Bird World Happenings

For those of you hoping for a second hatch at Diamond and Xavier’s scrape box, it is not to be. Either the eggs were not viable or the second chick died trying to hatch. What we have, however, is one really healthy eyas whose eyes will open in the next few days and what a delight that will be. One healthy baby is just fine!

A video was made of one of the chick’s feedings. I cannot wait til it can see its parents! How wonderful.

It is pitching down rain in Port Lincoln. Mum and the three osplets are absolutely soaked to the core.

Mum is the best. She is trying as hard as she can to keep her three babies from catching a chill. Sadly, Melbourne’s weather says it is to have rainy periods through Saturday. I do hope the nest gets a chance to dry out for this incredible Osprey family.

To my knowledge no breakfast has come in yet. Mum is really tired and would appreciate the sleep. She has a smelly wet pillow!

It is an hour later and Mum is beginning to dry out just a little. Hopefully Dad will be in with a fish soon.

The Melbourne Four have already had three meals today – before 8:30! These parents are working overtime. It has to be exhausting. Look how big that little one is and how big its crop is. These four are also healthy and strong. Well done Mum and Dad.

Skipping over to the US, those who fell in love with Anna and Louis during their first year as Bald Eagle parents will be excited to know that the streaming cam is up and running. Here is the link to that nest at Lake Kincaid in the Kisatachie National Forest. Last year, Anna and Louis had one eaglet fledge, Kisatachie. It was wonderful to watch the parents grow into their roles as parents. One time Louis was so eager to provide food early on that he had 18 fish in a pile. I can sure imagine quite a few nests that would have liked some of that! Kisatchie grew big and strong and honoured this old Bald Eagle nest that had not had an eaglet hatch or fledge in 13 years. Incredible.

Cody, Steve and the gang are handling the chat to answer any of your questions.

I have not checked on the Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia for some time. There is some troubling news, perhaps. regarding Julge. This latest report is on Birdmap.

“In the morning September 8, Julge crossed border between Germany and Belgium and from next overnight there was not long distance up to France border, anymore. 20-30 km, depends in what direction Julge continues migration. But perhaps, there is time to improve energy sources? Interesting, if quarry is good place to find food for stork…. Anyway, Julge flew south in September 12. That means France is next country Julge visits. And stayed in a village called Saint-Hilaire-le-Petit. Nor dare not fear the closeness of people. He could be seen picking up insects from the lawn in the parking lot of the nearby Pontfaverger supermarket … But on the afternoon of September 21, Julge flew some 30 km in direction of Paris. On 22 September, Julge reached a stopover between Paris and Reims, where the latest data were received on the morning of 25 September. Next behaviour of Julge is unknown. A local newspaper is also involved in the searches of Julge.”

You can check the migration status of the Ospreys, Black Storks, White-tailed Eagles, Eurasian Cranes, and the Lesser Spotted Eagles here:

http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/EN

I also wanted to check on Karl II and his three children and on their migration status.

First is Udu. This is from the Forum: “It is now becoming unlikely that Udu will find/follow the ‘usual’ eastern migration route, I fear. All other options to cross the Mediterranean Sea are far more complicated, difficult and dangerous. Unless Udu will winter in southern Italy, or in Greece?” Udu is now in Kosovo.

Here is the map showing the three members of the family: Karl II, his daughter, Pikne, and son, Udu . They are making wonderful progress!

You can follow the Black Stork family whose nest was in the Karula National Forest in Estonia here:

This was just a quick check on the developments at the Orange Australian scrape box of Xavier and Diamond. I am certain that chatters and followers would loved to have seen two eyases hatch but, it was not to be. We can, however, wait with wonder to see the little one open its eyes and see its parents for the first time – and grow, thrive, and fledge. Send positive wishes for a fish to arrive at the PLO and for the rain to let up so the nest can dry.

Thank you for joining me. It will get chilly on the Canadian Prairies tonight – down to 4 C. It will certainly feel more seasonal. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or Forums where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, the Latvian Fund for Nature, the Estonian Eagle Club, and BirdMap.

Saturday in Bird World

There is still time for you to put in your count for the October Big Bird e-Bird Count. You have until midnight as far as I know. In one hour we had 37 Dark-eyed Juncos, 3 Blue Jays, 3 Harris’s Sparrows, 1 American Robin, and a host of House Sparrows. There were also 3 grey squirrels and 1 red and then Little Woodpecker came when the new suet cylinder went up. I wonder if they sit and watch? or how good their noses are.

Everyone of them seems to know the minute the feeders are full and once the suet cylinder is finished when a new one is put in place. It is much cooler than it was a few days ago and the sky has been a light grey all day. I wonder how long the Dark-eyed Juncos will be with us?

There is, as far as I know, only one hatch at the Peregrine Falcon scrape box in Orange. The little one has been fed several times already. It gets full with 3 or 4 nice bites of prey.

And then it will pass out quickly in a food coma! It is quite frightening the first time you see this happen, especially with a newly hatched chick.

Yesterday I made a video clip of one of the feedings at the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon Scrape.

The Collins Street Kids are really growing. The two larger ones now jump a bit to get up to Mum’s beak for the prey.

There was a beautiful golden glow on Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge this morning. Viewers got a treat. The cam operator showed the Calypso Star I taking clients out for shark cage diving. You might know it but it was that business that allowed the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge and streaming cam to come into existence. Thank you Calypso Star!

It is 8:23 just now and the kiddos are still waiting for breakfast. They will certainly not starve! Never. Last night when they went to sleep their crops were bursting.

Once of those funny crop shots when they lean back to preen. Look how big that is. Each of them was the same.

Here’s Little Bob! Look at that crop and then look at his feet!!!!!! I love Clown Feet Time.

I am learning just to keep quiet on bird chats. A couple of days ago, a dear woman, who has been quite ill and is recovering, was more than put down because she suggested that birds have emotions. There is a lot of research on this subject. For the next week or so, I will post some academic/scientific papers on this topic. Some will be shorter and some longer. The one today concerns two particular emotions: fear and frustration. It is titled, “Avian Emotions: Comparative Perspectives on Fear and Frustration.” It was published in Frontiers of Psychology in December 2018.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6344452/

I grew up in Oklahoma (home of the Five Civilized Tribes before it became a state) where there are strong beliefs about animals and birds. They serve as messengers of the Spirits of the Indigenous people. Some offer warnings – others are there to help. Here is an interesting article birds as symbols.

We are looking for a hatch for Xavier and Diamond today. It might not happen. If it doesn’t, it is just fine. Those who watched their scrape last year certainly came to love their only hatch, Izzi. He was quite remarkable.

Thank you for stopping in today. Remember to turn in your bird count if you haven’t already. Take care. See you soon!

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

And now for some cuteness…

As soon as you read that title, I bet you thought I was going to bombard you with more floofs, cute little Peregrine Falcon eyases. Not today. Surprise! The Port Lincoln Osprey Barge cam operator gave everyone a present by zooming in on the adorable faces of the osplets.

There are several interesting things about these close ups. First, notice that the chicks still have remnants of their egg tooth remaining at the tip of their beak. Can you see the white dot? That will grow and wear off. Ospreys must keep their beaks clean and sharp! You can also see the dark charcoal down that is actually underneath the feathers. It remains while the white fluff disappears. I cannot see any quills but the feathers are growing out of quills that contain blood. Feathers have to have blood to grow. For those who have been reading my blog regularly, they will know that I have carried on and on about how to identify Little Bob. Because he is a third hatch Osprey, I have a special interest in him and his survival and future success so I have to be able to recognize him. So, I discovered that his cere, the part above the beak but before the feathers, has a lot of white. It looks like someone sloshed white paint. That white continues more under Little Bob’s eyes, too. Big Bad Bob has a smooth black cere with little white. As it happens, Big Bob and Little Bob hang out together. So on the left is Big Bob and on the right is Little Bob. Throughout the images below, Big Bob will remain on the left and Little Bob will be on the right. The portraits were snapped off the streaming cam every 5 seconds. There are subtle differences in their expressions.

Oh, just look at that face staring directly at us! So cute.

The angle of Little Bob’s head shows you all the white on the cere and under the eye. It is a degree more than the other chick.

Oh, how I wished Little Bob had looked up like Big Bob earlier.

They are adorable. Several of those will become fridge magnets. Awhile ago now, my ‘eagle expert’ that I consult with my questions, told me that they always make magnets out of their favourite juveniles for each year. I started doing it. It is a super way to wake up in the morning when you open the fridge and say hi to all of them!

There is the following thinking in raptor circles. The first theory is that two females never hang out together. Female raptors do not get along. There is the further belief, since medieval times, that the third, the tiercel, is always a male. Additionally, there is also a belief that the first hatch is a female. If all of those things are true, then Big Bob is a female and Little Bob is a male. In the end, of course, only DNA tests and an egg prove one way or the other. However, since these three will get satellite-paks and will be banded, I am assuming that they will also determine the gender just like was done with Solly and DEW last year. You do not want to band the chicks too early but, the rule is before they are 35 days old. After that, the stress and the approach by humans might force an early fledge. Any earlier and their legs would not be the size of an adult bird and the bands might prove to be problematic.

Tomorrow is the October Big Bird Day. You can help. All you need to do is look out your window for at least 15 minutes and count the birds that you know. You do not have to spend all day and you don’t have to travel if you don’t want to or can’t. Here is the information to sign up. The information helps track declining and increasing population numbers, locate migrate waves, check on how climate change is impacting the birds during migration, etc. Everyone can join in. It is free and it would be very helpful if you did a count. Go to this link for all the information that you need.

https://ebird.org/news/october-big-day-2021

There is still only one hatch for Xavier and Diamond. And at 367 Collins Street, Mum finally let dad feed the kids.

It is easy to look at the scrape and think it is a mess. Falcon experts say that couples look for a scrape box where there is a lot of ‘ps’ markings everywhere as they know that means it is a prey rich area.

After Dad fed the little ones, Mum came in with a huge fresh pigeon and fed them again! No one goes hungry on a Peregrine Falcon scrape.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed the close ups of the Ospreys. I have to admit that out of all the birds of prey I am extremely partial to Ospreys, falcons, and hawks. Take care of yourself. Have a lovely weekend. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

For the love of Sparrows

There are so many birds that come to our feeders. The visitors come and go during migration and then there are the ‘old standards’ that stay with us year round. They know our habits just like the squirrels do. Every day we put out the food and water and wait for them to come just to know they are alright.

One of the issues that I have is identifying the sparrows. While the majority that remain are Old World House Sparrows just like this young man enjoying playing in the water today, there are other varieties and I want to learn about and appreciate them, too.

I love Sparrows.

This male House Sparrow had such fun playing in the water.

Did you know that House Sparrows were introduced into New York City in the 1850s to help with insect control? They didn’t help much because they are vegetarian preferring seeds and fruit. Today, most of the bird books indicate that they do feed on insects now. Birds adapt. House sparrows are not related to the other sparrows but, rather, originated in Eurasia and are a member of the Weaver Finch family of birds. In my province, they are abundant year round and we certainly love it when they are flitting about between the deck and the lilacs.

Not so common in my garden is the Harris’s Sparrow. This is an immature Harris’s Sparrow below. This one is just getting started on his black crown. Notice the pink beak and those lovely pink legs. He has a bib which also helps to identify him.

I am really grateful for one of our e-Bird ‘birding giants’ in my community for confirming the identity. The Harris’s Sparrow is not in Manitoba Birds. These sparrows migrate to their breeding grounds in the far reaches of Canada’s boreal forests near Hudson’s Bay and in Nunavat through Manitoba. They are arriving in Winnipeg now to begin their long journey to Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas (straight south of Winnipeg).

You have a long way to go little fella. Happy to help you fatten up for your journey.

Then there was this little cutie. If you look carefully you can see the spot of yellow between the beak and the eye. These are called lores. There is a white throat with a striped crown. The rusty underparts are just coming; there are no stripes on the light breast. The bill is grey. This is a White-throated Sparrow. It is known for its beautiful songs in the early morning. These lovely little sparrows visit from April to October. Their winter homes range from a line running through Kansas to Pennsylvania down to the very southern tip of New Mexico, Texas and across to Florida (and all parts within those borders).

Some were scratching in the grasses looking for invertebrates.

Others were taking baths.

You will notice that our grass is long and we are leaving all of the leaves. We not want to disturb the butterfly larvae, microbes, and worms. Leaf litter is where many of our butterflies and moths overwinter. It is a good excuse to put away the mower and the rake and those dreaded leaf blowers – which should never have been invented.

Oh, they are all so sweet. Each of them has been feeding on a variety of seeds that included insects and berries. Most of all they loved the water today. If you are reading this and live in a place where birds are migrating, please leave out shallow dishes of water for bathing and other dishes of water for drinking. Water is so important to them on their journeys. They can easily get dehydrated.

One of the favourite dishes for baths, other than the bird bath, is actually a shallow dish meant to go under a planter. You can see that it is not very deep. The depth is, however, perfect as the birds are not afraid of being drown.

If you don’t have dishes, check at your local secondhand or charity shop. They tend to carry lots of ceramic dishes that would be perfect for the birds at exceedingly reasonable prices.

The Dark Eyed Juncos are here, too. The numbers arriving on the deck are growing each day. I hope to get some images of the Juncos in the dill tomorrow. My goodness they seem to love the stuff! or maybe there are insects in there that I cannot see.

Juncos will not normally eat from the feeders. They prefer to scratch the ground for invertebrates, dig in my outdoor carpet for fallen seeds, or help the sparrows make a mess with the fruit, bug, and nut seeds that are left in bowls. Those that breed in Manitoba during the summer are the ‘Slate’ coloured Juncos. They winter throughout the US midwest to the southern most parts of Texas across the Gulf and up to Georgia. They seem to not winter in Florida according to Peterson’s guides. I wonder why?

They are certainly easily recognized and they come through in huge groups. We know that spring has arrived when the Juncos appear and that fall is definitely here when they leave. Something to look forward to again next April will be their return.

All of the usual suspects were here today. Mr Blue Jay would like it if more dry corn cobs appeared on the deck but, he did seem satisfied with his peanuts in the shell. Little Woodpecker has a new cylindrical suet and he and she are happy. The easiest to please these days are the Black-capped Chickadees and the squirrels. They seem to be willing to eat almost anything – the squirrels that is. It is doesn’t matter what species they are, each day they bring so much joy.

Thank you so much for joining me as I share some of the visitors to the garden with you today. Take care everyone. Stay safe!

Yesterday at the Nature Centre

The people in our local weather office are saying that our temperatures are back to their seasonal norm today. It is 14 degrees C, not 31 C! The sky is grey, it feels damp but no rain is forecast.

It seems that yesterday was the perfect day for a walk at the Fort Whyte Nature Centre. There are Canada Geese and Cackling Geese all over the grounds – on the paths, in the water, even peering into the Interpretative Centre.

The trees are bursting with fall colours.

It was simply a glorious day. You could ‘smell’ autumn.

The nest boxes are all empty waiting for spring to arrive next year.

This little female Mallard was hiding along the shore in the trees away from all the ones that were dabbling on the other side of the pond.

There was certainly a lot of dabbling going on.

I love how this one uses the orange paddles to turn them around in the water. It was amazing to watch.

As late afternoon approached, there were six American White Pelicans that flew in along with a myriad of geese. By evening all of the ponds and fields will be covered.

Despite the fact that a beautiful fall day is a reminder of winter to come, it remains my favourite season. The colours of the leaves are just stunning.

Incoming.

The geese will continue to arrive until the third week in October when most will have migrated south for the winter. Today, Blackbirds are filling in the ponds of the City (or so I am told and from pictures I have seen). There are meeting or marshalling points where the birds wait for the others to arrive before migrating in mass.

With the change in weather, there will be more birds moving through our City on the way to warmer climates. Migration is a huge challenge – finding safe places to stop, water, a good food source – it is not easy for the birds to take on these thousands and thousands of kilometres. We hope that each arrives safely at their destination.

Thank you for joining me. Have a wonderful Friday.

Godwits…and more

I have heard the name but have never seen the bird – or, at least, I do not think I have. With my lousy shorebird IDs, I might have even confused this beautiful long-legged shorebird with a Greater Yellowlegs. Of course, everyone would have laughed.

Godwits are ‘very’ long legged shorebirds but their legs are not yellow! Their beak is ‘very, very’ long and is bi-coloured – light rose and espresso -and ever so slightly upturned at the end. They are called waders because they live in the mudflats and the estuaries. See how their legs go deep into the mud, too. They feed by sticking that very long beak into the mud, rooting around for worms and small shellfish.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The breeding adults have a chest that ranges from a deep terracotta for the males to a brighter orange for the females. The wing and back feathers are more brown and white overall with a touch of the breast colour, sometimes. They have gorgeous dark eyes.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The juveniles have a cream coloured breast with overall brown and white feathering.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What is so miraculous about these shorebirds is their migration. They breed in Alaska and fly in September to New Zealand! They make only one stop, normally. And they do the trip in record time. It is an 11,265 kilometre journey or 7000 miles. They accomplish this in eight days! Yes, you read that correctly, eight days.

“Bar-tailed Godwits” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Neils Warnock, the Executive Director of Alaska Audubon in 2017, remarked,These godwits are epic migrants. We had a bird, E-7, that we had tagged, and she left New Zealand in the spring. She flies non-stop seven days, ten thousand kilometres, to the Yellow Sea. All of the Bar-tailed Godwits of Alaska, they stop at the Yellow Sea.”

The Yellow Sea is located between mainland People’s Republic of China and the Korean Peninsula.

Historically the mudflats of the Yellow-Sea have been rich with food for the Bar-tail Godwits so they can fatten up and make the rest of the journey to their winter homes in New Zealand without having to stop. Today, the mudflats of the Yellow Sea are under threat – they are disappearing with coastal development. This could prove to be a major challenge for these beautiful shorebirds. There have been many studies and the researchers have seen a drop in the number of shorebirds by 30% in the last few years because the mudflat areas have been reduced by 65%.

https://www.science.org/news/2017/04/migrating-shorebirds-danger-due-disappearing-mudflats

The reports of the shrinkage of the mudflats has been coming in since 2013 with alarms sounding.

Today the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand reported that Bar-tailed Godwit 4BYWW made his flight in 8 days and 12 hours arriving home at 03:00 on 26 September. He flew 12,200 km. His average speed was 59kph. 4BYWW may have set a new distance record for the Bar-tail Godwits. We will know when the others return home. Isn’t that amazing?

What I found most interesting was her route. She does not appear to have gone via the Yellow Sea. Is this because of the decline of the mud flats? Have the birds adapted their migratory route? I definitely want to look at this more closely.

This was the satellite tracking image posted by the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre FB page:

The Centre was tracking another four adults and 3 juveniles on their journeys home. One of those, 4BWWB, has been reported as flying non-stop for 163 hours and over 10,000 km. Seriously, my head can’t comprehend what that must be like. I am also truly amazed at what these sat-paks can tell us about the birds and their amazing resilience. Just incredible.

Tiaki officially fledged on the 25th of September. The Royal Albatross cam chick of 2021 is foraging off the coast of New Zealand at the present time. She will eventually make her way to the waters off of South America near Chile. We wait for her return in four to six years to Taiaroa Head where we will hear that beautiful Sky call, again.

While millions and millions of birds are moving from their summer breeding grounds to their winter homes, others are waiting for eggs to hatch. Holly Parsons posted a table of Diamond’s incubation history.

Xavier and Diamond’s first egg was laid in the scrape box on top of the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia on 31 August this year. Cilla Kinross, the main researcher, is expecting a hatch from 6-9 October with the most promising day being the 7th. Can’t wait!

Diamond was catching some sleep this morning. If all of the eggs hatch, her and Xavier are going to be very busy!

If the hatch is expected around the 7th of October at Orange, then what about those Melbourne Peregrine Falcons? The first egg was laid on the 21st of August – yes, that is right. Ten days before the Orange falcons. So, I am going to be looking for a hatch at Melbourne starting in two days!!!!!! This means that all of the Melbourne eggs, if viable, will hatch before those in Orange. It will be nice to get to enjoy them without trying to watch both at the same time!

For those of you wondering about those beautiful White-bellied Sea Eagles, 27 and 28, here they are. Talk about gorgeous.

Things will really be starting to ramp up shortly. Bald Eagle breeding season in the United States begins in a few days. Looking forward to checking on some nests to see if the birds have returned – such as Anna and Louis who had the first hatch on a nest in the Kisatchie Forest last year since 2013. His name was Kistachie – very appropriate.

Then there is always the trio at Port Lincoln. They had two feedings this morning and a third at 11:31:27 when Dad brought in a very small fish. All of the chicks were well behaved – quite civil to one another. And, of course, Little Bob is right there in front! Look carefully you can see him.

Life is good. Everything seems to be going really well for all the nests.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed learning about the Godwits as much as I did. Incredible birds. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or for postings on their FB pages that I have shared with you: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Feature image credit: “Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Late Friday in Bird World

It is 10:16 in Australia as I begin this short newsletter.

The osplets on the Port Lincoln barge had a small fish between them around 06:15. They have had nothing since and Big Bob is getting a bit restless. Sadly, he has been pecking Little Bob’s neck and Little Bob is going to have to learn to use his backside to protect himself when this happens. So far the beaking has not been too bad but, as all of you know – this Osprey nest makes me nervous. I will not be able to relax until Little Bob is a little older. It seems that Big Bob is trying to establish nest domination. Tiger Mozone wondered on the chat about DNA causing excessive aggressiveness in the chicks. Certainly this nest has a history of that type of behaviour. I also wonder about toxins in the water that enter the fish and stay in the tissue of the Ospreys.

Mom was hopeful around 09:45 and the chicks were in line to eat. Their crops have dropped from the small fish three and a half hours earlier.

The chicks are being fed more fish and for a longer period. What was six minutes a week ago has stretched into 45 minutes at the table. And these chicks will be fine today if a big fish does not come on the nest for a few more hours. The issue is Big Bob who seems to want to press his authority by fighting with the other two. Middle Bob is the clever one (so far) and seems to be able to stay out of the way but Little Bob still needs to learn how to protect itself.

The two older chicks are moving straight into the rapid growth period where they need lots of fish. Little Bob is following as quickly as he can. You can see that he is moving into the reptile phase himself. The dark feathers are coming in and he is losing the down on his head. Big Bob is awfully dark and a bit scary looking! He is the one holding his head the highest and looking towards you.

It is nearing noon, nest time. Dad has come to the nest without a fish. Is there a predator in the area? I actually thought that this nest was relatively free from predators unlike those in Europe and the US that have to deal with Goshawks, Great Horned Owls, etc. Or has Dad arrived to get the meal order from mom?

I couldn’t help myself. I had to check. Dad must have been taking the fish order at 11:25 because he delivered a fish to the nest around 12:25. Thank goodness. Big Bob behaved himself and everyone is getting to eat.

Look at who has his little mouth open wide!

Little Bob ate first. You can see from the crops. Middle and Big will eat next and by the time they finish, Little Bob will be hungry again. I hope that fish is big enough!

The big news over in New Zealand is that Tiaki has fledged on 25 September. She was 244 days old. Both her and Plateau Chick left the headland but, it has not been completely determined when that was. By the sat-pak it seems that Tiaki might have fledged at night but sometimes that sat-pak GPS requires adjustment. We all wish her a wonderful safe life, full of fish, and a return to us in five years time.

You can follow her satellite GPS. I will put the link below the fledging video.

Cornell Bird Lab caught the moment:

Here is the link so that you can check on Tiaki. Her satellite tracker should continue working for a year until her first moult. You can follow her dad, LGK also. His tracker should be good til he moults – another couple of months. There are only six chicks remaining to fledge.

https://my.wildlifecomputers.com/data/map/?id=6008d9ba31af59139976bcfe

The migration continues in Manitoba with everyone is excited. There are dawn breakfasts and evening dinners celebrating the arrival and departure of the Canada Geese – and, of course, the swans and all the other ducks and birds. Today marked the return of the Dark Eyed Junco to Winnipeg. Oh, people are so happy to see these adorable little birds. There are several sub-species of Junco and the one that visits Manitoba in the summer to breed is called the Slate-coloured Junco.

The Juncos love my red outdoor carpet. Tomorrow or the next day there will be 50 or more hopping about on it and jumping in and out of the dill. They love it if we ‘intentionally’ spill some seeds on the carpet. They are better than a vacuum clearing them up if we do. They do not feed at the feeders but are also seen on the ground for invertebrates. Isn’t this a real cutie? It was definitely not shy. The image was shot through a triple pane of glass so as not to disturb the bird. It seemed to not notice me.

Today, Mr Blue Jay had two other Blue Jay male visitors that wanted to help him eat his cob of dried corn.

By the time dusk arrives, the Jays and the squirrels – both red and grey – had made a real mess of the seeds. I think one of the squirrels wanted some of that corn but the Blue Jays were not having it. They would eat 3 or 4 kernels and then take some away in their beak. It was fascinating watching them through the windows.

Little Red decided it was easier to get up in the lilac bushes and balance himself on the bird feeder and eat his dinner there. Contending with three male Blue Jays was not something he wanted to do. So he kept quiet and ate and ate. He also doesn’t get on with the Grey Squirrels. He has picked a good place to eat in peace and quiet.

Awwww. Look at those tiny little nails.

It was a good day. All of the garden wildlife save for the rabbit were accounted for. There were also several new species of sparrow in the lilac bushes eating seeds. There were Chipping sparrows as well as Clay Coloured Sparrows today.

Hatch watch is coming soon for the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcons. WBSE 27 and 28 are doing well. 28 actually managed to get a prey delivery today. Here is a short video showing 28 mantling the prey and then wanting to share it with his big sib. They have their beautiful juvenile plumage and are so adorable.

I also checked in on the Bald Eagles who are working on their nests. Will put in a report some time this weekend. I know that many of you are anxious for Samson and Gabby, Harriet and M15, as well as Jackie and Shadow to get those nests built and those eggs laid! And while the last of the Albatross are fledgling, it will not be that long til the other adults return to Taiaroa Head to make their nests and lay their eggs for the 2022 season. Sometimes time feels like it melts in front of our eyes.

Thank you for joining me. I have promised myself that I am not going to worry about the Port Lincoln Ospreys tonight. The crazy thing is that I wish the winds would pick up. Dad seems to be able to fish better when that is the case. Yes, I know. That is a crazy idea. Take care all of you. Stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, and Wildlife Computers.

Wednesday in Bird World

Lady Hawk has posted some close ups of the Royal Albatross cam chick, Tiaki, doing some wing exercises. Tiaki is all grown up, a beautiful juvenile, the daughter of LGL and LGK. She will fledge soon beginning her five or six year journey at sea – never touching land – til she returns to the headland to begin finding a mate. Perhaps one day Tiaki’s chick will be the Royal cam chick. I do hope so. It will mean that the seas are safer places for our beautiful squid eating birds.

“Masked Bobwhite (female ) (subspecies of Northern Bobwhite) | BANWR | AZ | 2016-04-15at07-43-413” by Bettina Arrigoni is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Audubon Society has posted some really good news. The Masked Bobwhites are once again seen in southern Arizona. They were believed to be on extinct or on the edge of extinction because of cattle grazing in the Arizona deserts. Today they are listed as ‘critically endangered’.

They are a small round quail. When I was a child, we would travel to visit relatives in Arizona every summer. Oh, was it hot! But there were always Bobwhites. It is nice to hear that they are now returning.

This photo was taken on the 10th of September. I wrote about it at the time because in migration news, this is great. The son of Aeron Z2 and Blue 014 at the Pont Cresor nest in the Glaslyn Valley – and the grandson of Monty and Glesni – had reached Brittany. That was 12 days ago. He would now be further on his migration, perhaps stopping in Spain. The photo of Blue 494 was taken by Colette Leclerq.

Photo by Colette Leclerq, Brittany France

Speaking of migration and waiting and wanting news of Blue 464, it is more than time to check on the Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia.

First up, Karl II, his daughter Pikne, and his son Udu. They are from the Black Stork nest in the Karula Forest in Estonia. This map is taken from the Karl II migration pages of the Forum.

Udu is now in Hungary near the fishponds at Banhalma. Karl II remains around Kherson Oblata in the Ukraine. Pikne has doubled back and remains in Moldova. What I think is interesting about this map is that Udu has turned and is heading towards the Asia Minor route. There was a question as to whether he might go the western route to Africa but it seems he will be flying over Greece.

This is the data from BirdMap. You can access the BirdMap here:

http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/EN

I was wanting to see about the Black stork Julge. He is Jan and Janika’s only surviving chick this year. He is now in france. You can see him still heading over the westerly routing.

The birds that are in the centre of Africa are two Ospreys!

So far everything looks in order and everyone is still safe.

I cannot bring you a late afternoon update on the Port Lincoln Ospreys. The camera was frozen for most of the day and has just returned to normal. Mom has the kids covered tight. It is only 8 degrees at 16:00 with winds blowing over the water at 11 kph.

I can show you a bit of what a beautiful day it was on the Canadian prairies. I really need to practice with my camera and my tripod. These are some images today taken at a distance of about 68 metres. I found the tripod tricky to use – I need a counterbalance for it – so these are all hand held. The set up was heavy. But there were a few passable images.

A female Mallard. This species is very common in Manitoba. They have, on occasion, fooled me so I have had to go to our local eBird expert. This is a real beauty.

The Canada Geese would like the entire pond to themselves. They swim after and honk as they pursue the ducks.

There is your dabbling duck. She knows that goose is there but is trying to ignore it.

The park was just beautiful. It was 25 degrees today. One of the fountains was not working and that end of the pond had men working. Still the geese on the other side were a bit curious.

All of the Wood Ducks were either up on the islands or down by the fountain that was working. This is a female and she is such a cutie. I sat and watched her swim in and out of the water droplets for quite awhile.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Tomorrow is a day away chasing shore birds. I hope to have a posting tomorrow evening (Thursday). Take care everyone. Stay safe. Stay Positive!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Friends of Ospreys, and to the Eagle Club of Estonia, BirdMap, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

Sunday in Ospreyland

The sun is shining bright, the birds are singing and it is 24 degrees C on the Canadian Prairies. Yes, you read that right. 24 C. No wonder my Hibiscus is doing well. We have the temperatures of the tropics! It will be 28 before the day is over. The only way to tell it is autumn in a couple of days is to look at the colour of the leaves.

The weather is not the only thing wonderful to wake up to. Thanks to the difference in time between Australia and Canada, the happenings on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest in the late afternoon are what I wake up to. And, my goodness, they are good! Dad came in with a really nice fish at 15:37. The Osplets were fed at 13:15, 15:37, 16:47, and again at 17:30.

All lined up nicely. These wee ones know precisely what to do. The feedings are starting to get a little longer as the trio grow. The oldest two hatched four hours apart on 13 September at 22:03 and 14 September 02:30. Little Bob hatched at 00:51:50 on 15 September. The close hatch times will really help this nest!

As we begin week 2, I am aware, like so many of you, that the potential for PLO to succeed with three fledges will be revealed in weeks 2 and 3. We are all very hopeful this year.

Look at the crops!

Dad eating some leftover fish.

Mom in the nest on the left and Dad on the perch on the right. It was a good day at Port Lincoln! Well done Mom and Dad.

These little ones are awfully squirmy. It is a wonder Mom gets any sleep. One of them wanted to peek out at 00:20:59.

Things are going so well. Port Lincoln needs good weather, good fishing, and a dad in tip top condition to get the food on the nest.

All of the UK Ospreys have begun their migration. George Anderson wrote an excellent article on migration and how climate change could impact our beloved birds. Here is the link:

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2021/09/osprey-migration-facts-map/?fbclid=IwAR2uWIlfHTouFdcVIaHh6-bf3zOVAv9C6rn1KaScjlE1WkaOvJ7aUeAKGqU

My friend, ‘T’ wrote to tell me that the Dyfi on line shop will be opening in October. If Monty was one of your favourite Ospreys, you might want to check out Emyr Evans’ book, Monty. It is reasonably priced and I am told full of everything you could ever want to know about this beloved male. If you missed it, Monty and Glesni’s grandson Pont Cresor’s Blue 494 (son of Aeron Z2 and Blue 014) was photographed in Brittany on his very first migration this week.

While there are many other sightings of the birds, it is also confirmed that LR2, son of Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0 from Loch of the Lowes, was photographed in Trebujena, Spain this past week also.

This is a short trailer for a documentary about Ospreys. The images are stunningly beautiful. You need to have a look.

This documentary is due to be show on Nature on October 25th in North America. As I gather more specific details, I will post them.

Take care everyone. I am off to track down a Juvenile Green Heron. Wish me luck! Thanks for stopping by.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project’s streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Late Saturday in Bird World

I want to thank the person who wrote and thanked me for keeping everyone abreast of what is happening with the Port Lincoln Osplets. It is truly my pleasure. The situation of siblicide last year with Tapps really touched our or tore out our hearts. People can say that nature is not like Disneyland – and it surely isn’t – but, it is still hard. How many times did we want to scoop up little Tapps and feed him? I almost quit watching Ospreys entirely because of Tapps. I do understand – completely.

I began to wonder about these third hatches. The Osprey nests had such a hard time last year that there were few with three hatches that survived. The first was Tiny Tot at Achieva. Aka Tumbles. What an amazing bird. I will not bore you with all of the intricate details but, in the first two six weeks of her life, Tiny Tot had 12 days – 12 whole days – without food. At least twice, she went for 72 hours. That bird wanted to live. She was clever! And, yes, she got angry and lashed out at the older ones twice. I believe it was the last instance when Diane, the female, took notice. She began bringing in food to the nest. Those big catfish saved Tiny Tot’s life. And then Tiny Little at Foulshaw Moss. Neither of the Tinys should have survived but they did and were stronger birds for it. My interest in third hatches was cemented with the two Tinys. I want to see if their survival rate is higher than the big siblings. The problem is that so few of them are ringed or have satellite trackers. Someone in France just photographed Blue 494 from the Dyfi Nest. Maybe they will see Blue 463, Tiny Little, too. Oh, I hope so.

What I can tell you is that the PLO are doing fine. Little Bob has a good appetite. He can’t eat as many bites as Big Bob but at the most recent feeding, Little Bob ate enough to go into food coma! Mom seems particularly focused on making sure that each gets bites. She is doing really well this year and so is Dad with bringing in the fish. It is 11 degrees C in Port Lincoln and the winds are still blowing strong at 24 kmh. That is 14.91 miles an hour. It might not sound like a lot but it can certainly disrupt fishing.

Here is a close up. Little Bob is the one that is being fed. You can see that he already has the makings of a very good crop.

This is Little Bob getting some nice bites. The one that looks asleep is actually Big Bob. She has eaten and is taking a ‘breather’. Meanwhile Little and Middle Bob are enjoying the morning breakfast.

There is Big Bob back up at the table! Doesn’t take long. She can eat bigger pieces and more of them now. But there is no problem with Little or Middle Bobs eating. Everyone is doing well.

Every once in awhile their eyes lock on one another and my body goes rigid but, so far, nothing. Mom goes around making sure everyone has bites. It is that kind of security that keeps things tranquil.*

These are really well behaved youngsters. Food is plentiful and they line up with mouths open letting out little peeps. Middle Bob is getting some bites now while Little and Big wait their turns.

As I said, Little Bob has a very good appetite and he won’t leave the table until he falls over in food coma or mom calls it quits. Remember, she does not want them to catch cold. Right now the feedings are lasting about nine minutes.

Little Bob is full and in a food coma. The crops are filling on the older two. Oh, what a delight this nest is to watch this year. Of course, it can all change. Just continue to send the warmest of wishes to this family. We want three survivors! Three.

Closer to home. I was heading out to check on the Wood Ducks at the park. The last time I was there the male Wood Ducks – save for one – were in the equinox. They were moulting and getting their fall plumage. They were certainly not their brilliant beautiful selves.

As soon as I was out the door I could hear the familiar pecking of the male Downy Woodpecker in the garden. He comes several times a day. Rumour has it that he lives inside the 123 year-old Maple tree in front of my house.

In the winter I rub peanut butter suet on the bark and I often see him eating away. This summer he brought his baby to find the suet. The strange thing is – we have never seen the female. It is so odd.

Little Woodpecker is such a sweetie. One day when Sharpie, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, was in the garden, the little woodpecker was on the suet like he is today. For 45 minutes, he held on tight, not moving, just blinking his eyes rapidly. He was so afraid he was going to be Sharpie’s lunch. I felt so sorry for him. Sharpie was sitting on a branch under him pretending to be. feeder! Needless to say Sharpie wasn’t successful that day.

It is a beautiful fall day and the park was full of Canada geese and people having picnics and playing cricket.

Over in the pond, the male Wood Ducks really stand out. They have finished their moult. Just look at the range of colour in those feathers. Even the golden beige ones are gorgeous.

Here is a different one. The shape of the head is slightly different on this one.

The female Wood Ducks have really grown, too. My goodness. What a change in a a week. They were so tiny when I left but they seem to be growing by leaps and bounds.

There were definitely more females than males.

The Mallards were particularly annoying today. We noticed that the female Wood Ducks tended to stay close to one another.

Isn’t she beautiful?

The male Mallards are in the middle of moulting. Soon they will have those beautiful emerald green heads that are so characteristic. For now, they look a little bit like peeling duck decoys instead of living breathing water fowl.

There were lots of female Mallards in the pond today.

Two Canada Geese came flying in creating a bit of a ruckus.

Then they slithered along the surface of the pond. They looked rather strange and everyone stopped to try and figure out what they were doing.

We presumed that they were sipping water.

Speaking of water. The pond is pretty clean this year. There are two fountains and everyone is abiding by the signs and not feeding the ducks. If they do it is wild bird seed. What a huge difference from the algae infested muck of last year.

It is early morning in Australia. There will be more meals for the youngsters. All of the birds in our park are safe and sound tonight. We have had no frost. In decades past there was always a freeze in August. I wonder if this might impact migration dates?

Thank you so much for joining me. Have a lovely rest of the weekend. Tomorrow I am going to try and break my unlucky streak and catch that juvenile Green Heron that is hanging about our City. Take care all. Stay safe.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.