Oh, some good news!

The past couple of days have been full of sadness. Where did it begin? with WBSE 27? with Grinnell being injured by an interloper? with the death of Collins Street’s Littlest Bob from Trichomoniasis? Will this string of the unthinkable come to an end with the electrocution of Solly, such a successful and promising female Eastern Osprey? I sure hope so. Everyone needs to do some self-care —— because you care.

Karl II with tracker and Kaia on left. Spring 2021

There is some very good news and I had to share it with you. We have been following the migration of the Black Stork family of Karl II. Their nest is located in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The female, Kaia, migrated early so we have watched the satellite transmissions forKarl II, Udu (male), and Pikne (female); the other male, Tuul, died. We know that Karl II has made it to his wintering sites in the Sudan. Udu took a different route that had him stopping in Crete and then having to fly across the Mediterranean. That is no small feat. Everyone worried but his tracker showed he was in the White or Western Desert in Egypt – an area that uses salt water for its irrigation as water is very scarce. At the same time, Pikne was along the Red Sea. Then all transmissions stopped. Many hoped that the issue was related to bad satellite connections but, under the surface, many worried that something had happened to Udu and Pikne. Cautious optimism.

The tracker of Little Udu came on and to the shock and dismay of all, he had made it across the desert – a distance of 2000 km. Tears flowed.

Oh, Udu is one strong Black Stork. First the longer routing and then having to fly across the Mediterranean when all others go overland. Udu could not stop, he had to just keep going. Then landing in such a desolate area – exhausted, thirsty, and hungry. Add to that he had to cross the Sahara. My, oh, my. This is just fantastic. For just fledging, Udu is an extremely strong flier.

This graph shows Udu’s stops before reaching what could well be his final destination in the Darfur area of Sudan at Wadi Salih.

The red indicator point is where Udu is. You will notice that he has found an area with trees and a body of water.

So what is a ‘wadi’? My simple definition is a valley or a ravine with steep slopes where water gathers in the rainy season. A more scientific explanation is, “Wadis are natural surface channels draining seasonal run off to a larger Wadi, a river or endoric basins. Wadis are typical drainage channels in arid and semi-arid areas.” This area of Sudan, like much of Africa, is suffering from a water shortage.

Many agencies including UNESCO are working with the people of the region to increase the sustainability of the wadis with the goal of having water security.

There have been no new transmissions for Udu. Nothing from Karl II and Pikne as well. It could well be spring before their transmitters begin working. Udu’s last transmission indicated that he has 78% battery capacity remaining. Fantastic. I think Pikne’s was only showing 21% on her last transmission. Each of us knows about problematic batteries! and areas where there is no cellular service. I am not worried now that Udu has reached what is hoped to be a good spot to spend winter.

This really is a cause for celebration. Black Storks are so rare in Estonia and this year had much sadness in both Latvia and Estonia. Little Udu gives us that ray of hope that we all need today. Congratulations to everyone in Estonia.

Thank you for joining me. I am so delighted to have some great news. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Eagle Club of Estonia’s Forum where they are tracking Karl II and his family and also for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Black Stork news – the good and the sad

All of the storklings from the Estonian nests of Karl II and Kaia and Jan and Janika’s have fledged. In Latvia, the three nestlings of Grafs and Grafiene’s nest in Latvia have also fledged! This is simply fabulous news. Some are finding their own food and others return to the nest at different times to be fed by dad. They could also be self-feeding off the camera – no one can see and be sure.

In Jan and Janika’s nest, there was one unfledged storkling on the nest yesterday. That chick had two meals from Jan – eating alone, how grand. Gosh, they must have been overwhelmed. One sibling fledged and was gone from the nest since 22 August at 17:35. The other fledged yesterday at 09:15. There was some concerns for a storkling yesterday before 11:00. There were growling sounds and stork bill clattering below the new. It is believed that there was an encounter between a storkling and an animal but it appears to have ended well. Today, 24 August, the yet-unfledged storkling had breakfast from Jans at 9.34 am. After spending the first part of the day in the nest, the last, 3rd hatchling fledged today at 13.57 pm. My source tells me that “It sounded like an awkward fledge, probably got entangled in some branches, but we did not see it, since it was out of the camera view. However, judging by the wing flapping afterwards and not seeing the storkling anywhere when the camera zoomed out and did a 360 degree view, he/she managed to fly off unharmed. Based on the transmitter data of the storkling who fledged yesterday, everything is well with him/her.” The adult male, Jan, returned to the nest in Jergova County at 15:56 with a full crop. “He waited an hour for any of the kids to show up, but none did. However, everyone enjoyed seeing Jan in the nest for such a long time, since he seemed to enjoy his rest preening himself and tidying the nest. Until now, for a long time his visits have been super-short and did not allow us to admire this majestic bird in the way that he deserves.
As I am writing this, Jan came to nest again at 6.09 pm, the second fledgling (fledged yesterday, 23/08) followed and in a short while got a meal from Jan. Now we know that the second fledgling is still alright. Great news! Two of Jan’s children have gotten fed today. No such luck for our storklings in Latvia which makes me a bit sad, of course.”

I am so grateful to ‘S’ in Latvia for her great descriptions of the latest events on the Black Stork nests in Latvia and Estonia.

Here are some images of the nest of Grafs and Grafiene both empty and with the one fledgling.

This is a reason for having satellite transmitters – to do checks on their migration progress and to provide attention if a problem is noticed. ‘S’ reports about the migration of Karl II and his three storklings since they also have transmitters along with Karl. She says, “Karl II and his storklings have started the migration. According to the today’s data, Karl II was in Belarus, the oldest storkling Udu (meaning “fog” in Estonian) was in Poland, but the middle storkling and last fledgling Pikne (meaning “god of lightning” in Estonian) – in Ukraine. Sadly, it seems that we have lost the youngest storkling Tuul (meaning “wind” in Estonian). Yesterday’s data showed him only 400 m away from the previous location of 17th August. No one is speculating about what may have happened, but it is clear that there are 3 options: 1) Tuul is alive, but for some reason stuck somewhere; 2) Tuul has perished; 3) something wrong with the transmitter. Urmas will probably go look for him soon and report as soon as he knows something.”

This is a map posted of the Karl, Udu, and Pikne locations this morning:

You can read about Karl family’s migration here: https://www.looduskalender.ee/forum/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=945&start=11420

Every bird that is lost leave us with a hole in our hearts. There are as many people attached to Tuul who loved Malin. We know the depth of that sadness. I hope that his transmitter is broken. As soon as something concrete is available, I will update you.

That is it for me on a Tuesday. My mind and body are exhausted over the events surrounding Malin’s death. That energy will return – no fear. I am determined that Malin’s death will not go unnoticed. There are things that must change and there are several, working behind the scenes, to ensure that can happen.

I can’t leave you without giving you a smile. Tiny Little was on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest this morning screaming at White YW for a fish. Everyone thought she would die – just shows them who truly is the fittest.

Thank you for joining me. It is always a pleasure to hear from you and once again – thank you for the hundreds of outpourings for Malin. He was a very special bird who fought to live and was loved by many. Take care all.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen images and video clips: The Estonian Eagle Club, The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, and The Latvian Fund for Nature. I would also like to thank ‘S’ in Latvia who gave me the up-to-date information on the Black Storks that I shared with you. I could not have done it without her!