Oh, goodness. One area of my City had its first snow last evening and the temperature for the rest of us is 1 degree C. (Think of 0 as 32 degrees F). We had our first heavy frost last night. This cold snap will surely put some of the birds that are arriving in our City on a path south!
The active nests remain in Australia while the Bald Eagles work on their nests for egg laying later in the year in the US. Rain is the issue at some of the nests. Melbourne received 3 inches of rain or 7.5 cm. Mum worked so hard to keep those eyases dry. Sadly, the Collins Street scrape will have more rain today – perhaps an inch – starting at around 0800. My weather report says that should end around 1300. It has really rained in Sydney and there are some areas that are flooding. Rain should begin in the Olympic Park where the Ironwood Tree nest of the Sea Eagles is located at around 1100 and then stop. Port Lincoln could be dry today! Yippee. It looks right now that Orange could be dry as well. We wait and see how the forecasts hold up BUT regardless, these amazing raptor families are doing well despite the heavy downpours that are occurring. That is simply wonderful.
There is word that Friends of Osprey – think Janet Foster, Ian Falkenburg, Fran Solly – from Port Lincoln and all those who donated or joined Friends of Osprey – have received four sat pack transmitters for this year. There will be one available for Port Lincoln and one each going to the three other nests should they have fledglings. Calypso has been seen numerous times and is flying well. She is the 2019 fledgling from PLO. Ervie is, of course, out and about being the man about town in Port Lincoln. This is excellent news. More platforms are planned for South Australia as well as the number of Ospreys grow in the area.
Friends of Ospreys has a new website and they are grateful for all donations. All funds go directly to the camera, etc at Port Lincoln, new platforms in the area, and those precious transmitters. This is their new site and it is packed with information. Not a member? Consider donating. Membership is $20 Australian.
Here is the latest news from the blog on our darling Ervie:
An announcement came out of the Royal Albatross Centre on Taiaroa Head yesterday that a decision was made and accepted by all members that the Royal Cam Chick known as QT be officially named ‘Lillibet’ after Queen Elizabeth II.
I was worried about Little Bob at Port Lincoln yesterday. Big and Middle continue to go at one another and well, I will sound like a broken record but, it is a real blessing that they stop fighting and act nicely at the fish table. ‘A’ noticed yesterday that Little Bob’s lack of a long neck is hampering him if he is not at the right position during feeding. That said, he walked away with several nice size crops later yesterday when larger fish came to the nest.
In the image below, have a look at Middle Bob. Notice the dark woolier down that is now replacing that light grey coat of down the osplets had when they hatched. They will retain this thermal wooly layer to help them regulate their temperature. Feathers will begin to appear. You can already see the rusty-gold ones on their head and nape. These will be followed by the wing, tail, and body feathers until they get their full juvenile plumage. They are going to be very itchy and will spend much time preening.
Remember that the feathers are often called ‘blood feathers’. The feathers grow from blood quills which will disintegrate and fall off as the feathers grow.
Little Bob looks great with that big crop of his. You will notice that all three chicks are in the full reptilian phase including having ‘clown feet’.
We all wondered if Little Bob would be another Ervie. He certainly does his best to get up front and at the beak for feeding. The beaking between the two older siblings does send him into safe positions and it does appear that he is often afraid of them — and for good reason. He is still very small. Let the older more evenly matched siblings take their angst out on one another!
Dad continues to provide lots of prey for the Melbourne eyases and he does his best to feed them and keep them covered from the sun. It is difficult for him to brood them – even last year, Old Dad has a huge problem when it came to four chicks. They all seem to be doing well including the smallest one.
Mum has been notified that prey is delivered. She has flown off to have a break and eat.
Dad arrives and stays with the eyases til Mum returns.
Some chatting and bowing and Dad is off!
The older chicks can see well. It is hard to determine if the 4th has its eyes fully open and focused yet. Oh, how I wish there was a zoom on that camera!
The wee one at Orange is getting some food while Big Bob is growing like crazy. Everything is going well at Orange for Xavier and Diamond and we will all get to see how these two manage as parents of two this year instead of one.
There have been lots of feedings and Xavier has been able to feed and brood his family! He so loves being such an active part in everything instead of just providing prey.
SE30 has not fledged yet. The heavy rains in the forest should slow down any flying but, SE29 does not seem to be bothered flying in and out of the nest. SE29 is roosting elsewhere. SE30 is so excited to see its sibling when it flies in. They seem to have such a special bond with one another this year.
Fish have been coming to the nest and Lady often feeds SE30 and also SE29 should s/he show up on the nest. SE29 is often more interested in what is going around making one wonder if s/he is not also being fed elsewhere.
All of the nests are as quiet as they can be in the middle of the night in Australia. Despite the weather, all of the parents are able to feed and keep their little and not so little youngsters fed and warm (if needed).
Checking on Karl II family for 5 October. Bonus continues to stay in the same area of Romania. Tracking shows that he flew a lot. This is a map of where he is and an image of the area.
Waba is still in Moldova at an area around Glodeni.
Waba seems to be enjoying a pond in the landscape. You can see by the blue dots that he visits there often. How wonderful he has found a source of fish and frogs.
Karl II has just astounded people with a 450 km flight. He is now in Turkey!
I see that there are no tracking reports yet for Kaia. On 4 October she was 31 km from the Mediterranean Sea. She is perhaps in areas where there is little satellite transmissions available.
Don’t forget that 8 October is Big Bird Day at Cornell Bird Lab. Go to their website to register for the bird count if you are not already a part of eBird. It is free. Here is the information to get you started:
Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Take care. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts where I took my screen captures: Friends of Osprey, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, and Looduskalender Forum.
Oh, good morning to you! I hope that your week has been a really good one. I see changes…in the colour of the vines growing up the hydro poles which are now turning a beautiful burgundy and the number of children going down the sidewalks in the morning and afternoon with their backpacks. Truly summer has just about come to an end although the official day for the beginning of autumn is a couple of weeks away. The temperatures are still in the mid-20s C and I am not ready to box up the linen just yet.
It was a gorgeous evening with a nice crisp breeze. The sun was setting and it looked like a Monet painting as it reflected on the pond where the ducks and geese were gathering. To my surprise there were a pair of Loons and about 8 Greater Yellowlegs punching in the soft mud at the edge of the pond for a meal with those long bills.
It is always good to get outside if you can. I remember when my mother fell and broke her hip. She was reluctant to get up and walk again and her doctor was quite stern in his response – “Either use them or loose them!” It is good for me to remember on those days when I would rather curl up with a book instead of getting out in the fresh air. The long hours of book reading and sipping hot tea will be here soon enough!!!!!! It was not a terribly long walk around the pond and blood was given to the mosquitoes! It is a shame that they love to come out at dusk and feed right when all of the migrating birds are landing and settling down for the night.
I want to go back to this location during the day to see the shorebirds better. Wish me luck! There is a chance that a Blue Heron might be there as well.
In the Mailbox:
Question from ‘A’: “I am worried the new mum at Collins Street is inexperienced and this may affect the success of the breeding season. Today, at least 10 days into hard incubation, she left the eggs for nearly two and a half hours. Dad did not arrive to take over. It is a relatively warm but very wet and overcast day in Melbourne, so there was no warming sunshine to maintain egg temperature. How dangerous could such a long gap in incubation be to the developing chicks inside?”
This is a very timely question, ‘A’. Thank you for asking it. There has been quite a bit of concern about the new female at the Melbourne scrape. We learned much and were incredibly surprised about incubation times with Milda at the White-tailed Eagle nest. Her mate died and she stayed on the nest for 8 solid days before seeking food. It was cold and wintery. At one time the two eggs were left for 8 hours and at other times for shorter but considerable time. No one believed they would hatch but hatch the two did. Sadly they did not live because Mum was starving and there was no food even from a male that seemed to want to play Dad. Now these eggs were in a big twig nest that holds heat but the temperatures were much lower than those in Melbourne which are in a scrape. The gravel will hold heat but perhaps not as much as the twig nest. Dr Victor Hurley has stated on FB that an hour and a half will cause no damage at all. I would think that the time she was away is fine but my concern would be if the surface of the eggs were damaged at all by the rain. This can cause undue problems. We wait. There is often a failure for first time parents – in this case just the Mum. Dad and our former Mum worked like clockwork – they were a great team but that takes time to know the other partner well. We will wait but my hope is that only a couple of the eggs develop well as it will be easier for a first time Mum to cope. Many experienced females have difficulty with four!
I found this article on the issues with egg development and incubation that might be helpful:
Question from ‘B’: “Do male Osprey fledglings migrate before female Osprey fledglings?”
That is a fantastic question and I do not have the scientific data at hand to state that the males go first although many believe that this is true. I want to check some data and will get back to everyone on Saturday morning with a data driven answer to this question. The research will be limited to the UK birds because they are ringed and measured. Let’s see what we can find out. Thanks, B!
A rant and a question from ‘J’: “There is a lot of arguing going on over calling the parents of nestlings Mum and Dad at the Melbourne scrape. There is a person telling everyone to stop and use male and female so that we are not anthropomorphizing the birds. What do you think?” Thank you so much ‘J’ for sending me this question. I actually went and found the post and made a comment – something that I do not often do but I feel very strongly about this particular subject and I am happy to address how I ‘feel’ about this!
I get outraged when I see someone jump on another individual for giving human qualities to a non-human. In the study of animal behaviour, anthropomorphizing is attributing human characteristics to non-humans. That is the simple definition. Using words such as joy, grief, embarrassment, anger or jealousy are anthropomorphic terms. Dr Marc Bekoff, an expert in animal behaviour and emotions, and his colleagues use human terms all the time when they are dealing with the emotional lives of animals. “Being anthropomorphic is a linguistic tool to make the thoughts and feelings of other animals accessible to humans.” (123) Bekoff continues, “If we decide against using anthropomorphic terms we might as well pack up and go home because we have no alternatives. Should we talk about animals as a bunch of hormones, neurons and muscles???” (124). “When we anthropomorphize, we’re doing what comes naturally, and we shouldn’t be punished for it. It’s part of who we are.” (125).
Bekoff continues for many pages noting that we observe animals being happy, feeling grief. You have seen these behaviours. Anyone watching a streaming cam of any raptor will, at one time or another, note joy, anger, and all too often, grief. I can still “see” Connie and Clive standing over the dead body of their eaglet who had been flapping and jumping and broke a blood feather. She died of rodenticide poisoning like her younger sister. The blood in the growing feather should have coagulated but it didn’t because someone decided to poison the rats and Clive brought one to the nest. It was an incredibly moving time and Clive never got over the deaths. He left the nest.
We must acknowledge that animals experience joy, passion, grief, and suffering. They feel love and they feel pain. If we fully grasp that the animals and the birds are really no different than we are, then we might stop to think about how we treat them. That would be the beginning of real change in our world. I personally believe that it is our duty to make the planet a better place – to do all that each of us can do to make the lives of non-humans better. If calling them Louis or Sarafina helps to do this then fine. The adults at the Collins Street scrape are parents as we know it. The female is the Mum and the male is the Dad. What in the world does it hurt to call them that!?
The only surviving Osprey chick from the Pitkin County Open Trails platform is now out of ICU and in the flight aviary! What fantastic news. In June, the female pulled her two chicks out of the nest when her talons inadvertently got caught on nesting material entangled with monofilament line. One chick died as the result of the long fall; the other was lucky that passersby took immediate action to get it into care.
Sharon Dunne posted some really good information about issues related to plastic and sea birds today. Thanks, Sharon, for reminding us that humans seem to use the ocean as their garbage can – or as is the case with the UK reporting, as their toilet for releasing raw sewage. We need to clean up our act.
Can you image if this beautiful little Albatross chick was fed that plastic horse? Thankfully the parent seems to have regurgitated it on the ground. It could have killed them also. We want the sea birds to eat fish and squid and not fill up on plastic so they are not hungry and die. That is just horrid.
Fledgling osprey from the UK flies west and gets into a bit of a pickle landing on the RRS Sir David Attenborough west of Sula Sgeir. Thankfully they are heading into port. This youngster will get a second chance to get his flight coordinates set!
Two announcements have come for L4 and L3. The first was for L4 who appears to have done so well that release is now almost at hand. This was followed by a statement that L3 is also a candidate for release at a later date. This is great news. L4 was the first of the four siblings this year to catch its own prey and was a real favourite of many of us. I will never forget the fearlessness when L4 wanted to be first at Mum’s beak and scrambled over the older bigger siblings to get there. If you are wondering — will L4 be fine. Absolutely!
Another raptor has been shot in the UK. This was a Red Kite that was shot at Epping Forest! It is now undergoing extensive rehabilitation and vet treatments. The police are appealing for help in finding the perpetrator.
Sarafina had to go between Louis’s legs to get her tea time fish! ‘B’ reminded me that Sarafina is now 97 days old today (Wednesday), the same age as Vera in 2020 when she fledged. If Sarafina stays on another day, she will have the record for Loch Arkaig’s longest lingering fledgling.
Yes, Sarafina now has the record for the longest lingering fledgling at Loch Arkaig! She may also get the award for tackling Dad with her landings to get the fish he continues to supply.
Padarn now has the record at the Dyfi Nest for the longest lingering fledgling.
Aran still has his entire family at Glaslyn this morning. No sign of anyone thinking of packing their suitcases.
Xavier is really enjoying incubating those eggs in the scrape in Orange. I love how he talks to them in ‘falconese’. Diamond is not always obliging in his requests for ‘eggie time’. Xavier is simply adorable. Oh, let us all hope that there is one great big healthy chick this year like Izzi. And if there are more – let them be healthy too…and let the pigeon population increase so that everyone is full to the brim.
Xavier hoping for some more time with the eggs…
The Sea Eagles are nothing short of gorgeous. They are now almost completely covered with their juvenile plumage. It is SE29 standing. SE30 is still a little lighter at the shoulder and the beard.
Just look at the expressions on their face – so intently watching and taking in ‘something’ outside the nest. Great development.
The Sea Eagle FB page reminds individuals that there is an entire website devoted to the Sea Eagles. There is all kinds of interesting information there. Have a look if you are interested. Here is the link:
Mum has been doing quite a bit of yelling at Dad at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge for the last couple of days. Sometimes Dad will slowly eat the fish he has caught and bring her the leftovers….don’t think she is any too happy about that. Maybe if he brings her another big fish she will take it and let him incubate the eggs longer. Could be a good strategy Dad!!!!!!!!!! Just like Xavier, Dad loves time with the eggs in the nest.
Marrum shows her partner, Partney, the second egg of the 2022 breeding season on Tumby Island, South Australia. Congratulations!!!!!!
Rutland has confirmed that all of Manton Bay Ospreys are now officially deemed to be on migration and away from the nest. Here is the announcement with the last image of Maya before she departed. What a grand year it was and what beautiful daughters they raised.
A great article on Osprey migration with maps and dates to answer almost all of your questions and to refresh our memories.
Here is a good article on the tools that scientists use to study bird migrations. Thanks Sharon Dunne for bringing this to my attention!
There is still no tracking data for Karl II who is known to have been in the Kherzon region of Ukraine where the fighting is said to be intense as Ukrainian forces seek to take back the region from Russian forces. There are 2 reports for the 7th of September. Bonus remains in Belarus and we have heard from Kaia who is in Ukraine but appears to have found a good spot to fish.
Kaia did not fly far. She is fishing in the Desna River.
Tweed fledgling positively IDed and photographed on the Iberian Peninsula.
On 1 September at 17:44 Iris stood proudly with her mate, Louis, at the Hellgate Canyon Osprey nest in Missoula, Montana staring straight into the camera. It is one of the most poignant, beautiful, eerie and haunting images (all wrapped up into a lot of emotions) of this year. It felt like goodbye. Is this the last image of the year? I hope not for forever – but that is why it strikes me as so strange. Sealed in our memories in this singular instant is the fact that Iris is happy to stand next to Louis, happy with the way things are, happy with her life. They look beautiful together. If they were humans they would be having this image printed on cards to send to all their friends.
Safe travels dear one…we hope to see you in late March or April.
There have been a lot of questions about the Melbourne scrape and a lot of anxiety amongst viewers. I propose a deep breathe or several and let us wait and see what happens. Not every nest is a success. Xavier and Diamond often lay 3 eggs with only 1 developing and hatching and this could be a good thing for the new Mum in Melbourne. One healthy eyas is a great thing! A blessing. We will continue to keep our eyes on those UK nests for migration but no one appears to be wanting to go on a holiday to the south as yet. We just had a hummingbird in the garden and the rabbit was on the deck eating being protected by the crow who was above it in the bird bath. How beautiful!
Thank you so much for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. Stay safe. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams, their Tweets, etc where I took my screen captures: Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, Royal Cam Albatross Group NZ, NZ DOC, Hugh Venables, Cornell Hawks, Raptor Persecution UK, Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, Dyfi Osprey Project, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Friends of Osprey, LWRT, Looduskalender, Conservation without Borders, and Montana Osprey Project.