Tuesday in Bird World

The snow that began last night is continuing to come down in the garden. It is gusty and blowing and the birds are having a difficult time finding a place to get out of the wind. I would love for someone to contradict me but, I do not recall this much snow in 15 years. Thankfully, there is no reason to get out, not even for birdseed. We have at least another two weeks on hand! There are times that I think the garden visitors eat better than their caregivers! It is the running family joke.

You might have felt that I am a little ‘shy’ of that WRDC nest of Ron and Rita’s. This is a new Bald Eagle couple to me. It is really difficult to see if R2 is getting much food. Clearly R1 is a bit of a brute. R3 would not have had a chance. The adults often stand in front of the camera so the view is restricted or, else, I can only see R1 bonking the little one. There is lots of food. Ron is a good provider.

I want to imagine that I am terribly wrong and that the adults are feeding R1 until it passes out in a food coma and then are making sure that R2 is full to the brim. If you have seen this please let me know! I would be delighted.

Some good news. There is no sign of Daisy the Duck on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Continue to send your positive energy to our little duck so she finds a safe place to hatch some eggs!

The bad news – unless you are a GHOW fan – is that Mrs Hootie laid her first egg on the Savannah Osprey nest of Scarlett and Rhett. Where will this longstanding Osprey couple lay their eggs?

The snow is melting in Ithaca, the home of Big Red and Arthur.

The Clark Fork River is open in places near Missoula, Montana. It is hard to imagine but in 9 weeks Big Red should be laying eggs and in 10 weeks we will be looking for Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, to return to her nest at Hell Gate Canyon.

There is some snow in Latvia and like here in Canada, I expect that they will see more. Milda’s nest is waiting for her albeit there have been intruders.

The eaglet at the KNF nest was stretching its little wings this morning. It is 6 days old and is energetic, curious, healthy, and happy. What more could you want?!

Anna and Louis are quickly becoming one of my most favoured Bald Eagle couples!

Pa Berry fed B15 til it passed out in a food coma. I had missed seeing him brooding or feeding so this really put a smile on my face. B15 is a little character. Full of life! So happy.

Pa Berry was really aerating the nest this morning!

R15 is so cute. I wonder if R15 will get attached to ‘eggie’ like Legacy did last year?

The two eaglets of Harriet and Mitch are doing fine at the Hilton Head Island Bald Eagle nest. Have a close look. That second layer of dark grey down is covering them and there are feathers peeking through. Soon they will look like E19 and E20.

E20 looks on as E19 is eating at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest. It will wait til E19 is finished and then will go and have food.

Ferris Akel posted a very short video of the Canada Geese and the Snow Geese from last Sunday’s tour. I had not seen so many since our migration in September-October here in Winnipeg.

Ervie is on the nest and will, no doubt, be ramping up the volume screaming for a fish once the dawn breaks at Port Lincoln. Oh, Ervie. Are you going to be another Izzi? We do adore you and we wouldn’t mind! On the other hand, you did get the sat-pak! Will the conclusion be that at least one male Eastern Osprey likes to stay at the natal nest? Oh, Ervie, you do put a smile on our faces.

Thank you for joining me today. It is so nice to have you with me. Take care! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: WRDC, KNF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Hilton Head Island Trust, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Berry College, Cornell Bird Cam and Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Cam and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Savannah Ospreys, Latvian Fund for Nature, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Saturday in Ospreyland

There is super news regarding the fledglings. Pont Cresor Blue 494, son of Aeron Z2 and Blue 014 was spotted at Point Caillot in Brittany, France by Colette Leclerqu. Blue 494 was also a historic hatch – the first for the Pont Cresor Nest in the Glaslyn Valley.

Blue 494 has a great pedigree. He is the grandson of Monty and Glesni. Looking forward to his return in 2023!

If anyone hears of someone spotting Blue 463, Tiny Little, from the Foulshaw Moss Nest, please let me know!!!!!! Did you know that Foulshaw Moss was one of only a few Osprey nests in the world to successfully fledge three Osplets in 2021? Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest with Tiny Tot was another.

I did a short report on the feedings at Port Lincoln in the middle of the night. There were at least two other meals for the three after I shut my computer down.

Mom knows with the cool winds coming off the water that the chicks need to be kept warm. They don’t! They are curious and wiggly and want to look around! Too funny. These three are going to be a handful.

Calypso, the 2019 hatch from this nest, a female, lives and is seen often around Port Lincoln. Solly, 2020 hatch, has a satellite transmitter and continues to stay around Kiffin Island and Eba Anchorage. Solly is 364 days old. Tomorrow is her first year hatching birthday!

The Montana Osprey Project has officially said goodbye to Iris for the 2021 season. She did not return to her nest to say goodbye this year and she was last seen about four days ago on the branch at Mt Sentinel eating a fish.

Here is one of the most iconic of Iris images. For those of you just learning about Ospreys, Iris is the oldest Osprey in the world. She is unringed. No one knows where she spends her winters. Her nest for the spring and summer is at Hellgate Canyon in Missoula, Montana. Iris, we wish you safe travels, great fishing, good weather, a wonderful winter break, and a speedy return to us.

It continues to be a good day in Osprey Land. Wishing for lots of fish for the PLO and great feedings today.

What a treat. An Osprey came into view while Ferris Akel was streaming at Wildlife Drive in Montezuma, New York.

I am off to check on the ducks today. Thank you so much for joining me. Emyr Evans if you are reading this, please open the on line store so we can all order our copies of Monty!

Thank you to the PLO Project, the Dyfi FB Page, Ferris Akel Livestream, and the Montana Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Thursday in Bird World

Everyone that I know either loves to see an Osprey fish or they wish they had the opportunity to do so. This is one of the best two minute videos I have ever seen showing the physical stamina that the male needs to land his fish and get it out of the water for the family. Look at it closely.

John Williams kept a list of the fish that Dylan brought to the nest for Only Bob, Blue 496. That was the Lyn Clywedog Nest. There were 354 fish seen at the nest including Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and 10 Grey Mullet. This is for one chick and his mate. I wonder how this number of fish increases for nests of more than one chick? Does anyone know?

Last night, at 18:15, the Dad at the PLO Barge brought in a nice fish. He had eaten the head off. Mum proceeded to provide three feedings to the Osplets between then and 22:15. After the last feeding, she ‘hid’ the fish. Lots of times the fish are hidden to keep insects off. In some countries, the fish buried in the strawy nests stay fresher. I am thinking of the White Tailed Eagles in Latvia. Or maybe she did want to hide it from Dad!

One thing that we always need to remember is that video from the beginning. The male’s role is often forgotten in terms of its importance.

The Osprey nests ONLY succeed when the male is in tip top condition. Tiger Mozone made that point last night on the PLO chat. The nest will fail if the male is not a good fisher or is in poor physical condition. The male must eat. How could he keep up his strength otherwise? Dad eats first and brings the remainder to the nest. Eating the head – which might be the best part (I doubt it) – might also stop that fish from flapping (it doesn’t always). So do not begrudge the male a meal – cheer him on. We need the male healthy so he can exert the type of energy it takes to catch the fish. Many say it is 8 to 15 tries to get a fish. That is a lot of diving. Of course, we also hope that there are lots of fish around the surface for the male to catch.

This image has been circulating. I have no idea who took it, where it originated but it was in my inbox awhile ago sent from a friend. Thanks ‘M’.

The next time you look at the legs of the males – think strength. They do not need a gym membership!

Dad on the ropes eating the head of one of the fish he brought in.
The 3 Bobs stand at attention if they are hungry. This is an image after that fish was delivered.

The little ones at the PLO nest need bites of fish often now. Like I said, Mom fed them at 18:15 and then twice again before bedtime. In 2 weeks time they will need more fish. It is important that the 2-3 week period be stable with deliveries. This will be a big growth period.

This was at 18:15:54. It is less than a minute after the fish delivery. I am including this image so you will then notice how those three get to attention when it is feeding time.

In 30 seconds, they have all turned around and gotten in line. Well done, little ones.

The last feeding of the day. They look like they are singing!

It has been some days since I checked on the Black Stork family of Karl II and Kaia whose nest is in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The current tracking is for Karl II, Pikne, and Udu.

Udu is now in Hungary. The comment on the forum is that Udu seems to have an affinity for finding good fishing spots.

I like this map the best as it shows Karl’s family plus Jan and Janika’s Julge. Julge is the purple. You might recall that he got on a ship and went the wrong direction but righted himself and is now taking the Western route to either southern Spain and Portugal or on to Africa. I wonder if he will stop in Spain?? Karl II is near to where he was when I last checked on him. Near the Black Sea in the Ukraine. A great stopping off spot it seems.

While a few days might not change Karl II’s trajectory that much, it sure has changed the plumage of the White Bellied Sea Eaglets 27 and 28. Wow. They are gorgeous. And, yes, Toni Castelli-Rosen, they are as pretty as the Red Tail Hawks! Indeed, I have had to admit to Toni that they are double gorgeous. I love the plumage on these juveniles.

The last time Aran was seen was Tuesday morning so he might have left on his migration. The Glaslyn Valley will be waiting for him next year. Isn’t it gorgeous? I understand they are leaving the camera on all winter. Wow. What a treat.

It is not clear if Iris has left Missoula, Montana yet. There were photographs of an Osprey on Iris’s favourite branch eating a fish on 12 September. That was four days ago. Did she leave without saying goodbye to her nest? Maybe. Tiaki, the Royal Cam chick, had a feeding today (LGL) and Tiaki is still on Taiaroa Head. Samson has been bringing in sticks and him and Gabby are working on the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me today. I had hoped to do a quick check on all the nests but the long drive in the rain was exhausting. I will do that this weekend. Stay safe everyone. Check out the trio at the PLO Barge. They are darlings.

Thank you to the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, the Eagle Club of Estonia and BirdMap for their streaming cam and FB pages.

It’s a Pip for Port Lincoln …and is Iris still in Montana?

The poor mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge nest has certainly been stared at! Chatters want a stick moved and Dad seems to continue, on occasion, to bring in some more nest materials.

At 02:06, many were certain there was a bump. By 05:33:13 there was a definite pip. The bump expanding for three hours certainly seems logical.

You can see it here – the back egg! The first egg was laid on 3 August. I think it makes it 40 days on the dot – but don’t trust me, do your own math, please. It looks like there will be a little Osprey by morning tomorrow. Lovely. I hope the weather is good for mum and chick.

Thanks to the two ‘Ss’ for alerting me. It seems that Iris was enjoying a fish yesterday on her favourite tree at Mt Sentinel. You will read later in this newsletter that Ospreys prefer trees without branches. This one is certainly perfect. She can see all around her. Oh, the survival skills the Ospreys have developed over millions of years.

Oh, these birds are so smart. If the weather is bad, maybe they know it. Certainly they anticipate local weather and act accordingly!

Hurricane season officially lasts from 1 June to the end of November. Last year several of us worried about Tiny Tot and we became curious about the impact of hurricanes on the Ospreys and other birds.

This is an excellent document on the subject.

In his book, Soaring with Fidel, David Gessner talks about visiting Sanibel Island after Hurricane Charley hit the area in August of 2004. Santibel took a direct hit and it is home to many sea birds including lots of Ospreys. Some of you might have watched the Captiva Bald Eagle nest last year – Joe and Connie. That nest is on Santibel Island.

According to Gessner’s friend, Tim Gardner who lives on Santibel, the hurricane hit with 140 mph winds, a category 4. “The Ospreys, according to Tim, moved lower and lower in the trees, until they hunkered down near the ground in the brush.” “But no amount of hunkering could protect them.” Gardner revealed to Gessner that all of the nests were gone after the hurricane. Blown away. Gardner also added, “The remarkable thing was the birds’ resilience: those that had lived through the hurricane had come back to rebuild on the same spots”. He noted that the few trees that remained looked just like sticks pushed up out of the ground with no branches —– well, lo and behold, our Ospreys love trees without branches. Perfect. They can see all around them. As hurricane season continues for 2021, let us wish all the wildlife resilience and strength.

I have so enjoyed Gessner’s writing that I was able to find his first book at a used book shop. It is Return of the Osprey. A Season of Flight and Wonder. I hope that it is as informative as it is a good read. Certainly Soaring with Fidel fit that. I continue to return to that book. It is a delight.

After posting the article, “The Tears of the Albatross,” my friend, ‘L’ send me a link to this wonderful video, Albatross – A Love Story! It is excellent. Have a look. Thank you, ‘L’!

So many of you have sent me the most beautiful images of your the birds. Thank you! The care, love, and concern that each of you have for the wildlife visiting your gardens is so endearing. I wish we could spread that love and care like an aerosol.

Oh, the joy and laughter the birds and animals bring with their antics! This evening as the sun was setting, the three Blue Jays that visit my garden and two of the large grey squirrels had noticed the ears of dried corn that had been put in a bowl for them. My view was mostly blocked but oh, you could see the crest of the Blue Jay pop up and down and, on occasion, the cob would roll and you could see the Jays getting a kernel and eating it. One decided to have a bath. Of course, he will never use the bird bath. This fellow, the male, prefers the old gold water bowl.

I am also certain that he can hear when I take the cap off the lens since he absolutely refuses to pose! Seriously, he had been looking straight at me prior to this.

The Blue Jay couple are year round residents in the back garden. They always come out in the morning and late afternoon to almost sunset. They often arrive with a single juvenile every summer. To my amazement, they get along with the other regulars – the little Downy male woodpecker (and his juvenile in the summer), the lone Black-Capped chickadee, the three Grey Squirrels, Sharpie the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Hedwig the Rabbit, and ‘Little Red’, the Red Squirrel. OK. Red and the Grays dislike each other completely.

These characters that give us so many giggles are really a part of the family. It is always comforting, at the end of the day, to check off that each has been seen.

The link to the Port Lincoln Osprey cam is here:

My newsletter will be late tomorrow, very late. I am hopping to get a glimpse of some birds during the day if the weather cooperates. On the list are Sandhill Cranes. In fact, it might not arrive until Tuesday late morning so don’t worry.

Thank you so much for stopping by to check on our friends in Bird World. No doubt everything will happen at once – the chick at PLO will hatch the moment that Tiaki fledges and Iris arrives at her nest! The birds certainly keep us on our toes. Stay safe everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my images: Montana Osprey Project and Cornell Bird Lab, Sharon Leigh Miles from the Montana Osprey Project who allows me to use images from their FB Page she posts, and the Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Osprey Migration

Dr Tim Mackrill, the Osprey specialist that worked with Glaslyn on how to set up the fish table for Aran and Mrs G this past late spring and early summer when Aran injured his wing, gave a wonderful Webinar on Osprey migration. He has taped the entire talk and you can watch it on YouTube. It is free – and worth every minute. You can, of course, start and stop the presentation as needed. Here is that link to everything you wanted to learn about Osprey migration and more!

The wait continues for the female adult at Port Lincoln’s first hatch. Any time! It’s 12 August in Australia and that was the day I guessed on the FB page. Come on hatch!!!!!!

The nest at Port Lincoln is known for its siblicide. There will be no intervention of any kind – other than putting on the Darvic rings and maybe another satellite tracker this year (if they choose to do this). If you take the number of days different from the day egg 1 was laid and egg 3 and then add the number of days between when they hatched, you will get a real number that tells you the difference in age between 1 and 3 – sometimes ten days. Some of these little ones survive. Tiny Little Bob at the Foulshaw Moss had extraordinary parents. Tiny Tot at the Achieva Nest was simply an extraordinary bird. Many aren’t. So please keep this in mind. Here is the link to the streaming cam.

There is news coming out of Loch Arkaig. Louis might still be at the lake along with one of the juveniles. Louis is very devoted to his chicks and he will wait til one of them leaves – for certain – before he does. Stay tuned. People will be checking this to make sure.

There has been no confirmation about Iris, the grand dame of all Ospreys, having left for her migration. The last certain sighting was by Sharon Leigh Miles on 6 September.

Put a bookmark on the Osprey migration video if you can’t watch it soon. On one of those rainy days when you are wanting something to watch, it is a great resource.

Thank you for joining me this morning. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

The featured image is Iris. Iris is believed to be the oldest Osprey in the world. She summers in Montana but no one knows where she stays for the winter.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project and Montana Osprey Project and the Cornell Bird Lab.

Taiki to get GPS tracker

It is 9 September in Australia. My computer tells me that it is 17:34 on the Canadian Prairies on the 8th of September. In three hours, around 20:00. CDT, the NZ DOC rangers will fit Tiaki with the tracker. She is 228 days old and could fledge any time.

Here is the link so that you can watch. Both LGL and LGK were fitted with trackers. LGK’s is still working providing valuable information on where the adults forage for food for their chicks.

In other nest news, it has been confirmed that Z2 (Aeron) and his family have now all departed for migration. Aeron’s nest is the Pont Cresor in Glaslyn. At the same time, Aran is still at the Glaslyn nest. Many worry about his late spring wing injury but, he most often doesn’t leave until mid-September.

Wales issued a statement that due to the cold spring weather and misfortunes, their six nests produced only six chicks to fledge.

9 October is one of Cornell’s big bird submission dates. This year they are even calling it October Big Day. They want everyone to do a bird count around the world. Mark it on your calendar. I will give you more details closer to the day.

eBird submissions are very helpful. Some recent discoveries, sadly, include bird and plane collision information.

A photo of an adult Osprey yesterday leads everyone in Missoula to think that Iris is still in Montana. The image was taken from the Owl Pole Camera.

Let’s chick on where the Black Storks are today.

Pikne is in Moldova.

Udu is in Southwest Poland.

Udu’s area is full of lakes!

There was no data update for Karl II.

Julge, the only surviving chick of Jan and Janika, has made its way through Germany and looks like he is flying into France. This stork picked the Western Route! Julge is the purple line going into Belgium. It is nice to know he is safe.

The last time that Big Red and Arthur’s K1 and K3 were spotted was 3 September. If they are truly gone and starting their own lives, we wish them and those that are migrating good winds, food, and safe landings.

My original computer issue was fixed but now it seems that some of the keys are sticking. It isn’t fun to keyboard. I will leave you with a couple of images of ducks and geese from my excursion to the park today. It was quiet. Everyone was off tracking down a Green Heron that had flown into town!

A juvenile male Wood Duck.
Juvenile Female Wood Duck
Adult male Wood Duck,moult
Canada Geese

Thank you so much for joining me today. Don’t forget to drop in and see Tiaki get her tracker! My hope is that it is equipped with a 7 year battery. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen shots: Montana Osprey Project, Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, and BirdMap.

Iris, the Grand Dame of Ospreys

As the days of summer give way to thoughts of falling leaves and back to school, our beautiful Ospreys think of migration. Those in the United Kingdom have already already headed to the area around Poole Harbour to have a last good feed and sleep on land before heading south to Brittany and on to Africa. Those in the United States and Canada will take various routes. The male is still in Manitoba with one chick at the nest I watch.Some head to southern Texas and places in Mexico while those in the northeast fly over the cost, over the length of Cuba heading to South America. One of those leaving her summer breeding grounds in Missoula, Montana will be Iris.

Iris is not ringed. No one knows where she goes for the winter but, she turns up in tip top shape to her nest at Hellgate Canyon every spring.

Typically Iris spends more time at her nest before her departure. Last year she said goodbye on 8 September. Because of her age, many worry that she will not return. It is always an anxious wait until spring and she arrives again full of hope and hormones.

Sharon Leigh Miles shared this image of Iris taken on her favourite tree on Mt Sentinel on 6 September at 09:22.

She is there. Just squint.

Iris is the oldest osprey in the world – the grand dame of all of them. In her lifetime it is estimated that she has fledged between 30 and 40 chicks but no one knows for sure. It is possibly more. Iris is known around the world. Her arrival on 7 April 2021 to her Hellsgate nest made print and television news. Dr Ericke Green of the University of Montana believes Iris is at least 25 years old, perhaps more.

In the image below, Iris just landing from her winter migration. All the worrying about whether or not she survived another winter is put to rest.

Welcome home, Iris. 7 April 2021
Landing with a nice big breakfast. 10:36 am. 11 April 2021

Iris’s nest, prior to the one she uses now, was on a hydro pole about 68 metres or 200 feet from this one. This artificial nest was built for Iris because of the high rate of electrocutions on power lines – all birds, not just Osprey. The power lines are high enough and have a clear view that they appear to be desirable. The new nest, erected in 2007, is all set up with a high resolution camera. Iris took to the new nest right away, thankfully. Iris mate, at the time was Stanley. Stanley did not return from migration in 2016. Her current mate, Louis, and her have had a very chequered relationship. Louis also has another nest with Star, his primary nest, near the baseball park. Iris and Louis fledged one chick, Le Le, in 2018.

Many of us are glad that Iris has been spending the summer of 2021 taking care of herself. Raising chicks is not an easy job – and everyone loves Iris and wants her to return year in and year out from her migration.

I have included some images taken at the nest this year.

Iris worked on building the best nest that she could. Every day she brought in more material. She eventually will lay three eggs – that we and she – seem to know are destined not to hatch. These were bittersweet moments for everyone.

She was fierce in her fishing and the protecting of her nest. Indeed, her and Louis protected the nest together several times. The video below is from 22 August.

Sharon Leigh Miles provided a chart of the departure dates for Iris for her migration. Today is 6 September so we are definitely in the range. These are the previous dates of her departure:

  • 2012: 6 September
  • 2013: 6 September
  • 2014: 11 September
  • 2015: 4 September
  • 2016: 8 September
  • 2017: 9 September
  • 2018: 10 September
  • 2019: ?
  • 2020: 8 September

There is no one on the Hellgate Canyon nest this morning. Everyone is hoping that Iris will make several long appearances on the nest before she departs. This has been her MOD in the past. Fingers crossed!

If you would like to periodically check on the nest, here is the link to the streaming cam:

The Montana Osprey Project has had one fundraiser – the Iris pens – this year. If you would like information on how to order one of these, send me an e-mail and I will provide the details. They are lovely. There are also plans to commemorate Iris by a woodblock print. As information comes through I will post it.

Keep Iris in your heart. Migration is challenging. We wish her a safe journey, good winds, lots of fish, and a safe return to Montana in the spring.

Thanks for joining me. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the Montana Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and their FB page. Thank you Sharon Leigh Miles for allowing me to use your images posted on the FB page.

A Date with an Osprey

An ex-library book, Soaring with Fidel. An Osprey Odyssey from Cape Cod to Cuba and Beyond arrived in the post on Friday. I hadn’t intended to have it occupy most of Friday night and all Saturday and this morning but, David Gessner’s writing style pulled me in. It was as infectious as Gessner’s obsession with Ospreys that simply screams through the paragraphs. It is clear that he has a love for these large fish-eating birds, almost the size of an eagle, with their dark brown masks, and nearly 2 metre wingspans. His language is so descriptive that I felt that I was on the journey with him following the Ospreys throughout their migration. He got me excited.

An 1887 print showing an Osprey fishing near Nantucket.

The story begins on 4 September 2004, seventeen years and one day ago. The BBC were making a film about the Odyssey of the Osprey following several birds fitted with satellite trackers. Gessner was going to follow the ospreys the old fashioned way. At one time Gessner had hoped to work with the BBC but, it became a competition of sorts. It is simply the back story to one of the best books on Osprey migration that I know. The book keeps you interested – it is not clad in scientific jargon but, don’t get me wrong, it is faithful to the facts and there are many discoveries made about our beloved birds.

Gessner’s surprise comes when he discovers that Ospreys travel in flocks. It was believed that they were lone fliers. Witnessing hundreds of Ospreys flying together over the very top of the La Gran Piedra in the mountains outside of Santiago, Cuba with his soon to be friend, Freddy Santana, mesmerizes our author.

“La Gran Piedra” by erikainthevillage is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The La Gran Piedra is actually a 70,000 lb boulder at the summit of the Sierra Maestra mountain range.

@Wikimedia Commons

It is here that Santana showed Gessner the ‘flocks’ of Ospreys flying together on their migration from the northeast United States and Canada. Can you imagine what it would feel like to see this spectacle. I get teary eyed just seeing juveniles hover!

“Sierra Maestra Mountain Range” by Martin Cathrae is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I don’t want to give away all of the story but since it is Osprey migration right now, I want to recommend this fantastic book to you. Get your library to bring it in for you or find a good used bookstore. My ex-library edition arrived in mint condition!

I looked to see if anyone had posted videos of the birds flying over the mountains in Cuba. I could not find anything. What I did find was a short video showing the routes that the birds from Cape Cod take to South America. It does show the route over Cuba.

If you get the ‘itch’ to see the Ospreys travel over the mountains but do not feel quite physically up to it climbing it- you are covered. There are 4 x 4 jeeps available with a guide. In addition, the Cuba Travel Network has guides and information on all of the birds that are indigenous to Cuba or others that travel through on their way to South America. They look like a good resource but I have not checked them out – yet.

I also found another very interesting web site just for birders. It is BirdingPal. A Watching Club for World Travellers. Cuba. The interests of the members vary. This is the link to their website:

http://www.birdingpal.org/Cuba.htm

If you live in a country where you are free to travel to Cuba, it is important to note that you will require a guide (unless that law has recently changed) if you wish to go out into the country birding. The fees are very reasonable. The price I was quoted was 146 USD for the guide and the 4×4 jeep to the top of the mountains to see the Osprey.

One of the things that the pandemic has taught many of us that we are finding joy in things we never imagined. It also taught me that your life can be taken away in a blink. So live it.

Next year, I will keep on top of what is happening at my local nest since it was not included in the world listing of Osprey nests in Osprey Watch. I will, indeed, take images at every stage of the nest to help the data collectors. But, instead of travelling to Poole Harbour in the UK to see the migrating Ospreys stopping over for a rest and some fish before heading on to Africa in late August, I want to see the Ospreys fly over the Gran Piedra in September. I have a date with an Osprey.

Thanks so much for joining me. I also highly recommend Belle’s Journey if you have children or are a teacher. It is a fantastic book with great images that explain the challenges of Osprey migration. If you have an Osprey nest near to where you live, I urge you to check out Osprey Watch run by the Centre for Conservation Biology. It is also a great resource on Osprey. See if your local nest is on the list! Mine wasn’t – it is now. Take care everyone. See you soon.

The featured image is Iris. Iris is the oldest Osprey in the world. Her breeding area is in Missoula, Montana. Iris is unringed. It is not known where she spends her winters.

Thursday in Bird World, 2 September

It is pretty quiet at the nests these days – that lull if you like between the Ospreys leaving for their migrations in Europe and the US, the Bald Eagles slowly returning to their breeding areas, and the falcons and Ospreys incubating eggs in Australia. The biggest news in Bird World is that Diamond laid her second egg at 20:55 September 2nd.

Xavier taking a turn incubating and rolling the eggs for a bit this morning. Gosh, those are big eggs!

The Osprey was officially adopted in 1994 as the is the provincial bird of Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s ten provinces. Nova Scotia is a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Bay of Fundy, the Northhumberland Strait, and the Gulf of Maine. It is one of Canada’s Atlantic or Maritime Provinces. At its widest, 128 km, it is easy to reach any body of water easily. It is said that Nova Scotia has more Ospreys than the United Kingdom in its entirety. Many live on McNab’s Island at the mouth of Halifax Harbour.

@Wikimedia Commons

The lighthouse was built in 1809. In 1852, Dr. Abraham Gesner was given control of the lighthouse. In December, Gester used a fuel that he had just discovered – kerosene – to operate the light.

“McNabs Island” by KellyMercer is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Maugher Beach Lighthouse (McNabs Island, Nova Scotia) – (Adventure of the Seas – August 1st, 2018)” by cseeman is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“Wharf at McNabs Island” by wdrwilson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
[[File:Osprey Bird.jpg|Osprey_Bird]]
[[File:Osprey on Sandy Hook (70318).jpg|Osprey_on_Sandy_Hook_(70318)]

Ironically, there were hardly any Ospreys in Nova Scotia two decades ago. The use of DDT had weakened the eggs to the point that the birds were virtually going extinct. Since 1979, the Osprey Management Program, operated jointly between Nova Scotia Power and the environmentalists at the Department of Lands and Forestry to relocate nests that are on top of live utility poles to safer unused poles nearby. Each year they partner with the Museum of Natural History to live stream an osprey nest. The Osprey are in Nova Scotia from April to September. At the end of the summer, when the juveniles are old enough, they leave for their winter grounds in the Caribbean and South America.

The first little video is from 2014. Seven years ago, when streaming cams were not so HD. Here is a typical Osprey family of five in Nova Scotia on top of one of the partnership nests.

Here is another short video of 2020 showing the improvement in cameras. It shows the hatch of the second chick at this nest on 9 June.

Speaking of Osprey, Sharon Leigh Miles took this image today of an Osprey at Mt Sentinel in Missoula, Montana. It is Iris’s favourite tree and it is presumed to be Iris, the grand dame of North American Ospreys. Hopefully she will visit her nest before she leaves. She is the oldest Osprey in the world.

In other news, White YW, the male at the Foulshaw Moss Nest, dad of our one and only Tiny Little, Blue 463, is still in Cumbria. He was photographed there today. White YW hatched at Bassenthwaite in 2008. Gosh, he is a great dad. One of the unsung heroes. Chris Wood has received word that the estuaries that the UK Ospreys travel to for their winter season are filling up with water. Wonderful! Yesterday, I saw Cormorants here in Manitoba and today a couple seem to have taken over Maya and Blue 33’s nest at Rutland (at least for part of the day). The two little sea eagles are getting along fine. Food remains plentiful and they are growing, flapping, and learning to walk. Those clown feet are really growing. Just look, with food, 28’s feet are getting huge. Wow.

I am attaching the progress map of the Ospreys and Black Storks:

Pikne, in orange, is really travelling well. She has gone straight south almost beating Karl II in royal blue. You can follow them, too. Here is the link:

http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/EN

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care. Stay well. Look for egg number 3 on 4 September down in Orange.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University in Orange, The Montana Osprey Project FB Page, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and BirdMap.

Iris and Louis defend nest

In my last post, Tiny Little Bob or Blue 463 from the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest was screaming at White YW (aka dad) for a fish. He could have flown to Wales and he would have still heard her.

What is that about the squeaky wheel always gets the oil first? Perhaps screaming daughters do, too. It is the last fish of the evening probably and Tiny Little is eating it. Blue 462, the other female on the nest, would like Tiny Little to share. Somehow I don’t think so ——- it was, after all, Blue 462 who was such a meanie to Tiny Little when she hatched. Birds have good memories.

These are the areas adjacent to Iris’s nest in Hellgate, Missoula, Montana. It is very beautiful. We always see the nest in the parking lot but just on the other side are trees, grass, and water.

Iris is the oldest living Osprey in the world. Her nest is at Hellgate in Missoula, Montana. After her mate Stanley died, she bonded with Louis. They had one chick survive, Lele, in 2018. Louis has another nest at the baseball park with Starr. They fledged two chicks this summer. When Stanley died, Louis also took over the territory that includes the two nests. Every year Iris returns, goes through the rituals of breeding, lays her eggs, and everything falls apart. People get upset. They think very little of Louis. I am of a divided mind. Right now I prefer Iris taking care of herself, eating well, and bulking up for migration than running around with a nest full of juvenile fledglings. She has done her bit for the DNA of the species. But that is just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to theirs, for sure. But the one solid thing that binds all of us together is our love for this most amazing of Ospreys.

Iris tends to spend more time at her nest before she leaves on migration. Last year she departed on 8 September. Everyone gets a little teary eyed right about now because there is no promise that Iris will return but, we live in hope that this strongest of female Ospreys graces the screens next spring. Along with that hope is that the rains come and there is plenty of food for all.

There have been a number of intruders, both male and female, this summer. Do they want to usurp Louis? take Iris for a mate? Certainly when Dunrovin’s Congo came on the scene everyone was hopeful! or are they just curious and checking out what nests are available? Perhaps all of those things. Today, Louis flew to the nest alarming and Iris flew in and joined him – showing off her big crop!

Erick Greene and his team in Montana are considering many ways in which to commemorate Iris. Stay tuned or check out the Montana Osprey FB page. If you wanted to order an Iris pen and forgot, if you will send me a note I will send you the details. They are gorgeous and made from those sticks she brought to the nest.

In the image below, Rosie, the female adult on the San Francisco Bay Osprey cam at the Richmond Yards, is bringing Poppy, one of two female hatches, a beautiful trout. Poppy is 110 days old today.

The average age for Richmond and Rosie’s female chicks to stop feeding at the nest is 105 days. The longest a female stayed was in 2018 and that was Kiskasit who was 124 days old. Lupine was last seen on Monday. She was 103 days old. Sage, the only male, was last seen on 28 July at the age of 86 days. The average for the males to stop feeding on this nest is 93 days so Sage left a little early. There is no reason to believe that Sage and Lupine have begun any type of migration. Richmond stays in the SF Bay area year round. Mom Rosie will migrate and the female adults normally leave before the fledglings. And whose to say they will migrate! If there is plenty of food and the weather is fine – well, it certainly agrees with Richmond – may be they will stay!

And, of course, just thinking about fledglings returning to the nest to be fed until they are 90-100 days old just makes me think about Malin. Susan, the wildlife rehabber that is over the area where Collins Marsh is located, was to get in touch me later today. She wrote me a long note yesterday and she is also firm in her knowledge that Malin was a forced fledge. As we have learned, normal fledges do not require our attention. The chicks return to the nest, take short flights, and are fed by the parents. Malin was not ready despite his age. He had suffered a lack of food. His forced fledge meant that he was in jeopardy and boots on the ground were needed immediately. This did not happen. As noted earlier, she found two chicks – one dead, one alive. I am hoping that ‘no news is good news’.

Suzanne Arnold Horning was on the Cornell Campus and she found the two Ks. No sightings of Big Red and Arthur but, guess what? Getting to see K1 and K3 on the 22nd of August is a bonus. Here they are hunting. That is K1 on the top. She looks so much like Big Red and has turned out to be such a fantastic hunter. Suzanne said they were not food calling – just being quiet and hunting. These two seem so much more independent this year.

Ah, the little cutie, K3 looking down and hoping to find a chippie.

What a nice treat to get to see the Ks. And, of course, theirs could be a migration dilemma. Big Red and Arthur stay in the area year round. Perhaps with the changes in weather so will the Ks. If someone could put the average date that birds leave for migration this year against last and create a global directory (surely someone does this already), tracking of changes related to climate could be measured. We have seen Poppy stay longer as are many others and now perhaps the Ks.

Thank you for joining me today. I will let you know as soon as I hear about Malin – it is heartwarming to hear from so many around the world who came to love that little nestling. If you are in line with any of the storms hitting the coast of the US, going over Hawaii, or elsewhere, take care of yourselves. Stay safe.

UPDATE: Aug 23 at 17:35:35 No2 (7182) fledged at the Estonian nest of Jan and Janika. Slept as an adult off nest.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clips: Montana Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, SF Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon. I would also like to thank Suzanne Arnold Horning who allows me to download her images to share with you.