Tuesday in Bird World

10 May 2022

Gosh, golly. 21 degrees C. This means summer!!!! The parks, both of them, were full of joggers, walkers, people having picnics, playing ball, or tennis. The Cricket pitch was busy. Canadians are wearing short sleeves and shorts and we are happy and smiling! Last week was a different story. If it rains again on Thursday we will be back grumbling. I promise. Summer is way too short. You realize I did not say ‘spring’. Honestly we don’t have it any more. A normal summer temperature a couple of decades ago was 18 degrees C. Of course can hit 35-38 C easy. Then we all go inside grumbling. There is a sweet spot around 21-23 degrees C that is just perfect for humans and for the birds on the Canadian prairies.

Note: Bear with me. I did not edit this today!

I left this morning in search of wood ducks. Where are they? I found one couple at one park and three males and one female at another. Even more absent were the Mallards. Sadly, what else I found was that the torrential rains and rising water levels everywhere have made many of the duck and goose eggs non-viable. If the outside coating gets wet, there is no oxygen. This was sad.

The water has receded and you can see some of the clutch that has been abandoned. This area is a small island – there are two islands – in the centre of the pond. It appeared very, very crowded with geese further back incubating and a pair of Wood Ducks walking through.

I wonder how man of our waterfowl lost their eggs this season? Some goslings have hatched but I did not see a single one today. Last year I could not walk for wee ducks and geese. Let’s see what next month brings.

This Mallard couple were taking turns trying to find pond vegetation and keeping an eye on me – I was about 20 metres away but they still knew I was there. The birds around the Witches Hut at St Vital Park are very friendly. During nesting season they get a bit touchy but I think they were waiting to see if I brought any food with me.

The light was not great today. In fact, it gave some rather bizarre colours to the birds.

The colours on this Mallard might even make a Peacock envious.

The Black-capped Chickadees, six of them, were dive bombing me. Did they know I had seed for them in my pocket? or do they now see humans and think seed? Probably the latter. It is a very popular spot for walkers and people that live close by to spend an afternoon, always with birdseed. The lens I had on the camera really compromised what would have been great images taken with a phone camera rather than a 600mm lens.

They came and went many times while I stood and watched. Picking up a single seed, flying up to the tree nearby to crack it on a branch and then back for another one. I wonder how many calories they burn flying back and forth??

The Canada Geese were everywhere – and I do mean everywhere.

Tucked in near to them was a Chipping Sparrow hunting for sees and bugs.

None of those images will win any awards for photography but they are a nice memory of my day and some of the birds that I saw.

When I got home I went back and checked on the Manton Bay Osprey Nest in the UK to see if the third chick had hatched for Blue 33 (11) and Maya. Not yet but you could clearly see a crack forming. One of the reasons that this couple has such huge success is that the eggs normally hatch within a couple of days. Maya always delays incubating the first two eggs until the last has been laid. Talk about a remedy to help with food competition. Of course, it helps to have a big lake with lots of fish in it and not much competition right under your nest!

There was Blue checking out his newly hatched Big and Middle Bobs.

Big Bob looks like it is going to have an attitude.

If you stare at the egg long enough at the back on the left at about 2100, it appears there are some cracks forming. Of course, I could be losing my mind also.

So all is well at Rutland. Then skipping over to the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest and gosh. Middle had a crop at 16:18. So I went back and it appeared that another fish had come to the nest around 15:00.

The fish has arrived. Middle is just lucky. If Mum moved the wrong way she would knock him off that nest. He is on the far side. The chick you are looking at is Big.

Mum is feeding Middle!

Mum continues to feed Middle.

So, today, Middle ate and had a couple of crops. This nest is like a roller coaster. Did you know that birds can get stress lines in their feathers? I don’t know if all banders check but when they checked the three lads at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest they checked for stress lines and found none. Of course, they would not have. Those three males were like three choir boys until they fledged. They they really began to do the ‘dust ups’ shoving one another off the nest, intercepting fish, stealing fish and whatever else three brothers can think to get into. Here is a ‘dog fight’ between Ervie and Falky.

And here is the ‘dust up’ between Ervie and Bazza on the nest where one falls off:

For those of you that do not know the PLO nest it is on a barge at Port Lincoln, Australia. The nest always had a history of siblicide. This year everyone held their breath when the three eggs hatched and there was Little Bob. Well, Little Bob was quite the character. He had to always be at the beak, in front. When Bib Bob tried to bully him, Little Bob just didn’t let it happen and Big Bob got tired and quit. Still we worried until everyone realized that Little Bob was getting rather dominant. At the time the three were to be banded, it was decided that the heaviest of the three would get the one satellite-pak. Everyone was sure it would go to Bazza the eldest. No. Ervie – who never missed a meal and who had been right up front that morning – got the GPS system! And we cheered! The three were Bazza the eldest with the red band, Falky the middle with the yellow, and Ervie the youngest with the dark green band. Falky – being the middle – did not always get much attention until he dove off the barge and caught a fish! Falky was also the one spotted 300 km north of Port Lincoln. Bazza was the reluctant flier and stayed on the nest to let Mum feed him. Then he left. I hope we hear about Falky and Bazza. Ervie was flying about and then Ervie got one of his talons pulled out. Who knows how. As a result he stays around Port Lincoln and has a fondness for Puffer Fish! He is adored by many.

Sometimes it is nice to sit back and remember those really wonderful nests and last year, PLO was one of the best!

If you are into the translocation project that has been going on in the UK, you will be excited to read the announcement by Poole Harbour today on their FB page:

Single Bald Eagle Mums have a difficult job especially if the nest is in an area where there are constant intruders. There had been a bit of a dry spell at the MN-DNR nest but today around 16:15 nest time, Nancy brought in a huge fish. E1 ate well. I understand that a group of school children are calling E1 – Harriet. If it isn’t official, it should be. It is a perfect name to honour her missing and believed dead young dad, Harry.

The winds are still blowing strong in Scotland and the rain will start pelting down at the Loch Arkaig nest in the West. Dorcha is doing a great job keeping those eggs incubated.

At the Loch of the Lowes, the wind is blowing but you can hear the ducks and geese flying in for the evening. Blue NC0 looks pretty content on the nest of hers and Laddie’s. Not long til there will be chicks here.

One of the things that people/researchers/naturalists and lovers of Osprey look at it is the return rate. How many fledglings from a nest in a particular year with particular parents return as juveniles and are officially seen? Well the Llyn Clywedog nest is doing a bit of celebrating today. So far two out of three of the 2020 trio have returned – 550 and 551. They only need 552 and they would have a 100% success rate. They are going to have bragging rights regardless for some time. This is fantastic news.

Richmond and Rosie have been fighting off intruders this entire season. We are a few days til hatch watch. Here is the banner for SF Bays Hatch Watch announcement at the SF Bay nest of these two great Ospreys.

Here is the link to Richmond and Rosie’s streaming cam:

This is the 15:49 feeding at the Cal Falcon nest of Annie and Alden. Cute. So cute.

This is the 16:55 feeding at the Manchester New Hampshire Peregrine Falcon scrape. Crazy!

Everything is perfectly fine at the nest of Big Red and Arthur on the Cornell Campus. L4 can almost be heard saying, “My crop’s as big as your crop! Nah, nah, nah!” Every time L1 does something, L4 seems to copy her.

Big Red looks like she is ready for an evening break before she snuggles down with these four Ls.

So far, so good. Food was on both the MN-DNR and the UFlorida-Gainesville nests. One day at a time. Today it was all good. So from me and all the garden gang and TH1 at the Two Harbours nest in the Channel Islands, good night. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: LRWT, UFlorida-Gainesville, PLO, Birds of Poole Harbour, MN-DNR, Woodland Trust, Loch of the Lowes, SF Bay Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Peregrine Network, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, and Explore.org