Fantastic Osprey News

First up, Louis has landed on the Loch Arkaig Nest – no joke. He touched down at 18:14pm on 11 April to begin the 2021 season at Loch Arkaig. No more worries about the intruder bird (we hope) that was making itself comfortable. Let us all hope that Alia is right behind. What a relief! There were cheers around the world, literally. And tears of great joy rolling down hundreds of eyes.

Over at the Loch of the Lowes, Blue NC0 now called Nessie – has laid her and Laddie’s first egg for the 2021 season. And this is a huge relief just like the arrival of Louis. How grand. It will be wonderful to see little ones on this nest. Note: Laddie and NC0 raised one chick in the 2020 season.

At the Foulshaw Moss Nest, Blue 35, who arrived back on 26 March, has laid her first egg in the snow! Her mate is White YW. Their nest is in a bog in Cumbria. Fantastic! The nest bowl is very deep. We might get a glimpse of the egg during an incubation exchange but, for now, it is nice and cosy in this wintery weather.

And the very first sighting of Blue 222 born on Kielder Nest 1A in 2018 was on 8 April in Aberdeenshire! I mean how wonderful is this. The migration is difficult, especially for just fledged ospreys. To have one survive and to see it catching a huge fish is marvellous. The image was taken by Rob MacDonald and posted on the Loch Arkaig FB page. I hope he does not mind my using you to tell you of this wondrous event. Imagine from the fall of 2018 to now – not knowing anything about the survival of this bird and here she is! Splendid.

There she is with a gorgeous fish she has caught – big enough she has to use both talons. Her name is Binkey after Binkey Burn, a tributary of the Cranecleugh Burn that flows into the Kielder.

Over at the Glaslyn, Aran comes in and gives Mrs G a break to eat. Mrs G has been eating for more than an hour! We also get a glimpse of the egg in the exchange of incubation duties!

Aran on incubation duty while Mrs G enjoys her fish. 11 April 2021.
Mrs G enjoying her fish. 11 April 2021.
A great look at Mrs G’s first egg of the 2021 season. 11 April 2021.

I wish the news of the weather down in Dunedin, Florida were better. The Achieva Osprey nest is soaked to its core.

I am happy to report that two fish did arrive on the nest during breaks in the weather. Tiny Tot ate from 7:27:45-7:48 and then again from 10:32:03 to 10:44:44. Tiny Tot had dropped the crop that he went to sleep with on the 10th of April. It is unclear if he had any of the fish that was delivered right before the skies opened to rain last night. He has not had a crop from the amount of food he has eaten but he has eaten and that is a good thing!

There is Tiny with his juvenile plumage coming in being fed by Diane.

It is nearly 3:30pm nest time in Florida. The water is still dripping off the birds but it looks like there is a lull in the weather. There is rain but no thunderstorms. From the weather report that heavy rain and thunderstorms will begin in about half an hour and continue past 7pm. Let us hope that Jack can sneak in a fish. It is 19 degrees going up to 23 Celsius. The weather for Monday thru Wednesday is better. Hoping to get Tiny Tot some more crops then before the storms start again next weekend.

3:30 pm 11 April 2021. Diane keeping the babies dry as best she can.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope that the good news will rub off on Tiny Tot’s nest with the arrival of a big fish during a break. Have a good rest of the weekend everyone. Take care.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams or their FB postings: Woodland Trust Loch Arkaig, Post Code Lottery, Friends of Loch Arkaig FB Page, Achieva Credit Union, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Bywyd Gwyllt Wildlife Trust, and Friends of Loch of the Lowes and Scottish Wildlife Trust.

It’s a wonderful day in Bird World

It is always such a joy to wake up and see Big Red incubating an egg. There is something about the annual rhythm that is very reassuring. She was there all night but, at 6:36 Big Red turned incubation duty over to Arthur. Over the years Big Red has given Arthur a little more responsibility each year. This morning he was on the egg from 6:36-8:56 and again from 10:56-11:13. I wonder if she will allow him to feed and brood the eyases more, too???

Handsome Arthur with his light plumage and deep dark eyes.

Over the years Arthur has gotten more confident.

Big Red’s plumage colouring is darker than Arthur’s. Here you can see both of their beautiful tails – those red tails that define them as Red-Tail Hawks. Notice the way the wings fold and make a ‘V’. This is known as the scapular V and often individuals identify untagged birds through the patterning of the scapular V.

We are finally getting a glimpse at the MN DNR of that little one that started hatching at 6:27 on the 25th. Oh, the woes of trying to feed a little bobble head! Oh, a little bobble, so cute. In a couple of days this little one will know precisely what to do o grab that fish that its dad brought in!

Last year on 27 March, Osprey spotters in the UK had charted 52 sightings. This year there have been more than 100. The Welsh, the Scots, and the British love their Ospreys and they are so organized with web sites and keeping up on every arrival at monitored – and many unmonitored – nests. This is the type of interactive chart they have:

If you are keeping track, to date the latest arrival on a monitored nest is Blue 7A (14) at Esthwaite Water in the Lake District. This is Ozzy and his mate is unringed Olive, yet to arrive.

The most wonderful thing is to wake up and have breakfast with Big Red – as so many of her followers do. She is one of the most known and loved Red Tail Hawks in the world. But this morning I looked at the weather on my phone. I have all of the main nest sites that I watch listed. It was 23 degrees in St Petersburg, Florida when I woke up. I have been trying to get to the ‘why’ of the fish deliveries at this Osprey nest and thus, the nest competition leaving Tiny Tot behind. The graph that I have charted shows that when the temperatures in St. Pete’s are in the 27-30 range or there is a storm or it is windy (such as 30 kph), Jack does not bring fish to the nest. It just seems logical. Yet many Bald Eagles are very successful fishing in those conditions. So to test this, I wondered about this morning when it was 23 and no 29 like it was yesterday. In fact, last night I decided that I would not check on the Osprey nest with Tiny Tot until Tuesday. My heart had simply ached for the past two days and I didn’t think I could watch another one starve to death on a nest. But 23 degrees. Would this nest turn around yet again? It is clear from Tiny Tot’s actions that it wants to live. How this little one got its energy yesterday, I don’t know. But it tried being fed by walking around the rim of the nest. Sadly there were only 7 bites of fish left when it came its turn. This morning, a fish was brought in at 7:30. Tiny Tot persisted walking again up on the rim of the nest to where the mother was feeding. At 7:59 he was eating. Another fish was brought in at 9:48. Tiny Tot left with a big crop. Tiny Tot is smart and he has figured a work around to the two big siblings. The issue is the amount of food. As long as the fish are big enough and delivered close enough together Tiny has a chance.

You will have noticed that I continue to call Tiny Tot a ‘he’. You mostly hear the word used in falconry, the old medieval term tercel (UK) or tiercel (US). It refers to the belief that only 1 in 3 eggs is a male – the third. It also refers to the fact that male raptors are one-third smaller than the females. That is the reverse sex-size dimorphism.

You cannot tell the sex of a bird, for certain, without doing DNA testing or seeing them laying an egg like Big Red yesterday. Many experts have been fooled trying to use clues such as the size of the feet or the length of certain parts of their bodies. So, there is nothing saying that Tiny Tot is a small male. I don’t know!

Here is Tiny started to move to the rim to get fed, away from the big ones.

Bingo. There is fish left and Tiny gets a good feeding. The two others are satisfied and leaving him alone.

This is Tiny in front after having some of the second fish. Look at his crop. Just puts a big smile on my face.

I just want to close with a few quick images. Maybe some of these are your favourites. The first is Mrs G, the oldest Osprey in Wales eating a fish up on a tree branch. She is at the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn nest in Wales and she is waiting for her mate, Aran, to arrive from his winter migration.

Everything is absolutely fine at the GHOW nest near Newton, Kansas. Those owlets are growing like bad weeds. I wish I could crochet! Wouldn’t a white mohair beret with those colours and patterns look fantastic?

Kisatchie at the Kisatchie National Forest nest on the shores of Lake Kincaid has really grown. As an only eaglet, s/he has grown big and been spoiled by first time parents, Anna and Louis.

And I will close where I began – with Big Red – my best raptor mother of the year, always! Thanks for joining me today. Take care. Stay safe. Enjoy the weekend.

Thank you to the following streaming cams: KNF, Cornell Bird Lab, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, Farmer Derek, MN DNR, and Achieva Osprey.