Tropical Mockingbird, Rita’s update and more…in Bird World

2 December 2022

Good morning everyone from the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada. It is 29 degrees C – a real shock from the snow, ice, and blowing winds of Canada! It has rained – it is the wet season – and all of the trees, the grass, and the flowers are bright and beautiful. The forecast is now giving us so many good days. On Saturday it will be an all day birding trip starting at 0530. I am excited. The island is home to many species but I especially hope to see the Cattle Egrets, the Green Herons, and the Tri-Coloured Heron out in the mangroves as well as the gorgeous parrots, shorebirds, and songbirds of this island. And, of course, the Caribbean Ospreys. Fingers crossed.

Grand Anse Beach is pure white sand. It is one of the longest white sand beaches in the world. Looking to the right of this beach is an area of the island above the Lagoon known as Springs. There is always a mist and it rains a lot. The area has some of the nicest gardens. Even though it is such a small island there is another area near the airport that is completely dry!!!!!

My first bird came into view as the light was leaving us…It s a Tropical Mockingbird. Oh, its song was incredible. Tomorrow I am going to sit right under the tree where several seemed to be perching. They must be very used to the human presence along the beach. Indeed, they will eat human food along with spiders, grasshoppers, beetles, seeds, small fruits and berries, mangoes — there are a lot of mangoes on the island in the spring. There are so many falling on the roads that the cars slide around on those that get slimy from being run over. The Mockingbirds also eat lizards as well as other small bird and lizard eggs. They have been seen consuming seed from bird feeders just like Dyson!

Many of you will have seen and heard the Northern Mockingbirds in North America. This is the Caribbean equivalent. The Tropical Mockingbird lives in open or semi-open areas. In this instance they are living in the trees along a major tourist beach area.

They lack colour but if that is a problem their song certainly makes up for it. They have a black beak and legs, a striking bright ebony eye with a black eye stripe. The top of their head is a medium grey fading into a lovely silvery white which continues along the throat, the breast and underparts of the bird. The wings are a symphony of grey and black with white wing tips. The tail is a dark charcoal verging on black with a white tip and underneath area. You can hear their song here:

‘H’ kindly sent me the most recent announcement about Rita, the mate of Ron, the bonded pair of Bald Eagles from the Miami Zoo. Thanks, ‘H’. Here it is:

 Yesterday, “Rita,” the bald eagle had surgery performed to help repair her severely fractured right wing. The surgery was performed by avian veterinary specialist, Dr. Don Harris, assisted by Zoo Miami Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Marisa Bezjian and the Zoo Miami Animal Health Team. The surgery was successful inserting a metal pin to align and support the fractured bone. However, the prognosis for successful healing is extremely poor due to the lack of circulation in the wing as a result of the devastating trauma. At this time, it is unfortunately unlikely that the wing can be saved and even more unlikely that she will ever fly again. Having said that, we are not giving up hope! She is receiving daily drug therapy, laser treatments and acupuncture along with her wound care and dressing changes. She has already beaten tremendous odds by surviving the trendous trauma from which she would have certainly died from had it not been for the intervention of all of the involved parties. We are all praying that she can provide us with a miracle and continue on a positive path.

Wildlife Rescue of Dade County FB, 1 December 2022

American Eagle Foundation LIVE Nest Cams is reporting on Samson’s absence:

Still no news to report. No sightings of Samson. No visitors to the nest. Gabrielle continues to perch at the nest throughout the day and at night keeping watch.

(c) 2022 American Eagle Foundation eagles.org AEF-NEFL

Gabby waits patiently for dear Samson to return. Continue with your positive wishes.

This story is from several years ago but was posted today on the NEFL-SWFL Bald Eagle FB group. It reminds us, like the time with Bella and Smitty this year, that eagles can be gone for some time and return. This eagle was missing for 3 weeks! I live in hope for our beloved Samson.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/missing-bald-eagle-returns-to-dc-nest-after-a-weeks-long-departure-experts-say/2019/02/27/a06bf238-3acb-11e9-a2cd-307b06d0257b_story.html

My holiday is not just a chance to spend time with my son and his wife, or eating amazing Caribbean food, or find new birds but it is also a time for a battery recharge after all that has happened during the last month.

Like all of you, I need some good news and I know you do, too. Well, here it is coming from Lori Covert in Captiva. You will remember that Captiva and Sentinel, the barrier islands off the coast of Florida, were the hardest hit by Hurricane Ian. The ospreys and bald eagles lost their nests. Well, smile when you read this!

I just checked on Zoe at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. Dad brought in a very small fish at 0925. Mum probably didn’t even get a chance to see it. Zoe is very quick when she wants her food!!!!!!!!!

Zoey doing her talon dance.

Dad lands and Zoe has it before Mum even gets there. I do hope that Mum and Dad have some fish to eat at other times. This is worrisome sometimes.

Yesterday there were 2 fish brought in by Mum and 2 brought in by Dad. Zoe even tried her wings. Here is her tracker information for 2 December.

Diamond has been spending time at the scrape box at Orange. This morning she seemed very interested in the stones. My friend ‘A’ has observed that the falcons prefer to eat only the white stones. Do any of you know why this is the case?

We know why the birds eat stones. Here is the standard Goggle answer:

Birds eat stones to form gastroliths that grind against food when they contract their gizzards. The grinding action of gastroliths aid in the digestion of fibrous food in birds. When the gastroliths begin to smoothen over time, birds eat new stones to replace the older ones.

But why do they prefer white ones?

Giving Tuesday has just passed – where donors often match what funds are given. Now…there is December and if you are thinking about ‘giving’ for the holidays, stop and think of your local wildlife rehabber — or a rehabber that you respect for all the hard work they have done this year. We watch our beautiful birds and many times they go into care and we are cheering for them to be taken in and made well and released. So remember the wildlife clinics and give. Our Wildlife Haven listed the costs associated with surgery — think dear Rita! The antibiotics after. These items are extremely expensive. So help if you can!

In Australia ABC news did an article on this very topic.

Thank you so very much for being with me this morning. At the time of publishing this blog, I have no new news on any of the missing birds or Rita. Keep sending all your good energy to our missing birds and to Rita as she continues to fight to fly — I would love to see her be the exception to the rule (ie lack of circulation in the wing). Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures today: Lori Covert Instagram, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, WRDC, NEFL-AEF and the American Eagle Foundation.

Rita is standing up! Zoe screams for fish, Anna laid an egg…and other news in Bird World

1 December 2022

I can see the lights from the Toronto airport. It was snowing and blowing in Winnipeg and now raining here. Strange to see everything ‘brown’ instead of ‘white’. It is quite ‘strange’ being in an airport! One word of advice: if you can travel with a small carry on, do so. It is a nightmare at the larger airports with the new self-baggage check in. Huge line ups and the same for security. But, I feel privileged to be able to have a short holiday in a wonderfully warm and beautiful place with birds and see my son and daughter in law. It has been far too long!

Speaking of ‘white’, before I go any further, have you ever seen a white eagle? Well, the folks in Oklahoma, where I grew up, are certainly checking their eye sight!

I want to thank everyone that sent me notes so I had them when I landed. First up was ‘H’ and ‘S’ with the good news that Rita has had her surgery and she is standing up!!!!!!!! Now seriously. Standing up. What a strong eagle she is! I am sure we can all shed a few little tears or break out into a huge smile. By, gosh, we need some good news in Bird World. She is still in guarded condition but the surgery itself went well.

The Orthopaedic surgeon said the surgery could not have gone any better. Tears. This is fantastic news at a time when we sure need it!

Tonya Irwin has been keeping a log and it seems that Louisiana is still ahead of Florida in terms of Bald Eagle eggs laid. Today, Anna added to that list with the first of the season’s eggs at the E-1 nest in the Kisatchie national Forest near Alexandria. Congratulations!

At the time of writing this blog, this is the latest news on Samson from the AEF.

There has been no sighting of Alden either but, there is other good news. Annie and Grinnell’s daughter, Sequoia, has a mate at the San Jose City Hall and guess what? They have a streaming cam. Is it possible that we will get to see Annie and Grinnell’s ‘grandeyases’ hatch and fledge? Wouldn’t that just be amazing? When everything seems so dark, there is always light trying to get through.

There is a lot of news coming in but, before I go any further, there has been a question from a very worried watcher of the SWFlorida nest of Harriet and M15. ‘R’ would like to know why Harriet is not incubating her egg? That is such a great question. What Harriet is doing is called delayed incubation. She will lay her second egg in 3 days from the first. If she started ‘hard’ incubation immediately when the first egg was laid, the first hatch would have an enormous advantage over the second hatch. By waiting to start hard incubation until the second egg is laid, the eaglets will hatch much closer together in time – sometimes within an hour or two of one another -and while they will bop one another, it is not usually deadly. They hatch and are closer in size.

In addition, Harriet and M15 do not have to worry about the egg freezing in the Florida sunshine and they have a stocked pond for prey and it appears that there has not been a time of food scarcity at this nest (please correct me if I am wrong).

There are advantages to starting incubation immediately. David Hancock of Hancock Wildlife in British Columbia, Canada has consistently given two reasons why immediate incubation might be practiced. They are: 1) to protect eggs from predators such as Crows, Ravens, Raccoons, etc.; and 2) the eagles want to ensure that at least there is a chance of one surviving during a time of food scarcity. The idea Hancock says is that it is much better for the eagles to have one chick survive than no eaglets at all.

Do not worry. Harriet and M15 know precisely what they are doing. As I said, their eaglets will cause us great grief during the ‘rock ’em, sock ’em’ days but, in the end, the pair normally develop into best buddies. In fact, most of us will grieve for their going off to find their own way in the world probably to never see one another again.

That amazing fledgling Osprey from the Tweed Valley, Glen, is just getting more and more news coverage. If you are trying to figure out where you have heard his name, well, let me remind you that Glen also landed on two different cargo ships and took rides, he flew through a large area of hydro lines and landed on a the roof of a fruit factory in Portugal where he was believed to be dead. But, nope. Not Glen. He flew out over the Atlantic Ocean for 36 hours solid flapping his wings until he found a small island to land on. He is now in Morocco. Glen deserves all the news coverage he can get. What an adventurous life this young man has had and he isn’t even near a year old!

If you do not know about Glen’s adventures on the two fishing trawlers, please start your reading here. You will be delighted you did!

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-62967646

So grateful for all the coverage of this amazing young Osprey. Sacha Dench is going to have to add more segments to her programme, Flight of the Osprey, for the BBC. This chap might even deserve his own show! I honestly don’t think I have gotten so excited about the migration of a male Osprey since Ervie didn’t migrate!

At the Port Lincoln Osprey nest, Dad brought Zoe a nice little fish at 10:00:13. ‘A’ says that she can always tell when Dad is coming because Mum ‘does her talon dance’. I watched for that – she does, back and forth on the talons, wings flapping, moving out of the way so Dad can land. Well, Zoe is perfecting or has already perfected that talon dance along with her fish prey screaming. My goodness she is loud. I bet Fran Solly can hear her across the lagoon without having the sound on the streaming cam. Zoe start about a minute and a half before Dad lands with the fish.

We will continue to grieve for little one, Rubus. At the same time, we must also celebrate the falcon fledgling that Xavier and Diamond are working so hard to train so it can have a full and productive life like Sequoia.

Indigo certainly as a ‘voice’! He flew in and chased Xavier out of the scrape a few minutes before returning with his breakfast. Here is a short video clip of Indigo coming into the scrape with prey at 0700.

This is the latest update from Cilla re Rubus. So very sad but, reassuring that the little fella did not suffer.

Thank you so very much for being with me. Send all your good wishes out to Rita as she recovers, to Ron who may or may not know what is going on, to Gabby who waits for Samson and to Annie who might not yet know Alden is missing. So much is happening — and here I thought there might be a lull until eaglets start to hatch at the end of the month. Bird World is always full of surprises. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their messages, posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clip: ‘S’, ‘H’, ‘G’, Port Lincoln Osprey, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Conservation without Borders, BBC, Raptors without Borders, Sharon Pollock and SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, Tonya Irwin and Kistachie National Forest Eagle Cam Fans, Gretchen-AEF, Salsa Bird and Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and Birds, Holly Parsons and Orange Australia Falcons, and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Harriet lays her first egg of the season! and more news in Bird World

30 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I want to thank everyone who sent an e-mail or who made a comment about the loss of Orange’s dear darling Rubus. It was extremely difficult for everyone not least of all those wonderful people at Orange. We all loved the feisty little eyas. What joy he brought!

It would be helpful if there were an international protocol in place that everyone agreed on and knew. If a raptor is grounded and does not flee when a human approaches, it should be placed in care for an examination. No guessing, no regrets. Just a clear protocol. If the raptor requires care, it can receive it. If it doesn’t, it is released where it was found or at its nest, if known. Perhaps protocols could be put in place in memory of Rubus.

Meanwhile, Indigo is doing very well and thriving. Wonderful news. This is him yesterday eating a huge prey item! So glad he is visiting the scrape.


Sulphur-crested Cockatoo” by NathanaelBC is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

It is not about raptors but, after the week we have had and now with Harriet having an injury from the GHOW hit last night, we need a laugh. We seriously need a laugh just to take us away even for a few minutes. This Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo will certainly help.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-30/cockatoo-video-dropping-pot-plants-melbourne/101710478?fbclid=IwAR2dBBKdcL_6wP-BBMZYqu9IC3iaThR1hi0dMv1wI_hkPV5nwOpS_Pn2sjk


“G’ sent me a great article on Glen, the only surviving Tweed Valley osprey fledgling. It is a great article and you realise how miraculous this bird’s adventure has been – almost blown out to sea, having to flap its wings for 36 hours over the ocean! And finally finding a small piece of land to rest for 11 hours. Thanks, ‘G’. Glen deserves a long and safe life.

Here is the link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-63795390

Congratulations to M15 and to Harriet for their first egg of the 2022 season! The time was 18:09:34. M15 was there with Harriet during her labour.

Sharon Pollock posted a video of the happy moment:


At the nest of Pa Berry and Missy, Pa has had to deal with a GHOW strike like Harriet did the night before she laid her egg.


Many of you will have seen Tiger Mozone’s name on the PLO chat. Tiger runs a FB group re Ospreys and is encyclopaedic when it comes to the history of UK Ospreys. Tiger and Chloe Baker have a web site with much information on the UK Ospreys – magicats. He also has a Twitter account. Check him out.

Tiger and I have been chatting today about the state of the fish at Port Lincoln. I have been – well, almost, pulling my hair out over the lack of fish. Is it because of commercial fishing? flooding and silt? changing water temperatures due to climate change? Dad’s age? You have probably asked yourself the same thing. So far no one seems to have come up with an answer but Tiger and I talked about practical or possible solutions. I have always maintained that fish must be provided. But how do you provide fish? Well, large commercial-like tanks such as the ones that the Ospreys in South America steal from is one solution. Tiger thinks a fish pond or stocking the lagoon where the barge is located. I wonder how many regulations there are for doing this? Are there any more than all of the permissions required for intervention?

Zoe is wide awake and wanting fish. Dad will deliver early today. I wonder if she spotted him flying off.

Did you know that there is a river that was created and stocked just so photographers could take images of Osprey fishing? Yes. It is the River Gwash and Tiger told me about it today. So if you can build a river in the UK and stock it so Ospreys can fish and charge people to photograph them in a hide doing just that then, why not stock the lagoon where the barge is and – from a safe distance – allow people for a charge to photograph them? Why not? It might bring more tourism to the area, too! That along with Osprey Excursions.

The Gwash River runs through Rutland, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire.

Other places stock ponds and lochs for the osprey such as Rutland and Keider. It is time that everyone considered this as humans have mismanaged our planet so much. We owe it to these beautiful birds.


Alden has still not been seen. A video clip of Annie reacting to the visiting male.

Dear Gabby waits for Samson’s return. If you did not see my correction, Samson was not injured. There was a posting on FB showing what appeared to be an injury to Samson’s head; I carried that information in a blog. The AEF wishes for everyone to know that he was not seen injured when he was at the nest. I had posted the update in a later blog but it seems some did not see it. Apologies for any confusion.

This is the latest announcement from the AEF on FB at the time of writing this blog:

We know that Bella returned to her nest after three weeks and there is a story surfacing out of Hanover of the resident female returning to her nest after being absent for a week. It gives me hope that Samson will return!

https://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/2018/04/09/hanover-nests-resident-female-eagle-returns-fighting-expected/497774002/

Jackie and Shadow always put a smile on my face and here they are working on their nest at Big Bear. Adorable. I received a note that Shadow had been away since the 24th returning today, 5 days later (the information is second hand but comes from a trusted source). So, let us all take a deep breath and believe that Samson just took a wee break before it all begins, too.

The Southern Royal Osprey are a delight to watch and I know that many of enjoyed watching Lillibet, the 2022 Royal Cam chick grow and fledge and the marvelous care that YRK gave to her daughter after OGK went missing in May. There is a new Royal family and Dad, GLY, is incubating that precious egg. Sharon Dunne (aka Lady Hawk) has published a video of the new family and some visitors.

Migration News:

Waba is still in the Sudan.

Bonus is still in Turkey but he has started moving South! Well done, Bonus.

There is a silver lining in today’s news with the arrival of the first egg at the Bald Eagle nest of M15 and Harriet in Fort Myers, Florida.

Please send your best wishes to Rita so that she is strong enough for her operation. ‘H’ wrote this morning to tell me it is scheduled for 1500 Eastern time today. Send good wishes to Alden and Samson wherever they are please come home if you can, and to everyone at Orange and all those who loved little Rubus. He is much missed.

Thank you for being with me. This is not a very long blog but I hope there is something good in there for everyone. I am now ready to try and start packing! Take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘H’ and ‘G’ for their notes, SWFlorida Eagle Cam and S Pollock, Berry College, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Cal Falcons, NEFL-AEF, River Gwash Ospreys, abc.net.au, York Dispatch, FOBBV, NZ DOC and Sharon Dunne, and Looduskalender Forum.

Samson is missing…Flight of the Osprey and more…

27 November 2022

Good Evening Everyone,

Instead of sending out my blog first thing in the morning, it will be tomorrow evening. This blog will be short but it is packed with three news items near and dear to all of us.

Samson of the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest is missing. Indeed, that news has caused my stomach to go down to my toes and back again. All of you know that I adore Samson and Gabby. I cannot even imagine a Gabby without a Samson. Let us all hope that he is just taking a couple of days off – which is more like Gabby than Samson. Gabby is on the nest and is not calling him but she might not know he is missing.

Here is that announcement from the American Eagle Foundation:

At the NEFL nest of Samson and Gabrielle:

“As most of you are aware, Samson has not been seen at the nest since Thursday evening; however, he and Gabrielle were spotted perched together Friday morning on a nearby tree off cams. We are concerned that Samson has not returned to the nest, and can assure you that everything is being done to try to find his whereabouts. When we have any information at all, we will post updates. We appreciate everyone’s concerns and prayers for Samson’s safe return. ❤️

There has been an intruder at the nest. It is not Samson. You can see the dark chocolate bars still in the white head so this birds has just turned 5 years old.

In the Mailbox:

If you have been wondering how you could see BBC 4’s Flight of the Osprey, ‘G’ sent me the YouTube links they have been recording so that we can enjoy. And if you don’t know what Flight of the Osprey is, then here is the promo information from BBC:

Follow Scotland’s ospreys on their epic migration. Over ten weeks, Emily Knight joins a team of conservationists following these beautiful birds of prey from Loch Garten to Ghana.

https://youtu.be/WXb7D3hSTGw Episode One 25/10/2022 https://youtu.be/YJpEcFPUkEc Episode Two 01/11/2022 https://youtu.be/gAU6u4SWrwM Episode Three 08/11/2022 https://youtu.be/_7UTuDhRP2E Episode Four 15/11/2022 https://youtu.be/NMW9EiQiOnY Episode Five 22/11/2022

Australian Nests:

Some of the latest news coming out of Orange. Sharon Pollock writes, “In case you haven’t seen this from Cilla on the YouTube Box Cam Chat: Just had a message from Security Guard Dave. He’s confident he saw both juveniles taking off very noisily from the car park in front of dentistry. I quizzed him about the physical appearance. ​And it does sound hopeful.” Now isn’t that grand news?!

The camera is tilted crazy at Port Lincoln so it is impossible to know what is going on but, Zoe had 1 huge fish to herself yesterday and portions of 2 others. She is fine. Even if she had no food today she would be good.

I knew that you would want to know about Samson and I hope that you enjoy the BBC series, Flight of the Osprey. We are all delighted that Rubus is now believed to be alive – let us all hope that is true. Please send your best wishes out to Gabby and the NE Florida nest and especially to Samson. If he is injured, I hope he is found or he returns to the nest soon.

Thank you so much for being with me. Take care all.

Thanks to the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest and the AEF, ‘G’ for the links to his YouTube programmes on the Flight of the Osprey, Sharon Pollock and the announcement re Rubus, and to Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Did Rubus fly to the tower? an osprey eating a fish in Central Park? and other news in Bird World

27 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Well, we have all worried about Rubus and it seems that there might be some good news coming. I sure hope so! There is, currently, a lot of confusion about whether or not Rubus was flying around the tower with Xavier and Diamond yesterday. We wait for positive confirmation with high hopes.

It has been warm on the Canadian Prairies but it appears that we will now be sliding from +5 C to -10 C. It can be a bit of a roller coaster here sometimes but, a blue sky and sunshine are always welcome and that is what it is like this morning.

Little Red has mastered balancing himself on the feeder and eating so he is well and appears to be in good health as the winter begins to set in.

I love the Sparrows. While they generally eat the Black Oil Seed and Millet, they also seem to be liking the Butter Bark. It will certainly give them a lot of energy. You can make your own. There are recipes on the Internet using primarily peanut butter and cornmeal. If you have a good one, send it to me! Please.

I think Sparrows are beautiful. Just look at the range of colours out of a very simple paint box for them.

In the Mailbox:

Do you a follow the Tweed Valley fledgling, Glen, Blue 708? Well you might have gotten a real lump in your throat when everyone was worried that he was grounded on top of a building in Portugal. But great news has been posted and sent to me by ‘G’. This is fantastic news. Here are those two tweets:

We have seen those sat pads going haywire in areas where there are a lot of hydro or cell towers or both. But it is possible, looking at the map above, that Glen took off over the Atlantic where there would be no transmissions and then – wow – he lands in Morocco and the signal returns. ‘G’ reports that after flying over the Atlantic for 36 hours, Glen then rested for 12 hours in Khnifiss Bio-reserve and is now fishing in the same area. Thank you ‘G’ and what a relief this is to have everything fully confirmed. Glen is a strong bird, my goodness. Wishing a long and productive life for this fledgling!

Oh I get the most marvellous mail and today, ‘M’ sent me a link to something very special. Imagine an Osprey catching a fish in the pond in Central Park in the middle of New York City. Yes, you read that correctly! It is a rare sight indeed!!!!!!


There is more news from Bernard in Brittany!

I am certain that everyone was so excited to hear the news about Willow being spotted in Brittany in mid-September. That news comes on the heels of another Scottish bird being spotted in the same region which Bernard reported. Here is the information on it that Brian Etheridge sent to Bernard. Some of you might be quite interested in this osprey sighting. Osprey, blue/white 527 at Anse of Combrit, Brittany 29 on 3 September 2022. “This bird was ringed on 25 June 2022 as a chick in a nest of three young near Errogie, Scottish Highlands, 57. 46’12″N, 004.23’19″W by myself, Adam Ritchie and Ian Perks. The British Trust for Ornithology metal ring number is 1489674. This is the first sighting of this bird since fledging in July.”

Well, 527 has been spotted again! Mary Cheadle’s tells me that Blue/White 527 was one of many Ospreys photographed and counted by Jean-marie Depart in Senegal on 16 November. Now that should put a smile on our faces! I am very hopeful that Willow LW5 will be sighted if she is in Jean-marie’s territory!!!!!!

527 as photographed by JMD on 16 September 2022, above.


Atlantic puffins” by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

‘N’ sent me a lovely announcement from Audubon. The focus is on Puffins. I had no idea that warming seas could cause the fish to grow larger causing starvation in the Puffins, did you? Here is a brief extract from that mailing by Audubon:

We monitor nesting on remote islands in the Gulf of Maine and this year they have great news! Despite a steep decline in 2021, seabirds like Atlantic Puffins finished this past summer on a remarkably higher note with twice as many chicks surviving and fledging compared to last year. Thanks to generous support from you and your fellow bird lovers, Audubon is able to closely monitor delicate habitats like this one and carefully tend to the birds that very much depend on us to survive.
 
The puffins’ precarious journey for survival is just one of countless examples in which the climate crisis harms and threatens our beloved birds. Last year, warming waters gave rise to increased butterfish counts, a food source too large for small Atlantic Puffin chicks to swallow, tragically leading to starvation. The climate crisis is also making storms more frequent, much stronger, and increasingly unpredictable. 

Australian Nests:

This was posted under the streaming cam by Cilla Kinross. Please keep reading as the news gets better throughout the afternoon.

“Our small search party scoured the campus today for Rubus without luck. The only place that adults gave warning calls was in Girinyalanha (when Indigo was in the box), so there is still a chance that he is there, but just hard to find. I’ll send another call out to staff to keep an eye out for him. However, at this stage, I’m not that hopeful. I have received a lot of criticism about why Rubus was not put back in the box (including hate mail, which I could do without, thank you). On reflection, Rubus probably should have come into care when he was found on the ground, not put in a tree (and certainly not put back in the box). But I was reassured by Victor Hurley’s assessment that it was unlikely that he had trichomoniasis (canker) and we often have birds still with a bit of fluff, that fly poorly for a couple of days before they come good. He was flying and his parents were feeding him, so I was not too worried. I take responsibility for that decision, even though I was not able to be present at the time (for personal reasons). If found, he will taken into care for veterinary assessment and rehabilation if necessary. I will let you know if and when that happens.”

Later there was some more positive news: “NEWS 27th November 2022 1300 h While our small search party was looking in the woods below the tower, a falcon flew out towards the tower. As I couldn’t see Indigo in the box any more, I assumed the bird we saw flying was Indigo BUT Indigo was in the box (at the back), so it was a different falcon. On tower cam, at that time, this same bird was seen to harrass Xavier into leaving the microwave, so I believe it was Rubus. This is typical juvenile behaviour, not something Diamond would do. She would land on the roof. Hopefully, we will soon see all four falcons on the roof together, so we can be sure.

This would be grand. I am so hoping that the mystery falcon is Rubus and all is well.

Breakfast came in the form of a Quail for Indigo who carried it to the scrape box and ate it, leaving leftovers in the corner just like she has been taught by Diamond and Xavier. Approximately 0613.

Diamond came and raided the pantry! There will be a lesson in this for Indigo!

Now let us go back to where this mystery of Rubus begins. At 084155, the tower cam shows two falcons flying. Indigo was in the scrape box at the time. Is there a third flacon sitting on that appendage sticking out on the right near the top? I hope so!

Diamond had been in the scrape and flew out – top image. Then Indigo came into the scrape – bottom image.

It is a tad confusing and perhaps misleading. If there had been three clear falcon profiles around the tower while Indigo was in the scrape box, then yes, we would know. On one occasion a flying bird thought to be a falcon was, indeed, a Swallow. Cilla has said that she will go out and investigate before she heads home. What she needs is to see 4 falcons on top of the tower. Proof. Fingers crossed — and toes.

Cilla has posted a video of the event at the tower. She says she is not wanting to get our hopes up but here is the footage.

There is some indication that the juvenile that was in the scrape box for so long on the 26th in Australia was Rubus but nothing is confirmed.


Breakfast came to Port Lincoln about 090609. Mum was on the nest with the fish and Zoe was elsewhere. Zoe flew in and took that fish and had her fill.

Here comes Zoe wanting that fish!

In Port Lincoln, it looks like Mum has landed another big flat fish at 1309. There she is eating it on the ropes while Dad sits stoically and Zoe is in the nest screaming for fish. I hope that Mum eats her fill. She will always share with her daughter, always, unless she is absolutely starving and sometimes, as we have seen this season, even then.

Well, it is hard to tell what happened with that fish. The camera was fixed in a particular location and if there was a fish transfer to Zoe, we could not see it. In the background you could hear Zoe fish calling so maybe Mum didn’t land on the nest?? Zoe is definitely not going to starve. This fledgling eats more fish than I could imagine. And still wants more!

Dad delivered his second fish of the day at 2043. Zoe in the nest and took it but Mum flew over. I wonder if she still wants to feed her daughter and have a bedtime snack?


No 16. Red List Bird. Pochard

The Pochards are a stunning duck that arrives in the United Kingdom from Scandinavia to over winter in the slower moving rivers and estuaries. There is now, also, a small group of Pochards that stay in the United Kingdom year round. They populate the newly created reservoirs and gravel pits. the Pochard feeds on seeds, roots and other plant material as well as small invertebrates by diving and also tabling.

There are declines in Northern Europe and this will decidedly impact the number coming to the United Kingdom in the fall. One of the major threats to the Pochard are the predatory mink that have invaded their breeding areas. The draining of lowland marshes and fish ponds for agriculture is causing a massive decline in the numbers. The major cause is climate change and there is also a growing number of mink – predators – in their breeding grounds in the north. That could account for a great loss of these gorgeous waterfowl. Other threats include egg collecting, fishing, disease such as Avian Flu, human disturbance, and illegal hunting!

Red-crested Pochard” by Andrej Chudy is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Let us have a look at this duck more closely in his breeding plumage. He has intense red eyes with a fiery rusty-copper head, a distinctive black breast, a dark taupe on the wings and back, a black rump and grey at the tip of the tail. The under area is white. In this image the bill appears to be red. You would recognise them immediately. The legs and feet are a blue grey for both genders.

Now just look at the female. How beautiful she is with her two little goslings. The eye is the deepest brown-black – not red -with a softer auburn head. The body is white mingled with the same soft auburn from the head.

mare i fill 06, xibecs – madre e hijo, patos colorados – mom and son, red-crested pochard” by ferran pestaña is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

In his text for Red Sixty Seven, Mike Dilger states, ” I will concede that of all our threatened bird species, the more glamorous and charismatic species, such as the Puffin and Cuckoo, will undoubtedly grab the headlines. But, I’d argue, a winter without spotting a Pochard would be even worse than Christmas without a turkey.” (12)


Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their videos, posts and streaming cams which make up my streaming cams: ‘G’ and Conservation without Borders, ‘M’, Quoteny, MC, Bernard, and Jean-marie Dupard, OpenVerse, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Port Lincoln Osprey.

Zoe eats a whopper, Ervie, and where are you, Rubus, darling?

26 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The kittens thought it was about time that they got their pictures in the blog – again! It is almost impossible to actually call them kittens now. They are 4x the size they were when they arrived. That will be a month on Tuesday. If you look closely at Lewis, you will notice that his nose has some scratches. Those scratches are from his ‘sweet’ ‘never do anything wrong’ sister, Missy. Poor little, Lewis. She took a couple of nicks out of his left eye, too. Ah, it is always the quiet ones, eh, Lewis?

I am going to start off with some really good news. I know that any time we are feeling a little ‘low’, Ervie can always make us smile. Port Lincoln Osprey posted a video of Ervie enjoying a freshly caught fish at Delamere this morning. I wonder if he was out fishing with Dad?

Now for the worrisome. Rubus has not been seen since the 23rd when he was on the ridge of the building. There has been a break in the news and I just thought it was because Cilla had not been out and about but, turns out, Indigo has been seen and photographed but not our sweet little lad.

I have received a note from ‘J’ that included this announcement from Cilla Kinross. It says: “I am organising a bit of search tomorrow morning at 0830 with some locals. Not sure how many will turn up, but hopefully 3 or 4 so we can split up and have a good look for Rubus. The bird wil go to a raptor carer and if and when he’s returned, I’ll decide at that stage. Probably I would put him close to Indigo so easy for parents to find.”

This is not the news that we had hoped. Let us all get really positive and send that energy out to the grounds of Orange to help our wee lad.

I found this message from Cilla below the streaming cam: “NEWS 26th November 2022 1900h I had a good look around this morning. No sign of Rubus. I asked Security to keep an eye for him, especially if he was on the ground. Indigo was sitting quietly in the trees in Girinyalanha and I took some photos.”

At 1450, Indigo flew into the scrape box looking for leftovers and hoping for prey. He is big and strong and gorgeous.

Here is a video of Indigo arriving in the scrape box with prey!

Oh, what a darling Xavier is. He went into the scrape just to see how Indigo was making out with his prey. They are taking such good care and teaching Indigo such valuable lessons. Oh, I hope dear Rubus is found so that the family can be back together again soon.

Xavier you are the cutest!

It was certainly good news to see that Willow, Louis and Dorcha’s first fledgling of 2022 had been spotted in the same area as Paith from the Dyfi nest. There must be a message board somewhere for young osprey fledglings from the UK on good places to stop enroute to their winter vacation (or should I say their home for the next couple of years?).

Yesterday it was a bit of a feast at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest and this morning an extremely large flat fish (a flounder? they do have them in PL) appeared on the nest. Mum flew in when Dad arrived but Zoe took charge. Now, that fish was big enough to feed three but, it didn’t. Zoe ate every last bit of it. She worked on that fish for more than two hours!!!!!!!!! Mum gave up and went off to get her own. I can only imagine the number of fish Zoe’s mate is going to have to produce when she has a nest of osplets. Just think about it. I am not certain I have ever seen an osplet eat as much fish as our Zoe.

Mum waited for over an hour hoping to get some breakfast but, the fact is, Zoe does not share.

At one time there were gulls overhead and both Mum and Zoe were alarming.

No 16. The Red List. The White-fronted Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose” by Rick Leche is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oh, goodness. Isn’t that a beautiful goose? White-fronted geese are medium sized. The white face is set off by that taupe of the head and back, the splotched chest, and that orange bill of the Greenland geese with legs to match. On occasion, the bill can be pinkish – that of the Siberian birds. There is a fluffy white bottom under those grey-brown back and wing feathers. What is amazing is the ombre – going from the solid taupe head, to the lighter neck, then lighter still on the breast. Just imagine if someone took this into their hair salon and asked for the stylist to copy it! It would be quite stunning, actually. Females and males are similar while the juveniles lack the white face, the black barring, and their taupe colour is not as deep as that of the adults.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) DSC_0139” by NDomer73 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

They breed in the cold of the Arctic tundra areas in the spring and summer. Greenland is one of the sites. In his entry, Gill Lewis writes, “This Greenland summer has seen her new brood hatch and grow. Her proud gaggle follow her, tail-waggling and beak-nibbling on the arctic tundra. A family, feeding and fattening.” In his entry, David Stroud said, “…she hatched six goslings and, with her mate, led them three kilometres up the steep valley sides and onto the lake-studded plateau used for brood-rearing and moulting.” Can you imagine, those wee ones following behind their Mum and walking upwards for 3 kilometres? It would be an incredible sight. They eat grasses, clover, grain, winter wheat and potatoes, according to the RSPB.

These lovely geese then fly and spend their winters in Ireland, the Orkneys, and Britain.

Why are these lovely waterfowl on such rapid decline? It is interesting and can be remedied. But, first. In 1982 shooting of White-fronted Geese in the UK was outlawed. Even so, their numbers have been falling rapidly. There are simply not enough youngsters to replace the adults and the cause is well known. The warming of the North Atlantic is the primary cause with its climatic changes and heavy snow falls. Those snows are arriving earlier and earlier at a time when the geese need feed before laying their eggs. So little food. One other cause, the one that can be remedied and is being done so for some species is wetlands. Instead of draining land so that humans can take over more and more vast tracks of it, we need to stop and rebuild the wetlands that are required for all our waterfowl. Whether or not anyone will find a way to halt or even slow the warming of our planet with its land and oceans is another story – a particularly grim one. So sad, these geese have been flying back and forth from the Arctic to the UK for 2 million years – just think about it. And, oh, how quickly we have ruined the entire landscape for them – in a blink of that time.

So when rewilding and news of the creation of wetlands comes to your ears, stand up in support of it – and remember the White-fronted Goose when you do.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) DSC_0132” by NDomer73 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In the News:

Long-Billed Curlews” by FotoGrazio is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The Curlew. These amazing shorebirds with their extremely long curved beaks are also in rapid decline. Oh, how I love reading these short Country Diary Posts. I hope you do, too.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/25/country-diary-a-cloud-of-curlews-carries-me-away


Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Let us all collectively send our warmest and most positive wishes to Orange so that Rubus might be found safely and be cared for as he needs. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for the posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey, Port Lincoln Osprey FB, Orange Australia Falcon FB, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Openverse, and The Guardian.

Fish feast for Zoe…and other news in Bird World

25 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope those of you that celebrated Thanksgiving had a lovely celebration. It was another warm day in the garden. Today it will be 6 degrees C. The sky is a beautiful blue and the sun is bright. There should be a lot of activity in the garden. I am quite enjoying watching the Starlings and the Sparrows flit about their lives enjoying the Butter Bark and the soft suet. It is hard to imagine that they are both vulnerable and in decline and on The Red List in the UK but, as I am told by many, their lives are so precarious and the Avian Flu last year could rear its ugly face again this year.

I just think that the Starling below is quite stunning. The so called ‘white’ spots on their bodies during the non-breeding season actually look silver in the sunlight. That coupled with those magnificent rust and rust tipped ebony wing feathers make them stand out and yet, if you don’t know they are there, they blend in quite nicely with the bark on the branches of the Lilacs.

Dyson has been coming for peanuts for several days but, instead of running about storing them, she has stopped and taken the time to eat several before scurrying about. She is really adorable. I notice that her colouring is also changing. Some of the youngsters have great tufts coming out of their ears now. I will see if they will sit still long enough for me to get a photo for you soon.

Junior was about today along with a least one of the three fledglings but Mr Crow and his family were not about. I wonder where they found food. It always scares me if I see road kill as I know they will chance it to get some food. I wish everyone would stop and if they see road kill get out and move it to the side of the road, way off the shoulder, if it is safe for them to do so.

The Australian Nests:

I cannot possibly tell you how quiet it has gone in Bird World now that all of the Australian birds have fledged. You might already guess that Xavier and Diamond are taking good care of Rubus and Indigo and that Zoe is screaming her head off for a fish. Dad went out and came back with nesting material. What in the world is up with the fishing in Port Lincoln?

Cilla posted a prey transfer for Indigo that took place yesterday in Orange.

Dad brought in a fish for Zoe at 09:56. She ate the entire thing. The fish tail went down at 10:21:08. Dad ‘appeared’ to have a crop. Mum was sitting on the ropes as she is above. Will Mum get anything to eat?

With Dad appearing to have a crop and Zoe getting a fish, what is there for Mum? Has Dad decided now that the chick has fledged, his duty is only to feed it and him and Mum can fend for herself? It is certainly common at other nests.

Mum did not sit around. She has proven herself today. She brought in a nice fish for her and Zoe at 13:30:31 and another one at 14:39:40. Indeed, Mum was on the nest with Zoe and flew off quickly as if the fish had skimmed the water near the barge. Isn’t this just excellent! Everyone will have had a good feed today.

Indeed, Mum was just finished feeding Zoe the 1330 fish when she spotted the next one. We will have to start calling her ‘Eagle-eyed Mum’.

Off she goes!

Zoe and Mum are having feasts today while Dad sits on the perch. Good for Mum. She is going to make sure that her and her daughter are well fed.

In his book, After They’re Gone. Extinctions, Past, Present, and Future, author Peter Marren says of the Ospreys, “To survive the Sixth Extinction, it may help to be useful- useful to humankind, that is” (164). Marren continues on the following page, “In Britain, nesting ospreys and sea eagles attract tourists and hence income to places that need it” (165). Every place that has wildlife should heed Marren’s words. They should consider the environment and rush to bring it back to life because those beautiful animals and birds and the landscape that is cared for and respected will help with the economy in the future. Indeed, my granddaughter is looking for a place for a holiday to see birds and animals. It would be truly sad if I had to tell her to go to a zoo!

Making News:

a little change from plants- hen harrier looking for dinner.” by island deborah- New Book ‘Song of the Sparrow’ vig is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Well, to tackle this entire issue of the vulnerability and extinction of the Hen Harrier, Hen Harriers will be bred in captivity and released in England on the Salisbury Plain. Twelve birds, six males and six females, have been brought from France and Span to establish the breeding pairs. This is a project between Natural England and the International Centre for Birds of Prey. Their goal is to release 100 birds over the next 5 or 6 years.

Fantastic. You can read more about this intervention to increase biodiversity here:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/23/hen-harriers-to-be-bred-in-captivity-and-released-on-to-salisbury-plain?CMP=share_btn_link

I have become increasingly aware of these magnificent birds over the past year and have devoured as many new books on them that I could. There are a couple that I have quite enjoyed and will mention if you or someone you know is interested in the life and the plight of these magnificent birds of prey. They are Bowland Beth. The Life of an English Hen Harrier by David Cobham, The Hen Harrier’s Year by Ian Carter & Dan Powell

Hen Harrier male (Circus cyaneus) illustrated by the von Wright brothers. Digitally enhanced from our own 1929 folio version of Svenska Fåglar Efter Naturen Och Pa Sten Ritade.” by Free Public Domain Illustrations by rawpixel is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The problem is the illegal killing and the destruction of the land that supports these beautiful birds. So when will the courts begin to crack down on those who persecute the raptors?

A nauseating story is coming out of County Down, Northern Ireland of a lovely Buzzard found with a plastic bag around its neck hanging on a tree. Unbelievable. Just look at that face and that gorgeous plumage.

Inquisitive Buzzard” by John C Williams is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Here is that Story.

Dead buzzard found hanging from a tree in County Down – Raptor Persecution UK

Each year the Raptor Persecution UK puts out a report on the killing of raptors and, sadly, this year – 2022 – has been the second highest record in history. What a tragedy and why is this happening?

RSPB’s 2021 Birdcrime report reveals second-highest figure on record – Raptor Persecution UK

Fieldfare on a cherry tree” by hedera.baltica is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

No 15. The Red List. The Fieldfare

FF 031 ~ Fieldfare~” by Mike Hazzledine — British Biodiversity is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Fieldfares are a large member of the thrush family. The name Fieldfare comes from the Anglo-Saxon meaning ‘traveller of fields’. Look at the image above. They have the most beautiful light steel-blue-gray heads and wings. Their back, which you can see in the image below, is the colour of a beautiful Horse Chestnut. Their tails are black. Their ivory breast is spotted with a deep espresso tinged with chestnut. A peach wash makes a gorgeous collar. Their back end is a grey and they have black legs with touches of black around the eye. The female looks very similar to the male but has slightly more chestnut than the blue-grey and some consider the colouring more ‘dull’ on the female. There is an image of a female feeding her nestlings below. Make up your own mind if she is dull!

The decline of the Fieldfare from a handful of breeding pairs to now only one or two brings much sadness to many British birders. The author of the entry in Red Sixty Seven, Nick Acheson, writes about Joe Harkness another author whose book, Bird Therapy, speaks to the joy that birds bring to all of us. In writing about the Fieldfare, Harkness says that he is elated when two Fieldfares visit his garden during the winter’s snow and ice. Acheson says that Harness’s joy comes “not from the beauty of the birds, though beautiful they certainly are, not from their rarity, for per se they are not rare at all (globally). His joy comes from their shining witness, perceived – this once – in a place of domesticity.” Indeed, Fieldfares are not found in fields despite their name and do not frequent gardens but are mostly seen on the wet hawthorn hedgehops, Buckthorn bushes in the sand dunes along the sea.

Fieldfare” by Linton Snapper is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Fieldfare is not a thrush but it can be found spending time with flocks of thrushes during its migration from Northern Europe to spend time in Britain in winter. In the Scandinavian countries, they are known as Birch Thrushes or Bjorktrast. There they feed on berries until they arrive in Britain in mid-September where they roam the country side, the fields, the hedgerows and the gardens looking for food. In particular, they will search for berries from the Rowan, Hawthorn, and Holly. In farmlands, they feed on invertebrates and earthworms.

Fieldfare on a cherry tree” by hedera.baltica is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The decline of the Fieldfare is due directly to the steep decline in insects. Studies in Europe have shown that the biomass of insects in Germany has declined by 75%. The decline is serious in other countries and this is due directly to the use of pesticides. Climate change is also playing havoc with these lovely little birds. Milder temperatures in the northern countries and then quick freezes have cost the lives of nestlings. Many Fieldfare have also chosen not to migrate which is one reason there is the decline in numbers in the UK. Of course, the Northern European countries are not the only ones that are using pesticides. In the UK, there are similar issues and declines in birds that depend on insects for their food source.

Oh, thank you so much for being with me today. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Openverse, The Guardian, RSPB, and Raptor Persecution UK.

Shaded nests for eagles, prey drop for Rubus and other news in Bird World

23 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

I hope that you are well. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States. In Canada, we have already had our harvest festival in October but, as one of the readers reminded me, it is a time to give thanks for all of those in our lives — so to all of you wherever you may be, ‘thank you for being part of this great community’. Your empathy, caring, understanding, and joy are remarkable and this year we have been so much together. And to all of our feathered friends, thank you for the joy and the tears and for reminding us that we are all in this world together, not separate.

Dyson sends greetings from all of us to all of you. She hopes that you have plenty of ‘nuts’ for your celebration while reminding all of us to share with the wildlife.

There is simply not a lot going on in Bird World. Only one thing seems to be on anyone’s mind now that Zoe has fledged. When will Rubus fly up to the scrape?  Rubus has flown. Shines reports that Rubus was on the ground and observed to fly 200 m to his perch. Indigo has been up in the scrape box and so have the adults. And he flew some more later and picked up a prey delivery (see below). Life feels good right now. All are well.

Interesting to note that Xavier was in the scrape box ‘scraping’ – is he already thinking about next year? A scrape is a shallow indentation in the gravel or sand in which the eggs are laid.

It is extremely heart warming to know that all of the staff at Charles Sturt University keep an eye out for the falcons. Rubus was found on the ridge of the Printery Roof. Here is a video showing a prey delivery for Rubus from Xavier. So, we can all relax. Xavier and Diamond are taking good care of both Indigo and Rubus and there are all kinds of caring eyes looking out for them!

Thanks ‘A’ for sending me the link to the video and this comforting news!

If you missed Zoe’s fledge, here is my short video clip. She was really working her wings earlier and her first flight took her right down to Dad’s shed. Perhaps Ervie will come and join them for a good old ‘chin wag’. Zoe is 66 days old.

Mum is in the nest and Dad is on the ropes. Zoe is still down in the shed. She will figure out how to fly back up to the nest. If I recall, this is what Bazza did last year! Please correct me if I am wrong.

There should be no worries. Zoe flew up to the nest at 1451 and booted Mum off. She is now prey-calling and I presume that one of the adults will be out to get their girl a nice fish for her accomplishment!

Zoe later flew back and forth to the perch and around the barge. It appears from all the time tables that Zoe did not get a fish after fledgling. Thanks to ‘A’, here are the major events from the observation board for Port Lincoln for the day: Fish count: Dad: 2, Mum: 0 Fish times: 08:37, 11:49 08:37 dad with headless fish, mum takes it away 08:46 mum returns, Zoe self feeds 9:00:56 Zoe eats the tail.

10:54:45 Zoe fledges from the nest and ends up in the mancave Facebook post on fledge 

11:49:45 Fish tail end by Dad. Zoe was in the mancave 11:55 Mum eats the tail. 14:51:55 Zoe returns to the nest, where mum was, who then leaves

18:40 Zoe from nest to close perch (and back and to the perch) and flying around the barge

‘H’ made a video clip that shows Zoe’s fledge and her subsequent flights which are not included in mine. Thanks so much ‘H’.

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Making News:

Dave Hancock of Hancock Wildlife is building shaded nests for the eagles to help them with the increasingly number of heat domes that are part of climate change in British Columbia. Here is an image of one of those nests with the Delta 2 Eagles.

The British Trust for Ornithology is watching with great concern as the migrant birds from parts of Europe arrive in the UK for their winter holidays.

BirdLife’s 2022 Photography Awards are in and there are some stunning images.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2022/nov/23/the-2022-birdlife-australia-photography-awards-in-pictures?CMP=share_btn_link

There are many categories and many birds that will be familiar that are in those winning shots including the Albatross, BooBook Owl, Wood Ducks, Petrels, Wrens, and Lyrebirds. Enjoy!

What you might not know is that you do not have to be Australian to enter. Maybe think about submitting some of your images next year. One section of the Birdlife website that fascinated me was the ‘tips and tricks’ to getting bird photos. Mine would never win any awards but I would love to be able to take better photos of our beautiful feathered friends. To check out on the regulations for the annual awards and to see the tips and tricks, please go to:

birdlifephotoaward.org.au

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In Senegal, Jean-marie Dupart reports that he counted 331 Ospreys in a stretch of beach measuring 143 km. That is fantastic news!

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In the United States, the Osprey breeding season starts after the Bald Eagles. Jack and Diane at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida have been visiting their nest. I wonder if they even know where to start with all the weeds that have grown up!

I keep heading over to the West End nest of Thunder and Akecheta to see if I can catch them at the nest but, no luck today!

I didn’t find anyone at home at Fraser Point either and they are playing highlights on the Two Harbours cam.

Harriet and M15 have been on and off the nest today. Many thought that today might be the time for the first egg’s arrival but, it doesn’t appear to be the case. Perhaps tomorrow!

Gabby is looking particularly gorgeous these days. She is keeping her eyes out for any intruders near the nest she shares with Samson at Jacksonville, Florida.

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No 12. The Red List: Ring Ouzel

Alpine Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus), Karwendel mountains, Austria” by Frank.Vassen is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In his description of this beautiful Blackbird with its white half moon torque on the male, Nick Baker says, “It’s the thinking person’s Blackbird, the connoisseur’s choice; a passerine, that keeps itself to itself and is somewhat exclusive, hiding away from the cheap (ing) twittering masses of other perching birds, other than the odd curved, Wheatear and pipit.”

Ring Ouzel male” by Rainbirder is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Baker likes the stunning black birds because they are elusive one has to “invest some kind of effort to find one makes them all the more appealing…” Baker lives in Dartmoor, where a small population of these passerines “hangs on.” He says “the situation is about as delicate as the frosted feather edges on the bird’s breast.”

This lovely print shows the adults and the wee one. Notice the silvery wing panels on both the male and the female. You can see them easily in the photograph by Rainbirder above, also. The male’s crescent moon is pure white while the female’s is ivory barred with a rust brown. Instead of a black chin, the female has vertical barring, dark chocolate on white. Once again, I think that the female is just as stunningly beautiful as the male – her head, back and tail are not the pure deeply saturated black. In fact there is more variety to her plumage. The spots on the chest of the juvenile with its brown head, back and wings remind me of the work of Denmark’s most accomplished ceramic artists, Priscilla Mouritzen.

Ring Ouzel (male left female above young right)” by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The ring ouzel is a member of the thrush family. It grows to approximately 24 cm or 18 inches in length. They are smaller than Blackbirds but are often misidentified as being a Blackbird unless you see that stunning half moon panel.

They breed in the drags and gullies of the steep valleys from mid-April through to mid-July normally having two clutches. Their nests are located close to the ground in dense heather or in a crevice. It would be very rate to see them nest in a tree. They feed their young earthworms and beetles and as adults they eat insects and berries.

The threats that these birds face are quite numerous. The predation of eggs is a start because of nesting close to the ground. They are disturbed by humans, their habitat has been destroyed due to deforestation in the areas where they winter in Spain and in Africa. Climate change has had a significant impact on the bird. The authors of the book noted below, possibly the very best study of these birds, notes that the landscape of the North York Moors might become completely unsuitable for them in the future.

One of the best books on this species is this volume, The Ring Ouzel. A New from the North York Moors. The retired duo hiked, observed, and gained considerable knowledge which they have passed on to us in a delightful little book. I keep thinking how wonderful they were to find this specific place now and provide us with insights into a bird that is most elusive.

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Migration News:

I am still following two of the four fledglings from Karl II’s Black Stork family from the Karula National Forest in Estonia. Those two are Waba and the foster chick, Bonus. The only surviving strolling from the last brood of Jan and Janikka.

Bonus remains in the area of Turkey (Konya Province) where he has been for what seems like forever. It is an area that can get cold in the winter with snow and everyone is hoping that he will decide to get moving!

Waba remains in the Sudan feeding on the Nile River. He travelled 242 km in the last few days (his tracker was not transmitting for some of that time).

Both of the Black Stork juveniles seem to have found water and lots of food and it appears that each is reluctant to leave their respective locations. It is always a relief to know that they are well but, like everyone else, I hope that Bonus will get an itch to fly and that he will head south to catch up with the remainder of his family in Africa.

Thank you so very much for being with me today. We will be keeping an eye on Zoe as she perfects her flying skills along with dear Rubus and Indigo at Orange. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘A’ and ‘H’ as always – so grateful, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross and gang, Port Lincoln Ospreys, British Trust for Ornithology, ave Hancock and Hancock Wildlife, The Guardian, Achieva Ospreys with Jack and Diane, IWS, SWFlorida Bald Eagles and D Pritchett, NEFL-AEF, Openverse, and Looduskalender Forum.

Falcons and Football…and more in Bird World for Tuesday

22 November 2022

Good Morning to Everyone!

It has warmed up on the Canadian Prairies – and because of that the heating is not on as much and it is damp and cold. Believe me, we always grumble about the weather. It is to be 0 degrees C today! It will cause things to melt a bit and get all slushy – there is nothing worse than chills to the bone. It will be a good day to go to the pond and see if there are any of those Wood Ducks still hanging about. Images (sadly I do not have permission to share them – yet) have been coming in that are showing 50 or 60 Bald Eagles just south of our City in the trees alongside the Snowy Owls. It is quite incredible.

In the Mail:

There are times when we just need something to put a smile on our face. When I lived in Norman Oklahoma and went to the University of Oklahoma, it was impossible not to be an OU Sooners Football Fan. I can still smell the damp leaves in the fall covering the sidewalks on the way to the stadium. When ‘B’ found out about this, he sent me the most fabulous image. As we all remember – too well – there was a time in 2020 and 2021 when large gatherings of people were forbidden due to Covid. One of those was, of course, the popular football games in the US. So, the University of California at Berkeley, put up cardboard cut outs of viewers. Guess who got the prime seat? Look!

That is fabulous. Our own Grinnell. Alden is wonderful but there was just something about Grinnell that made him ever so special. It is hard to lose them.

Thank you ‘B’.

The other day Annie and Alden attended all the celebrations for the latest football game at Berkeley when the Cal Golden Bears beat the Stanford Cardinals 27-20. Our adorable Peregrine Falcon couple went up to the ledge, spent some time there recuperating (was it 3 hours?). ‘H’ sent me a link to the video of them sitting and leaving together that she made for us to enjoy. Thank you ‘H’.

Making News:

There is news coming in about the streaming cams and nests on Captiva Island -the Bald Eagle nest of Connie and Clive and the Osprey nest of Andy and Lena.

The Dfyi Osprey Project in Wales is reporting that there are two beautiful Red Kites on the Dyfi Osprey nest of Idris and Telyn. Aren’t they ever so beautiful? Just look at that plumage. I don’t know about you but I am simply mystified at how beautiful these raptors are – the falcons, the kites, the kestrels, the Merlins, and the Harriers. You can take the same colours and shake them up and each one is slightly different than the other. I have to admit that the Red Kites are quite stunning with those icy blue heads and amber eyes, bright chrome-yellow cere and short hooked beaks with its black tip. The terracotta or rusty sort of Corten Steel colour of the tails (reminiscent of the Red-tail Hawk) set against the dark chocolate trimmed with white is outstanding.

You can check on all the birds that use this nest by going to dyfiospreyproject.com

There is no rest for Dr Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies. Those who watched the Channel Island’s Bald Eagle nests will remember Dr Sharpe climbing up to rescue Lancer at Two Harbours, getting a chick of the cliff at the West End, and going in and taking Victor to the Ojai Raptor Centre last season. He is now busy working on the cameras. Here is the announcement from the IWS.

Everyone is getting ready for the Bald Eagle breeding season. Speaking of that, Samson and Gabby were caught mating on the nest today just like Harriet and M15 were a week or so ago. Eggs should be coming shortly. Will there be holiday eaglets?

Philippe Josse reports that progress is certainly being made on the Notre Dame Eagles nest – the natal nest of dearest Little Bit ND17. Please join the FB group Notre Dame Eagles for up to date information on this family.

Terry Carman is keeping track of the Bald Eagle eggs on the streaming cam. Here is the latest report — and all bets are on Harriet and M15 having their first egg today at SWFlorida! If you are looking to track Bald Eagle laying, please head over to this great FB group. There you will always have the latest information.

Checking on the Australian Nests:

Zoe is 66 days old today. She could fledge at any time. She is doing some good hovering and has nailed stealing the fish when Dad brings it to the nest! And you know what? She is gorgeous. When the wind whips her crest up it accents those focused piercing eyes and that very sharp hooked black beak. The dark black eye line just makes her that more gorgeous.

The winds are at 26 kph right now. Gusty for our girl. I hope she does not get swept up when she is practising her hovering. Zoe is getting better each day at that hover but, still. We saw what wind gusts can do with Rufus. I prefer that they take off on their own!

In Orange, Xavier and Diamond seem to be having prey drops with Indigo. She is really doing well!

Look carefully over at the trees!

Yesterday Shines found Rubus on the ground next to the road and put the little fella back up in the Waddle Tree.

I have to admit that I am a wee bit worried about Rubus and that is only because there have been no reports of any feedings. That is not to say they have no occurred. Diamond and Xavier are cracker parents and I think they are decidedly trying to lure Rubus back up to the scrape. It is possible that he does not feel confident to fly. Has anyone seen Rubus flying since he fledged/fledged?

Some more photos of Rubus higher in the Wattle Tree.

Every once in awhile one of the parents goes up to the scrape. I think they are really trying to lure Rubus back into the box.

Xavier is keeping an eye over everything happening with his two fledglings from the ledge of the box.

At 1540 Indigo comes up to the scrape box prey calling, very loudly, and Xavier immediately takes off. Indigo stays in the scrape looking for prey amongst the feathers. Will Xavier return with something from the storage vault?

Indigo spent the night in the scrape box last evening.

I urge you to check out the wonderful website that has gone up at Orange. Cilla Kinross and her great team have put together cracker content and you can get up to date information on our falcon family there with their photographs.

That link is: falcon cam.csu.edu.au

No 12 The Red List: The Merlin

Merlin Falcon” by minds-eye is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oh, it is hard to imagine that this lovely little raptor is on the vulnerable list in the UK. But, if it is happening there, it is possible that there are declining population numbers elsewhere. Ruth Tingay, writing in Red Sixty Seven, describes the birds as feisty and dashing with their “rapid fire kek, kek, kek, kek, kek” that demands everyone’s attention. Tingay first saw Merlins in the wilds of the Hebrides, those remote islands off the west coast of Scotland. She then saw them again in an urban setting in Idaho and said she was shocked because she always associated them with great open spaces.

Look at the colour of the plumage! They are smaller than a Peregrine Falcon measuring at most 30 cm or 12 inches in length or the Red Kits who grow to approximately twice their size. The male Merlin has dark steel blue grey upper wings, tail and top of the head. The underwing – the primaries and the secondaries are the same dark grey barred with a lighter grey. There is a fine white eye line, magnificent rusty-orange with dark chocolate barring on the underneath, on the legs and the upper part of the wing. The deepest dark 70% cocoa eyes, a white beard and throat. The beak has a black tip fading into that grey blue and a yellow cere. The legs are chrome-yellow with deep black talons.

Merlins are described as “our smallest falcon, male smaller than the female, not much bigger than a Blackbird.” They live on the moors and open fields where they breed but travel to the south and the coasts of the UK for their wintering grounds. Here is their map.

Seriously adorable but, in the sky and hunting, they are formidable for the smaller birds.

Falcon” by Terry Kearney is marked with CC0 1.0.

The Merlin was a popular hawk of Mary Queen of Scots and became known as the Queen’s Falcon or Lady’s Hawks. Royalty and women of the aristocracy would use them to hunt Sky Larks. They are a fierce hunter capturing their prey from the air, high up meaning that they have to have a very calculated effort. They normally hunt small to medium sized birds bit have been known to take pigeons, ducks, and even plover.

Sadly, they are quickly losing their habitat, pesticides and secondary poisoning, and of course the shooting by the keepers of the estates where Red Grouse hunting takes place. Other causes of death are collision and cat predation. There are many other threats. Corvids, such as Crows and Jays, will eat the eggs and the nestlings if they find them and, indeed, Merlins do not build their own nest but reuse the nests of others including Crows. Larger Raptors such as Peregrine Falcons, Great Horned Owls, and even Goshawks are a threat but all others tend to steer clear of this small falcon because of its aggressiveness.

Climate change will impact this small spirited hawk. Audubon has set up a programme to try and predict the changes to its breeding habitat. As you can see they will be pushed further north to where it is cooler. With the polar ice melting and the seas warming, I wonder how long it will be cooler in the north?

Some new books have arrived and I will be anxious to tell you about them as I work my way through. For now I am trying to scout out all the birding sites on the island of Grenada in the West Indies so that I can – hopefully – send you some images of birds that are either old friends or new ones. My son will probably never invite me again! He gets another location or two each day – . I was told tonight to bring my gum boots and lots of mosquito repellent. So for dear ‘L’ who was worried that the newsletter might stop while I am away, ‘no’ it will not. You are all going on my birding adventure with me!

Thank you so much for being here today. It is so nice to have you with us. Please take care of yourself – and I will see you soon!

Thank you to the following for their letters, their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘B’ so grateful for that image of Grinnell, ‘H’ for her great videos, Captiva Island Eagles and Ospreys FB, Dyfi Osprey Project FB, IWS, Notre Dame Eagles, Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and News, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the Falcon Cam Blog, Open Verse, and Audubon.org.

Hovering, Nest building…Saturday in Bird World

19 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone!

I hope that you are well. So nice to have you with us this morning. It is a blue sky cold day, -14 C, on the Canadian Prairies. The kittens are up carrying toys and watching the Crows come for their morning feeding. The Grackles have already been to the suet feeder and the little Sparrows are all puffed up keeping warm in the lilac bushes.

It is a type of soft suet that the Starlings like. They can stand back and poke at it with their long sharp beaks.

The Blue Jays that fledged from the nest across the lane are still here. One was eating peanuts while these two were in the lilacs sunning themselves.

Nest News:

Yesterday Zoe got some really good height in her hovers. Thankfully she remained on the nest and did not fledge into those strong winds as that storm did roll in.

If you missed it, here are those beautiful early morning hovers.

Later, Mum is down in the nest with Zoe taking care of her only ‘baby’. Dad was not out fishing. If you remember, Zoe ate really well on Friday so did Mum. On Saturday morning, Mum took Dad’s fish and returned with the tail portion for Zoe. That has been the only meal so far and if the weather stays, it could be it for the day. Zoe will be fine. She is not going to starve.

Indigo continues to fly out of the scrape and return. This is excellent. Most of you watch the Bald Eagle nests as well as the Ospreys and it is ‘normal’ for fledglings to return to the nest for food, to fly and strengthen their wings being fed by the parents for a period of 4-6 weeks.

Rubus continues to do his wingers and the pair enthusiastically eat all that is brought into the scrape. There are still a few dandelions on Rubus but not many.

The brothers 9 days ago.

Just look at them all covered in down with Indigo revealing some lovely back and tail feathers.

Oh, little Rubus had to get to the front and jump in the beginning to get some prey. Hard to imagine now when both of them are screaming and running all over the scrape. Diamond and Xavier have raised two healthy feisty chicks.

‘A’ reports that it was raining so hard in Melbourne yesterday that the wipers had to be on full speed. Of course, all we can think of are the fledglings from 367 Collins Street. Positive wishes out to them to be safe and fed.

As the season in Australia winds down, everyone is on egg watch at the nest of Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers, Florida. The pair have been working diligently to rebuild their nest after Hurricane Ian. Sadly, that GHOW continues to plague our beloved eagle couple. Oh, I wish their nests were further apart!!!!

Harriet and M15 continue to work on their nest together. They are amazing.

Samson and Gabby have been at their nest, too, working away. They have had a three year old Eagle visiting the nest and I began to wonder if it could be Jules or Romey.

Mum and Dad have been rebuilding the nest in St Patrick’s Park in South Bend, Indiana. You will remember that this is the home nest of Little Bit ND17. They are making good progress and now, some snow has arrived. I sure wonder where Little Bit is! Gosh, we long for them to fledge and then we grieve to see them again hoping they survived that almost insurmountable first year.

Humane Wildlife Indiana sent out a clever fundraiser. They are asking for donations for the strays in their care to have a full fledged Christmas dinner. You can purchase one for one animal or more. I wonder why more animal sanctuaries do not do this? You might mention this to your local care group. It is a marvelous idea.

Making News:

Sadly, for the wrong reasons the adorable Melbourne Four make the news.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/collins-street-falcon-chick-dies-days-after-taking-wing-20221115-p5byi1.html?fbclid=IwAR22J_pnOqqPaRA8JqL7WcplN8ddPreG3bIpfCVw8kNgpVudjgCKWoSHXgI

Oh, our beloved Canada Geese are making news in the UK.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/18/country-diary-canada-geese-are-on-the-move-with-a-melancholic-honk-but-why?CMP=share_btn_link

No 9 The Red List: The Nightingale

It is the song of the Nightingale that has attracted writers for thousands of years. Pliny the Elder described its song more than 2000 years ago when animals were denied artistic abilities. He wrote: “the sound is given out with modulations, and now is drawn out into a long note with one continuous breath, now made staccato . . .” Ellen Finkelpearl continues in her short article on Pliny and the Nightingale that he did believe, strongly, that the natural world including our feathered friends can be artistic!

https://classicalstudies.org/plinys-cultured-nightingale

If you are a lover of Shakespeare, you will know that the Nightingale shows up in more of the plays, not just when Juliet educates Romeo on the wonderful song of the Nightingale.

Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.

Here is a fantastic blog that captures the portrayal of the Nightingale in all of Shakespeare’s works.

https://blogs.bl.uk/sound-and-vision/2016/04/shakespeare-and-the-nightingale.html#:~:text=The%20morning%20after%20their%20secret,is%20not%20yet%20near%20day.

In his entry in Red Sixty Seven, writer Luke Massey says, “…We should be ashamed that in our quest to clean our landscape, in our acrimonious divorce from nature, we have forgotten this songster and let it suffer. Despite its song we have ignored it ; we have let it fall silent in our copses, our scrub and our hedgerows. We have failed it and with that we have failed nature. Will we really let this be the last song of the Nightingale?”

Its very last space in the UK is under threat.

https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/2018/04/last-stronghold-of-nightingale-under-threat

There are problems with the Nightingale’s wings getting shorter due to climate change. That is mentioned in this great report for The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/01/nightingales-at-risk-due-to-shorter-wings-caused-by-climate-crisis

Changes in farming practices, the destruction of hedgerow and copses for more modern farming are all adding to end the life of this most beloved bird who nests are on the ground. There are fewer and fewer sites for this beloved bird to raise their young safely.

As I read more and more of what we have done to halt the lives of so many birds, it is readily apparent that the world needs to return to some of the ‘old ways’ and continue policies or re-wilding if we are to save our precious wildlife.

In the Mailbox:

‘EJ’ was wondering how these transmitters work – like the one put on Zoe at Port Lincoln. She found a great article and you might be wondering how these transmitters work, too. Thank you, ‘EJ’. Here is the link. You should be able just to click on it.

Technology (ospreytrax.com)

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care everyone. As I look at the weather report there is a severe weather alert for wind in both Orange and Port Lincoln. Maybe Zoe and Rubus – as well as Indigo – will take care today. Send best wishes to them!

Thank you to the following for their posts and their streaming cams that make up my screen captures: RSPB, The Guardian, Osprey Research, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, The Age, Lady Hawk and SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, NEFL-AEF, and Notre Dame Eagle Cam.