Updates in Bird World…plus Tiny Tot just got a private 45 minute feeding. Yahoo.

There was a hatch on the Savannah Osprey nest on 13 April. The pip happened at 20:58:42 the night before. There is the cutie looking for some fish!

14 April 2021

NC0 laid her second egg on the Loch of the Lowes nest today, 14 April. The first was laid on the 10th. What a gorgeous view! NC0 was apparently very quiet and took everyone by surprise.

NC0 looks out over her territory. Loch of the Lowes. 14 April 2021

In the changing of shifts, you can see the two beautiful reddish eggs. The couple had one chick last year – will they try for three in 2021?

You can see both eggs at Loch of the Lowes! 14 April 2021

Louis is still waiting for Aila to arrive at the Loch Arkaig nest.

Louis waiting for Aila. 14 April 2021

Telyn or Blue 3J was busy rolling her egg over at the Dyfi Nest in the middle of the night. Might we expect a second egg eminently? The first was laid at 9:55 am on 12 April! Some are not leaving the streaming cam as Telyn is breathing rather heavy in the middle of the night.

Rolling the egg. 14 April 2021 Dyfi Nest, Wales.
Telyn rolling the egg laid on 12 April 2021. 14 April 2021

Telyn sure is a beauty! Did you know that she is the daughter of unringed Maya and Green 5R from Rutland? She was born in 2013. No wonder she is so gorgeous.

Is Telyn laying another egg? 14 April 2021

What a beautiful sunrise at Clywedog. No eggs for Dylan and Seren yet! Dylan was back on 24 March and Seren on 29 March. Fingers crossed as the middle of April approaches.

15 April 2021. Sunrise.

The second egg was laid at Foulshaw Moss on the 13th with the first coming on the 10th. The image below shows Blue 35 doing her incubation duties. She is the mate of White YW.

Blue 35 incubating eggs. 14 April 2021

Maya is blissful incubating her three eggs at the Rutland Mantou Nest. Her mate is Blue 33 (11). The eggs were laid on 30 March, 2 and 5 of April.

Maya incubating her three eggs at Rutland. 14 April 2021

Wonder what is happening on the nest of Mrs G and Aran? Will there be another egg? The first for this much loved pair at the Glaslyn Nest came on 10 April!

Mrs G (front and left) and Aran (right). 14 April 2021

As I was typing this, a fish came on to the Achieva Osprey Nest. Thank goodness. It has been incredibly hot there. There was speculation that something might have been wrong with one or the other of the parents. Was Jack’s leg hurt? Why wasn’t Diane fishing like she did yesterday? There was also worry that since the two older ones had not eaten they would be very aggressive. Tiny Tot grabbed that fish and wanted it but, as usual, he had to wait. Now the older sibs just weren’t that interested. Could it be that they ate so much yesterday they both need to cast a pellet and Tiny will get ‘fed up’. Diane fed him privately for 45 minutes. Bravo!

In the middle of the feeding of Tiny Tot. 14 April 2021
14 April 2021. Tiny Tot at the end of the 35 minute feeding. Nice crop!

And last, some news from UC Berkeley’s Peregrine Falcon Nest. There is now communication with the eyasses and expected hatch is 17 April. Splendid! Annie and Grinnell are amazing parents and there is nothing short of delirium watching a peregrine falcon nest. And no worries about siblicide!

You can join in the peregrine excitement here:

Thank you so much for joining me today. Oh, I can’t wait for these furry little falcons to hatch. What a riot it is when they figure out how to eat. You will love it! And I am relieved, like so many, that Tiny Tot got fed today. Don’t care what time just that he was fed. If another fish doesn’t arrive, he is fine til tomorrow. Tiny Tot has taught us that.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcons, Achieva Credit Union, Woodland Trust, Post Code Lottery, Friends of Loch Arkaig, Rutland Water, Scottish Wildlife, Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s Dyfi Osprey Project, and CarnyxWild Wales.

Here is a great shot of Tiny Tot after that good feeding. Food coma will come shortly!

Ospreys – the raging mad and the wonderful

My daughter asked me today if I would continue to watch the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. She had a very good point. Tiny Tot or 3 (some call it Tumbles) was born on 5 March. Since the 12th of March, I have notes indicating that Jack, the male, needs to bring in more fish. I have notes that Tiny Tot was fed well one day and had no food for two days. That was three weeks ago. Many have invested in their own stress level height since food procurement on this nest became a visible problem – not only to streaming cam watchers but to the older osprey. The perception or the reality that there is not enough contributes to food competition and siblicide. This nest has literally been like a rollercoaster ride for everyone including Diane, the mother, who found as many morsels as she could to feed Tiny from 1:15-1:53 today. He had a bit of a crop. Continued large fish coming into the nest on a regular basis – a real effort on the part of Jack – is required.

There are ‘good’ Osprey nests to watch. Everyone has their favourite. I am going to only mention five today so if you have a favourite, let me know – and tell me why you like that nest so much! I am going to start with the first one because the female has already laid two eggs this season. That nest belongs to Maya and Blue 33 (11). This is a dad that cuddles with the female. They almost arrive together from their winter migration to Africa. They are an amazing duo. Blue 33 (11) does not have another nest with chicks to feed! He is totally devoted to Maya and their chicks and their nest is Rutland Mantou Bay.

Mary Kerr did the hearts on this image for the Loch Arkaig FB group. I want to make sure she gets the credit, not me. And one of the things Mary said was, ‘Maya really lucked out when she got him in 2014 as a mate’.

You can watch these two lovebirds on the Rutland Mantou Bay Nest at the following link:

The second nest is at Loch Arkaig, home to Louis and Aila. They are due to be back at the nest around 5 April. I will put in the highlights from their 2020 season. I like this nest because Louis works day and night to feed those babies. Last year Aila laid three eggs and they all hatched. I watched a tandem feeding when the little one, Captain, was fed by itself while the two bigger, older chicks were fed by the other parent. It was joyful and it brought my faith back in ospreys after seeing little Tapps die at Port Lincoln. Here is the video of the highlights from the 2020 nest at Loch Arkaig. The three siblings are believed to be 2 males and a female. Doddie the first born is a male, Vera the female, and Little Captain, a male is banded Blue JJ7. Enjoy it! When Louis and Aila return, I will be sure to let you know. The link to their nest is below the video.

And the link to the Loch Arkaig site for when Louis and Aila return in a few days:

All of these nests are wonderful and I have not listed them in rank order. My third nest is that of Idris and Blue 33 Telyn at the Dfyi Nest in Wales. Idris is known to be loyal, a great protector, and provider! You can access this popular couples nest here:

And I have two other nests to mention. One is in the UK and the other is in San Francisco.

I could not leave this page and not have included the nest of Mrs G and Aran. Mrs G is the oldest osprey in the United Kingdom, believed to be twenty-one years old. She is a powerhouse. This couple are at the Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales and here is the link:

And the last of the Osprey nests is the one in San Francisco Bay with Richmond and Rosie. Richmond is more known for his antics of bringing objects – aprons, toys, etc – to the nest but the two actually work well together. Richmond lives in San Francisco year round and Rosie migrates for the winter. Rosie is now incubating three eggs. The first was laid on 24 March, the second on 27 March, and the third on 30 March. That will keep Richmond busy bringing in fish when they hatch! Here is the link to their nest:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1gn6yIRa_cBKExVmHdg3jQ

That link provides you to a number of past videos, too.

A fish came into the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida at 5:33:51. Tiny Tot got a few bites after the two bigger ones but he still has a crop from his earlier feeding. This is much better than being sunk in all over as he had been. I live in hope that the momentum of fish – some big fish – a small one is not enough – come in and Tiny makes it.

I have written in-depth about many of the ospreys on these nests in other blogs. That information often includes their biography. When everything goes well, there is nothing more wonderful than seeing these amazing fish eagles thrive and fledge. They have a difficult life – the ones that migrate. The trip is 4000 miles one way over large bodies of water, mountains, and deserts. 50% do not make it.

Thank you for joining me today. All of the other nests that I follow seem to be doing really well today. For those of you that celebrate Easter – have a Happy Easter Weekend. Take care everyone.

Thank you so much to the following for their streaming cams. This is where I get my screen shots: the Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg, Florida; the Bywd Gwyllt Glaslyun Wildlife, Bay Osprey by Golden Gate Audubon, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Friends of Loch Arkaig, Rutland Wildlife at the Mantou Bay Nest, Mary Kerr for her cute FB image of Maya and Blue 33 (11), the Woodland Trust and People Play Lottery, and the LRWT Rutland Osprey Project.

World Osprey Week Begins

World Osprey Week is from 22-26 and it celebrates the arrival of the Ospreys from their winter migration in Africa back to the United Kingdom in spring. For the second year, the pandemic has caused previous large celebrations to be much scaled down. Still, it does not damper the enthusiasm of Osprey lovers throughout Wales, England, and Scotland as they welcome home these beautiful yellow eyed sea hawks.

There is even an app and a website where you can go for sightings and confirmed arrivals on nests. This is very impressive.

And there are educational programmes and YouTube videos all week. Here is Day 1:

There are also free digital educational packets which you can order on line. Simply go to this URL and sign up: www.lrwt.org.uk/wow

Now let’s check and see which of the Ospreys at monitored nests have arrived so far.

The very first Osprey to arrive was Blue 25 (10), a female. She is back on one of the Rutland’s nests. Blue 25 (10) was born in Rutland in 2010 – hence, the (10) in brackets behind the tag colour and number.

The stars of the Mantou Nest are Maya and Blue 33 (11). They arrived within thirty-minutes of one another. Great planning! Blue 33 (11) flew in at 12:29 followed by Maya at 12:56. These two have been together and raising chicks since 2015. And they wasted no time in getting reacquainted. The streaming cam caught them mating at 1pm! After fighting over a fish that Maya caught, Blue 33 decided some nestorations were in order.

After bonding it was time to eat and you can see that everyone wants the fish that Maya caught! Too funny.

All is calm again and it is time to start getting the nest in order. Don’t you think Blue 33 (11) is handsome?

Blue 33 (11) looking up at the camera.

And both arrived back on the nest right before dawn on the 22nd of March to start things off:

Laddie (LM12) arrived home at 5pm, 21 March, at the Loch of the Lowes Reserve nest. He is the resident male at this nest. There is a new female as of last March tagged NCO. She was ringed as a chick at Loch Ness in 2016. His former mate was LF15. She went missing on the 7 August 2018.

Lock Arkaig is awaiting the arrival of Louis and Alia.

The nest at Glaswyn is awaiting for the arrival of Mrs G (the oldest Osprey in Wales) and Aran.

The Cumbria Wildlife Trust is waiting for arrivals to their Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest . 2021 will be the eighth year running – should the mated pair arrive – that Osprey chicks have been born on this nest. The couple are Blue 35 (female) and White YW (male). This mated couple have fledged sixteen chicks between 2014-2020. At least one of their fledglings, Blue 5N, of 2018 has been spotted in The Gambia in 2019.

So everyone is waiting! Some people are trying to keep six screens open at one time in case someone arrives today. Enjoy the beginning of World Osprey Week! Find a nest and enjoy all the fun of the arrivals.

And before I close this off. Just a note. The Achieva Osprey nest fooled me again. All three had full crops this morning at 9:33 CDT. Wow. So happy. Let’s hope Jack continues to bring in very large fish. It helps.

Thank you to Achieva Credit Union, the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Friends of Loch Arkaig FB, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Scottish Wildlife Trust for their streaming cams where I got my scaps.

First Osprey arrives in the UK – and the little eaglet in the Kisatchie National Forest has a name

The first Osprey to land on a nest in the United Kingdom for the 2021 breeding season is Blue 25 (10). This gorgeous female was the first to arrive last year as well but this time, she is a day earlier.

So who is Blue 25 (10)? She is the daughter of Maroon AA (06) and Argyll BTO (R). She was born in 2010 at Rutland – hence the (10) after her tag number. ‘Site Fidelity’ is when an animal or bird returns to where they were born. Normally only the males return to their natal nest area but, Blue 25 returned to Rutland in 2012. She bonded with Blue 11 (10). In 2013, they had two chicks: Blue 3K is a female and Blue 4K is a male. The male returned to Rutland on 10 July 2015. He is the first 4th generation bird to return. That is quite an accomplishment! In 2013, the pair fledged a single female Blue 5K. In 2014, they fledged Blue 8K, a male, and a female, Blue 9K. The records unfortunately stop in 2015.

It is now 2021. Both Blue 25 and Blue 11 are now eleven years old. Let’s hope that Blue 11 arrives back at the nest!

Ospreys were completely wiped out in Britain. This early extermination was caused by game wardens on large estates killing the birds, through egg collection, habitat loss, and by taxidermy – yes, the killing and the stuffing of these lovely birds. wiped out in England by persecution – through egg-collection and taxidermy – and by habitat loss.

In England, The Leicestershire and Rutland Trust introduced sixty-four 6-week-old Ospreys (introduced from Scotland) between 1996 and 2001. At Rutland, in 2019, there were twenty-five Ospreys in the area with eight couples breeding. One of those couples is Blue 25 (10) and her mate Blue 11 (10). And we know that half of that bonded pair has safely returned to Rutland from Africa.

The other pair is Maya and her mate 33. They were the celebrated parents of the 150th chick to be born in Rutland in 2019. They have claimed the nest at Manton Bay where, since 2015, they have successfully raised ten chicks.

If you would like a list of the UK Ospreys, their band numbers, dates of return, etc. up to and including 2015, please go to this Internet site:

http://ukospreys.uk/rutland-breeding.htm

That beautiful only eaglet, so spoiled by its first time parents Anna and Louis born in the nest in the Kisatchie Forest has a name! And it is a wonderful name: Kisatchie. Anna and Louis celebrate the great state of Louisiana while Kisatchie immortalizes this nest in this forest. It is the only national forest in Louisiana and consists of 800,000 acres covering seven parishes in the state. It is designated an Important Bird Area and is now covered with Loblolly and Slash Pines after reforestation efforts. The raptors living in the forest include Red-shouldered hawks, Sharp-shinned hawks, Broad-winged hawks as well as Cooper’s hawks and Bald Eagles. Other species of birds include the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Northern Bobwhite, Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-bellied and Downy woodpeckers along with the Brown-headed Nuthatch.

This young couple came last year to check out the abandoned Bald Eagle nest and returned this year to make it their natal nest. The rangers say that they are young, 5-6 years old. They had just gotten their adult plumage in the fall of 2020. At 11pm on 23 February 2021, the little one hatched. The nest is very close to the lake and Louis is an amazing fisher. The pantry is always full and Anna never wants her little one to go hungry. If you watch this nest, the youngster always has a crop and Anna is always wanting it to take just one more bite! It is too cute.

Anna says, ‘Please just one more bite!’

Once upon a time I worried that Anna would never figure out how to feed her baby and the baby wouldn’t catch on either but – well, that was pretty silly. This Bald Eagle nest is the envy of most.

As World Osprey Week quickly approaches on 22 March, I am certain that there will be more announcements coming soon of arrivals from Africa. Let us hope that each one arrives home safely.

Thank you for joining me today! And thanks to the Forestry Services at the Kisatchie National Forest for getting those cameras streaming and for handling all of the naming contests. They names are fantastic. And thank you to Rutland Wildlife Trust for the camera where I took the scap of Blue 25 (10)’s arrival!

Mesoamerican Ceramics at the Gardiner

The collection of Mesoamerican pottery at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto is impressive.  The arrangement of the ceramics with their information panels and maps is clearly meant to educate.  The range of pottery includes vessels and figurines, all made by hand, as well as pieces produced by moulds.  The decorative elements range simple incised lines and applique to elaborate techniques such as polychrome slipware.

Small female figurines were made in Guanajuato or Michoacan Mexico from 300 BCE to 100 CE.  These female statuettes made entirely by modelling the clay by hand (and mostly solid), with their oversized heads and headdresses. While many were made out of flat slabs, a number are three-dimensional like the ones at the Gardiner.  Notice the eyes.  Most are coffee-bean shaped and slanted as in the second image below.  Most figurines were left unpainted, but occasionally some were decorated with bright colours. Ceramics serve as historical records and here we can see the hairstyles and clothing that were prominent during this period of time.  Many of you may be aware of other female figurines created out of clay in the Indus Valley civilization or carved out of stone like those in Europe and the Aegean.    Archaeologists believe that these figurines served various purposes.  They may have been used as amulets for crop fertility rites, for healing, or as part of a narrative of an important event.  Others believe they could have been part of grave offerings, companions, as such, for the afterlife.

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Close by are a group of oversized ‘baby-like’ androgynous figures.  Androgynous simply means containing both male and female parts.  These hollow statues with their slip decoration were made by the Olmec, a culture that lived in what is now the Tabasco and Veracruz areas of Mexico.  What do they represent?  The Olmec had eight deities that were androgynous. Are they associated with any of those?  The vast majority of these chubby youth have their legs splayed with their hands on their thighs.  They look up to the viewer as if they are ready to jump off their display.  Many of the oversized heads appear to be covered with some kind of cap.  They are not smiling but, rather, all of the mouths seem to have the same expression.  They are open and downturned.  No one is certain of their function.  Some believe they represent the rain deity while others believe that they could have been a portrait of an extraordinary individual when they were an infant.  Many have been found in or near burial sites.  Were they part of a ceremonial burial perhaps?  Scholars have suggested that they could have been actual stand-ins for infant sacrifices.

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It is impossible to miss the skills of these early clay artists and, as I wandered through the galleries, other visitors commented on the quality of the crafting, unable to believe that people living so long ago could be so accomplished.

In comparison, the Maya who lived in Guatemala and parts of Mexico created some extraordinary earthenware vessels with polychrome slip.

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In the cylinder above, a noblewoman carries a jug of cocoa to two men seated with a plate of tamales (out of the scene, sorry), participants in what appears to be a feast with lavish food and drink.  Cocoa is bitter chocolate made by pressing roasted cocoa kernels.  It is still a popular drink, often with cinnamon, in Guatemala and Mexico.  The lines are animated and the colours remain bright.  Below are two dishes with bird effigy lids.  Made during the Early Classical period of the Maya, these deep earthenware burnished dishes were used to serve tamales (wah).  The middle images contain the plates that foods would be served on during feasts.  The large bowls held a type of corn gruel, ul.  Cylinders, such as the one above, used for drinking, always held a chocolate-based beverage, kakaw.

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The Maya believed in many gods that controlled all aspects of their life.  In their creation myth, the Mayas believe that the gods separated the heavens from the earth.  The Maize god, Hun Hun Ajaw, erected an enormous ceiba tree in the centre of the universe.  That tree was a conduit between the gods and humans.  The gods formed the first humans out of a dough made of both yellow and white maize when their clay figurines failed.  As such, the foodstuff was not just important for the survival of the community but was a part of their creation stories as well as being associated with the seasons and growth of crops.  One of Maya’s sacred books, the Popol Vuh, tells about the creation myth as well as discussing how images of the maize gods were decapitated once the harvesting of the maize had begun.  New effigies were made at the beginning of the new growing season.

During times of drought – and the Maya experienced many of these – the people turned to the gods of food, rain, and fertility to ward off starvation.  Blood sacrifices made by the nobles were performed at shrines.  Elaborate temple complexes were sites of more public ceremonies with music, dancing, ball games as well as ritual prayers and sacrifices.

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The Maya culture grew from small villages into great city-states.  It became one of the most dominant cultures in Mesoamerica before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.  The Maya excelled not only in their pottery making but also in mathematics, agriculture, calendar-making, astronomy, and architecture and, in particular, the pyramid building of the early classical era.  The height of their culture, the ‘Golden Age’ occurred around 250 CE.  At that time there are believed to have been fifty major cities each with a population of between 5000 and 50,000 people.  No one knows for certain what started the decline of this magnificent culture.  By the late 9th century CE, their culture had collapsed completely.  Some scholars believe that they had exhausted their once fertile environment while others contend that it was warring factions between the various city-states that caused the demise.  developed several competing theories. Some feel that a catastrophic climate change with a long and intense period of drought caused the abandonment of the cities.

We are left with great works of architecture and pottery.  The Gardiner Museum has a reasonable collection and it is a must see if you are visiting Toronto.  Free guided tours normally take place at 2pm.