Good News in Bird World

There is a lot to celebrate in Bird World this evening. Everyone on the Taiaroa Peninsula and perhaps the whole of New Zealand are celebrating the arrival of the 2021 Royal Albatross Cam Princess, Tiaki, at the feeding grounds just 70 km off the coast of Chile – safely! This really is amazing. As was pointed out on the Royal Albatross FB page, this young bird fledged on 25 September and arrived in the waters off the coast of Chile, 8500 km away, in 35 days. Incredible. Congratulations!

For those watching the return of the Royal Albatross to Taiaroa Head for the upcoming breeding season, OGK has flown off the peninsula to feed. He continues to wait for his mate, YRK. I have asked and been told that OGK is not the only male still waiting for its mate. That gives me some hope that this adorable couple will still be reunited. They were the parents of last year’s Royal cam princess, Pippa Atawhai.

There has been no new tracking data for Karl II but, on the 28th of October, he had reached Umm Harazat in the Sudan close to where he winters. Udu was at the Farafa Oasis in Egypt on the same day and Pikne was along the Red Sea. I expect that Udu and Pikne could be further into Africa by the time the next transmission comes in.

The Farafa Oasis is an area known as the White Desert.

Udu made a splendid flight across the Mediterranean Sea. The White Desert is home to a number of wells and there is farming in the area. It is most know for its white rock figures.

Pikne’s position:

Karl II’s position:

Moving away from the migrating birds back to Australia, little Yurruga took some big steps today. What a sweet little falcon! Here is a short clip I made of this momentous event.

Yesterday, Dad fed the 367 Collins Street Four in an area that could be viewed easily. There are, of course, concerns that the falcons will fledge from the end where there is no camera view. The owners of the cameras have stated that they will not change the direction of the camera again as it is too disturbing for the birds. That is quite understandable at this stage. No one wants to frighten these lovely eyases and have them fly and fall to their doom. And there is no telling which end of the ledge they will fledge. We just simply wait. They are so strong and healthy. Mum and Dad have been heroic in their efforts to sustain them. So please keep feeding the pigeons in Melbourne – our falcons need them!

There has been no word from the vet team about the condition of WBSE 27 since it was attacked by the Pied Currawong and found on pavement near to the Sydney Olympic Forest.

The Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB page had originally posted WBSE 27 on the pavement unconscious. This disturbed some people so it was replaced with the image below. I have said that no news is good news but this has been several days since the incident. Send all the positive energy to this beautiful bird that you can!

There is good news at the Kakapo Recovery. The team has discovered that the eggs that are laid but do not hatch are not always infertile. Since the beginning of trying to help the Kakapo to recover numbers, it was always believed that the eggs were simply infertile and that is why there was no chick to hatch. The chicks are dying at an early stage. If they can figure out what is the cause, they might be able to assist these lovely non-flying parrots to have more successful hatches. Here is the posting on the Kakapo Recovery FB page. It talks about their efforts with the University of Sheffield to understand the issue and be able to have more live births of this critically endangered bird. Bravo!

The ospreys on the PLO barge are doing great. Little Bob is 45 days old today. Fledging is coming soon. Oh, how I am going to miss this wonderful trio. They have delighted hundreds and hundreds of people this season. Pure joy!

Look at Little Bob showing off! Besides loving to eat Little Bob really does like to give those wing muscles a go. I don’t think Big Bob is very amused.

In the image below, from left to right: Middle Bob (2), Little Bob (3), and Big Bob (1). If I were to have to base a guess on their gender due to the legs, I am afraid that I would have to change my prediction.

Middle Bob’s legs are definitely shorter and stockier than either Little Bob or Big Bob. Big Bob’s legs look like those of a male. That leaves us with Little Bob that I continue to believe is a female. Oh, I cannot wait for those measurements. They are not 100% certain but, perhaps, they will also do DNA testing on the three when they ring them!

Little Bob gives its two older siblings a big hug.

There is Little Bob looking off to the left after the morning breakfast. Three gorgeous nestlings. Ringing, naming, and measuring will take place the week of 8 November. I will keep you posted to the more exact date when I find out.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope that you are all well. Take care!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots, video clips, and maps: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, Birdmap, Kakapo Recovery FP Page, Wikimedia Commons, and Wildlife Computers.

The little osprey

It has been several weeks since I travelled to check on the two osprey chicks in their nest at Grand Beach Provincial Park. A friend sent me word on Tuesday that the two chicks were still at the nest with mom. Circumstances kept me away until today. It was a bright sunny day with no chance of rain – seemed like the perfect chance to go and have a last visit with the osprey family if they were still home.

Manitoba is a summer breeding ground for Ospreys. They arrive in April and are usually gone by mid-September. Due to public outcries because many of the birds were electrocuted on hydro poles, our public utility, Manitoba Hydro, began erecting platforms for the birds in the hope that they would build their nests on them and not on the high voltage lines. The place that I visited is Grand Beach Provincial Park. Close to the West Beach is one platform that is occupied. There is another platform near Grand Marais, only a few moments away. It is unoccupied and was not in good condition. The water around it seems to have dried up eons ago and it is very close to the highway.

The nest that I visited is located on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Locate Winnipeg and then move your eye 45 degrees north-northeast til you see the green type indicating Grand Beach.

Lake Winnipeg is the world’s 10th largest fresh water lake. It is very shallow by most standards. On average it is only 3.6 metres or 12 feet deep although there are a few places where it is 10.9 metres or 36 feet deep. The lake measures 436 kilometres or 270 miles in length and 111 km wide or 68 ft at the widest point. It has more than a 1609 kilometres or 1000 miles of shoreline – many areas with beautiful white sand beaches.

“File:Grand Beach and Provincial Park in Lake Winnipeg in Fall 2009 Manitoba Canada.JPG” by Shahnoor Habib Munmun is licensed under CC BY 3.0

It is a perfect place to raise an Osprey family!

This young lady was the only one home while we were there. She was food calling most of the time despite the crop she had. It reminded me so much of Tiny Little. You could hear her half an American football field away quite clearly! She was not letting up.

What was especially funny was the large chunk of fish she was holding in one of her talons. Did she want mom to come to the nest and feed her?

Along with the food calling this juvenile certainly did a lot of wing flapping but, she never left the nest while we were watching.

The sun played havoc with the lighting casting everything almost in silhouette.

Look at those big beautiful wings. She has no idea what is in store for her but she has imprinted on her brain the fresh water marsh and the lake where she hatched. If she survives, she will visit this nest or a place near to it in the future.

For an area that tends to have lots of water birds, it was relatively quiet. There were only a couple of Canada Geese, a Crow, a duck, and some small birds.

There was a crow who came to see what all the commotion was about with the Osprey and to make sure that I didn’t cross the barrier to get closer to the nest.

There was also this lonely little duck all by itself. My Manitoba birding book suggests that this is a female Common Goldeneye. She is so far away this is the best I could do in terms of an image.

This seems like a perfect place for this little diving duck that is 41-51 cm long. She could be looking for tubers, frogs, insect larvae, or even small fish.

In North America, the Labour Day long weekend marks the end of summer and all of its activities. Everyone will be back in school in a few days. The beaches will be empty and the leaves will continue to turn yellow, orange, and gorgeous shades of red. Meanwhile, the birds who are still here will ready themselves for their long migration south. The seasons are changing. It is in the air and the smell of the leaves when you walk on them. There is no more need for air conditioning but, rather, a light jacket. I love this time of year.

Before I leave, I want to show you the map of the Black Stork’s migration today. I am so proud of little Pikne, the last one to leave Karl II’s nest. She has headed straight and is doing so well. She is in Moldova. Indeed, all of the birds are progressing at a good pace it seems.

You can also see that Julge – the Black Stork that got on the boat heading the wrong direction – is now in Germany. Udu is crossing Poland. Both of them appear to be going the Western route but Udu might correct his course. We wait. Karl II is relaxing on the shores of the Black Sea.

Thank you for joining me on my short visit to check on our Ospreys and the Black Storks. I wish them good winds, lots of fish, safe travels, and a long life. Stay safe everyone!

I want to thank the individuals in charge of the tracking of the birds and their posting of the current maps on the Estonia Eagle Club Forum pages.

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!