapping about. I always worry when chicks get soaked to the bone when they are just wee with only their soft natal down. They cannot regulate their own temperatures and, well, they can get a chill. Mum got right back on top of them and her body heat will keep them right toasty and they will dry off, thankfully.

Incubation continues at 367 Collins Street. According to the calendar, hatch watch starts on the 27th and that is tomorrow in Melbourne. It is also unclear which male is providing food. I did not see the ‘line’ that the second male has now being called M2. As a result, my identification went to M1 or the old male. I hope that there can be some good clear shots of that male once these chicks hatch so we know who is providing food and who is around or not. This female should get a golden award. She has had no help with incubating these eggs. I realize that this does not take a lot of energy but normally this part is shared with the male. She is hanging in there well for a bird believed to be a first time Mum.

Xavier and Diamond also continue their incubation. We have 5-6 days to go before we start to look for a pip in those eggs. Those cameras in that scrape at Orange will give you a ring side seat to see the hatch. At Collins Street, it will only be from a distance.

There are very interesting lessons being taught at the Sydney Sea Eagles – or at least, trying to be taught. These two are the most laid back sea eagles I have seen in years. Dad brought in a teaser of a piece of fish at 1715. Mum was on the nest and SE29 and SE30 stood there, looking at the fish, waiting for Mum to feed them with no move to steal it! Meanwhile, Lady is eating the fish…

That is a very good crop on one of the eaglets.

Notice how Mum waits before doing anything. Lady and Dad must be wondering what is up with these two…is it possible that we have two males this year? I wonder. They are so calm.

Making News:

Toxic chemical pollutants are killing our raptors – and if it happens in one country, you can be assured that the problematic toxins will be found elsewhere.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/25/how-birds-of-prey-are-exposing-a-toxic-time-bomb

It is really incredible. Normally the fledglings of Big Red and Arthur are not seen after the end of August and here we are getting to the end of September and Suzanne Arnold Horning is still finding them for us on the Cornell Campus. This is just fantastic.

This is L4. What a magnificent hawk with her beautiful red feathered apron just like her Mum, Big Red.

The Bald Eagles continue to arrive at their nests in the US with sticks and a determination to rebuild the nest after last year’s clutch. You can almost check on any streaming cam and find that the couple have been there at some point working. Pa Berry and Missy have been busy for weeks now at Berry College! And Cody and his gang at the Kisatchie National Forest are getting some strange sounds made by eagles with their new ‘sound system’. We will jump out of our shoes when those eaglets start hatching- their cheeping will be so clear!

Listen to Louis pant when he lands on the nest:

It looks like it will be an interesting year. I urge you to add the KNF nest to your roster of eagles to watch — I know, you have too many already but, this is a great couple. Their third year together.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning as we wait for the hatches at the falcon nests in Australia. Right now everyone is sleeping! I hope that you have had a lovely weekend so far. Take care of yourself. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or posts/videos where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Suzanne Arnold Horning, and Kistachie National Forest Eagle Cam.

We want fish! and more news in Bird World

24 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Our thoughts go out to all that are being lashed about by tropical storm systems and hurricanes.

It is a quiet drizzly grey Saturday morning in the garden. Little Red has been eating at the solid suet cylinder and the Blue Jays are pecking away at the cob of corn left for them. The sparrows have not really been around much. I hope to have some photos of Little Red cleaned up for tomorrow. But, so far, the gang is all here – Junior and the 3 fledgling Blue Jays and the 3 fledgling Crows plus Little Red, Dyson, and Scraggles. Dyson’s two from the summer come and go as well. There has been no sightings of Little Hedwig and the neighbours and I are beginning to fear the worst about those cats. Fingers crossed we see a bunny shortly.

The temperatures are dropping at night. All of the Grape tomatoes have been picked and will turn green in the lovely Birch basket. All of the plants to come inside are here but one which means a trip to the garden centre today for soil. Even so, we have not had a hard frost in the garden and this is absolutely remarkable considering it is now the 24th of September.

In the Mailbox:

The other day I was asked if non-parental male peregrine falcons could harm the eyases in the scrape. I told a story of an Osprey that had kicked the eggs out of the nest when he suspected they belonged to another male. Today, a cartoon that Chloe Baker did of Odin and EJ showed up on FB.

It was Loch Garten, 2013, and here is the video of that egg being kicked out of the nest. Odin waited til EJ went for a break! (not HD) I wish some of these great old videos could be cleaned up. They are fantastic. Of course, Odin was not the only male. Some of us waited to see if Aran would go after Mrs G’s eggs this season but, he didn’t. Presumably they were his and not the Pont Cresor Aeron Z2.

This also happened at Dunrovin a couple of years ago – much clearer image.

And here is another a couple of years ago. There are many examples. We do not know what will happen if the young male totally ousts the old male at Melbourne. Indeed, we do not even know if that will happen this year. My fingers are crossed that he goes and sits and waits til this breeding season is over! But, we also have to prepare ourselves for the worst. It is much better when the males get rid of the eggs.

Making News:

Some additional images were released of Victor taking his flight to freedom. He sure must have been so excited to be back in the wild. Victor is a magnificent eagle! Thanks to Paul K for cleaning these up!

Nest News:

It is all about life lessons at the Sydney Sea Eagles nest. The parents are deliberately branching, demonstrating how to ward off the Currawong, and then how to eat a fish. It is really a privilege to be able to watch the daily lives of these amazing raptors.

Xavier looking at the eggs. Hatch watch is 1-3 October! Xavier is one of the most devoted male Peregrine Falcons that I know. This is an incredible nest to watch and there are several cameras and a chat.

Xavier has been doing some of that enfluffing in the scrape.

I wonder how many of you are counting the number of fish flakes that Little Bob is getting at Port Lincoln. Big Bob is bigger and will need more and Mum is smartly feeding it several nice helpings before moving on to Middle and Little Bob. Dad, for his part, brought in a whomping size fish that will last the day.

Oh, Little Bob you are going to have to push and figure out how to get to the front with Big Bob in the front line!

Little Bob got himself in the right position for the next feeding at 10:50. Big Bob has a super crop and Middle is laying down. Little is going to get some really nice bites.

The camera operator gave us some fabulous close ups of the three after the 1415 feeding so we could see that each had a nice crop. Little Bob is holding its own. You can really see the egg tooth of each of the osplets – that hard piece of white beak used like a pick axe to get out of the shell. Enjoy this soft fluffy down. We will not realize it but time passes quickly and soon they will be in their reptilian phase.

Incubation continues at the 367 Collins Street scrape box. It is now the 25th in Melbourne and we are on hatch watch for the 27th.

For everyone who cannot wait for the Bald Eagle nests to be full of little eaglets, the first on streaming cam mating of the year occurred at the Northwest Florida nest of Samson and Gabby!

Migration News:

Do you know about EuroBirdPortal.org? It tracks all of the European Ospreys movements during the migration period.

I will be checking on Karl II and his family for tomorrow.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Little Bob is doing well. He isn’t our Ervie – no one could ever be Ervie but, I hope he holds his own against Big Bob and thrives. Mum and Dad are doing a great job. I fear that when Dad is late with fish it is either the wind or the gulls. Let’s blow those gulls away! Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that form my screen captures: Chloe Baker, Loch Garden RSPB, Dunrovin, Castnet, Bald Eagles 101 and the Ojai Raptor Centre, The Wonderful World FB, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcons, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, EuroBirdPortal, and NWFL-AEF.

Late Thursday in Bird World

22 September 2022

Good Afternoon Everyone. I hope that this finds each of you well whether you are starting or ending your day. It remained a glorious day on the Canadian Prairies – a crisp fall one. There are so many songbirds in the garden now all wanting to eat and have baths. It is impossible to differentiate between the hundreds of sparrows and what looks like a few Grosbeaks but, they all seem happy and the two bird baths this year are really making a difference. They are so thirsty. The usual group comes around 1800 so these are the early birds.

Mr Blue Jay is here. There is a cob of corn for him as well as some individual kernels. Let us see if he gets it or if Dyson does! Dyson should be here in about an hour. It is amazing how they have their own timetables and really stick to them. Oh, two of the three Blue Jays have arrived. This will be interesting. One is eating from the cob of corn and the other is taking the corn kernels that I broke off a second cob.

This is Junior. He is the Dad of the three fledgling Jays that remain in the garden and at their nest tree across the lane. Junior still needs to grow in his crest. He is easy to spot.

He knows I am watching and he also knows that I am the one that puts out the corn. No, Junior. It is not just to take your photograph! Junior is 5 years old this year.

A little female squirrel has arrived.

One of the Crows just flew in to check out the evening’s buffet.

Our wildlife rehabilitation centre has its annual open house this week. If you live in Southern Manitoba or Winnipeg and want to go out and see the amazing facilities including a brand new surgery and our super flight training buildings, go to line to Wildlife Haven and order your tickets. Remember, too, if you go out – check for clean old towels and sheets. They can never get enough of them. And if you have some spare savings or are in need of a tax donation, every wildlife rehabilitation clinic will thank you and give you a receipt for your donation. It is the only way they survive.

Australian Nest News:

Oh, what a glorious day it was to wake up to a brand new osplet – and, so, as all of you probably know, the clutch at Port Lincoln is complete. Congratulations to everyone! Dad came in with a really nice fish for the brood. It is unclear if Little Bob got much or any – he has to be tired from working so long on that egg but, you can bet the other two got their fish!

Let us hope that the fish keep coming. We are off to a good start with that big fish. The key will be for Big and Middle to get full and then Little Bob to eat but let us see if it works out that way! Our dear Ervie had to be right up there preferring to thwart any attention Bazza wanted to pay on someone to Falky.

Just look at that nice fish. It is incredible to me that birds of all makes and models are hardwired to hold their heads up high and their beaks wide open for food from the git go.

You can watch all the action at Port Lincoln here:

It looks like a super day starting in Melbourne. I hope it is as it is the 23rd of September and gosh, golly, we are looking for a hatch on the 27th. Four days. Fingers crossed that the second male – who Mum is not interested in – is thwarted. I know. It is wishful thinking but, let’s all send good wishes out to our wonderful old dad. This could be his last clutch and he is remarkable. One of the great Peregrine males out there and so ever funny in his pjs.

Mum left for a break. Food is being brought in and stored elsewhere but not near the nest and this probably won’t happen til the chicks arrive. The falcons like, for some reason, to keep that scrape box really clean while there are eggs. Then when they begin feeding their eyases it can be mayhem with blood, bones, and feathers flying everywhere. The old dad used to love to pluck and feed the fresh pigeons right in the scrape. I don’t think the former Mum appreciated that at all.

Xavier has arrived early at the scrape box hoping that Diamond might want a break. He is such a devoted Dad. We are looking at the first week in October for hatch. For the past two years only one of the three eggs has hatched. I am wishing for one strong eyas! Two would delight Xavier to no end. Three might be overwhelming but these two very seasoned parents would manage.

Some of you might be wondering what is going on at the Sydney Sea Eagles. Yesterday, Mum flew in with a fish and stood on the nest eating it while 29 played with its tail. Lady wanted to see if the eaglets would fight for that fish and take it from her. That is what they will need to do in the wild. They did not. Eventually she offered and 30 got some nice bites. It was a very interesting educational moment. And so, here we are today.

The sea eaglets are up looking around in their beautiful plumage. Those feathers are almost all completely in.

One of the parents is in the tree watching every move the eaglets are making with that fish on the nest.

Both parents are now on the branch watching the eaglets. Do not ever think for a second that these parents do not know what they are doing. They do. They are letting go – and they are trying to provide their two kids, SE29 and 30 – with the skills so that they can survive in the wild. They need the eaglets to be hungry, to need to get that fish and eat and they need them to know how to hold it down and pull off the flesh. At some point in time Dad might bring them a live fish to see how they respond.

Making News:

The new Kestrel Ambassador for the Ojai Raptor Centre has a name. It is Topa and the word comes from a mountain range near to the wildlife centre called the Topa Topa. What a lovely bird to help teach youngsters and us about the challenges raptors face daily.

The new Osprey cam is now installed and working at Captiva in Florida. Just look – we have an adult. Last year Andy and Lena managed to end their years of not having chicks due to predation by Crows. How did they do it? They laid their eggs one month early. Very smart Ospreys. We had three magnificent chicks – and we ended with two, Middle and Little Bob, who turned out to be a male and a female. Big Bob died of an indeterminate cause but he did have enlarged organs similar to some other ospreys lost this year. That was determined to be salmonella in one case. Big Bob had also been ruthless in his eating claiming all the fish for nearly 72 hours before he died. The other two thrived and were very civil fledging with the male staying around Captiva and the nest for us to enjoy for some time.

In the Mailbox:

EJ sent us a great video of a juvenile sea eagle fishing. It is short and quite amazing. Thanks, EJ!

From the Book Shelf:

In a few of my blogs I have been writing about the campaign by Chris Packham, Mark Avery, and the Raptor Persecution Group in the UK to get rid of sport hunting and killing. In this instance I am referring to Grouse Hunting and Killing on large estates for sport. The problem is that the game keepers of the properties kill the raptors. Raptors such as the Hen Harrier who covered the wet lands and moors and heath was a common sight in England during the Mesolithic Age, ten thousand years ago. It has really gone into decline with the advent of the Enclosures Act in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Now, sadly, heath burning, the escalation in killings and diseases brought in by the imported birds has caused a swift and rapid decline in the number of breeding pairs of Hen Harriers in the UK. In 2012, there was only one breeding pair left.

David Cobham has set out and written an incredible little book on the history and decline of this amazing low flying raptor. It is based on the promising life of Bowland Beth and the title is, Bowland Beth. The Life of an English Hen Harrier. You are drawn into Bowland Beth from the minute her father returns to his natal nest in the Bowland Forest to find a mate. You will discover this amazing and most promising bird and her daily activities (she is tagged with a sat pack). And you will come to understand so fully why the grouse hunting and the killing of all the raptors that find their prey on the wrong piece of land need to be kept safe. It is essential that the law be changed. I rarely head deep into politics but this is an archaic practice that needs to end for the sake of the wildlife. They need to thrive without fear of catching a vole and being shot.

$18.40 CDN for the hardback at your local on-line book seller.

Thank you so much for joining me this afternoon. I hope that you are well and that you will enjoy watching the sea eaglets and those cutie pie osplets. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams, videos, and postings that made up my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Ojai Raptor Center, Robert Full and ‘EJ’, David Cobham, Captiva Ospreys and Windows for Wildlife.

Wednesday in Bird World

21 September 2022

Good Morning!

It is early (for me). The garden birds are very quiet. It is starting out to be a beautiful day as I work on getting to know this computer but, rain is to start today and be with us again on Friday and Saturday. It is always good to get the trees that have grown so much over the summer with all the torrential downpours a good soaking before frost.

One of the things that was lost were the images that I took yesterday at one of the ponds. So I want all of you to use your imagination. I could not believe my eyes. There before me were seven young ducklings just like the singular one at the nature centre. No feathers just fuzz on their bodies. They were all cuddled up together keeping warm. Today it is 10 degrees C. We are at the time of migration. All of the nature centres are opening up for special events as the birds from the north make their way to the wetlands and the big ponds enroute to their winter homes far south of us. Will the arrival of winter be late? What will happen to these wee ones? I have never seen small ducklings like this at this time of year. The spring floods and destruction of eggs has certainly caused issues. There are ducks that overwinter on our Assiniboine River near to where my daughter lives but…what about these little gaffers?

Making News:

Victor at his release. 19 September 2022.

For all of those wondering, the site where Victor was released is at the coast right across from the Channel Islands. Great choice! Let us all hope to see Victor near Fraser’s Point in a couple of years! Wouldn’t that be grand. It appears it was the best site for release like the Channel Islands but the closest point to his nest without breaking any regulations. Isn’t Dr Sharpe the best?

It seems that once we get a good population of birds established we then want to take their habitat away. This is what is happening in Albania wit the pelicans!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/21/albania-dalmatian-pelican-colony-narta-faces-threat-vlora-airport-aoe

Nest News:

So far, there are still only two osplets at Port Lincoln. The third egg is 37 days old and there is still time for it. Some chatters are wondering if there is any movement inside. We will have to keep our eyes opened! The other two and Mum seem to be doing splendidly.

The streaming camers (3) at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 will be going live during the first week of October.

Xavier brought an Eastern Rosella, well prepared, for Diamond who was excited and got off the nest. Xavier is a lovely! Hatch not expected til the first week in October but we are getting there…2 weeks?

Beautiful Diamond.

Xavier gets some ‘eggie time’. Yes! Can you tell how much I love this cute little falcon who is no longer in his prime but gosh, he is a fantastic mate and he loves his chicks. I sure hope this season turns out well for these two.

So many of you are marveling at the plumage colours of the little sea eaglets. They are gorgeous. A friend laughed at me for loving the feathering of the Red-tail Hawks. “Just wait til you see the Sea Eagles!” Oh, she was so right. It is hard to see the colours when the sun is at a certain angle but have a good look at them.

Our eagles are approaching their 10th week. They are still growing some feathers under their wings. Their wing flapping and jumping around is going to continue to get every more vigorous. Just breathe. They can scare the wit’s out of you when they start jumping on and off the rim of the nest and the branches . In week 11 you will see them gain some real height in their hovering. They will begin to sleep more and more with their head tucked into their wings rather than duckling style although fledglings also prefer duckling style on occasion. It must be much more comfortable! Self-feeding is getting better.

We do not want to talk about fledging but, after 70 days it is possible. And we are at that point. So spend your time watching these two and the hatches at Port Lincoln. SE29 and 30 will be gone in a blink and the osplets will be growing and changing so fast it will be hard to recognize these sweet fuzzy babies in a week!

Victor Hurley is going to post a pre-recorded session where he answers your questions about what is going on at Melbourne on Thursday, Australia time. That will be in a few hours. If you have questions, you can submit them on the 367 Collins Falcon Watchers FB page. Dr Hurley asks that you read the PDF that he posted on the top of the FB site before submitting questions.

We are all very curious to see what will be happening. The second male does some quick on and off mating which – well, we are now nearing hatch which should be 5 days away. Mum’s hormones will not be in breeding but incubation and caring for young. It appears that the old male continues to provide food for Mum. Oh, I hope that this clutch makes it but we are going to just have to wait and see.

Migration News:

Checking on the Black Stork family from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. There has been no transmission for Karl II since the 4th of September. Bonus and Kaia were still in their respective areas with their last report coming in on the 20th of September. Hopefully this evening there will be some new news.

Birdmap is showing tremendous progress for the Ospreys and, one, in particular, flew across Europe to Spain instead of going directly South. Brilliant! The Ospreys are already heading into central Africa! You can go to BirdMap and get the animated version of their journeys.

Did you know:

How long do Bald Eagles live?

https://birdfact.com/articles/how-long-do-bald-eagles-live?fbclid=IwAR28ZeEq0BVJMgSX852wOBP7kcICCL6iKHdzvl0FIB7TUUxGNZSliJdQBFk

Thank you so much for being with me today. We are looking forward to the third hatch in Port Lincoln but, for now, in the night, Mum is getting some much needed rest! Take care of yourself and I will look forward to seeing you again real soon.

If you are sending me e-mails (which I love), please use this new address: maryasteggles@outlook.com Thanks so much!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Ojai Raptor Centre, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam, and BirdMap.

Tuesday in Bird World

20 September 2022

Good Evening or Good Morning to you!

I hope that this newsletter finds you in good spirits and good health. I continue to appreciate your good wishes and today, I can tell you that I am back to 90%. Was its Victor’s release that caused my system to soar? One will never know but, I did get out for two walks at two different ponds. To be able to do this at the end of September, without there ever being a frost, is ‘different’ and, of course, harks at changes to come.

At the first pond the temperature was 17 degrees C but the wind was blowing at 23 kph. There were not a lot of birds around it seemed. Then I heard their call – the Greater Yellow Legs. There were two of them in the marsh area flying out to the shore.

Please note. I had to switch to the lowest quality of image as my card was filling up! So even my non-wildlife photographer images are not as crisp as they could be when blown up. You can see the normally mirror-still pond’s waves lapping.

Across the road, in this industrial area of our city, the recent rains have created two other water areas and there were a few geese and a couple of ducks – one in each pond! No sharing there.

So what are they? There is a distinctive white eye ring, a long sloping forehead and grey-blue bill. a gorgeous rusty head with a mottled back. I was unable to see the colour of the legs but its eyes are brown. The sloping shape of the forehead to the beak is very distinctive and what appears to be a white eye ring could be throwing me off a quick ID. It appears to be a Canvasback.

There it was on page 160 of the Crosley! Crosley says it lacks a forehead. Yes, he is right – the head just slopes into the bill. The shape is a wedge. Don’t forget it! Those south of me will see these gorgeous waterfowl flying by. Crosley calls the colour of the head and neck ‘chestnut’ – what a lovely word for that description. The eye should be a vivid red if it is a male but either the camera did not get that or it was the angle of the light or this is a female fooling us because of her not pure white back or a juvenile. I will keep you posted!

I will bring you news of the other pond later. My laptop decided to emit smoke and I have kindly been loaned another computer so I can finish the blog today. What troubles me about the second pond is that there are no less than 8 small fluffy ducks – with less feathers than the small one at the nature centre. So, if we have no frost and it is now 19 degrees C – do these ducks have a chance?

Making News:

I cannot tell you how fantastic it was to see Victor released by Dr Sharpe yesterday – and from the mail pouring in – he touched all of our hearts. We will never forgot those adorable images with Lillibet, when Victor could not stand to eat and the entire eagle family tried to comfort him, to his rescue, to his walking in a towel with holes held up by a staff member at the Ojai Raptor Centre, to his release. What a time this juvenile eagle has had.

Images provided by the Ojai Raptor Centre FB this morning:

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One of the letters in the mailbox was ‘Where is Hollingsworth Ranch’. Here it the information on where Victor was released:

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The Hollingsworth Ranch

This is the Ventura River running through the rugged mountainous area. Those in California might know its status better now because of the droughts the last few years. I hope it is the same. It looks like a great place for an eagle named Victor.

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Ventura River, one” by …-Wink-… is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Every day there are thousands of raptors – and other wildlife – saved by the wildlife rehabbers. I often say the streaming cams get all the glory (and donations) because they are the first place we learn to leave these bird families but it is the rehabbers that love and care for and put the birds back together if they get into trouble. Their time, effort, and expenses often last years.

Another little eaglet made the rehab news because it was released, too, by the Raven Ridge Wildlife Centre in Pennsylvania. I love the pictures. They give you a real behind the scenes look at what goes into caring for a wee one who is well but has no nest or family. Notice that stuffed eaglet plush toy. When you are clearing up and you look down and see the stuffies that you have collected – and you don’t know what to do with them – the wildlife rehab centre is your answer!!!!!!!!!!!! They bring comfort to the birds.

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http://ojaihistory.com/the-hollingsworth-ranch/embed/#?secret=jzkIzleQDS#?secret=NzEkoT3MUb

Nest News:

This will be short with a longer analysis of what is happening tomorrow.

The second male at the Melbourne nest has been trying to mate with the Mum while she is incubating the eggs. She is having nothing to do with him but, the old male is holding back providing food. I wish the young male would leave and allow them to raise this clutch but his ideas are otherwise. We are 6 days from hatch!

We are still waiting for the third hatch at Port Lincoln as the sun is rising soon. It was raining in the middle of the night – not much but, Mum kept those chicks nice and snug. No doubt #2 is going to be hungry and up there to eat today. I wonder how #1 will treat its sibling? Fingers crossed. It seems they do not get too rowdy until day 8.

At Orange, the hatch dates range from 36-39 days so we are not expecting any action until after 1 October. We have a ways to go. Melbourne is ahead. Xavier has been getting Diamond out of the box with prey and getting some good time with the eggs. This scrape is very stable, thank goodness. But not this morning. Xavier brought a Starling, Diamond left without it and Xavier took it away minutes later. Diamond is extremely picky – poor Xavier. I hope the parrot population is good this year!

They have been together for a long time. Xavier probably is over feeling completely dejected by Diamond when he brings her breakfast. She does much prefer the fat already plucked and prepared pigeons too.

The Sydney Sea Eaglets are simply marvellous – what an incredible civil nest. Two females? Two males? Let’s watch their size as they leave their 9th week and into the 10th. It is refreshing not to see discord on a nest – no, the word is sheer relief. Last year’s breeding season was horrific. It was NOT at this nest. Last year and the year prior were fantastic. Lady and Dad are doing really well. Other nests did not fare so well.

Let’s keep an eye on Melbourne and, of course, Port Lincoln for this third hatch. I hope it comes soon! I am now off to investigate and agonize over what new computer to get. I use one all the time as you know but I like portability. You don’t get the lovely big images I am looking at with portable though!

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

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street at Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Ojai Raptor Centre, and Raven Ridge Wildlife Centre.

Victor is Released!

19 September 2022

Fraser Point eaglet, Victor, who had suffered from acute zinc toxicity and had been in care at the Ojai Raptor Centre in Ojai, California has been released today!

Absolute tears. Thank you to Dr Sharpe, his team and the great folks at the Ojai Raptor Centre for returning this amazing eaglet to the wild.

A special thank you to ‘B’ who sent me the wonderful news!!!!!!

Thank you to the Ojai Raptor Centre for their posting and video on their FB page where I took my screen captures.