18 December 2022
Good Morning Everyone from a very snowy Manitoba! It has been a long time since we have seen so much snow dumped on the Canadian Prairies at one time. It is beautiful and a good way to slow down.
The Starlings showed up at their usual time for some of the suet.
The House Sparrows were here – mostly on the ground eating seed that Dyson & Company had dumped on the ground. You see the squirrels have found a way to empty one of the feeders entirely by shining on it!
Dyson is in her favourite spot. I always know where to find her. The other three – her babies from the summer – are doing well. She has taken good care of them.
It is a different story in the house. Lewis and Missey want to help with everything including the new images of Aran that have arrived from Glaslyn or the squirrel cards from DaniConnorWild.
Are they so innocent?
One or the other loves to get in this little basket. When they first arrived, both of them could fit in it. No longer! I am now calling them cats instead of kittens!
Lewis pretending he is an angel. I will not take my eyes off him or these candles while they are on. It is way too easy for a cat to burn their fur or start a fire. In fact, after sitting nervously for a few minutes, I have decided to only use candles if they are covered by a glass globe.
With the help of ‘J’, the memorial listing of the birds that we have lost is getting filled in much better. I have now returned to it with her help – while at the same time preparing a summary of Port Lincoln’s season for Claudio and the incredible International Osprey Data Bank he has created for me to track the Ospreys on the streaming cams. By the end of the first week in January, there will be a separate page with the Memorial Wall for 2021-22. If you have any additions (or corrections), please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Let us all hope that 2023’s listing is much shorter.
I don’t always get to sit and watch Ferris Akel’s Saturday Tour but, it is often playing in the background. Whenever he is talking about an interesting bird – instead of just searching for them – I jump up. Today, there was a Belted Kingfisher. Isn’t it lovely? I have never seen one and they look like such unique characters with that long pointed beak and that ‘bed head’. Love the colour palette of the plumage, too. Lovely birds.
Several Bald Eagles were out in the fields near Montezuma. Ferris has a way of spotting them and I have no idea how he does it.
One of the most exciting moments for me was a Northern Harrier hunting in the fields and catching some prey!
It is hard to see but they have a face like an owl with plumage that captures the sounds. They fly low to the surface of the land to catch their prey unlike other hawks that might hover or sit on poles and wait.
I cannot imagine, for a single moment, not wanting to allow them to have a bird or a vole for their dinner. Beautiful creatures.
There were also Tundra and Trumpeter Swans. You could see areas with some open water while others were covered with ice or were slushy.
A Horned Lark had found some food and was eating it on the side of the highway. Silly one!
There were Snow Geese and Canada Geese, too.
They had been feeding on the fields of corn that had been harvested and then all of a sudden, they flew away. Ferris was happy. Last year at this very site someone shot a Snow Goose while he was broadcasting.
Ferris spotted Arthur and a juvenile Red-tail Hawk on the grounds of Cornell University. I would like to think that the juvie that was hunting is L4 who has decided to stay in its parents territory. Certainly Arthur and Big Red are not running it off!
Arthur is all poofed up. It is 0 degrees C and they are due for some more snow. Notice the very deep brown/black eyes of the adult Red-tail. Arthur does not have the majestic apron of Big Red on his chest so it is easy to tell them apart. Such a little cutie, Arthur is. Big Red was seen recently by Karel Sedlacek so I am not worried that Ferris did not see her. It is hard to imagine but in three months time we will be watching for Big Red to lay her eggs. She will be 20 years old this spring! Wow.
This is the juvenile that I believe to be L4. If you look carefully you can see the light celadon of the juvie’s eyes.
Ferris Akel is a wealth of knowledge who gives his time and shares the birds around the area of Ithaca with us almost every Saturday of the year. He has been doing this for more than ten years now. He is humble but, I learn something every time I stop to listen to his programme. You can subscribe to his channel on YouTube and there is a chat moderated by a fellow Canadian, Dolphin. I often lurk – but, everyone is grand and they will welcome you to chat if you say ‘hi’.
As night began to fall, Pepe flew into the Superbeaks nest with a huge prey for Muhlady and the eaglets. I am trying to figure out what it is – a Black duck with red? Anyone know what this might be? Is it a Red-legged Black Duck?
Muhlady certainly seemed pleased and what a nice time to bring the prey. A snack for everyone before bed and some breakfast in the morning. Lovely. This is my first time watching this nest – in fact, it is a new nest on streaming cams. One never knows what to expect but this eagle family seems to have a good source of prey and they are very smart – having their eaglets before it gets too hot! Can’t wait til we can see those wee ones a little more. You certainly can hear them if you tune in.
I had a giggle today. Lady Hawk called Gabby’s nest ‘As the Nest Turns’, too. And it certainly is a revolving door. Today there was a 4 year old and a juvenile less than 2 years which led me to want to think it was Legacy!
Legacy, I don’t know if this is you but, if it is, you are still as gorgeous as ever. It is those piercing eyes…I have looked several times at images of Legacy and it sure could be her. I sure wish someone would band these eaglets! And here is my reasoning. For the past several days, we have been receiving images of Siren 5F who is the mate of Dylan at Llyn Clywedog. She is perched in her regular roost in The Gambia where she winters. Easily recognisable. No guesses. That is how banding can help – amongst other things.
That 4 year old eagle sure has Samson’s legs!
A short video of V4 flying into the nest with V5. Someone mentioned Gabby abandoning this nest. The Bald Eagles are attached to the nest. I cannot see a reason for her to leave it unless she were ‘run out’ of the territory by a bonded couple intent on taking over the territory and the nest.
One of the resident Ospreys at the Audubon Centre for Birds of Prey is Bailey. She was the companion of Smedley who sadly died last year. Yes, Ospreys do well in care!!!!!
Wow. Look at this image from the scrape at Charles Sturt University in Orange today. The expression on Diamond and Indigo’s faces are amazing.
At the same time, Indigo can be just a darling.
Elain’s highlights of the day at the Orange scrape. Always welcome, Elain. You do a wonderful compilation! Thank you.
Ron is quite the catch. I sure hope some deserving female flies into his nest! He is doing a super job of working on it. Someone today wished that Ron and Gabby could get together. That would be one super couple.
Jackie and Shadow working on their nest. They were caught mating on the other camera today!
As we wait for eggs to be laid or hatch, for Gabby to get a new mate or not, there is not a lot going on in Bird World and for that, I am truly grateful.
Good news has come to us from the rehabilitation centre that has cared for WBSE27 and who is now training WBSE30. We know that 27 is flying free. We have seen her tracking. They did a marvellous job teaching her to fly and to hunt and they are now doing the same for 30. Let us hope that she, too, will be equipped with a tracker so that we can follow her movements.
The top image is 27 leaping off a perch while she was being trained before she was released. The bottom image is 30 being trained now. Warm wishes for her life to be as successful as her older sister’s.
30 is on the perch on the right.
I have not been able to find a recent update on WBSE 29. Lady and Dad have, however, visited the nest tree the other evening. So nice to see them!
And a quick check on Zoe at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. I caught Dad delivering either a small fish or a piece of a fish to Zoe at 1402. She spots him coming. My goodness, Zoe, you are loud! They could hear you across the lagoon.
So, with the lull, let us turn back to our Red List of Vulnerable Birds published in the UK.
No. 20 The Red List: The Smew
“Smew” by hmclin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
The author, Ben Watt, calls this darling black and white diving duck, the ‘Karl Lagerfeld’ of the divers. Watt uses such terms as ‘vivid white crest, jet black shades, white tux, …moving elegantly’. What a grand description. Quite fitting.
The top image is of a male Smew. The bottom is of the female adult. Just look at that magnificent rusty head on the female. Quite striking and gorgeous.
“Smew – male” by Len Blumin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
“Zoo Smew” by hmclin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
There are fossils of Smew going back 1.5 million years ago and yet this gorgeous little waterfowl is at risk of going extinct in our life time. Watt is on a crusade to save this bird that inhabited the wetlands near to his home. In 1956, there were 144 recorded wintering at the Brent Reservoir (Welsh Harp). It was a record! Today, there are 10. I did not keystroke that wrong – ten. So what is the problem? Climate change caused by humans. Milder winters, the increase of water sports and the pollution of waters. Watt says, ‘These days, the two inflowing rivers at the Welsh Harp are badly oxygen-depleted, and high in urban run-off, contaminated with silt, phosphates and micro plastics. Feeding grounds are suffering and the numbers of regular species are on the decline.’
We could of course say this for most of our waterfowl. Indeed, ‘A’ and I have been wondering about the silt flowing into the water at Port Lincoln due to flooding slightly north. Luckily, for the Smew, they can stay year round in various bodies of water near Amsterdam where they number close to 200 at a single count.
Last today, ‘J’ has been helping me with the memorial wall asks that we keep Victoria Cockatoo in our thoughts and prayers. Victoria is a 50 year old Cockatoo that had a very hard life before she was taken in by a kind owner, April. As a result of the treatment she received earlier in life, Victoria is battling significant health problems and is in hospice. Yesterday she was eating April’s breakfast so there is some hope on improvement. Here is that link:
Please also keep Alden, Samson, and Rita in your positive thoughts as well.
From somewhere in Australia, a tree full of Rainbow Lorikeets that used to come and wish our lovely little Black Pacific Duck Daisy nesting on the big WBSE tree ‘good morning’.
Thank you so much for being with me today. It is lovely to have you here with us. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams that make up my screen captures: OpenVerse, Port Lincoln Osprey, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, FOBBV, Raptor Recovery Australia and Judy Harrington and Sea Eagle Cam, WRDC, NEFL-AEF, Audubon Centre for Birds of Prey, Superbeaks, and Ferris Akel’s Live Tours.