5 January 2022
Good Morning Everyone!
As I begin writing this blog, there is a fuzzy ball under the front of Harriet. The time is 2034 on the 4th of January. More than two thousand persons are watching the streaming cam hoping for a first glimpse of this little fuzzy ball. Harriet and M15 are probably the ‘most popular’ Bald Eagles in the world and everyone wishes them well as they begin a new year. We can look forward to E22 hatching – and I hope he isn’t too far behind! This couple produces strong scrappy eaglets.
But before we go there, Geemeff sent me a video this morning. I laughed and laughed and perhaps, before you begin reading this you could use a big giggle. It is Alia – one of my all time favourite female ospreys and her three in 2020. Hang on to the end. Do not take your eyes off Captain, JJ7. Thank you Geemeff. I needed this more than anything. Your timing was perfect.
Here is the progress during the early evening of 4 January to the hatch:
Hey, Little One…I’m M15, your daddy! Just look at M15. He has done a fantastic job incubating the eggs (or trying to get Harriet up off them so she could). He knows that there will be a new little eaglet soon…he looks down with adoring eyes. All those foot kicks from Harriet seemed to work.
Working away…pecking with that egg tooth to get that hard shell to crack open. Gosh, just look at that…I bet that crack goes all the way around.
At 1834, the egg shell was fully cracked and much of it was in bits and pieces.
At 2034 a little fluff ball appears. How exciting! Welcome to the world E21.
At 2137 some egg shells are pushed away, out from under the eaglet in the nest.
At 202308, we get to see the little one.
‘J’ wrote first thing that she is ‘in love’ with E21. And she sent several photos of this cutie. Thanks, ‘J’. E21 is adorable and look at those cutie pie pink tootsies.
Oh, you already look like you have attitude! I sure hope E22 hatches fast!!!!!!!
At the KNF nest E1 of Anna and Louis, the chat moderator Tonya Irwin said this evening that the pip that they thought they had seen Wednesday morning – day 35 of the incubation – was just wishful thinking. They did not see it again during the day.
It is often very difficult to tell if there is a pip or a crack. Nesting materials can trick us all the time!
At the E-3 nest, Andria is doing an amazing job feeding the two eaglets. As many of you have noticed, 01 is pretty ‘chill’ until 02 gives it a poke and then 01 does one back to show who is boss. Most of that seems to be calming down (or I have just missed it). When it looks like they might both be full, Andria holds the bite of fish in between the two and waits to see if either will take it. Then she might press it closer. Both are doing extremely well. There is plenty of fish and no worries at this nest that I can see.
I wish the hatches would slow down. It is nice to get to watch a nest for a few days without rushing off to check on another. These two at E3 are adorable. Look carefully. You can see 01’s tail feathers just sprouting and a few black specks. Time passes too quickly.
Over the course of 2022, I posted numerous instances where raptors were killed on estates and/or by gamekeepers. Just yesterday I questioned whether or not there was some collusion between the authorities since it appears that charges are slow to be laid with penalties often small. Well, there is good news. A gamekeeper has pleaded guilty with sentencing to follow. I really hope he gets the most extreme sentence since he violated every law regarding raptors, firearms, and pesticides. Please go to the Raptor Persecution UK blog for all the details.
But why did I say collusion? and why did I ask about ties that bind people together causing them to overlook illegal activities when they are paid to do the opposite? This is why:
By keeping these horrific acts in the public eye, a few individuals have even risked their own lives to ensure that the restoration of these endangered raptors can move ahead hopefully without them being shot quicker than they can hatch and fledge!
I noticed that someone made a comment that they thought gamekeepers were employed to protect the wildlife. That is a misunderstanding. Games keepers are hired by the grouse hunting estates. They manage the wildlife that is ‘shot’ by people coming for shooting weekends. They are not hired to protect the raptors that might want to have a Red Grouse or a Pheasant for a meal. This is the full job description by one agency:
Gamekeepers look after game, including pheasants, partridges and grouse, as well as animals such as ducks, deer and fish. You’ll care for and protect the animals, and also the areas where they live. Gamekeepers organise the events where people shoot game.
That bad weather that was supposed to hit a little earlier is now causing snow and wind in Minnesota at the MN-DNR nest of Nancy and her new mate.
There was some snow earlier in Decorah, Iowa and as of this evening, it appears to have turned to rain which could produce quite icy conditions.
These same weather conditions were at the nest of Mr North and Mrs DNF.
It appears dry in South Bend, Indiana this evening, home to the ND-LEEF Bald Eagles – OR do we just call it Little Bit ND17’s natal nest? I sure wonder where he is and how he is doing after going into rehab at death’s door and coming out in such fine shape, flying and learning to catch prey with his parents and siblings. What a joyous ending that was! The adults have done a fantastic job – just look at those chair rails on this nest. You might remember that there was literally only a tiny piece of the original nest left. Eagles are dedicated. It is amazing how quickly they can put a nest back together! I just wish this one had a little larger area for the eaglets. But, oh, well…
As the sun set at Captiva, I did not see any Ospreys at the platform nest today.
There is another week before we will be looking for a pip at the Captiva Bald Eagle nest of Connie and Clive. Really wish them well. Connie and Joe’s two eaglets died of secondary rodenticide poisoning in 2020. The grief drove Joe from the nest. There were no eaglets last year so, there is much hope for this couple for 2023.
Rose was in the nest checking it out today and then Ron came along and they were both at the WRDC Bald Eagle nest in Miami.
My friend ‘A’ is astonished at the size of the oldest eaglet at Superbeaks. She mentions this all the time. PePe has made sure there is tonnes of food on this nest and Muhlady has fed those eaglets, stuffing the oldest one to the brim and then feeding the second. What you bet this big one is a large female? Look at that crop! Goodness. Muhlady feeds them until there are no more fish cries. It doesn’t matter if it takes 30 or 45 minutes. What a great Mum!
If playing footsie on a branch close to one another is the image everyone has been wanting, we have had several of Gabby and V3 yesterday and today. It is also readily apparent that V3 is going to be the ‘defender of the realm’ that we all had hoped he would be. He looks to be in good shape.
Of course, we have a problem. V3 flew in with a squirrel at 1003 and Gabby was on the branch. She was so excited and made such a racket that it scared him and he flew off with the squirrel. “V3 this is not how it is done…”.
It looks to be mostly highlights at the Channel Island Bald Eagle nests. It is a perfect time to go back and see the ‘Three Amigos’ from 2022 at the West End.
It is one thing to read about Bird Flu. It is another to see the impact of this deadly virus. Here is another good read from The Guardian in which one witness said: ““Most died out at sea and had been swept in to shore. Some would simply stand, comatose, oblivious to my presence. I would find them lifeless the next morning in the same spot I left them,” he says. “What struck me was that the vast majority of the dead birds I encountered had been fine, healthy creatures in excellent condition. They were not emaciated or undernourished.”
Just devastating and, of course, there are real fears for 2023 as Avian Flu seems to be staying, not leaving.
Let’s pop in and see what is happening with Zoe. On the 5th of January, in Australia, Zoe was 109 days old. Dad brought in 2 fish and Mum brought Zoe 1. I wonder what will happen today? Zoe will be 110 days old. She is nearing the average of 112 for leaving the nest but, will she? I don’t think so. She seems very comfortable.
And from ‘H’ a photo to help me with my Port Lincoln Nesting diaries seems appropriate here, too. A rather rotund Zoe!
Elain’s video of Indigo’s visit to the box on 4 January:
Thank you for being with me today. Some of you have asked for pictures in the garden and others of Lewis and Missy. The garden animals are not all that cooperative these days. Dyson & Company have been staying in the lilacs. I have not seen Little Red or the Crows in our yard for a few days and the Blue Jay has stayed in the lilacs as well. It appears to be the hawk who has begun hiding in the wood box and the neighbouring cats let out to ‘do their business’ which means coming in my yard to try and catch a bird. Of course, they all have collars and are well fed! It upsets me that people let them out. We have bylaws and in fact, the cats will have better health if they stay inside and won’t get hit by foolish fast drivers taking a short cut through our neighbourhood. Oh, ….they make me mad. Those people with those cats. Lewis and Missy will never taste a song bird. They can look and enjoy them!
These are not great images. The kittens are either playing full tilt – which means running and sliding and getting into all manner of mischief OR their battery is completely worn down and they are sleeping. Louis’s hidden-hole has been found. He has been going into a Chinese dresser from the back in a small opening. I pulled out a drawer and was shocked to find him the other day. Missy likes to sleep on top of a basket or a blanket on the table.
The tuffs at the tips of Missy’s ears are growing out. She has to be brushed every day and her tail is turning into something you could use to dust all the furniture. That is the Maine Coon in her.
She is looking down at Lewis – one or the other will jump on the other and then they will run all over the house. They certainly get good exercise.
Individuals in our community make blankets for each kitten that is adopted. This is the most beautiful granny square little blanket any kitten could ever hope to have! And what a generous and wonderful idea.
Missy likes to pretend she is ‘in the jungle’ when she stalks the birds outside from the conservatory.
Take care everyone. We will see you soon!
Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, blogs, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘A’, ‘Geemeff and Friends of Locks Arkaig, Woodland Trust, and People’s Post Code Lottery’, ‘J’, and ‘H’, SWFL Bald Eagles and the D Pritchett Family, KNF-E1 and E-3, Raptor Persecution UK, MN-DNR, Raptor Resource Project and Explore.org, ND-LEEF, Window to Wildlife, WRDC, Superbeaks, NEFL-AEF, ‘G’ video and NEFL-AEF, The Guardian, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.