13 November 2022
Good Morning Everyone.
Saturday was one of those quiet stay-at-home days. It gave me a chance to think of the ways that those of us who live in wintery climates cope with the weather. As it is, the sow is dancing down right now. The European Starlings are eating suet and Butter Bark and Mr Crow cawed so much that I gave him high protein kitten kibble. Oops. The Starlings have found the kibble!
Inside the house, the candle holders have been cleaned and given new candles. An apple crisp is in the oven. So, instead of starting out birds today, we will begin with something simple to make your house cosy on a crisp day. Put 1 sliced orange and 1 sliced lemon in a 2 litre (qt) pot. Leave the peel on – that is where the lovely oils are. Add a few bay leaves, 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks, a good tablespoon of cloves, and cover the whole with water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer. You can add water as needed. I used to add tea bags to the brew. It is a lovely spiced tea but needs some straining. The other thing you can do is to take the peels of your oranges and lemons and use them. I always have bags in the freezer! It is part of a strategy to have zero waste.
Our darling Ernie. Poster child of handsome beginning to do some moulting.
For the very first time successful fledges at Maine’s Hog Island Boathouse Osprey platform. Dory and Skiff are making the news! Congratulations to this Osprey couple who successfully fledged three osplets from the Hog Island Osprey platform this year. What an amazing family this was to watch.
Oh, so very grateful to Cilla Kinross for finding Indigo and showing us how this handsome lad is doing after fledging. Isn’t he a stunner?
Tweed Valley fledged three ospreys this year. Two of them have perished. The other, Glen, found himself on a couple of container ships before finally making it to Spain! Here is the latest on this youngster.
In the Mailbox:
‘EJ’ sent me some grand news. It is amazing what we can do when we get together to help benefit the environment and wildlife. A community joined together and raised 2.2 Million GPB to purchase a tract of land to enlarge a nature reserve. Just think – this could be a way of halting development in areas that are needed by the wildlife. Is there land where you live that is adjacent to a nature reserve that could benefit from such an endeavour? Keep this positive action in mind if ever you get a chance to work with your community.
“File:The Ewes Water Valley – geograph.org.uk – 1538379.jpg” by James T M Towill is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
You can read about this successful project here:
All eyes are on Port Lincoln. Ian Falkenberg was up at midnight finishing up the permit forms – that myriad of red tape that Port Lincoln has to do in order to ring the osplets on the nests. Fran and Bazza said that he was up again at 0600 getting ready. So, today, Big, whether you like it or not you will be weighed, measured, hopefully a sample of your blood is taken for DNA, and you will be given a sat pak. Big, we all know that you are one big cranky girl that won’t let any bird get in your way. You are now the only hope of Port Lincoln for 2022 – you carry a heavy responsibility. Please do not ever land on a hydro pole no matter how much you might want to.
Ian Falkenberg has made the call to postpone putting the tracker and ringing until later today or tomorrow. This cannot be done in wet weather. In addition, it really is now or never. In the UK, birds are not banded after 45 days because of the great fear of scaring them off the platforms and fledging early.
Mum and her ‘Big’ Girl crying out to Dad.
Dad brought a fish in around 0815. Big kind of rushed Mum once she had the fish. Mum got the catch anchored to her talon and flew around the nest arriving on the other side where she had control of the fish. It was headless so Dad has his share, too. Mum and Big had a nice chunk.
A small headless fish arrived around 1515.
The rain began. Mum and Dad had been perched together. Mum flew over to the nest to Big and Dad joined them at 19:44.
It appears that three of the Melbourne Four have now fledged. One remains at night and some of the others show up on the ledge for prey deliveries.
At Orange, Rubus is shedding many of the dandelions and is watching for Xavier and Diamond to deliver prey. They do not disappoint. Here was yesterdays recap from the moderators: RECAP 10 41 15 D w/ prey, Rubus takes; 11 25 12 X w/prey, D arrives/feeds: 13:31:22 X w/juv star, feeds, X takes: 16:30:10 X w/prey, feeds 18 53 31 Xw/prey, Rubus takes, D arrives , tug o war, D feeds.
There was a tug o war and lots of excitement. Just look at how much of the baby fluff is now gone.
Other Bird News:
One of the things that changes for me – during the winter – is that I do not travel on the roads as much nor do I go to the nature centre 5 days a week for a walk. Saturdays become very quiet and one of the joys is having Ferris Akel in the background doing his live stream around Wildlife Drive, Montezuma, Sapsucker Woods, and Ithaca, New York. We have a few ducks still in the City and a few geese were flying overhead this evening. Someone even has a Baltimore Oriole in their garden today – with the snow! I am, however, having duck withdrawal and Ferris does seem to find them this time of year! I really recommend Ferris Akel’s tours on Saturdays beginning about noon Eastern time. Ferris is humble always saying he doesn’t know this or that but, he does. I have learned so much for him. In fact his tour is often on in the background to whatever else I am doing. You can also check out some of the archived tours of Ferris by going to YouTube and entering Ferris Akel Live.
‘A’ said that she had learned to embrace ‘brown’ never realising that there are so many shades and hues. Fantastic! That brings me great joy. Most of the female birds are considered dull compared to the flamboyant colours of some of the male species. Here is a female Ruddy Duck. Just look at all those wonderful browns and tans, there is a touch of caramel and espresso, and that lovely sort of grey-brown.
All of the birds are at a great distance from where Ferris is streaming. The images are then quite soft. Nonetheless, I hope that you enjoy the few that I am including.
Just a slightly different angle.
A female Shoveler. You can never mistake a Shoveler for a Mallard. Just look at that bill. It is massive in comparison to the size of the head.
There were American Coots and I know that none of us will ever make the mistake of saying a Coot is a duck. It isn’t.
Oh, how I love Sandhill Cranes. They glean the farmer’s fields just after the seed crops have been harvested. There are many in Southern Manitoba in October doing this exact same thing. Gorgeous.
I don’t blame the Canada Geese getting out of Canada. Gosh, golly, it looks like much more fun in the pond at Sapsucker Woods than it is walking around in the snow in Canada and not finding any food.
What shocked me is precisely how much smaller the geese are when compared to the swans.
Just look at that. It makes the Canada Geese look like miniature ducks. Seriously. And I have always thought of them as large.
There was a juvenile Bald Eagle lurking about at Sapsucker Woods also.
Looking for some lunch?
No 6 The Red List: The Hawfinch
Ah, this is another one to pull out those shades and hues of brown. With its head the colour of rust or Corten Steel, its black bib and black eye surround, and heavy beak, this beautiful little bird, the Hawfinch, has a jaw and beak so strong that it can exert pressure of more than 50 kilograms on a seed! The strong triangular beak is black in the winter changing to a blue-black in the summer. Notice the rusty head in comparison to the grey-brown back and that intensive brick-brown eye. Both males and females are similar in appearance.
Hawfinches like to live in woodland where they will feed off various hard seeds. Some, if you are lucky, can be found around gardens eating cherries. The male builds the nest out of dry twigs and grasses lining it with lichen. The female will take over in roughly a fortnight.
Today there are less than 1000 breeding pairs of Hawfinch in the UK. There are a number of causes. Nest predation by Jays and Grey Squirrels is one of these. In Wales, the culprit has been trichomonosis. Trichomonosis is an infectious disease caused by the parasite Trichomonas gallinae. The parasite attacks the upper digestive tract, mainly the crop and esophagus making it difficult for the bird to eat. It can also impact the liver, lungs, and air sacs. The fourth hatch at Melbourne last year died of trichomonosis as did the Mum at the Janakkalan Osprey nest in Finland this past summer.
That’s it for today. I hope that each of you have a wonderful weekend. It looks like it could be dry at Port Lincoln so maybe, at the age of 57 days, Big will be ringed and get that sat pak. We wait to see.
Thank you for being with me. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams which make up my screen captures: Friends of Osprey, Audubon, Cilla Kinross and the Orange, Australia Peregrine Falcon FB, BBC, Tweed Valley Ospreys, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Ferris Akel Tours.