Up Close with Ervie

Port Lincoln gave everyone a real treat today by getting up close and personal with Ervie when he was on the perch.

Alan Poole calls the feet the ‘business end of the osprey.’ You can see the rough sandpaper bottom of the feet that stops the slippery fish from falling off and that reversible toe that swings backwards to hold the fish taut. The hooked talons join the barbs on the bottom of the feet and that amazing reversible toe to give the Osprey or ‘fish eagle’ its advantage when diving for its dinner.

I have never touched an Osprey. Would I like to? Of course, if it didn’t stress them out. If I were to rub the feathers of an osprey, Poole tells me that they would feel oily. The layers of these waterproof feathers really helps this raptor that will be diving (if a male) many times per day during the nesting period to feed his family. Of course, the females fish, too. Some better than their mates.

Ervie has something caught in his beak. It looks like an old piece of fish skin. He has been rooting around in the nest for leftovers ever since Falkey got the breakfast fish. Hopefully that old skin will dislodge.

Ervie’s beautiful juvenile feathers will wear out and will need to be replaced. It is called molting. The osprey has adapted for the feathers to be replaced gradually without disrupting their ability to fly and fish.

As an adult, Ervie will not have that beautiful white tip to his back and wing feathers. The plumage on his head will remain in the same pattern. Sometimes the pattern on the crown of the head is so distinctive that an unringed bird can be identified simply from that formation.

There is Ervie on 4 October. He was only 20 days old. A perfect little reptile waiting for the fish. Ervie was always my focus because he was the third hatch. I believe, however, that is Bazza closest to your screen with Falkey out of view. Ervie loved his fish just like he does now and he always liked to have his breakfast first. He was not shy about getting in the line even if Bazza tried to dissuade him.

Today, however, Falkey seems to be the only one eating. He landed the 06:55 fish. Bazza then found an old piece of fish and Ervie took that (probably what was hanging from his beak). Dad came with another delivery at 09:21 and Falkey got that one, too. This didn’t sit too well with Ervie and it got him a little agitated. Ervie starts fighting with Bazza while Falkey eats away. Both Ervie and Bazza wind up on the deck again. Will this be their time out corner?

Ervie pushes Bazza out of the nest backwards.

These two have been very lucky that they did not go in the water.

Just look at Ervie’s eyes. Bazza may be his sibling, the one who picked on him when he was younger but, I don’t feel any ‘love’ between these two.

By 09:56, some 35 minutes later, both brothers are back on the nest.

Eventually Ervie flies over to the other side of the ropes, Bazza and Falkey are in the nest (surely Falkey cannot eat a third fish), and Mum and Dad are in the shed or man cave. Everyone is screaming at Dad for fish. It reminds me of Emyr Evans saying that Ceri would be screaming her head off at Monty wanting fish and she would be standing on one. Endless pits. These Dads sure need to be fit if they are going to do a good job of providing for these big chicks.

Ervie is no shrinking violet, that is for sure. I am surprised, however, that he struck out at Bazza and didn’t go over and take the fish from Falkey. The day is young. It is not even noon on Sunday 21 November. Lots can still happen. Maybe Ervie will decide to try fishing. Now that would be simply grand.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care!

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

Hold on to your seats

The three males on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge were – as I said many, many times – the most polite and civil trio I had ever witnessed. Well, today all bets are off. It was expected that once the lads had fledged and were moving into being independent that the conflict over fish deliveries would increase. It hasn’t actually been that bad. There was a tussle between Ervie and Falkey this morning over the breakfast fish. Ervie won.

Well, the fish isn’t even on the nest and Ervie and Falkey are going at one another. Caught in the cross-fire is Mum and Bazza. It is 14:10 in the afternoon and all is not well. I just hope the two do not injure one another.

There is only the anticipation of a fish because Mum is on the nest and the boys might have seen dad. Bazza is staying out of everything. He is by Mum but already Ervie and Falkey are eyeing one another.

Falkey goes over to jump on Ervie. Ervie is under Falkey and on top of Bazza. Poor Mum. I wonder if she has ever had a nest of all boys?

Everything is wings and twisting and turning.

Bazza stands up and Mum ducks.

Falkey is standing on top of Bazza.

Ervie is watching trying to see what Falkey is doing to Bazza.

Then everyone gets into the mix again.

I ‘think’ it is Falkey on the left, Bazza in the middle, and Ervie on the right. Poor Mum is in there, too.

Ervie is full of adrenalin and he gets Bazza on his back. This is not going to end well at all.

They are going down. This is definitely not good at all. Falkey who precipitated all of this with Ervie is simply looking on from the left as the two brothers have it out.

Bazza winds up in Dad’s man cave. He is alright. But he will not have the lift to fly up to the nest. Remember, Bazza is the only one that has not fledged.

The owners are monitoring the situation. They say that Bazza will probably fly to the ropes and then on to the nest but, perhaps, not just right now. They won’t intervene because they do not believe it is necessary and it would ‘freak’ out the other birds.

Falkey is left on the nest.

Mum arrives and Dad flies in with a whopper. Falkey will be much nicer after he eats his fish.

Falkey still has control of the fish. Mum is on the nest – she would some fish, too and there is Ervie right behind Falkey. He would like some fish, too. You can see Bazza down in the man cave.

Some of you will remember Tiny Tot Tumbles from the Achieva Osprey Nest. She went on to very proudly defend the nest against adult intruders. These birds have to be able to ‘fight’ so to speak. They are getting ready to leave the natal nest territory and set out on their own. It is just like Grinnell having to go in and take back his territory. We might like to think birds are sweet and only sing lovely songs and get along but even in my garden sometimes it is a real battle between some rivals.

It doesn’t look like there will be any dull moments on this nest now. To be continued at the next fish delivery….

Thank you for joining me and thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took these screen captures. Take care everyone!