Ystwyth Fledges and a shout out to those who helped the Patuxent Osprey chick

Yesterday was quite an anxious day with people all over the world staying up to see if the little osprey chick was saved at the Patuxent River Nest 2. In the flurry of the moment, a few people were not thanked who need to be. The first is Burky4 from the Achieva Osprey chat group. Indeed, Burky4 was the first person to mention that there were only two chicks in the nest in the nest in the Patuxent chat room. So this is a huge shout out to Burky4. Thank you! I will not know the names of everyone and I apologize – but another shout out to S Shen who then in her own words, “found the number of Tom O’Connell, director of the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center (EESC). His business number went to voice mail which INCLUDED his cell!! Yay. I was able to text him and he gave the phone numbers for the 24 hour a day Natural Resources Emergency or Assistance.” S Shen says that another individual to be credited is Barnegat Light. I also want to thank Linda Kontol who got busy phoning numbers as well to try and get anyone’s attention after hours. I also want to thank the young man on the Wildlife Emergency Services Line again who got in touch with the Fish & Game people. It was a grand team effort and this chick might not be alive this morning were it not for the efforts of these wonderful citizen birders and government officials who worked to save this little one. And to everyone that was inadvertently missed, thank you! Tom O’Connell will be posting information on the actual individuals who went to the site this coming week.

The ‘silo’ chick is the one that went into the water, the last foster chick to be put in this nest. It is the one in duckling mode. The chick has moved but has not moved a lot. It has had a lot of excitement. Let us hope that there is no damage from either of its falls.

Every day people watching nest cams move into action when they see an animal in distress.

S Shen reminds me again how important it is to have emergency numbers readily available. She said that several years ago she noticed a chick in a Lake Barkley, Kentucky nest entangled in fishing line. There was no chat room so she went to the nest’s FB page and remembered the name of one of the chatters who said they lived close to the nest. She tracked down their phone number and called them. That person, ER, managed to get someone up to the nest and the chick was saved.

I remember that my mother had a list of emergency phone numbers for everyone helping her just in case it was needed. It was on her fridge. Here are three suggestions and I am certain everyone reading this will have more. The first is if there is a chat room associated with a nest that it have a moderator 24/7 (these are volunteers) who have emergency numbers to call the instant something happens. The second is for anyone administering a streaming cam that the local emergency wildlife numbers appear right under the name of the nest so people can locate them quickly. And the third is for everyone who watches a nest to begin to gather their own emergency numbers to call for each nest and make their emergency list for their fridge, phone, etc.

In other Osprey news, if you missed it Tiny Little of the Foulshaw Moss fledged yesterday at 20:19:57. He slept alone on the nest duckling style last night and was up early looking around. It is just a beautiful morning in Cumbria as the sun slowly rises the mist gives way to a pink hue over the landscape.

Tiny Little was doing a lot of flapping and looking. I wonder if he realizes that he actually flew yesterday?

Monty and Glesni have a grandchick. Oh, they would be so proud. Four of their chicks are now breeding. Yesterday on the Pont Croesor Nest in the Glaslyn Valley, the Only Bob of Monty and Glesni’s son, Z2 Aeron, and Blue 014 was ringed!

Blue 494 is also the first chick to hatch in this nest so there are a lot of congratulations and happiness going around. The PC nest was controversial when it was positioned where it is. Many thought it too close to the Glaslyn Nest of Aran and Mrs G. Only time will tell how this works out. For 2021, Blue 494 is also the only chick to hatch at Glaslyn with the three little ones of Aran and Mrs G dying due to the circumstances surround the storm at the end of May and Aran’s injury.

And congratulations to Idris and Telyn on Ystwyth’s fledge today! Both of their 2021 chicks have now fledged. Well done.

Doesn’t that empty nest look nice? Ystwyth is 54 days old.

She is investigating the area around the cameras.

I have some great pictures of the Ks to share with you. I will get them organized this evening. For now there is a lot of happiness to go around. Once again thank you to all of those individuals who helped save the ‘silo chick’ at Patuxent.

Thank you for joining me this morning. It is another scorcher on the Canadian prairies. There is rumour of some showers but like everywhere else in Canada we could use some rain and the birds in my garden are probably wanting their bowls and baths to be filled.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife video on the ringing on their FB page, Dyfi Osprey Cam, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, and the Patuxent River Park Osprey Cam Nest 2.

Some good – and some worrying – news in Bird World

After the extreme heat and the death of the second and last chick on the Cowlitz Osprey Nest due to heat stroke, we all need some good news to come out of Bird World and we have it! Thank goodness.

The fantastic news comes from the Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales. In early June, in the midst of storms that had force 11 winds in the area, Aran, the mate of Mrs G, the oldest osprey in the UK, injured himself. The damage was to his primary wing feathers and was caused by battling intruders. That incident meant that Aran could not provide fish for Mrs G and the three chicks and, subsequently, those three chicks died of starvation despite the community gathering to bring in fish for the family on a feeding table. The fish donated by the community enabled Mrs G and Aran to heal. Still, everyone worried that Aran would not be sufficiently fit and healed for the late summer migration.

The couple are being monitored closely by the staff and volunteers. Today, at &:35 am, Aran brought Mrs G a fish! Now that might not sound like much of ‘anything’ but this is a really big deal. It is the first time that Aran has provided Mrs G with a fish since his wing injury occurred. It is also a significant step towards Aran’s complete recovery. There were tears in Wales but – they were tears of joy!

Here is that historic moment:

Mrs G is delighted and quickly accepts Aran’s gift. It isn’t just the food or Aran’s healing, it is also the bonding of the couple.

Now only was she delighted, but Mrs G was waiting at the nest until late still hoping that Aran would bring her another! Just lovely.

The camera is so hazy but I can tell you that Jack has been bringing in fish for Tiny Tot today. So everything is OK on the Achieva Osprey Nest.

Cute little K3 was over on the Cornell Red tail hawk nest had a prey drop.

K3’s self-feeding is getting much better and that is a good thing!

Don’t worry. A short time later K1 got some prey, too! Here she is eating as the rain begins to fall.

And it began to pour. It is 16:00 nest time and there are two very wet Ks. Both have eaten and really, everything is right in the world. Both are safe and sound sitting out the rain.

Sadly, Electra has returned to the nest where the bodies of her two chicks are. She has brought the same piece of fish she had last night – or that is what it looks like. Is she driven to want to feed the little one? Is it those same hormones that keep her tied to the idea that the male brings the fish keeping her here in her duties as mother to feed? I think she understood the death of the first chick. But, last evening she went out to get fish to feed her seemingly well chick that had a crop from an earlier feed. She returns and that chick is dead. How could she process that it was the heat that killed her baby?

Electra is panting and it has to be over 100 degrees up on that nest. Let us all hope that she leaves the nest and goes down to cool off in the water. I cannot tell from the camera angle if Electra has a crop of if her chest is extended from the heavy panting she is having to do. I am worried about her if that is the same fish. It would have been hot last night on the nest when she returned after 9pm. She stood looking out in the distance keeping the fish in her talons for some seven hours. She did not eat anything. If she has not eaten today yet – and it is around 1pm nest time – I wonder what kind of physical (and mental) state Electra is in. It has been a very traumatic year for this nest and the heat is not going to help. Electra has to be exhausted. ——— I recall being in India when it was 46 C. If humans do not stay hydrated they can become disoriented and confused also. Is this happening to Electra?

I just went to check on Electra again. It is now approximately 13:40 nest time. Her condition appears to be worsening. Her eyes do not look right and she is panting heavily. This poor mother. Will the heat get to her before her own survivor instincts kick in? or is she already damaged from the heat yesterday that she is simply not responding appropriately.

We know that Mrs G and Aran lost all three of their beautiful chicks. Mrs G processed that. She had rain and cold to deal with but what is this heat doing to this fish eagle?

UPDATE: 2:22 Cowlitz Nest Time. Electra has flown off the nest with the fish. I do not believe it is the same fish from yesterday or it was the tail section. I hope the large crop is from eating the other fish. Electra needs to heal. However, the important news is that Electra is no longer in the heat of the nest. Will keep you posted.

Because of the heat I went up to Juneau Alaska to check on Kindness on the Bald Eagle Nest in the Glacier Gardens. Everything is fine there. It has been hot and the eagles have been doing a lot of panting along with Kindness but the fish deliveries are constant and consistent. They will be fine.

This morning I was looking at the drying up of water and it sent me to check on Iris. Sometimes Iris, actually quite often, is on her nest. She is constantly doing nestorations and this year she has had a lot of intruders. Today was no exception. An intruder came to the nest about 11:35:31 this morning.

Note to everyone: Look at the beautiful nest that Iris has been constructing even after her eggs were taken by the Raven. She has brought in soft moss and built up the sides. I really do wonder if the state of the nest says something about the mental state of the Osprey mother??? I know it sounds out of left field but I always wondered about Electra and the state of the nest at Cowlitz. Birds have memories. Iris certainly has memories of lost chicks and hope. Raises so many questions! But, nevermind, I am rambling off in another direction.

About 1.5 or 2 minutes later, Louis flies in to help Iris.

This is not the first time that Louis has heard Iris and come to assist her with intruders. While he might not be a good mate to Iris and I have called him lots of names, he has shown himself in the last month to be willing to come and protect that nest. Is he protecting Iris? or is it the nest in his territory?

There he is below, facing towards the front. Iris is at the back. her wings still in the mantling/alerting position. For now, things have calmed down.

I am not sure how the heat is impacting the Bald Eagle and Osprey Nests in British Columbia. They are being impacted by it also. Will try and see if I can find out some news.

Thank you for joining me. It is wonderful to see Aran’s improvement! That should give us all a bit of a glow. Send all your warm wishes to Electra. She is confused and the heat is not helping her. Hopefully she will go and get in the shade and have a bath in the water to cool down. Sadly, no humans will go up and help her even if they understand that the extreme climate change has been caused by us. It is beyond sad.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens Bald Eagles, Cowlitz PUD, Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Ospreys, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.

It really is a great day in Bird World

Can the little Albino Osprey named Zuri see to grab prey from its mom, Landa? That is the question today at the Urdaibai. Yesterday the wee one with its pink eyes and beak had a few tiny bites of fish and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Today, it appears that its eyesight might cause issues in seeing the fish in order to grab it. Let us all send warm wishes over that way in the hope that this is sorted for the better!

Storms moved into the area later in the day. Let us hope that the damp cold moves out quickly!

And there is some good news coming out of Urdaibai. At 16:24:17, Zuri ate some fish. He was able to grab it. Continue with your warm wishes.

Here is a really good image of the nest and perch at the Urdaibai Biosphere.

The BBC did a special programme on Poole Harbour Ospreys. Poole Harbour is on the southern coast of England.

It is hard to imagine, in 2021, that it was 1993 that the first idea for reintroducing Ospreys to the southern coast of Britain began with discussions between Roy Dennis and Colin and Jenni Tubbs. Sadly, Colin died four years later and the project sat. Dennis discussed the possibility with others making several trips to the site and plotting out potential nest sites but, the Poole Harbour Osprey Project got its wings so to speak in July 2016 when funding came through. Eight birds were released successfully with trackers in late June in the area. Between 25 August and 23 September Dennis says that all eight set off for migration for Africa. It was 2017 and three were known to have arrived successfully in Africa. Dennis describes the details and all those involved in pages 393-407 of his most recent book, Restoring the Wild.

The following April, 2018, Blue ringed CJ7, a Rutland three year old arrived looking for a mate. That mate was Blue L57 but in 2020 he did not return from his migration. CJ7 was the subject of the BBC programme. In 2020, CJ7 took ownership of the main nest of the Poole Harbour osprey Project. She wanted a mate. In 2021, she laid five unfertilized eggs which the Ravens acquired.

And then, when the interview was being filmed, as if by magic, a male appeared on the nest, a two year old, a 2019 bird, Blue 022. He got busy with mating with CJ7 right on camera to the surprise of the live audience! It is too late for chicks this year but let us hope that this couple have a long productive life on the Poole Harbour nest.

Blue 022 is a two year old. So happy he stopped in at Poole on his return journey from Africa. Let us hope that this couple raises many chicks on this prime nest on the southern coast of England. Their mating marked a first in 200 years for this part of England. Imagine the celebration when there are chicks on the nest!!!!!

Tiny Tot had an early morning fish delivery to add to the late night one on 2 June. So far Jack is rewarding Tiny with fish as Tiny continues to protect the natal nest. That morning fish delivery came at 6:26:54. sibling #2 hasn’t been around for a day and a bit. Maybe he doesn’t want to battle with the intruder. But better, he is off catching his own fish! That would be brilliant.

After his breakfast, Tiny Tot started doing some nestorations. Gosh, remember. Males return to their natal nest. Oh, how grand it would be if this became Tiny’s nest in the future (now I really hope that Tiny Tot is a male!).

So a fish late last night and one this morning. All of us can relax for the rest of the day.

Good news is also coming out of Glaslyn. Aran’s wing is visually improving and his flight feathers are aligned. Oh, that is simply wonderful. We were all concerned about Aran being able to make his migration to Africa and here it is 3 June and he is healing splendidly. He has taken a fish from the nest and is eating it on the perch. Mrs G would really like some of it! The males are hard wired to provide so let us hope that Aran shares.

And good news out in San Francisco. Fauci and Wek-Wek, two of the fledgling Peregrine Falcons of Annie and Grinnell were on the tower this morning prey calling. Oh, it is so good to see them!

Oh, I couldn’t leave without checking on the storks today. Let us make it one more good moment! My friend, ‘R’ in Pennsylvania really likes the storks so these images are for you, ‘R’.

The community is doing splendid. Both dad and the three storklets are in fine health and the nest has lovely dry straw on it. What an amazing effort.

Dad stork is protecting his babies from the direct sun.

I wonder if they are watching for a fish delivery.

It is nice to close this Thursday posting on a real positive note. So far everything that is going on at the nests appears to be good. Fledglings are returning, storks are growing, the Poole Harbour Osprey Project has its legs so to speak, Tiny Tot has had a fish, and sweet little Zuri has grabbed some fish.

Thanks so much for joining me. Stay cool if you are in the heat warning area of the Canadian prairies, take care, stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Osprey Cam, Urdaibai Biosphere Park, Mlady Buky, UC Falcon Cam, Poole Harbour Ospreys FB Page, and Bwyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.

Wednesday edition of ‘As the Nest Turns’

Gosh, what a day it has been with the hatch of the first known albino Osprey chick at the Urdaibai Biosphere Park in Spain. Let us hope that despite the challenges that being an albino faces in the wild, that this little one thrives!

Little Albino Osprey. First known. Born in Urdaibai, Spain. 2 June 2021

And surprise. I often just check in on nests that are thought to be vacant after the juveniles fledge and lo and behold, look what is on one of the branches of Legacy’s natal tree – an Osprey! It isn’t Legacy our beautiful ebony plumed juvenile Bald Eagle but hey, it is a bird and a nice surprise!

Well, hello. Did Legacy give you permission to use her nest?

It has been raining in Wales and that means it is wet on the nest of Mrs G and Aran. Since there are no chicks to brood, the pair more than likely come to the nest to retrieve their fish, eat them on the perch or off camera, and perch and roost in nearby trees. They need to still protect that valuable nest of theirs for next year’s season and we already know that there are two year old juveniles sniffing around.

Another damp day at the nest of Mrs G and Aran

The Glaslyn Wildlife Centre has received so many questions that instead of trying to answer each one individually or go on FB with postings, they wrote a detailed blog titled, ‘The Not So Perfect Storm’. I was impressed with the range of subjects they covered and the detailed sound information provided. The topics ranged from Why Did Mrs G Stop feeding the chicks? to What will happen to the Glaslyn pair now? to describing how Aran and Z2, Aeron, who occupies the PC nest with Blue 014, worked together to drive a male osprey away that had intruded at both nests. Wow! Cooperative territorial patrols. I like that. If you would like to read this very informative document, please go to:

https://www.glaslynwildlife.co.uk/2021/06/the-not-so-perfect-storm/?fbclid=IwAR2XsSXG68wolURyB6DYXI5KLe_7yPJIJuOm2Zmx3iMGe66RHknNzBUdbgY

Idris is know for his whoppers and here is another one!
Telyn feeding the two osplets that huge fish Idris brought to them.

I posted this image so you could see the change the plumage of these two little ones. Bobby Bach is 9 days old and still retains his light grey natal down and hair on its head. Bob, the oldest, is changing plumage and as their Twitter feed said, “now resembles ancient theropod lineage of the Cretaceous period, 66 million years ago”. Bob’s hair on its head is ‘thinning’. He is getting coppery coloured feathers around its head and neck. The body plumage will be getting quite dark.

Osplet on the right still has natal down while osplet on the left is moving into Reptilian Phase.

That is the stage that Big Bob is currently at. He is the eldest chick on the Loch of the Lowes Osprey Nest and he is beginning his Reptilian Phase.

Big Bob at the Loch of the Lowes Nest in his full reptilian phase!

Then the little ones will begin to be covered with their beautiful feathers. Have a look at the pair at The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island. Aren’t they gorgeous? They have retained some of that peach on their heads or necks and look at those gorgeous dark white tipped feathers on their wings and back. Stunning. The eldest at the Landings nest is started to self-feed a tiny bit.

The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island. aka Savannah Ospreys. Gorgeous feathers and starting to think about self feeding.

In the image of the Two Bobs at the Rutland Nest today, they are just leaving the reptilian phase and starting to get their gorgeous juvenile plumage. Look at them and look at the ones above at The Landing. In a couple of days the Rutland chicks will look like them! They change so quickly.

Maya is feeding the Two Bobs

It has been raining off and on in Ithaca, New York. Big Red’s Ks have wet feathers. It is a good way to see the changing plumage from K1, the eldest, to K3, the youngest.

In the image below, K3 is causing everyone to hold their breath as it looks down from the light tower ledge. Look at the beautiful dark feathers with their peach on the other two siblings. K3 is just getting its juvenile plumage on its wings. Both of the older siblings still have some down that will be covered soon.

The Ks are curious

Here they are standing up. Note the beautiful peach on the one on the left. If I could get the middle K to turn around you would see they have some peach, too. They look like they are wearing medieval costumes complete with pantaloons, vest, and morning coat. Quite dignified. Big Red is a very dark Red -tail Hawk with Arthur’s plumage being quite light in comparison. Big Red has a magnificent dark apron.

Don’t you just love their feathery costumes?

In terms of plumage that beautiful apron or low necklace of Big Red’s is a stunner. Also note her head, neck, and shoulders.

Here she is from the back. The Ks will not get their red tail til after their first year moult.

My friend in Maine spotted the bleeding from K1’s ear over a week ago and was worried. This is today and there is still some blood there. The ears are not protected until they get their feathers. Big Red works on them to clean them. One of the reasons for the greenery – especially the pine – which is a natural insecticide – is to keep away the insects that could lay eggs in the hawklets ears. In avian studies, they have observed no ill effects to the bird.

Here is a link to a very good and not so long article about parasites in birds including their ears:

Tiny Tot has been on and off the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest in St Petersburg on and off today. He had a nice fish delivery early this morning and is probably hoping for another!

I want to memorize the way this juvenile looks but it will be little help to me if I try to track him down as an adult. Perhaps he will return and take over his natal nest in 4 years time! or maybe he will be a little precocious like the 2 year old juvenile male at Poole Harbour and we might see him scraping with Jack in a couple of years.

Here comes Tiny, the extraordinary, our Super Hero! He will do a perfect landing on the perch pole.

And there it is. Bingo. On the top. No fumbling around.

All those feathers have grown in for our incredible flyer.

And there he is ready to take on any intruders that might want to come to this nest and take his fish today.

There are, as we have all been noticing, other birds that intrude on the territory of others. Then there are people. There were people close to one of the osprey nests in Wales and more recently, the staff put up a camera at the Bucovina Golden Eagle nest in Bulgaria. Golden Eagles are very rare. The couple has one chick on the nest. The camera spooked the male and he left the nest for several days. This meant that the female wound up being a single mom like Spilve and Milda. She had to hunt, feed, brood, and protect the nest. Thankfully, the male returned to the nest yesterday, 1 June. It is a good lesson to everyone. The slightest disturbance can have catastrophic implications for the birds. Some are more sensitive than others to human presence.

You can see the chick below and this video shows the joyful return of the Dad to the nest after many days.

I will close with a beautiful image of the Dad Stork and the three storklets earlier today. The villagers in Mlade Buky Czechoslovakia are feeding then after the mother was electrocuted on power lines. Such generous caring people. Look at the crop on that one standing! They are doing very well, don’t you think?

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please stay safe and take care.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Mlady Buky, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Bucovina Bulgaria, Dyfi Osprey Project and Montgomeryshire Trust, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife Trust, LRWT, Achieva Osprey, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, and Association Wild Bucovina.

Last chick at Glaslyn dies

After the death of the middle chick last night, Mrs G kept the wee one warm even though it could barely hold up its head. It died late this afternoon. There has been much speculation as to what happened on this nest but nothing will be known for sure without a post mortem. Did the chicks get a pneumonia from all the rain and the damp cold nest? was it some other avian disease associated with rain and cold? I saw some chatter on another nest’s streaming cam speculate that it was starvation. I cannot even imagine that anyone would say that. The quantity of the food brought to this nest is not an issue. They were fed well. Was it a matter that the chicks had no food for several days that caused this? We do not know if that interruption caused damage to their systems. The Ospreys have been eating and the little ones were eating well. Mrs G tried to feed the little one at 8:20 am this morning but it was just too weak. Another person mentioned the deadly bird flu that is currently in northern Europe. That was the virus, the deadly HPAI of the subtype H5N1. The chicks would have, like others, caught the HPAI by eating an infected wild bird. Dr Thijs Kuiken of Erasmus University is a Virologist who deals with deadly pathogens in birds. I have written to ask him but I suspect that he would say nothing is sure without a post-morten. I believe he might also say that the Ospreys at Glaslyn have only eaten fish and could not possibly have the deadly H5N1. I will let you know when I hear from him.

Mrs G understands that all of her chicks are now deceased. She stood over them for a very long time in the same way we have seen the Bald Eagles at the Captiva Nest and the White-tailed Eagle Nests in Latvia and Estonia when eaglets pass. She was disturbed in her mourning by the crows who were finally driven away by Aran.

Mrs G looks down at her chicks many times. What does she understand about their death that we might not?

In her 21 years, she has lost few chicks. So this is a great sadness for this well established and respected – iconic – Osprey family.

Mrs G flies to the perch where she can still protect her babies and the fish on the nest from the crows if it is necessary while she eats.

Mrs G was ravenous. She has laid eggs depleting her calcium, she has incubated the eggs, and brooded her chicks during the most dire weather. Force 11 winds and steady rain came right when they were hatching. To add to that, Aran, her mate was injured by intruders and could not fish.

The volunteers and staff at Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife set up a fish table for the Ospreys. They placed large quantities fish there from dusk to dawn so that Aran and Mrs G could take them to the nest and so that the Crows would not get the fish (they would be sleeping).

More fish are brought to the nest after Mrs G finishes eating.

Mrs G is not ready to say goodbye to her three babies yet and she is brooding them another night.

Mrs G and Aran will be back to the nest next year. Aran needs to mourn and to heal and grow in his flight feathers and Mrs G needs to mourn and restore her health. It is a very sad occasion indeed but it is hoped that both of the adults will recover fully.

Thank you for joining me on this quick posting. I appreciate the streaming cam set up by the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife Center. It is where I obtained my screen shots.

Bird World Nest Spotlight: Foulshaw Moss (plus Glaslyn update)

The weather has calmed down in the United Kingdom. The birds are getting a break from those Force 11 winds and the heavy rains that caused flooding in several areas. The sun must feel really good on those feathers!

My focus today is on the Osprey Nest at Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria. Foulshaw Moss is one of the rarest and most threatened habitats in all of the United Kingdom and Europe. It is a raised bog. What is a bog? why is it so rare? and why do Ospreys and other wetland birds love this area in Cumbria so much?

Raised bogs are rare in lowland Britain because 94% of them have been drained so that trees could be planted. By planting the trees, which require water to grow, these former wetlands are anything but wet! The Foulshaw Moss raised bog is unique because of its peat. A Google search tells me that peat is “a brown deposit resembling soil, formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter in the wet acidic conditions of bogs and fens, and often cut out and dried for use as fuel and in gardening.” Peat was cut at the Cumbria site but the area still has a ‘dome’ of peat that is higher than the surrounding area.

In 1998, the Cumbria Wildlife Trust purchased the property. Their goal was to reverse the damage caused by drainage and afforestation. It is now designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is highly protected. Natural England has provided funds for the Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the British Dragonfly Society to reintroduce the White-faced Darter, an extremely rare species of dragonfly.

“White Faced Darter” by Martijn Nijenhuis is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The acid pools, the mosses and the bog grasses are home to many other species of bird and insects. It is a very unique area that includes the rare Emperor Dragonfly, seen in the image below.

“Dragonfly – Foulshaw Moss” by Stephen Childs is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This is the female Emperor Dragonfly living in the wetlands.

“Female Emperor Dragonfly” by tsbl2000 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“Bog Rosemary” by DenaliNPS is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“bog cranberry” by troutcolor is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The moss and pools are perfect places for nests and feeding for many wetland birds including the moorhen, snipe and water rail. The area is also home to many birds of prey such as Peregrine falcons, Sparrowhawks, and Buzzards.

“Grey Wagtail – Foulshaw Moss” by Stephen Childs is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It is also home to Ospreys – and that is what this blog is about – The Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest! They live in an incredible environment and grateful thanks to all those who made this raised bogland possible! Here is a short introduction to the conservation of the area and the Ospreys.

“Osprey (Foulshaw Moss) – Leighton Moss” by Stephen Childs is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ospreys have been at the mossy bog since 2008 but it appears that they have only been nesting there and breeding since 2014. Like all other UK Ospreys, the couple migrate. They return to Foulshaw Moss in late March or April and leave for Africa or Southern Spain in August and September. The resident couple are White YW (male) born at Bassenthwaite in 2008. The female is Blue 35 and she was born in Kielder Forest in 2010. Both of them returned to the nest at Foulshaw Moss on the same day – 26 March 2021 -within hours of one another. So this begs a question.

UK Ospreys normally travel to either The Gambia or Senegal for winter; some stay in Southern Spain. This is a trip of 4000 km there and 4000 km back. It has always been assumed that the Ospreys do not stay in the same spot together. The females normally leave a few weeks earlier while the males remain at the nest feeding the fledglings only departing in September when the chicks are gone. Maya and Blue 33 (11) adore one another. Blue 33 often spends time in the nest with Maya. They simply like to be around one another and they, too, arrive – this year – within half an hour of one another. What if they do stay together in Africa? what if they travel together? I wish these couples had satellite trackers!!!!!!! Besides Foulshaw Moss, Rutland Manton Bay, two other UK Osprey couples arrived back at their nest within hours of one another and they were the resident pair at Bassenthwaite and Loch Doon.

Blue 35 and White YW’s first egg was laid on 10 April, the second on the 13th, and the last on the 16th. Hatches were 21 May, 23 May, and 25 May. There was some concern about the little one but here they are all thriving and loving their fish. Blue 35 always makes sure the little one gets fed.

Indeed, in 2015, Blue 35 worked hard to ensure that another little chick, Blue V4 always had food and fledged. She kept a close eye on the older siblings. Fantastic mother this Blue 35.

@ Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Blue 35 (f) and White YW (m) appear to have hatched twenty-two chicks since 2014. Here is the information:

2014 – 3 chicks (Blue 5A f, Blue 6A f, Blue 7A m)

2015 – 3 chicks (Blue V2 f, Blue V3 f, Blue V4 m)

2016- 3 chicks (Blue V8 f, Blue V9 m, third died after 3 days)

2017 – 3 chicks (Blue U9 m, Blue V0 f, Blue N0 m)

2018- 3 chicks (Blue 5N m, Blue 9N f, Blue 7N m)

2019 – 2 chicks out of 3 eggs (Blue 3N f, Blue 2N m). Note: Blue 3N was the largest chick they had ever seen. At six weeks when she was banded she weighed 1810 grams. Known as ‘Biggie’ no one thought she would be able to fledge she was so large but she did!

2020-2 chicks out of 3 eggs (Blue 410 f, Blue 411 f)

2021 – 3 chicks

So why do I include all of these coloured ring numbers? Numbered rings can immediately tell you where a bird is from. They are coloured. In Scotland, the coloured bands are on the left leg while in England and Wales, the Darvic ring is on the right leg. The chicks are normally ringed at around six weeks of age when their leg is fully grown. Without satellite trackers which are expensive, we cannot possibly know where the birds travel. Even if ringed, you still have to be able to read the numbers which is not always easy. Those pesky Osprey like to hide them for some reason!

Right now, there have been confirmed sightings or images of six of the nineteen fledges from Foulshaw Moss. One, Male Blue 7A (14) is mated with an unringed female at Esthwaite in the Lake District and they have three eggs ready to hatch in 2021. They have been breading there since 2017. Male Blue N0 (17) is at an unmonitored nest in Wales; he was seen at Montgomeryshire in Wales in May 2020. Male Blue V8 (16) was seen in January 2021 in The Gambia and also at Leighton Moss. Female Blue V3 was seen at a Kielder Nest in 2017. The two males from 2018, 5N and 7N (the tiny one) were seen in The Gambia and Spain, respectively. Not all sightings are recorded and I am still trying to see if there is a comprehensive listing. Tiger Mozone’s website has a list of returning two year olds and it is helpful. It is interesting, also, that of the six sightings, five were for male fledges. I wish I had more data (yes, I am a data nut!). Does this mean that males are more likely to survive the first migration? and if so, why? Why does one answer always lead to ten more questions???!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is the link to the Cumbria Osprey Cam. You will not find it on YouTube. I personally think cam 2 is the best. There is no rewind feature.

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/cams/osprey-cam

I would like to close with the latest news from Glaslyn:

“We would like to say thank you to each and every one of you for your support since we shared yesterday evening’s update from the Glaslyn Nest. It means a lot to us.
Aran has been looking stronger again today, taking longer flights around the nest area and making more of an attempt at chasing away persistent intruding ospreys. Mrs G has been bothered much less by the crows and both chicks have fed well.
We know how much you miss watching the Glaslyn family online and we are happy to announce that Live Streaming will return tomorrow morning. We will be live streaming from the nest between 8am-8pm for the time being. We can’t wait to ‘chat’ with you all again!”

That is just the best news that I can imagine on a late Wednesday afternoon on the Canadian prairies. Take care everyone. Thanks so much for joining me today!

Kind and Generous People helping the birds

I went to sleep Monday night, 24 May, afraid to wake up for fear that the two remaining chicks on the Glaslyn Osprey Nest of Mrs G and Aran would have perished. Tuesday morning there was still no news. But no news is good news, right? Late Tuesday there was an announcement. The staff and volunteers at the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre had sought advice from Dr Tim Mackirill and had set up a fish table (see blog, The Miracle at Glaslyn). They provide fish for Mrs G, Aran, and the two chicks from dusk to dawn because that is when the crows are sleeping. Otherwise, the crows would take the food for the Osprey family.

It is a huge effort and it has paid off -Aran and Mrs G are regaining their strength and the two Bobs (2 and 3) are alive. Indeed, they are doing very well. The Osprey adults have no problem taking the fish from the feeding table. This is really important. I am hopeful that when the urgency has passed that the staff will give details so that other communities can use their methods if it is ever needed.

Here is a quick video capturing one of the feedings on Tuesday:

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I am a promoter of feeding tables in situations like this. Feeding tables work if they are done correctly. The fish that is being provided while Aran’s right wing heals will save all four members of this Osprey family. I also get very upset when people shy away from the work involved in helping non-humans when we have the ability to do so. “Oh, we can’t intervene. They are wild animals.” Yes, of course, but we have already intervened in their lives. We have robbed them of their habitat, we have poisoned the rivers and oceans where they get their fish, we have changed the climate – the list is long. And because humans cut down the beautiful old growth forests, we have also had to provide platforms so they can nest. Cheers and tears for the efforts coming out of Glaslyn.

No more than I had posted my blog on the miracle happening at Glaslyn, than my friend ‘T’ from Strasbourg reached out to me to tell me about a village taking care of a family of storks. The mother was electrocuted when she stepped on the power lines providing electricity to the homes. The villagers felt responsible and so, the community of Mlade Buky took on the task of providing food for the father and the chicks. Are they called storklets? Mlade Buky is in Czechoslovakia. It is east of the Great Mountains and is home to several ski resorts. 2300 souls live there.

The villagers donate 4-6 cm fish, hamsters, squirrels – whatever food the storks will eat. The chicks and the dad are fed three times a day. Fresh straw is also provided to keep the little ones dry. It is spring and rain is frequent. The father is not able to fish for his youngsters as he now has to protect and brood them. You will see him flying over the rooftops as fish is put on the nest. Please take the time to watch the storks being fed. It will warm your heart.

I sat and reflected on these two examples – Glaslyn and Mlade Buky. Each is different. Glaslyn supplies a fish table where the adults retrieve the food and take it to the nest. I do not know the specifics. Are the food alive? are they inside some kind of tank? etc. In Mlade Buky, the donated food is placed directly on the nest by climbing up to it. What if the species is not an Osprey (used to living around humans more) or a stork? What if it were a Golden Eagle? Is intervention different by species? I would like to find out because I began immediately to remember the situation with Spilve and her son, Klints. Klints was near to fledging in 2020 from the Golden Eagle Nest in Spilve, Latvia. Spilve was a single parent like the male stork in Mlade Buky. Her mate had not returned and it was impossible for her to protect Klints and travel the distance necessary to get large prey. Klints starved to death on the nest. I have read academic papers about the removal of older chicks who can self-feed to allow the younger to thrive. Could Klints have been removed to a wildlife rehabilitation centre and given prey til such time he would fledge? Do wildlife laws in Latvia prevent intervention?

The list of interventions to help birds on artificial platforms or nests where there are streaming cams for research or public education, or both, is limited. There must be others. As I was searching, I remembered a story of a man saving another stork family.

The couple are Klepetan and Malena and they are a bonded pair of storks from Croatia. Hunters shot and damaged Malena’s wing in 2002. She cannot fly. Her mate is Klepetan. Every year he migrates to South Africa, a distance of 14,000 km returning in the spring. He flies straight to Malena and their nest where they raise their chicks with the help of Stjepan Vokić, a former school janitor. The couple made their nest in his chimney!

Here is a lovely short video. There are others on YouTube. And if you are wondering, Klepatan returned to Malena on 14 April 2021 to start their 19th year together! Talk about a happy story!

We are fifteen or sixteen months in to the pandemic and right at this very moment the city I live in is the hotspot in North American for Covid. It is really nice to have some positive news and certainly these people helping the birds is a cause for celebration!

Thank you so much for joining me. If you happen to know of an instance when a community or wildlife group has set up a feeding table for the birds, please get in touch with me.

I will be checking in on all the nests for a late Wednesday hop through Bird World later. Stay safe. See you soon!

The credit for the feature image is: “File:Pentowo – European stork village – 25.jpg” by Jolanta Dyr is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Miracle at Glaslyn Nest!

The wonderful staff at the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife Centre have just posted a lengthy document describing all of their efforts to help Aran, Mrs G, and the chicks. It also includes the challenges they have had with the crow threat and also with the female Osprey, KS8, who had been at the nest previously wanting fish.

The staff contacted an Osprey expert, Dr Tim Mackrill, when they realized that Aran was not only fatigued but had lost two primary feathers from his right wing and simply could not fish. At one time they thought it was because of the area being flooded but another male, Aeron (Z2) had been successful so they knew it wasn’t that. Mackrill advised that a feeding table be set up for Aran, Mrs G and the chicks until such time Aran was able to resume his fishing. That is precisely what the staff did. Recognizing that they had to provide the food when the crows were asleep, the fish table was set up from dusk to dawn.

On Sunday Mrs G fed the chicks including the oldest Bob 1. Aran ate some of the fish innards and then tucked into a trout. All of the chicks looked healthy. As we know, the eldest died late Sunday afternoon but the cause is unknown. Everyone ate well and there was a fish on the nest. Mrs G fed the chicks early Monday morning from that fish and at 7am KS8 came and stole the remainder. The staff were concerned about the chicks not getting food all day but there was nothing they could do but wait til dusk.

Here is the video of KS8 stealing the nice fish on the nest. This video allows you to see Mrs G and the chicks. It is extremely short. Have a look. The two wee ones are looking great.

Mrs G fed the chicks throughout Tuesday and Aran was also eating and getting stronger. The staff will continue to provide food for the family until such time that Aran is able to once again provide for them himself.

Here is a very short feeding for today. Have a look. You can see the fish on the nest.

Human intervention in this situation – quick action by the staff – and a clear understanding of what was required – has saved this Osprey family. What a remarkable turn around for a situation that could have been most dire. They will continue to provide updates and if you want to read the entire report here is the link.

https://www.glaslynwildlife.co.uk/2021/05/an-important-update-from-the-glaslyn-nest/?fbclid=IwAR0GD1yRDaTEs1P1jIgEyL_rXXbnOy_gQ63qtJCdv8wAoosD_mbfLuROpOw

Tears are rolling down my cheeks. Thank you for joining me. Send out a huge thank you and applause to these wonderful people who stepped in and helped when it was most needed.

Early Morning feedings and Sadness in Osprey Land

There is something very comforting about seeing a fish delivered first thing in the morning to the female and little ones. The weather has really been awful in the United Kingdom. The rain appears to have mostly stopped but there seems to be some lingering wind at various nests.

Blue 33 flew in with a fish and Maya was ready. So were the Two Bobs.

Laddie had a nice big fish on the nest for NC0, Nessie, for the Three Bobs. Let us hope that the wee one figures out how to get up front. The two older siblings are at least 3 or 4 times its size. I really feel for the last hatch. If they survive they often become clever, persistent, and tenacious. Like Tiny Tot at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. Fingers crossed for this little one.

I have just received word that sadly the youngest Bob, Little Bob, at the Loch of the Lowes Nest has died. It had struggled since hatch. Fly high, little one.

I went back and checked on Bob 1 and 2 and they are fine. They will survive NC0! She has not quite figured out the feeding and still thinks that taking her beak and stuffing theirs is the proper way! Still, Laddie is getting nice fish on the nest and these two look like they are doing OK.

If the bad weather of last week was not enough and the death of the last hatch, NC0 is now having to deal with a hail storm! The challenges that these birds have is enormous.

I am sorry you cannot see it but this is a huge hail storm.

The same thing is going on at the Dfyi Nest of Idris and Telyn in Wales. A nice big fish on the nest for Bob 1 and Bob 2. Looks like they are doing pretty well. Telyn had some of the worst rain drenching her and the nest for days.

Of course, it helps if the little one knows which way to face to get some of those delicious morsels of fish and if it is out of the way of a flipping fish tail! It is amazing how quickly they do figure this out but it seems that Ospreys hatch with their mouths open ready for fish!

Idris has just brought a mullet onto the nest and it was so big that it almost wiped out both Bobs at once!

And then to the shock of Telyn, Idris insisted on feeding the chicks!

Oh, look at that wee one on the Llyn Clywedog Nest of Dylan and Seren. That is a really beautiful fish for mom and the wee one. Like all the other Welsh nests, Seren had a lot of rain and wind to contend with while this wee Bob was wanting to join us in this world outside that shell.

There has been no news from the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre on the state of the Glaslyn Nest of Aran and Mrs G. The last report was two days ago. The weather was improving but Aran was missing secondary flight feathers and was only able to protect the nest, not fish. It has now been five days without fish on that nest. This can only go one of two ways – there is either a miracle happening at Glaslyn or a potential one and fish has come to the nest or the situation is so devastatingly dire. Mrs G has to be weak herself. She has potentially not eaten since last Wednesday evening, giving the two Bobs the small fish tail she had kept under her. Our warm thoughts go out to those whose lives are devoted to this Osprey Nest – Mrs G, the oldest Osprey in the UK.

What we do know is that a chick has been lost on the Loch of the Lowes, the Dyfi, and the Glaslyn nest so far this year.

Thank you for joining me for this quick check in on a few of the Osprey Nests in the UK. Take care everyone. Happy Tuesday wherever you are.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. This is where I grab my screen shots: the Dyfi Osprey Project, Carnyx Wildlife, LRWT, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes.

Emotional Day in Bird World

The staff at the Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales are issuing statements on their FB page about the situation at the nest of Mrs G, Aran, and their three little ones. Aran has returned to the nest without any fish. The three little ones are still alive but for how long without food, no one knows. The weather in the area is not improving.

The Raven attack on the Glaslyn Nest can be seen here:

Watchers of Tiny Tot cried and cheered this morning when the third hatch of the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida fledged. It was 9:52:24. Everyone is hoping to catch more glimpses of Tiny as he returns to the nest for fish dinner. Fingers crossed.

Tiny Tot grew up to be a magnificient Osprey. We wish him a life full of fish and no drama! Oh, how I would like to know where you go and what you do, Tiny Tot. You are such an example of a survivor.

From the moment that E24 hatched, he has brought us great joy. That was the 8th of February. The little one was strong and survived an irritation of the eye as well as a bout of Avian Flu. The popular choice for a name was Legacy and it was very fitting.

Tears rolled down everyone’s face when Legacy left the nest and was missing in action for three days. She found her way home on 1 May and stayed with us for more than three weeks. She flew off the nest tree yesterday, 22 May 2021, at 11:31. It feels like this is goodbye. Samson bought in a fish to try and lure him back to the nest but, Legacy did not come for it.

Legacy’s father, Samson, returned to this very nest, the nest where he hatched, to raise his family. Because of the dire circumstances that happened to Romeo and Juliet, Samson really did create a legacy to his dad at this nest. Last year him and Gabby fledged Jules and Romy and this year, Legacy (such a great choice of name). Maybe Legacy will return in four years time and raise his family, if dad is retired!

Legacy will be 15 weeks old on 24 May. She is right in the sweet spot of the average fledge.

This little one brought us great joy – seeing her fight with her parents who were being surrogate siblings. I enjoyed particularly her interactions with Samson who is just the most amazing dad. Fly high Legacy! Take care. Return to us one day.

22 May 2021. Legacy leaves nest tree in Jacksonville, Florida.

Legacy is a week younger than E17 and E18 over at the Southwest Florida Bald Eagle Nest in Fort Myers. Talk about tears. These two were bonking maniacs. Then they got Conjunctivitis. And despite all the pecks, E18 protected E17 when danger came to the nest. They have grown to be best buddies – the twins that they are. They have played in the water in the ponds, caught prey on their own, returned to be fed by Harriet and M15. Here they are today sitting by one another on the branch. They haven’t left permanently. The time is, however, coming when that could be a reality. Buckets of tears will fall not only because that event will mark the end of a very successful season for Harriet and M15 but because it might mean that these two are separated. Each to their own territory. I wish, like Legacy and Tiny Tot, that they had a tracker.

There is an interesting story coming out of the United Kingdom of a brother and sister duo like these two actually setting up a nest together. (We do not know the gender of E17/18). The scientists have indicated that they are not concerned. So we wait but we might never know, sadly, the fate of E17 and E18. Whenever that last day arrives, they are ready to survive and we wish them boy voyage.

There was enough of a break in the weather at the Dyfi Nest of Telyn and Idris that Big Bob got to have two feeds. One of mullet and another of trout. A big crack has been noted in egg 3. Sadly, Bob 2 suffocated about eight hours after it was born. It was at a time when Telyn was desperately trying to keep the chicks dry and warm.

Here is Big Bob enjoying his trout dinner! Let us hope that this dire weather over in Wales settles down so that Little Bob will not have any difficulties. It has to be a worrisome time for all.

The miserable weather has continued over in Rutland where Blue 33 has been very fortunate in his fishing. The water has been choppy and murky. You can see how windy it is by the new punk hair styles of Blue 33 and Maya.

The Two Bobs are fine. Their plumage has changed and they truly look like their ancient relatives.

The same cold rain is still up at the Loch of the Lowes. Laddie and Nessie (NC0) are doing the best they can to both feed and keep the three little ones dry.

The cold rainy weather continues in Missoula, Montana. It was 4 degrees C. Iris returned to her nest with a nice crop at 10:17:42. She had not spent the night there and she has not, so far, gotten on to the nest with the eggs. The lingering cold and wet have insured that the eggs are not viable. So Iris will not have to go through the tragedies of past years. For now, I am simply glad that she visits the nest so that we can see she is alright! That is the main thing, isn’t it? Iris is, after all, the oldest Osprey in the world and we should enjoy every minute that we can with her. She is truly a survivor and when she doesn’t return from her migration, it will be the end of an era. Buckets of tears will flow. But for now, let us be joyful in her presence.

We know that Osprey fish for their food but Iris is starting to look particularly miserable with all the rain and cold weather. This is supposed to be her summer holiday!

For the lovers of Grinnell and Annie’s little falcons, this week is going to fly by fast. We could be on fledge watch in five days! How quickly they have grown. Today, the white dandelions have almost disappeared on the two oldest. You can see that the juvenile plumage is coming in nicely.

It is a damp day on the Canadian prairies. We have had that much needed rain and sun would be welcome. Outside my window Mr Crow is being difficult. The neighbours have been leaving kibble for a stray kitten. Instead of the kitten eating it, Mr Crow has been enjoying the crunchy bits. The dish is empty!

A friend of mine who lives in Maine says that this has been a different year for her watching the birds. This year she is more aware of the challenges that they face in their daily lives than she was last year. It is so true. They have brought much joy to us, now it is time for us to optimistically step forward and figure out ways to turn their world around.

Thank you for joining me today. I want to leave you with an image of a truly great bird mom, Big Red. I cannot even begin to imagine the mourning that will go on when she is no longer with us. She is eighteen this year. Every minute is precious. Here she is checking out the chicks as they sleep. She sees some things she doesn’t like and starts being the great mom she is – she is preening!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. This is where I get my scaps: Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Achieva Credit Union St. Petersburg, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, LRWT, UC Falcon Cam, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Loch of the Lowes, Dyfi Osprey Project, and the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.