Gabby and V2, Melbourne male fledgling in and out of care…and more in Bird World

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that this blog finds you well. I know that all my neighbours on the Canadian Prairies are living through snow and blowing snow along with particularly low temperatures for this time of year. There is some promise of warmer weather arriving at the weekend.

In Grenada, it is 27 degrees C with a wonderful breeze. The time is passing by way too quickly. I want to soak up all the sights and sounds of nature – of flowers and green leaves – so that I remember them on the cold grey days that are coming.

More and more cruise ships stop at Grenada as Covid fears and restrictions have eased.

Sweet little Zenaida Dove looking for insects.

Another Zenaida Dove. Such gorgeous gentle birds.

This hummingbird comes to this plant at 1630 every day.

It is an Antillean Crested Hummingbird.

Lots of Tropical Mockingbirds enjoy the trees and flowers of the gardens. A large group came in around 1630.

Jackie and Shadow (who had been missing for a number of days when camera came back on) have been working on their nest. Yesterday, Jackie flew into the nest with an American Coot. A juvenile had chased her but, it appears that the juvenile actually took that coot. Thanks to ‘J’ we have a video of that very daring move!

A Juvenile steals Jackie’s Coot!

Cal Falcons is making the news. Oh, I had so hoped that the year would begin to stabilise. Thanks, ‘H’ for this article.

Update on Cal Falcons

Rita is also making the news. Many of us expected that Rita would not ever fly again when the initial note that there was no circulation in her one wing. But, we hoped. ‘H’ just sent me the latest announcement and it is not good.

Wildlife Rescue of Dade County (Mod):  “The bad news nobody wanted to hear. It is 99.99% certain that Rita will never fly again. I know previous messages have left everybody hoping for a miracle.”

“The chances for that miracle have diminished greatly. She is still alive and very angry. I will continue to try to make her fly.”

“Ron is on his own now and hopefully will meet up with another lady eagle.” 

Jeanne_ FL  (Mod):  ” I share in everyone’s sadness that this is not the outcome we hoped for, but I’m thankful that WRDC is going to continue to work with Rita to give her the best life possible.”


Ron waiting for Rita to return to their nest.

At the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest, Samson has not returned. He was last seen on the 25th of November. That was 13 days ago. As the days pass, my hope for Samson’s returns grows dimmer and dimmer. Coinciding with this, is the fact that Gabby is getting a little more friendly with the male that welcomed her with sweet chortles today.

Gabby and V2 have ow been seen mating on camera. I am happy for Gabby that she has a mate and will carry on raising eaglets on the nest where Samson hatched on the 13th of December 2013.

So far everything is fine at the Redding nest of Liberty and Guardian who have been working on restorations.

Elain’s highlights of 6 December at the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond in Orange, Australia — the antics of Indigo!

Zoe surprised everyone watching at 10:58:04 by focusing and then diving into the water from the perch on the barge. She is obviously watching for fish and if she has not yet been seen catching a fish on camera, she has that potential to do so any time. She also flew to the other side of the lagoon and had a bath – just like Mum.

There she goes!

Albatross are so amazing. I am quite fond of all the different species. It is always nice when Hog Osterlund posts images of the beautiful Laysan Albatross that live on Kauai.

‘H’ sent me a news report that one of the Melbourne Four (then three after the death of the one) had been taken into care. The story came from Victoria Wildlife FB page.

Oh, gosh, isn’t this little male falcon just a cutie pie? Look at those eyes. He is so healthy other than his little bump and what a lucky fellow he is. And gosh, they followed a protocol!!!!!!!!

There was a follow up by Victor Hurley:

“A juvenile male Peregrine Falcon was found concussed on a building in Collins Street, Melbourne on Friday 2nd December, 2022. It was taken to Melbourne Zoo and quickly recovered from its injuries and was released in parklands close to Melbourne a few days later. It was last seen flying towards Melbourne’s CBD. Beyond the concussion and temporary inability to fly it was in good physical condition (weight 685gm, wing length 285mm). The measurements confirm it was a male and most likely the one male fledgling from 367 Collins this year. A lucky find and good outcome for this individual. I thought people in this group might be interested to know. See you all next August.”

Speaking of protocol, I had a chat with my son who teaches for the medical faculty but who also runs the Conservation Biology department. He said for all of us to remember: “If you can pick up a bird, something is wrong!”

If you are waiting for news for Glen from Tweed Valley, here is the latest that I can find.

Thank you so much for being with me today with this bag of mixed nests. I hope that you are well and I will look forward to seeing you again soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, postings, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’ for keeping me up to date on the CDB story and VW and Gabby, ‘J’ for sending me the link for the Big Bear snatch, Hob Osterlund, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Elaine and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Friends of the Redding Raptors FB, WRDC, AEF-NEFL, Big Bear Eagles, and Loch Garten and Other Ospreys.

V2 and Gabby, GHOW strike on M15 and other news from Bird World

6 December 2022

Good Morning Everyone from the beautiful island of Grenada. I hope that you are well and are so glad that you are here with me today.

My Monday was lovely. How can you come to the Caribbean and not go and spend time in the sea or the pool when it is -30 C where you live!?! What fascinated me was that once again – no camera – I was surrounded with birds. The Bananaquit were busy catching insects climbing on the stems of the Hibiscus plants while the Hummingbirds were busy getting the nectar from the Firecracker Plants. Tropic Mockingbirds serenaded everyone from the trees and one couple from the back of a lounge chair!

The plan for tomorrow is to once again get up before the sun rises and check out the area from where I am staying all along Grand Anse Beach and the ponds in the gardens. A Blue Heron flew over the pool today and landed on top of a waterfall and I am told that there is a small pond where I will find them in the morning – hopefully. With all birding, we live in ‘hope’.

I adore Samson. It has been so difficult to concede that he might no longer be with us. He has been gone for 8 days. Others have been gone longer. There are so many eagles that have gone missing right at the beginning of nesting season when adrenalin must be running higher – amongst all the eagles in an area – than normal. I continue to think about all of the eagles who have been absent and returned – Shadow at Big Bear and Bella at NCTC amongst others, and Sassa Bird sent me another story today to remind all of us that there is still hope. Thank you Sasha Bird!

I want to continue to believe that Samson might fly in there and everything will return to what it has been for the past three seasons.

But as ‘A’ reminds me – Gabby has only 2 fertile weeks in a year. Would she give up raising eaglets and wait? or does she realise that Samson is not returning and has now transitioned to accepting a new mate? This is the latest news on the happenings at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle Nest, ‘The Hamlet’ near Jacksonville, Florida. And thank you ‘H’ for keeping my feet grounded.

This is an image of Gabby with V2 close to one another on the branch of the nest tree. He apparently mixed up the signals from Gabby about mating. So we will see what happens here and at the WRDC nest where we know that Ron will not have a mate this year. Going back to what ‘A’ said and remembering my old eagle friend, the eagles will move on with their lives much quicker than us humans can adjust to it – it is breeding season and the hormones and all drive them. They are faithful to the nests and if their mate does not return ‘in time’ then they will accept a new partner if they are available.

V2 chortles for Gabby. Now, I want to see him bring her a big – yes BIG fish! (The image above and the one below are, I believe, not VS with his sooty head).

Gabby and V2 spend time together in the nest.

This is the latest announcement from the AEF that I can find on the situation with Gabby and Samson:

It is congratulations to Anna and Louis at the E1 nest at the Kistachie National Forest in Louisiana. These two are a great young couple. This will be their third season together. Looking forward to that huge pile of fish that Louis is going to bring in once the eaglets hatch! If he carries on like past years, viewers will be amazed at his excitement. In 2020, there were so many fish on the nest that Louis could have fed all of the nests in Louisiana and Florida that are on streaming cams! Seriously. It was incredible.

I know that we have all been concerned about the GHOWs knocking Harriet and M15 about on their nest. Well, it appears that those GHOWs are actually using the eagle’s old nest as their own! All I want to say is oh, dear. Here is the reason. Last night the GHOW attacked M15 and knocked him off the nest. Harriet went into protective mode with those big wings of hers. Oh, send out your best wishes for the GHOW to get occupied with their own owlets and leave the eagles alone. I know precisely what you are thinking – yes, that is some big wish. Thanks, A!

In Orange, Diamond watches from the scrape box as Indigo flies by with a prey drop from Dad, Xavier.

Video highlights from the Orange scrape for 5 December.

Zoe is incredibly beautiful. It remains unclear to me whether or not Zoe had a fish delivery before I checked on her. She did have a Cormorant pay a visit and she has now flown off the nest.

I am reminded by all of the holiday decorations surrounding me in Grenada that this is the season ‘for giving’. Take a moment to consider the amazing birds on these streaming cams that have been returned to the wild by the generosity of the people who rescue them, take them to wildlife rehabilitation centres, and the people there who work tirelessly to save their lives. It has been an incredible year. I will never forget the virtual cheering when Little Bit 17 (Notre Dame 17) was returned to the wild after we had all assumed he was going to starve to death. Humane Indiana did an amazing job in training him to fly and making sure he was ready to live a life off the nest. Ojai Raptor Centre worked around the clock to make sure that Victor was returned to a life in the wild….the list is endless. Right now Rita is recovering from life-saving surgery at the WRDC. Fitting in with this is an opinion piece in The New York Times that ‘B’ sent me today. It is a great essay. And when you are considering, stop and consider those that helped the birds that we love so much. Thank you so much, ‘B’.

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

Thank you to the following for their notes, their videos, their articles, postings, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: The New York Times, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Orange, Australia Peregrine Falcons, Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Kisatchie national Forest Eagle Cam Fans, NEFL Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Raptors of the World and Gracie Shepherd, SWFlorida Eagle Cam, and Thank you to ‘A’, ‘B’, and Sassa Bird who sent me wonderful stories or links. It is much appreciated.

Indigo, Ospreys reunite, Gabby and the suitor

5 December 2022

Good Morning from the West Indies!

Today was ‘outing day’. I did not take my camera with me thinking I would not see any birds. Now, how silly was that? Thankfully the phone did catch a few. The images are really cropped and blown up so not in sharp focus but, I want to share them with you anyway.

People on the islands begin celebrating and preparing for Christmas the first weekend in December. So many blow up Santas! This evening they are having a big party (islanders love an excuse for a party) with carols, turning on the Christmas lights and walking through an area of them, and bands and singers. One highlight I heard about is that Martha Stewart is flying in with Snoop Dog to promote their wine. If you purchase a bottle of their very expensive vintages, you get to have your photo taken with a celebrity. Ah…it didn’t appeal to me. An Osprey maybe!!!!!!! An Osprey with a Santa Hat.

The entrance to the Le Phase Bleu Marina. It is a fascinating place with cottages you can rent or buy and services for people who come in on their boats – like a restaurant, a laundry mat, a clothing store, and a delicatessen amongst others.

This is a Green-throated Carib. It is there below the big flower almost in the middle. These are smaller than some of the other species of hummingbirds in the Caribbean. They are green all over except for a patch of violet-blue on their breast and a violet-black tail which you can see if you squint! You will find them in gardens and in dry woodlands. They nest between March and June laying two white eggs in a down lined nest with grasses and lichens.

Of course, the Great Egret was just standing there in the pond on the opposite side of the walkway from the hummingbird. You might, by now, recognise how sad I was feeling at leaving my big camera at home!

Such a gorgeous bird. I don’t know if you can tell but, my son and I stood and looked in the little pond and you could see fish everywhere. This Egret is very smart! I wonder if the person who owns the Marina stocks the pond for the egrets?? I must find out!

So this is my idea for Mum and Dad at Port Lincoln. A shallow pond – Ospreys can only go down about a metre. Stocked at Port Lincoln. A little bigger perhaps but, it doesn’t have to be too big. The Ospreys that winter in Columbia are always stealing fish out of the tanks where they are fish farming. But would those pesky gulls take all the fish? Oh, maybe.

Later in the day, I ‘heard’ the birds but, could not see them. Merlin Song ID helped with the sound identification of a Lesson’s Motmot, a Gray Kingbird, House Wren, House Sparrow, Bananaquit along with more Tropical Mockingbirds.

These are not my photographs but, these are the birds I ‘heard’ that I really hope to see. Aren’t they incredibly beautiful?

This is the Lesson’s MotMot that was in the mangrove. What colourful plumage. He fits right in with the fantastic colours of the islands.

Lesson’s (formerly Blue-crowned) Motmot” by Howard Patterson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

This is the Gray Kingbird. This bird is the largest of the Tyrant kingfisher family in the Eastern Caribbean. It is a lovely soft grey on top and all white underneath. If you look, that grey in the image below is kissed by a wee bit of brown with a white outline on the tips of the wing feathers. There is a black eye line that goes from the cere to the ear coverts. The bill is thick and pointed and black. They build a twig nest high in the trees where they lay 2-4 heavily splotched red eggs between March and July.

Gray Kingbird” by ahisgett is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Bananaquit is one of the most common birds across the Caribbean. They are called ‘Honeycreepers’. They have a short slim slightly curved bill. They have a distinguished plumage: The top half is black. They have a yellow-green underbody and rump. There is a distinctive white eye line that go from the cere to the nape in the adult birds. It is yellow in the juveniles.

They live on nectar and the juice of fruit such as mango and banana, seeds from herbaceous plants, and a variety of small insects. Breeding is from March to August. Their nest is a small mass of leaves and grasses with a small hole in the side in which they lay 2-3 heavily spotted white eggs.

Bananaquit” by Alberto_VO5 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

This is an adult bird but notice that the yellow underpart is limited to the rump with the back and wings a more dark grey or sooty black with white tipped wings. In fact, the plumage of this common bird does vary slightly over the region.

bananaquit” by qmnonic is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Here is a Bananaquit gathering cotton for its nest.

Bananaquit getting cotton for nest” by Mike’s Birds is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Eating the juice of a mango.

Reinita común [Bananaquit] (Coereba flaveola luteola)” by barloventomagico is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

When I returned from my adventure today, there was news from ‘H’ on Rita from the WRDC. This is really, really good news.

“Update from moments ago: Rita is recuperating. She ate a fish. She’s still attacking anyone who reaches into her enclosure (this is good). The flesh part of her wound has some healing (also good).”

“Still a very long way to go. She picked a bit at the wrap and pin, which surprisingly was also considered good news, but not enough to need a cone. Sorry I don’t have a pic but if I get one I’ll post.”

I continue to try and point out different incidents to help educate all of us. Rita had a trauma and almost died. She was so lucky she was rescued. Those rescuers had no problem getting Rita to care. She did not fight them BUT she is today and she is still in critical condition. It sounds like I am beating a dead horse but if you are ever in a situation where you can pick up a raptor with a blanket, then that bird needs immediate attention. You should have the name of your local wildlife rehabilitation clinic 24/7 phone number. Call them. Tell them the situation. Ask if they can help or if they can give you the name of a centre who can. Get the bird to care. It should be standard protocol everywhere for this to happen and those connected with streaming cams need to be sensitive and have their entire teams and anyone around the nest versed in what the protocol is. Emergency contact numbers should be posted around a nest but they should also be placed under the streaming cam clearly so people can find them. ‘S’ and I urged this to happen after incidents in 2020 at two nesting sites, Collins Marsh and Patuxent.

Indigo is doing exceptionally well. Diamond was looking out from the ledge of the scrape box at Orange when Indigo flew in with a small bird she had received from Xavier. The time was 09:49.

Diamond is looking out over her territory on the Charles Sturt University.

Diamond sees Indigo coming and she wants out of the way!

Indigo has the small bird but she is still mantling and telling everyone that it is his.

What a handsome fledgling. Strong and healthy.

Indigo is very good at plucking!

It is delightful to see this falcon family doing so well with Indigo proving himself to be a very strong flyer. Very reassuring. ‘A’ writes that the only thing Indigo hasn’t figured out is that Mum steals stashed prey. She sure does! Watch out Indigo!!!!!

The camera at Port Lincoln may or may not have been off part of today. There is news that Zoe has had at least one fish if not two during the time I am writing. Ah, ‘A’ has written this morning that there were 2 fish for Zoe yesterday.

The Port Lincoln Osprey group continues to add information below the observation board including fish counts and hatch and fledge days from 2015 to the present. They have also included images of the barge. All of this is very interesting stuff.

This is the barge with the nest. Isn’t it amazing?

To view all of the documents uploaded to Google Documents by PLO, you go to the streaming cam and then go below the image and click on the link. Here is the link to that streaming cam in Australia.

In New Zealand. L has returned to the nest to join her Royal cam mate much to the relief of all. Sharon Dunne aka Lady Hawk posted a video of their happy reunion. Don’t you just love skycaps?

I continue to wish for a reunion for Samson and Gabby but, it appears that Gabby may be giving up hope as she warms up a little bit to one of her suitors. Both returned to the nest with big crops – you can clearly see Gabby’s – and Gabby allowed V2 (Visitor 2) to move a few sticks in the nest.

In California, at The Campanile, Annie is still being courted. It is not breeding season so we will wait to see how she does with the male visitors. Oh, Alden, where are you?

Thank you so very much for being with me today. I am having a great holiday – what a wonderful battery boost. It is sadly cold and wintery in Canada where I live. They had a big storm yesterday and it is to get very cold. I am so glad I am here for a few days longer! Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to ‘H’ for the news about Rita and to ‘A’ for the news of PLO and Indigo and the following for their postings, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, NEFL-AEF, Sharon Dunne and the Royal Albatross Cam and the NZ DOC, Cal Falcons, and OpenVerse.

Egrets, Herons, Mangroves and more in Bird World

4 December 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that this finds you well wherever you are.

The plan was for today, Saturday in Grenada, to be a full day of birding. Up at 0400 and off for the drive north getting there right before sunrise at 0600. If it rained, we would not go. So packed and ready to go — and the rain starts! We look at one another and decide to take a chance that the rain would stop and, it did! It was a glorious day. Cloudy initially which helped to see some birds and then hot and clear blue skies later. The best real estate on the island are those properties that have not only a beautiful view but also, lots of windows to open and wind to go with them!

The stairs down to the boardwalk at Levere National Park were slippery with the sticky clay. Some of the places between the wooden stairs had washed away. By the time we got to the bottom, the boardwalk was flooded. Those gum boots really came in handy. However, the water was higher than they were tall!!!!!! Still we made it to the little dock and the look out tower for birds.

Imagine silence. Not a human sound at all save for us. Just birds.

Mangroves. To me, these are very special places that I only see in the tropical areas where I have visited or lived. The trees – there are 80 varieties -that grow there only need low-oxygen soil and slow moving water. The soil will accumulate around their tangled roots. In fact, these enormous tangled roots make the trees look like they are being pushed out of the water. These wild looking trees stabilise the land and are home to fish, birds, and other aquatic life.  

This is an aerial photo of Laverne National Forest where I spent the morning. The pond and surrounding mangrove area is ‘landlocked’. This is the very north of Grenada looking out to the Atlantic Ocean as opposed to the Caribbean Sea which is in the South.

St George’s is at the very tip of the island close to True Blue and The Lime. Because Grenada is an island created by a volcano, there is hardly a flat spot anywhere. The roads are narrow, windy, often with a straight drop into the sea and lots of pot holes. It takes about an hour, depending on traffic, to go from the southern tip to the most northern.

I am not an expert on bird vocalisations but, I am getting better with the help of Merlin ID. The ‘Sound ID’ function works much better than the ‘Photo ID’ and it helped me to pin point the first sounds at Leverne National Park. It was a Green Heron. The Green Herons actually flew back and forth in front of me, too close and too quick and unannounced to capture their image. But, what a marvellous quiet place – the only sound was birds!!!!!! Just think about it. Noise cancelling headphones with only sounds from a mangrove would take you to this place.

It has rained a lot. The images below are looking back to a small wooden boardwalk. The top photo is when it was dry last spring. The bottom one, covered with leaves, is from yesterday. In the distance the boardwalk was under water — the reason that I brought my gum boots. It was deeper than the boots were high. That was rather interesting. Have you ever been in a mangrove? They smell – lots of decomposition and sulphur.

The lake and mangrove are absolutely still. Not a ripple in the water except for when the Tarpons come up for air. I sat and watched the Green Herons fly into this area. The foliage is so thick you cannot see them once they are perched.

I missed the opportunity to record the vocalisations of the birds from the mangrove when we first arrived. A huge mistake because they became mostly silent as the hours progressed. You would catch glimpses of them flitting about. There is one flying across the grove.

This is a Great Blue Heron. There were several of them flying across the water. In the spring they made their nests about 1 metre or 36 inches above the water in the mangrove thickets. They lay from 4-6 very light blue-green eggs from March to July. Despite it being a well known area, my son tells me that the herons hatched their eggs near to the boardwalk without any problem – no human interference with their nests and their habitat is protected. It is a lovely safe spot for them.

Great Blue Herons are the largest of the ‘dark’ heron family in Grenada. They are approximately 106-132 cm or 42-52 inches in length

They have such beautiful form and are absolutely silent when they are flying.

There were Great Egrets, Green Herons, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, a Black crowned Night Heron, an American Woodcock, and a Smooth Billed Ani.

About 10 minutes away, there was a small pond at Mt Hartman. It has not been levelled and the area is so beautiful. The Chinese own the land and are saying they are turning it into a luxury resort, I hope it takes a zillion years. There is something so wonderful about places just being left!

Cows was tethered along the road. There is where you see the Cattle Egret. They get their name because they hang around the cows waiting for the insects and grasshoppers to be kicked up.

Notice how small these egrets are.

Did you know that until the 1930s Cattle Egrets were only seen on the continent of Africa?

They have a very stout yellow beak with beautiful white plumage, and yellow-green eggs.

There were a pair of Common Moorhens or Gallinules swimming in the pond near to the Cattle Egrets.

A Great Egret flew in and landed on the other side of the pond.

This is a Great Egret. We know this because of its size but, more clearly, its distinctive yellow bill and black legs. And the pure white plumage.

Talk about graceful.

The Great Egrets are large, measuring 85-107 cm or 34 to 42 inches. The Cattle Egret is only 48-64 cm or 19-25 inches. You can see the size difference in the image below.

On the off chance there were some shore birds around, we headed to the most northern tip of the island. No birds but fascinating flowers growing up out of the sandy soil.

The sea is very rough and it is not safe to swim here like it is in the South in the Caribbean Sea.

At the end of the day, a Broad Shouldered Hawk circled my son’s property. A perfect ending to a perfect day!

Tomorrow is a break – a wee one – from the birds. To kick off the Christmas Season, there is a huge event featuring carolling, a walk through light show, food and drinks. One of the things that I like best is that in December there is sorrel and you can make your own sorrel juice. In addition, following the idea of ‘no waste’, the simmer flowers of the plant are then used in Christmas cakes. They are delicious. I hope there are some tomorrow to take home!

A Quick Check at a ‘few’ of the nests we are watching.

Elain made a lovely compilation video of events of 3 December 2022 at the Orange scrape of Diamond and Xavier. Some bonding, some family time. Quite enjoyable. Thanks Elain!

These are the Day 3 highlights from the nest of Royal Albatross GLY. The rangers are keeping a close eye on all the albatross, especially GLY as he is waiting for L to re-appear and let him go and feed. Did I say that the albatross are easy to watch? Not when their mate does not return like it did to the Royal Cam family last year, YRK and OGK. OGK went missing in May after hatch. The Rangers will help – and that is what you need to know. They supplemental feed every chick and parent if necessary. How kind, how forward thinking. I really support their efforts!

This is the most recent announcement on Rita that I could find. Continue to send your positive wishes. Rita did so well with the surgery. Now let’s see if a miracle will happen and she will get some circulation in that wing.

Samson and Alden have not returned. I am starting to accept that Samson may not be with us. It is sad but, it is a reality that we might have to accept.

‘J’ sent me the most recent posting from the AEF on Gabby at he nest she shares with Samson who has now been missing 9 cays. Thank you ‘J’.

“Today at 12:19 AM
AEF~NEFL Nest Cam~Gabby was perched on Sunset and V2 came to the nest, Gabby went to the nest to join.  I didn’t edit much as I wanted to show the entire interaction between Gabby and V2. At first she seemed very tolerant.  But after about 3 mins Gabby seemed less tolerant and there was a short tussle.  V2 didn’t push it with Gabby.  Gabby seemed to have enough and went off to roost. V2 stayed in the nest  awhile and went to LOP where V2 is perched (not in video). I suspect they will both spend the night.”

V2 has extremely light eyes and a tint to his white head.

Meanwhile, Harriet and M15 are tending to their two previous eggs while continuing to work on their nest on the Pritchett Property in Fort Myers, Florida.

Jackie and Shadow were back in their nest at Big Bear Lake in California today. They are really getting those side rails nice and strong and high!

Jackie is gorgeous. And formidable. I would not want to be a person trying to get too close to her nest with an eaglet in it. No, not ever.

Anna and Louis have their second egg at the E-1 Bald Eagle nest in the Kisatchie National Park. Congratulations to everyone at KNF! This is fantastic news. For the past two years, Anna and Louis have fledged one eaglet each year. In 2020, it was the first time that a Bald Eagle family had used this nest and raised a fantastic eaglet – Kisatchie!

Our beautiful feathered friends, no matter what species, understand, care deeply, and grieve. The latest on a Moli Mum who has been ever so faithful to her chick that died in 2020. Hob Osterlund writes that she has chosen for a second time to lay her egg on top of that of her dead little one. Oh, how I hope that this year she is successful in raising a family.

Zoe had fish yesterday – Dad brought in 3 and Mum 1. thanks, ‘A’. You can check on Zoe’s day under the streaming cam. Click on the observation board. She has been flying about exploring her territory.

Both of the Australian fledglings, Indigo and Zoe, are doing well. We can relax!

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is always a pleasure to have you hear and to receive your comments and letters via e-mail. Always. I am a little late in responding but, please, do not hesitate to write. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam, videos, and postings which make up my screen captures: Hob Osterlund, Tonya Irwin and KNF Bald Eagle Nest, FOBBV, NEFL-AEF, Ron and Rita’s Nest Watchers, NZ-DOC and Cornell Bird Lab, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Elain. Thank you to ‘J’ who reached out to me with the latest announcement on Rita! And to ‘A’ who sent me all the time stamps and a review of what was happening. Much appreciated.

Harriet and M15 have second egg, Tropical Birds and more…

3 December 2022

Oh, I continue to marvel at the flowers, the beautiful sky and the green grass — and the birds on this small island!

There are Hibiscus of every colour.

It is a gorgeous view. This is a far cry from the wind chills of -30 in Manitoba!

The Tropic Mockingbird was eating fruit off of one of the trees.

In Grenada no one likes the Carib Grackles. They are always around when people are eating, taking their food. Is it because they are hungry? Well, my breakfast companion was a Carib Grackle. You see, I don’t really eat a big breakfast but it is the same amount for coffee and fruit than for everything piled up 3x over. So, — sorry. You will never take me out to breakfast with you! I turned my camera so that the women working at the breakfast buffet could not see. Then I fed the Grackle. It felt good.

In return, that same Carib Grackle, I assume, brought me a gift – feather. He left it right in front of me on the table. How sweet. I have heard of Crows leaving trinkets for people who feed them but, not a Grackle. The colour is washed in this image from my phone. It is small – about 10 cm or 4 inches long – and black. Probably from a Grackle!

After breakfast, we went to the mangroves near Mt Hartman to check on the egrets and herons. Nothing there but some cattle and goats along with a huge termite nest. Will check again early in the morning on Tuesday.

I am really surprised with all the mud around the edges of the ponds that there are not more Shorebirds, like the Greater Yellowlegs out and about. Maybe they come earlier – or later – in the day. Maybe tomorrow.

There were no Ospreys today at St George’s University but, there were some Cattle Egrets in the distance on an island, some more Grackles and Mockingbirds, and then….the fisher cleaning his fish threw the heads into the water. Well, some big birds began to fly in. Apparently the fishers do this everyday – clean the fish and give the birds the parts they do not want. Can you imagine Mum and Dad at Port Lincoln if this were to happen? or Ervie?!!!!!!!

The sea birds after the fish parts were Magnificent Frigatebirds. The image below is the female. She has a beautiful white collar.

The Magnificent Frigatebirds are from 95-110 cm or 37-43 cm inches in length. The male is all black and the female, as mentioned earlier, is all black with a white collar. They soar and swoop on the surface of the water getting fish using a wing span of 2.5 metres or 98 inches. They make their nests in trees and shrubs and laying their eggs from October through December. Unlike Ospreys and other sea birds, the Magnficent Frigatebirds never land on the water as they would not be able to pull themselves out like eagles or ospreys.

This is a juvenile. Its white head and chest will turn black as it reaches adulthood. It is off finding fish with Mum. Being trained like Indigo is.

Their tail reminds me of a scissor tail flycatcher. Notice the beak. It is like an albatross.

You can just see the Cattle Egret flying by the island. They are the smallest of the ‘white’ egrets on the island. The other two are the Greater or Common Egret and the Snowy Egret.

The sweet little Zenaida Dove was around with the Tropic Mockingbirds over on the SGU Campus where the Frigatebirds were.

Look closely at the photo below. See the white eye ring and look above the beak and around the eye at the pink-violet colouring. Just beautiful.

Zenaida Doves grow to be approximately 30 cm or 12 inches in length. It is a grey-brown bird with cinnamon or pink areas appearing around the neck and breast. There are two eye lines, lighter towards the black beak and getting darker towards the nape of the neck. There is a tinge of violet kissing the area around the eye with a blue-grey ‘cap’ on the head. It has white tipped outer feathers. The inner wing feathers have two black spots, while there are also blue-grey feathers going ombre into beige-grey. It feeds mainly on seeds and fruit. The Zenaida Doves lay their clutch of two eggs between February and August in a flimsy nest – sometimes on a palm leaf!!!!!!

This dove is not injured. Their legs and feet are red. Also it closely resembles the Eared-Dove but that bird does not have white around the wing tips.

I thought it was a good day because included in the sightings was a Grenada Dove. I have no photo. They are very quick and live in the back trees – some thorny trees that remind me of the Mimosa growing in my parent’s garden when I was a child. But I did see one! Yippeeee.

Seriously, we all know that the members of the Corvid family are brilliant but here is a new study that just emphasises that even more!

And a new study on the level of self-awareness in crows.

Gabby has not given in to the uninvited guests at the NEFL Bald Eagle Nest that she shares with Samson. Our beautiful Gabby is waiting and we are waiting with her – and hoping just like she is.

That head is not pure white yet or he has had it stuck in suet somewhere. I don’t think he could attract our girl.

Just to remind everyone, Bella had quite the time early last season. She was injured and bleeding and was absent for 21 days while she healed so that she could come and boot any female intruders away from Smitty! This year Smitty and Bella are working on their nest together. Hope for Samson and Alden.

Highlights today from the scrape at Orange. Indigo is quite the character! Diamond and Xavier have very vivacious offspring!

Also in Australia, the Rare Honeyeater is still learning its breeding song even if there are so few they might never find a mate and breed. If I am not mistaken, one of the adults at Orange brought in a Honeyeater this year. If I am wrong, please let me know!

In Port Lincoln, at 11:20:37 Dad brought in a fish. Mum was once again too late. Zoe got it! She spots him flying in and starts doing that famous talon dance.

I think Dad needs fish. It looks like Mum has a good crop.

Zoe is doing well and so is Indigo. This is good news. I do not keep up with their feedings now…Zoe might soon start to do her own fishing. We wait.

Last but not least, Harriet and M15 have their second egg of the season which means that hard incubation will begin. Congratulations to Harriet and M15 (remember Harriet is 28 years old), the Pritchett Family, and all who love SWFlorida Eagles.

This is not a long newsletter today but I hope that you found something of interest and also learned something new. That is the most important thing. Tomorrow I am getting up at 0400 to head north to Levera National Park and Lake Antoine. I cannot find a decent map to show you so, fingers and toes crossed there are some nice birds for Sunday morning!

Thank you for being with me today. Take care everyone. Send best wishes to Samson, Alden, and Rita. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: My Modern Met, Port Lincoln Ospreys, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett Family,, D Steyck and the NCTC Bald Eagle Cam, Falcon Cam Project and Elaine, Big and Manitoba Birding and Wildlife Photography, NEFL and SWFL Eagle Cam and Watchers Group – and to my son, Cris, who chased birds all over for me today. It was great fun.

Tropical Mockingbird, Rita’s update and more…in Bird World

2 December 2022

Good morning everyone from the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada. It is 29 degrees C – a real shock from the snow, ice, and blowing winds of Canada! It has rained – it is the wet season – and all of the trees, the grass, and the flowers are bright and beautiful. The forecast is now giving us so many good days. On Saturday it will be an all day birding trip starting at 0530. I am excited. The island is home to many species but I especially hope to see the Cattle Egrets, the Green Herons, and the Tri-Coloured Heron out in the mangroves as well as the gorgeous parrots, shorebirds, and songbirds of this island. And, of course, the Caribbean Ospreys. Fingers crossed.

Grand Anse Beach is pure white sand. It is one of the longest white sand beaches in the world. Looking to the right of this beach is an area of the island above the Lagoon known as Springs. There is always a mist and it rains a lot. The area has some of the nicest gardens. Even though it is such a small island there is another area near the airport that is completely dry!!!!!

My first bird came into view as the light was leaving us…It s a Tropical Mockingbird. Oh, its song was incredible. Tomorrow I am going to sit right under the tree where several seemed to be perching. They must be very used to the human presence along the beach. Indeed, they will eat human food along with spiders, grasshoppers, beetles, seeds, small fruits and berries, mangoes — there are a lot of mangoes on the island in the spring. There are so many falling on the roads that the cars slide around on those that get slimy from being run over. The Mockingbirds also eat lizards as well as other small bird and lizard eggs. They have been seen consuming seed from bird feeders just like Dyson!

Many of you will have seen and heard the Northern Mockingbirds in North America. This is the Caribbean equivalent. The Tropical Mockingbird lives in open or semi-open areas. In this instance they are living in the trees along a major tourist beach area.

They lack colour but if that is a problem their song certainly makes up for it. They have a black beak and legs, a striking bright ebony eye with a black eye stripe. The top of their head is a medium grey fading into a lovely silvery white which continues along the throat, the breast and underparts of the bird. The wings are a symphony of grey and black with white wing tips. The tail is a dark charcoal verging on black with a white tip and underneath area. You can hear their song here:

‘H’ kindly sent me the most recent announcement about Rita, the mate of Ron, the bonded pair of Bald Eagles from the Miami Zoo. Thanks, ‘H’. Here it is:

 Yesterday, “Rita,” the bald eagle had surgery performed to help repair her severely fractured right wing. The surgery was performed by avian veterinary specialist, Dr. Don Harris, assisted by Zoo Miami Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Marisa Bezjian and the Zoo Miami Animal Health Team. The surgery was successful inserting a metal pin to align and support the fractured bone. However, the prognosis for successful healing is extremely poor due to the lack of circulation in the wing as a result of the devastating trauma. At this time, it is unfortunately unlikely that the wing can be saved and even more unlikely that she will ever fly again. Having said that, we are not giving up hope! She is receiving daily drug therapy, laser treatments and acupuncture along with her wound care and dressing changes. She has already beaten tremendous odds by surviving the trendous trauma from which she would have certainly died from had it not been for the intervention of all of the involved parties. We are all praying that she can provide us with a miracle and continue on a positive path.

Wildlife Rescue of Dade County FB, 1 December 2022

American Eagle Foundation LIVE Nest Cams is reporting on Samson’s absence:

Still no news to report. No sightings of Samson. No visitors to the nest. Gabrielle continues to perch at the nest throughout the day and at night keeping watch.

(c) 2022 American Eagle Foundation AEF-NEFL

Gabby waits patiently for dear Samson to return. Continue with your positive wishes.

This story is from several years ago but was posted today on the NEFL-SWFL Bald Eagle FB group. It reminds us, like the time with Bella and Smitty this year, that eagles can be gone for some time and return. This eagle was missing for 3 weeks! I live in hope for our beloved Samson.

My holiday is not just a chance to spend time with my son and his wife, or eating amazing Caribbean food, or find new birds but it is also a time for a battery recharge after all that has happened during the last month.

Like all of you, I need some good news and I know you do, too. Well, here it is coming from Lori Covert in Captiva. You will remember that Captiva and Sentinel, the barrier islands off the coast of Florida, were the hardest hit by Hurricane Ian. The ospreys and bald eagles lost their nests. Well, smile when you read this!

I just checked on Zoe at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. Dad brought in a very small fish at 0925. Mum probably didn’t even get a chance to see it. Zoe is very quick when she wants her food!!!!!!!!!

Zoey doing her talon dance.

Dad lands and Zoe has it before Mum even gets there. I do hope that Mum and Dad have some fish to eat at other times. This is worrisome sometimes.

Yesterday there were 2 fish brought in by Mum and 2 brought in by Dad. Zoe even tried her wings. Here is her tracker information for 2 December.

Diamond has been spending time at the scrape box at Orange. This morning she seemed very interested in the stones. My friend ‘A’ has observed that the falcons prefer to eat only the white stones. Do any of you know why this is the case?

We know why the birds eat stones. Here is the standard Goggle answer:

Birds eat stones to form gastroliths that grind against food when they contract their gizzards. The grinding action of gastroliths aid in the digestion of fibrous food in birds. When the gastroliths begin to smoothen over time, birds eat new stones to replace the older ones.

But why do they prefer white ones?

Giving Tuesday has just passed – where donors often match what funds are given. Now…there is December and if you are thinking about ‘giving’ for the holidays, stop and think of your local wildlife rehabber — or a rehabber that you respect for all the hard work they have done this year. We watch our beautiful birds and many times they go into care and we are cheering for them to be taken in and made well and released. So remember the wildlife clinics and give. Our Wildlife Haven listed the costs associated with surgery — think dear Rita! The antibiotics after. These items are extremely expensive. So help if you can!

In Australia ABC news did an article on this very topic.

Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. At the time of publishing this blog, I have no new news on any of the missing birds or Rita. Keep sending all your good energy to our missing birds and to Rita as she continues to fight to fly — I would love to see her be the exception to the rule (ie lack of circulation in the wing). Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures today: Lori Covert Instagram, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, WRDC, NEFL-AEF and the American Eagle Foundation.

Rita is standing up! Zoe screams for fish, Anna laid an egg…and other news in Bird World

1 December 2022

I can see the lights from the Toronto airport. It was snowing and blowing in Winnipeg and now raining here. Strange to see everything ‘brown’ instead of ‘white’. It is quite ‘strange’ being in an airport! One word of advice: if you can travel with a small carry on, do so. It is a nightmare at the larger airports with the new self-baggage check in. Huge line ups and the same for security. But, I feel privileged to be able to have a short holiday in a wonderfully warm and beautiful place with birds and see my son and daughter in law. It has been far too long!

Speaking of ‘white’, before I go any further, have you ever seen a white eagle? Well, the folks in Oklahoma, where I grew up, are certainly checking their eye sight!

I want to thank everyone that sent me notes so I had them when I landed. First up was ‘H’ and ‘S’ with the good news that Rita has had her surgery and she is standing up!!!!!!!! Now seriously. Standing up. What a strong eagle she is! I am sure we can all shed a few little tears or break out into a huge smile. By, gosh, we need some good news in Bird World. She is still in guarded condition but the surgery itself went well.

The Orthopaedic surgeon said the surgery could not have gone any better. Tears. This is fantastic news at a time when we sure need it!

Tonya Irwin has been keeping a log and it seems that Louisiana is still ahead of Florida in terms of Bald Eagle eggs laid. Today, Anna added to that list with the first of the season’s eggs at the E-1 nest in the Kisatchie national Forest near Alexandria. Congratulations!

At the time of writing this blog, this is the latest news on Samson from the AEF.

There has been no sighting of Alden either but, there is other good news. Annie and Grinnell’s daughter, Sequoia, has a mate at the San Jose City Hall and guess what? They have a streaming cam. Is it possible that we will get to see Annie and Grinnell’s ‘grandeyases’ hatch and fledge? Wouldn’t that just be amazing? When everything seems so dark, there is always light trying to get through.

There is a lot of news coming in but, before I go any further, there has been a question from a very worried watcher of the SWFlorida nest of Harriet and M15. ‘R’ would like to know why Harriet is not incubating her egg? That is such a great question. What Harriet is doing is called delayed incubation. She will lay her second egg in 3 days from the first. If she started ‘hard’ incubation immediately when the first egg was laid, the first hatch would have an enormous advantage over the second hatch. By waiting to start hard incubation until the second egg is laid, the eaglets will hatch much closer together in time – sometimes within an hour or two of one another -and while they will bop one another, it is not usually deadly. They hatch and are closer in size.

In addition, Harriet and M15 do not have to worry about the egg freezing in the Florida sunshine and they have a stocked pond for prey and it appears that there has not been a time of food scarcity at this nest (please correct me if I am wrong).

There are advantages to starting incubation immediately. David Hancock of Hancock Wildlife in British Columbia, Canada has consistently given two reasons why immediate incubation might be practiced. They are: 1) to protect eggs from predators such as Crows, Ravens, Raccoons, etc.; and 2) the eagles want to ensure that at least there is a chance of one surviving during a time of food scarcity. The idea Hancock says is that it is much better for the eagles to have one chick survive than no eaglets at all.

Do not worry. Harriet and M15 know precisely what they are doing. As I said, their eaglets will cause us great grief during the ‘rock ’em, sock ’em’ days but, in the end, the pair normally develop into best buddies. In fact, most of us will grieve for their going off to find their own way in the world probably to never see one another again.

That amazing fledgling Osprey from the Tweed Valley, Glen, is just getting more and more news coverage. If you are trying to figure out where you have heard his name, well, let me remind you that Glen also landed on two different cargo ships and took rides, he flew through a large area of hydro lines and landed on a the roof of a fruit factory in Portugal where he was believed to be dead. But, nope. Not Glen. He flew out over the Atlantic Ocean for 36 hours solid flapping his wings until he found a small island to land on. He is now in Morocco. Glen deserves all the news coverage he can get. What an adventurous life this young man has had and he isn’t even near a year old!

If you do not know about Glen’s adventures on the two fishing trawlers, please start your reading here. You will be delighted you did!

So grateful for all the coverage of this amazing young Osprey. Sacha Dench is going to have to add more segments to her programme, Flight of the Osprey, for the BBC. This chap might even deserve his own show! I honestly don’t think I have gotten so excited about the migration of a male Osprey since Ervie didn’t migrate!

At the Port Lincoln Osprey nest, Dad brought Zoe a nice little fish at 10:00:13. ‘A’ says that she can always tell when Dad is coming because Mum ‘does her talon dance’. I watched for that – she does, back and forth on the talons, wings flapping, moving out of the way so Dad can land. Well, Zoe is perfecting or has already perfected that talon dance along with her fish prey screaming. My goodness she is loud. I bet Fran Solly can hear her across the lagoon without having the sound on the streaming cam. Zoe start about a minute and a half before Dad lands with the fish.

We will continue to grieve for little one, Rubus. At the same time, we must also celebrate the falcon fledgling that Xavier and Diamond are working so hard to train so it can have a full and productive life like Sequoia.

Indigo certainly as a ‘voice’! He flew in and chased Xavier out of the scrape a few minutes before returning with his breakfast. Here is a short video clip of Indigo coming into the scrape with prey at 0700.

This is the latest update from Cilla re Rubus. So very sad but, reassuring that the little fella did not suffer.

Thank you so very much for being with me. Send all your good wishes out to Rita as she recovers, to Ron who may or may not know what is going on, to Gabby who waits for Samson and to Annie who might not yet know Alden is missing. So much is happening — and here I thought there might be a lull until eaglets start to hatch at the end of the month. Bird World is always full of surprises. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their messages, posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clip: ‘S’, ‘H’, ‘G’, Port Lincoln Osprey, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Conservation without Borders, BBC, Raptors without Borders, Sharon Pollock and SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Tonya Irwin and Kistachie National Forest Eagle Cam Fans, Gretchen-AEF, Salsa Bird and Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and Birds, Holly Parsons and Orange Australia Falcons, and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Harriet lays her first egg of the season! and more news in Bird World

30 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I want to thank everyone who sent an e-mail or who made a comment about the loss of Orange’s dear darling Rubus. It was extremely difficult for everyone not least of all those wonderful people at Orange. We all loved the feisty little eyas. What joy he brought!

It would be helpful if there were an international protocol in place that everyone agreed on and knew. If a raptor is grounded and does not flee when a human approaches, it should be placed in care for an examination. No guessing, no regrets. Just a clear protocol. If the raptor requires care, it can receive it. If it doesn’t, it is released where it was found or at its nest, if known. Perhaps protocols could be put in place in memory of Rubus.

Meanwhile, Indigo is doing very well and thriving. Wonderful news. This is him yesterday eating a huge prey item! So glad he is visiting the scrape.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo” by NathanaelBC is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

It is not about raptors but, after the week we have had and now with Harriet having an injury from the GHOW hit last night, we need a laugh. We seriously need a laugh just to take us away even for a few minutes. This Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo will certainly help.

“G’ sent me a great article on Glen, the only surviving Tweed Valley osprey fledgling. It is a great article and you realise how miraculous this bird’s adventure has been – almost blown out to sea, having to flap its wings for 36 hours over the ocean! And finally finding a small piece of land to rest for 11 hours. Thanks, ‘G’. Glen deserves a long and safe life.

Here is the link:

Congratulations to M15 and to Harriet for their first egg of the 2022 season! The time was 18:09:34. M15 was there with Harriet during her labour.

Sharon Pollock posted a video of the happy moment:

At the nest of Pa Berry and Missy, Pa has had to deal with a GHOW strike like Harriet did the night before she laid her egg.

Many of you will have seen Tiger Mozone’s name on the PLO chat. Tiger runs a FB group re Ospreys and is encyclopaedic when it comes to the history of UK Ospreys. Tiger and Chloe Baker have a web site with much information on the UK Ospreys – magicats. He also has a Twitter account. Check him out.

Tiger and I have been chatting today about the state of the fish at Port Lincoln. I have been – well, almost, pulling my hair out over the lack of fish. Is it because of commercial fishing? flooding and silt? changing water temperatures due to climate change? Dad’s age? You have probably asked yourself the same thing. So far no one seems to have come up with an answer but Tiger and I talked about practical or possible solutions. I have always maintained that fish must be provided. But how do you provide fish? Well, large commercial-like tanks such as the ones that the Ospreys in South America steal from is one solution. Tiger thinks a fish pond or stocking the lagoon where the barge is located. I wonder how many regulations there are for doing this? Are there any more than all of the permissions required for intervention?

Zoe is wide awake and wanting fish. Dad will deliver early today. I wonder if she spotted him flying off.

Did you know that there is a river that was created and stocked just so photographers could take images of Osprey fishing? Yes. It is the River Gwash and Tiger told me about it today. So if you can build a river in the UK and stock it so Ospreys can fish and charge people to photograph them in a hide doing just that then, why not stock the lagoon where the barge is and – from a safe distance – allow people for a charge to photograph them? Why not? It might bring more tourism to the area, too! That along with Osprey Excursions.

The Gwash River runs through Rutland, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire.

Other places stock ponds and lochs for the osprey such as Rutland and Keider. It is time that everyone considered this as humans have mismanaged our planet so much. We owe it to these beautiful birds.

Alden has still not been seen. A video clip of Annie reacting to the visiting male.

Dear Gabby waits for Samson’s return. If you did not see my correction, Samson was not injured. There was a posting on FB showing what appeared to be an injury to Samson’s head; I carried that information in a blog. The AEF wishes for everyone to know that he was not seen injured when he was at the nest. I had posted the update in a later blog but it seems some did not see it. Apologies for any confusion.

This is the latest announcement from the AEF on FB at the time of writing this blog:

We know that Bella returned to her nest after three weeks and there is a story surfacing out of Hanover of the resident female returning to her nest after being absent for a week. It gives me hope that Samson will return!

Jackie and Shadow always put a smile on my face and here they are working on their nest at Big Bear. Adorable. I received a note that Shadow had been away since the 24th returning today, 5 days later (the information is second hand but comes from a trusted source). So, let us all take a deep breath and believe that Samson just took a wee break before it all begins, too.

The Southern Royal Osprey are a delight to watch and I know that many of enjoyed watching Lillibet, the 2022 Royal Cam chick grow and fledge and the marvelous care that YRK gave to her daughter after OGK went missing in May. There is a new Royal family and Dad, GLY, is incubating that precious egg. Sharon Dunne (aka Lady Hawk) has published a video of the new family and some visitors.

Migration News:

Waba is still in the Sudan.

Bonus is still in Turkey but he has started moving South! Well done, Bonus.

There is a silver lining in today’s news with the arrival of the first egg at the Bald Eagle nest of M15 and Harriet in Fort Myers, Florida.

Please send your best wishes to Rita so that she is strong enough for her operation. ‘H’ wrote this morning to tell me it is scheduled for 1500 Eastern time today. Send good wishes to Alden and Samson wherever they are please come home if you can, and to everyone at Orange and all those who loved little Rubus. He is much missed.

Thank you for being with me. This is not a very long blog but I hope there is something good in there for everyone. I am now ready to try and start packing! Take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’ and ‘G’ for their notes, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and S Pollock, Berry College, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Cal Falcons, NEFL-AEF, River Gwash Ospreys,, York Dispatch, FOBBV, NZ DOC and Sharon Dunne, and Looduskalender Forum.

Darling Rubus is dead…and other news in Bird World

Hello Everyone,

What a very sad morning it is.

It was 2100 Monday evening on the Canadian Prairies when I started this blog and the world looked so much better with the idea that our little lad could be flying around with his older brother, Indigo Now that hope has shattered. This morning I know that all of you are feeling the same hole in your life. What a lively character Rubus was — and what immense joy he gave us stretching his little neck to get food and running all over the scrape box screaming and staring into the camera. Oh, little one, you shall be missed.

I am so very glad to have the kittens and the garden animals this morning. The kittens are being as cute as they can be. Both of them spend lots of time looking out to the garden watching the squirrels, the birds, and Hedwig – the rabbit, who came to visit us today.

Our thoughts go out to Diamond and Xavier and to Indigo who must carry on now and to Cilla Kinross and everyone at Orange and to all those around the world who dared love this little bundle of fluff that was Rubus.

Our dear darling little lad. This morning we are all weeping for you.

The speculation as to which fledgling is which has ended at Orange. The body of dear little Rubus was found and it appears he died some time ago. Here is the announcement from Cilla Kinross:

“NEWS 29th November 2022 Bad news about Rubus. His body was found today by one of our medical staff (who also watch the livestream). Cause of death is unknown. I thought at first broken neck because of the angle, but it seemed intact. I have asked the vet for an autopsy, but she said that it is too far gone, so it looks like he died a few days after last seen on 23rd November. That’s a pity as I would like to have known whether it was caused by trichomoniasis (canker) as has been suggested by some watchers. We’ve never had a case here, but the parasite could be present in the local pigeon population and transferred in the prey.”

It is hard to take it all in. Liz M has put together a compilation of Rubus’s life for us.

I will be doing a tribute to Rubus in the coming days and will then add him to our ‘Wall of Remembrance’. So sad today as I know you all are.

I have hoped so much that there would be some good news at the nest of Gabby and Samson, of Annie and Alden, and of Ron and Rita. The only sure thing is that Zoe loves fish and will eat any and all that land on her nest.

Cal Falcons has ‘finally’ issued a statement about what is happening at The Campanile. Thankfully that news is not bad. We just have to wait.

As the sun set over The Hamlet, Gabby looked out over the trees. She has been hunting and has a huge crop. The male intruder appears not to be about but, Gabby has to be wondering where her mate is. What has happened to him?

I am so glad that Gabby has eaten well.

I was reminded, this evening, that Bella was injured. She had extensive injuries and was away from the NCTC nest that she shares with Smitty for three weeks before returning and booting an interested female off. Samson could return. That is my mantra. In fact, I received a note from ‘T’ and the blood on the side of Samson’s face was not an injury but, was from a Coot that he had eaten earlier. Thanks, ‘T’.

In Miami…

Rita, the Bald Eagle mate of Ron, at the Miami Zoo, was a celebrity before she was critically injured with a double compound fracture to her right wing on Sunday. She has been stabilized and operated on and what a lucky eagle she is – had she not been found so quickly and taken to care by the police who found her, she would have died. Maggots had already started growing. So sad.

A round of applause to everyone who helped this injured eagle. The next 48 hours will be crucial – send Rita all your best wishes. The surgery will not happen for another 2 or 3 days and then months and months of rehab before she could released, if she is released. Ron has been on the nest looking for her and just doesn’t understand what has gone on because she was picked up miles away from the nest.

Here is TV coverage of Rita and her injury with more details.

In California, Jackie was caught on camera — yes, the camera is back up and running after the storm thanks to everyone for that. It is so good to see you, Jackie.

In Florida, the GHOWs are striking at Harriet and M15 again.

Port Lincoln Ospreys:

I wonder if Zoe dreams about fish dinners?

Once Zoe spotted Dad away, she flew over by Mum and waited for him to return with ‘her’ breakfast.

Dad did not disappoint. He brought a nice little fish for Zoe.

And our Zoe made quick work of that little fish and was ready for more!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No. 17. The Red List. The Scaup

There are two Scaup. Dominic Couzens in his text for Red Sixty Seven, suggests that the one in the United Kingdom be called the Greater Scaup because there is a Lesser Scaup across the pond in America. The one in the United Kingdom actually resides in both the United Kingdom, Europe and the ‘New World’. That is why, Couzens argues it should be the ‘greater’.

The Scaup breed in the taiga and the Arctic Tundra in the spring. They return to the United Kingdom in the autumn where they will spend the winter. They are medium sized diving ducks – not dabblers. They dive deep searching for aquatic invertebrates and plants. They normally feed during the day but have been seen foraging at night if the water has been disturbed during the day by boats and human activity. Did you know that to catch the invertebrates, the Scaup stick their bill into the mud, snap it closed, and swim forward scooping it up. They have been known to dive to 7 metres!

Greater Scaup LMO 1” by THE Holy Hand Grenade! is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Look carefully at the Greater Scaup above with its magnificent green head, glowing yellow eye, white bill with the tell-tale black ‘V’ at the base. This marks them out from their American counterpart whose head is an iridescent purple, the black ‘V’ at the base of the bill is missing, and the head is less round. The Greater Scaup has a black neck and breast, white underparts, a dabbled grey and white wing and back, with black tail feathers.

The female is a beauty. Her head is black with that striking yellow eye. She has a white crescent between her bill and her eye. The breast is a lovely chestnut, the back and wings a mottled chestnut and white with a black tail.

Greater Scaup (Female)” by Rick Leche is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The Scaup make their nests on the ground where the eggs can easily be predated by foxes, dogs, The female lines her nest with the down from her breast. The nests are generally near the edge of the water in areas that are known not to flood. Generally between 8 and 13 eggs are laid.

Their main threat is human development, although they are preyed upon by owls, skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and humans.  But there are other threats as well including water pollution and climate change. Alarmingly they are also caught up as bycatch when trawlers are out looking for fish.

It has been a difficult last few days in Bird World. As a friend reminded me, “it would not hurt so much if we didn’t care so deeply.” Continue to care. The Birds need all of us and more. Continue to feel. Do not get numb to the challenges they face that cut their lives much more shorter than they should be. Send out your best wishes to Samson for a safe return to Gabby, to Rita so she will stabilize for her surgery, to Alden so he will return to Annie.

I am sorry this letter comes with nothing but sadness save for Zoe who is thriving which is a good thing. Raise a glass of something – juice, water, your favourite adult drink – to our little lad. Soar high little Rubus. Soar high. You were much loved.

Thank you for being with me this morning. Please take care. I hope to see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’ for the news bites about Rita, Envirobites, Port Lincoln Osprey, Openverse, Lady Hawk and SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, NEFL-AEF, WRDC, Channel 10 News Miami, WFLA News, FOBBV, Cal Falcons, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam Project and Cilla Kinross, and Liz M for her tribute to Rubus.

Alden missing, Samson missing, Rita injured…Monday in Bird World

28 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I am earlier than I thought I would be today because there is more breaking news. We will start off with the kittens because they, so far, are a good thing to wake up to – no injuries, just boundless energy and cuddles.

Missy and Lewis hope that everyone has had a good day so far. They have discovered something! The in-floor heating comes up through the tiles, through the basket, and into their blanket. Talk about cosy.

These two will not be separated. Missy is the leader, the alpha cat and Lewis follows along dutifully. Same basket. Same food dish. Same water dish. Same tent for sleeping. Together. In all my years with cats – and that is a lot!-I have never seen or enjoyed anything so much.

We are still waiting word on Samson at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest. As I noted it is not unusual for eagles to take a couple of days off before the incubation period starts or even during. However, at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest, if memory holds, it is always Gabby who is away and Samson dealing with incubating eggs or eaglets. Oh, let us all hope he is just a bit out of sorts and gets home soon.

For those of you that do not know him, Samson is the eaglet of Romeo and Juliet. The NEFlorida nest that Samson now shares with Gabby was Samson’s natal nest. Samson hatched on 23 December 2013. That means that he is 9 years old. Simon left the area on the 22nd of April 2014 and returned in 2018. Him and Gabby have had 3 seasons of eaglets. In 2019, they fledged Jules and Romey, named after Samson’s parents. In 2020, it was the ever cute Legacy and in 2021, Jasper and Rocket fledged. Samson is an absolutely devoted mate to Gabby and a super dad to his kids.

Samson with Legacy. 2020

Samson remains missing this morning.

The intruder has literally jumped into the nest at NEFL. Gabby was there and was keeping him at a distance.

At the WRDC Bald Eagle nest in the Miami Zoo, the home of Ron and Rita, I have received word from ‘H’ that Rita has been found injured. An announcement just released states that the injury is not as bad as they thought at first. Rita has a broken wing. She is in surgery. Updates will be issued as more is known.

One would think it would be enough with Samson missing and feared that he will not return, Rita’s broken wing and the fact that she could likely miss the 2022 season but, Alden has not been seen for 5 days (not since 23 November) and a male intruder has been at Cal Falcons. Annie has not chased him away. Does this mean we have lost Alden in a territorial dispute, too?

Darling Alden who gave us the loaf, moth chasing, and who saved the 2021 season after Grinnell was killed. Are you really gone?

Cal Falcons has not, it seems, issued any official word other than releasing the videos and the statement of Alden missing for 5 days.

The observation board at Port Lincoln has Mum delivering 2 fish and Dad none but Dad did deliver a fish tail – literally the tail – to Zoe at 18:26. I am not sure she was impressed.

The anticipation of another fish got Zoe quite excited.

It was nice to see Dad with a crop and when the fish tail landed, Zoe has still had a crop from the earlier fish provided by Mum. Zoe is not suffering from a lack of food!

I checked for updates on SE30 and SE29 and could not find any. The last was a couple of weeks ago. I will let you know if there is any news at all.

Need a new Osprey cam to watch? Cottesloe has long wanted one and now it is a reality. Cottesloe is in Western Australia. It will be fantastic to have another cam to go along with Port Lincoln next year.

In New Zealand, the Royal Cam couple for the year has been decided and the camera at Taiaroa Head has been moved. Thanks Ranger Sharyn!

I will be monitoring the situations to see if there is any change with Alden, Samson, or Rita, I will let you know. Please send out your warmest and most positive wishes to Samson and Gabby, Annie and to Alden, and Rita and Ron.

Thank you for joining me this morning. I wish that the news I was bringing was much better. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to ‘H’ for alerting me to the situation at Orange and Dade County and for their streaming cams and videos that make up my screen captures: Cal Falcons, NEFL-AEF, WRDC, Cottesloe Streaming Cam, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and NZ DOC.