It’s a Pip for Port Lincoln …and is Iris still in Montana?

The poor mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge nest has certainly been stared at! Chatters want a stick moved and Dad seems to continue, on occasion, to bring in some more nest materials.

At 02:06, many were certain there was a bump. By 05:33:13 there was a definite pip. The bump expanding for three hours certainly seems logical.

You can see it here – the back egg! The first egg was laid on 3 August. I think it makes it 40 days on the dot – but don’t trust me, do your own math, please. It looks like there will be a little Osprey by morning tomorrow. Lovely. I hope the weather is good for mum and chick.

Thanks to the two ‘Ss’ for alerting me. It seems that Iris was enjoying a fish yesterday on her favourite tree at Mt Sentinel. You will read later in this newsletter that Ospreys prefer trees without branches. This one is certainly perfect. She can see all around her. Oh, the survival skills the Ospreys have developed over millions of years.

Oh, these birds are so smart. If the weather is bad, maybe they know it. Certainly they anticipate local weather and act accordingly!

Hurricane season officially lasts from 1 June to the end of November. Last year several of us worried about Tiny Tot and we became curious about the impact of hurricanes on the Ospreys and other birds.

This is an excellent document on the subject.

In his book, Soaring with Fidel, David Gessner talks about visiting Sanibel Island after Hurricane Charley hit the area in August of 2004. Santibel took a direct hit and it is home to many sea birds including lots of Ospreys. Some of you might have watched the Captiva Bald Eagle nest last year – Joe and Connie. That nest is on Santibel Island.

According to Gessner’s friend, Tim Gardner who lives on Santibel, the hurricane hit with 140 mph winds, a category 4. “The Ospreys, according to Tim, moved lower and lower in the trees, until they hunkered down near the ground in the brush.” “But no amount of hunkering could protect them.” Gardner revealed to Gessner that all of the nests were gone after the hurricane. Blown away. Gardner also added, “The remarkable thing was the birds’ resilience: those that had lived through the hurricane had come back to rebuild on the same spots”. He noted that the few trees that remained looked just like sticks pushed up out of the ground with no branches —– well, lo and behold, our Ospreys love trees without branches. Perfect. They can see all around them. As hurricane season continues for 2021, let us wish all the wildlife resilience and strength.

I have so enjoyed Gessner’s writing that I was able to find his first book at a used book shop. It is Return of the Osprey. A Season of Flight and Wonder. I hope that it is as informative as it is a good read. Certainly Soaring with Fidel fit that. I continue to return to that book. It is a delight.

After posting the article, “The Tears of the Albatross,” my friend, ‘L’ send me a link to this wonderful video, Albatross – A Love Story! It is excellent. Have a look. Thank you, ‘L’!

So many of you have sent me the most beautiful images of your the birds. Thank you! The care, love, and concern that each of you have for the wildlife visiting your gardens is so endearing. I wish we could spread that love and care like an aerosol.

Oh, the joy and laughter the birds and animals bring with their antics! This evening as the sun was setting, the three Blue Jays that visit my garden and two of the large grey squirrels had noticed the ears of dried corn that had been put in a bowl for them. My view was mostly blocked but oh, you could see the crest of the Blue Jay pop up and down and, on occasion, the cob would roll and you could see the Jays getting a kernel and eating it. One decided to have a bath. Of course, he will never use the bird bath. This fellow, the male, prefers the old gold water bowl.

I am also certain that he can hear when I take the cap off the lens since he absolutely refuses to pose! Seriously, he had been looking straight at me prior to this.

The Blue Jay couple are year round residents in the back garden. They always come out in the morning and late afternoon to almost sunset. They often arrive with a single juvenile every summer. To my amazement, they get along with the other regulars – the little Downy male woodpecker (and his juvenile in the summer), the lone Black-Capped chickadee, the three Grey Squirrels, Sharpie the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Hedwig the Rabbit, and ‘Little Red’, the Red Squirrel. OK. Red and the Grays dislike each other completely.

These characters that give us so many giggles are really a part of the family. It is always comforting, at the end of the day, to check off that each has been seen.

The link to the Port Lincoln Osprey cam is here:

My newsletter will be late tomorrow, very late. I am hopping to get a glimpse of some birds during the day if the weather cooperates. On the list are Sandhill Cranes. In fact, it might not arrive until Tuesday late morning so don’t worry.

Thank you so much for stopping by to check on our friends in Bird World. No doubt everything will happen at once – the chick at PLO will hatch the moment that Tiaki fledges and Iris arrives at her nest! The birds certainly keep us on our toes. Stay safe everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my images: Montana Osprey Project and Cornell Bird Lab, Sharon Leigh Miles from the Montana Osprey Project who allows me to use images from their FB Page she posts, and the Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Osprey Migration

Dr Tim Mackrill, the Osprey specialist that worked with Glaslyn on how to set up the fish table for Aran and Mrs G this past late spring and early summer when Aran injured his wing, gave a wonderful Webinar on Osprey migration. He has taped the entire talk and you can watch it on YouTube. It is free – and worth every minute. You can, of course, start and stop the presentation as needed. Here is that link to everything you wanted to learn about Osprey migration and more!

The wait continues for the female adult at Port Lincoln’s first hatch. Any time! It’s 12 August in Australia and that was the day I guessed on the FB page. Come on hatch!!!!!!

The nest at Port Lincoln is known for its siblicide. There will be no intervention of any kind – other than putting on the Darvic rings and maybe another satellite tracker this year (if they choose to do this). If you take the number of days different from the day egg 1 was laid and egg 3 and then add the number of days between when they hatched, you will get a real number that tells you the difference in age between 1 and 3 – sometimes ten days. Some of these little ones survive. Tiny Little Bob at the Foulshaw Moss had extraordinary parents. Tiny Tot at the Achieva Nest was simply an extraordinary bird. Many aren’t. So please keep this in mind. Here is the link to the streaming cam.

There is news coming out of Loch Arkaig. Louis might still be at the lake along with one of the juveniles. Louis is very devoted to his chicks and he will wait til one of them leaves – for certain – before he does. Stay tuned. People will be checking this to make sure.

There has been no confirmation about Iris, the grand dame of all Ospreys, having left for her migration. The last certain sighting was by Sharon Leigh Miles on 6 September.

Put a bookmark on the Osprey migration video if you can’t watch it soon. On one of those rainy days when you are wanting something to watch, it is a great resource.

Thank you for joining me this morning. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

The featured image is Iris. Iris is believed to be the oldest Osprey in the world. She summers in Montana but no one knows where she stays for the winter.

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

A Date with an Osprey

An ex-library book, Soaring with Fidel. An Osprey Odyssey from Cape Cod to Cuba and Beyond arrived in the post on Friday. I hadn’t intended to have it occupy most of Friday night and all Saturday and this morning but, David Gessner’s writing style pulled me in. It was as infectious as Gessner’s obsession with Ospreys that simply screams through the paragraphs. It is clear that he has a love for these large fish-eating birds, almost the size of an eagle, with their dark brown masks, and nearly 2 metre wingspans. His language is so descriptive that I felt that I was on the journey with him following the Ospreys throughout their migration. He got me excited.

An 1887 print showing an Osprey fishing near Nantucket.

The story begins on 4 September 2004, seventeen years and one day ago. The BBC were making a film about the Odyssey of the Osprey following several birds fitted with satellite trackers. Gessner was going to follow the ospreys the old fashioned way. At one time Gessner had hoped to work with the BBC but, it became a competition of sorts. It is simply the back story to one of the best books on Osprey migration that I know. The book keeps you interested – it is not clad in scientific jargon but, don’t get me wrong, it is faithful to the facts and there are many discoveries made about our beloved birds.

Gessner’s surprise comes when he discovers that Ospreys travel in flocks. It was believed that they were lone fliers. Witnessing hundreds of Ospreys flying together over the very top of the La Gran Piedra in the mountains outside of Santiago, Cuba with his soon to be friend, Freddy Santana, mesmerizes our author.

“La Gran Piedra” by erikainthevillage is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The La Gran Piedra is actually a 70,000 lb boulder at the summit of the Sierra Maestra mountain range.

@Wikimedia Commons

It is here that Santana showed Gessner the ‘flocks’ of Ospreys flying together on their migration from the northeast United States and Canada. Can you imagine what it would feel like to see this spectacle. I get teary eyed just seeing juveniles hover!

“Sierra Maestra Mountain Range” by Martin Cathrae is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I don’t want to give away all of the story but since it is Osprey migration right now, I want to recommend this fantastic book to you. Get your library to bring it in for you or find a good used bookstore. My ex-library edition arrived in mint condition!

I looked to see if anyone had posted videos of the birds flying over the mountains in Cuba. I could not find anything. What I did find was a short video showing the routes that the birds from Cape Cod take to South America. It does show the route over Cuba.

If you get the ‘itch’ to see the Ospreys travel over the mountains but do not feel quite physically up to it climbing it- you are covered. There are 4 x 4 jeeps available with a guide. In addition, the Cuba Travel Network has guides and information on all of the birds that are indigenous to Cuba or others that travel through on their way to South America. They look like a good resource but I have not checked them out – yet.

I also found another very interesting web site just for birders. It is BirdingPal. A Watching Club for World Travellers. Cuba. The interests of the members vary. This is the link to their website:

http://www.birdingpal.org/Cuba.htm

If you live in a country where you are free to travel to Cuba, it is important to note that you will require a guide (unless that law has recently changed) if you wish to go out into the country birding. The fees are very reasonable. The price I was quoted was 146 USD for the guide and the 4×4 jeep to the top of the mountains to see the Osprey.

One of the things that the pandemic has taught many of us that we are finding joy in things we never imagined. It also taught me that your life can be taken away in a blink. So live it.

Next year, I will keep on top of what is happening at my local nest since it was not included in the world listing of Osprey nests in Osprey Watch. I will, indeed, take images at every stage of the nest to help the data collectors. But, instead of travelling to Poole Harbour in the UK to see the migrating Ospreys stopping over for a rest and some fish before heading on to Africa in late August, I want to see the Ospreys fly over the Gran Piedra in September. I have a date with an Osprey.

Thanks so much for joining me. I also highly recommend Belle’s Journey if you have children or are a teacher. It is a fantastic book with great images that explain the challenges of Osprey migration. If you have an Osprey nest near to where you live, I urge you to check out Osprey Watch run by the Centre for Conservation Biology. It is also a great resource on Osprey. See if your local nest is on the list! Mine wasn’t – it is now. Take care everyone. See you soon.

The featured image is Iris. Iris is the oldest Osprey in the world. Her breeding area is in Missoula, Montana. Iris is unringed. It is not known where she spends her winters.

Good News in Bird World, 31 August

The sky is blue, the sun is shining bright and it is 21 degrees C on the Canadian Prairies. Just a grand day for everyone. And it is a good day for our birds. Let’s dig into those good news stories.

Jan and Janika’s Black Stork fledgling, Juleg, is not in Russia! He managed to turn around. It would appear he flew because the speed is faster than a tanker but, does it matter? Juleg is back on course having spent the night at Jaroslawiek in Poland. Fantastic news!

The question now is whether ‘the brave one’ will continue going southwest or try to correct his heading heading through Greece and Turkey? We wait. He is alive and well. That is what matters most.

Hurricane Ida temporarily took out the connection to the streaming cam at the Kistachie National Forest in Louisiana. Everyone was worried. However, the winds and rain did not damage the system that the USFWS has put in place to watch the Bald Eagles, Louis and Anna. This is great news!

If you have been watching the Boulder Osprey Cam and were frustrated that it quit working, it is back on line today. The female is still delivering food to the fledgling. Everything is good.

Remember Only Bob? The only hatch of Dylan and Seren at the Llyn Clywedog Nest? the largest male Osprey ever to be born? Today the researchers issued the list of fish that were delivered to Blue 496. There were 354 of them! Rainbow trout were almost exclusively the fish at the beginning and end of the season with Brown trout making up the middle time slot. There were also 10 Grey Mullet that Dylan took from the Dyfi Estuary 15 miles away! —— Ah, you remember! Dylan is the one that flew 25 minutes one way, got a trout, and flew back 25 minutes with it. What a guy.

Here is Dylan delivering one of those whopper trout to Blue 496, Only Bob.

The arrival of fish at the Llyn Clywedog Nest in the Hafren Forest has puzzled some of the observers. It is now thought that when Dylan chased intruders away he sent them packing and instead of returning empty handed, he would stop and fish. Hence the reason from the Brown trout from Nanty Moch which is 7 km from the nest and the mullet from the Dyfi Estuary which is 12.7 km away. Dylan and Seren, Blue 5F, did a great job with their only hatch. Seren left and will be seen where she always spends her winters – in the Tanji Marsh in The Gambia.

Aran is still at the Glaslyn nest. Mrs G has not been seen since 30 August. Can you see him?

The tiny little birds all over the Glaslyn Nest yesterday have been identified as Mistle Thrushes.

Mistle Thrushes are common and are found all over the United Kingdom. They eat berries, earthworms, and insects. They would have had a grand time foraging in the Osprey nest!

Here is a short video showing the Mistle Thrust eating berries in the winter. Listen for their song.

All you have to do is look at the photograph of WBSE 27 and 28 – yes, that is 28 with that massive crop – to see that things are going quite well on the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney. What a relief.

It feels like a good day. It would only be better if someone had a sighting of Tiny Little, Blue 463. White YW was seen on the nest today so he is still around.

Take care everyone. Enjoy the rest of the day wherever you are. I am off to check on the local Ospreys.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre, City of Boulder Osprey Cam, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Carnyx Wild and Llyn Clywedog Osprey Cam, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, and BirdMap.

Monday in Bird World

If you are looking to take ‘decent’ photos of Canada geese, if it is a hot day in the afternoon, don’t bother. They are all taking siestas! Best time is in the morning and early evening. The Cooper’s hawks were not about either.

We had a lovely walk through the park anyway. It was just a beautiful end of the summer day i. The flowers are still blooming in the English Garden and there were more than eight people with their cameras cuddled up by the Bee Balm trying to see if they could catch a glimpse of a hummer. They were probably sleeping like the ducks.

Most of the time this pond is full of Canada geese. Not a one. A couple of lonely ducks out on the water.

This is the tower at the Duck Pond at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

All of the water features and the move from full sun to shade gardens made the stroll delightful. There were a few people wishing they could put their feet in the lotus pond.

So we drove to a different, small park. That is actually where we found the geese sleeping and alerted me to why we could not see them in the big park. Only a few were foraging in the grass.

The juvenile wood ducks are getting bigger! They have tripled in size in a couple of weeks.

The Mallards were so busy digging in the dirt under the bark they hardly noticed me.

What is she looking for?

They are sifting through the mud and bark near the pond searching for bugs, maggots, and anything else that they can feed on including little plants. The behaviour is perfectly normal!

This gentleman got back in the water and cleaned himself off later.

There were a few geese not sleeping. These were hot and stood at the edge of the pond drinking for about five minutes.

Then they decided to do a lot of preening.

Mr Crow was simply upset at everyone today. There were people having picnics not too far away. I wonder if he was looking for some treats? It was actually good to see that no one was feeding the ducks cakes and bread. The signs are working!

Gosh, isn’t this male Wood Duck lovely? What stunning colours and that big red eye.

Another one of the juvenile Wood Ducks.

This little male decided to swim right up so I could get a good shot of him. They have the most gorgeous patterning. The swept back crest and those iridescent feathers are just stunning. He had to be the most handsome male at the pond today.

He swam away.

And then he turned around again.

Male ducks are called ‘drakes’.

This is a male Wood Duck undergoing eclipse during the summer. During this time he will lose his beautiful male plumage but he will get it back in the fall. Some ducks are unable to fly when they molt. The females also molt too.

Oh, isn’t this female Mallard gorgeous?

She might not be as colourful as the male Wood Duck but she is always a beauty. Did you know that female ducks are called ‘hens’?

The Mallards were simply going crazy splashing up and down in the water today. It was like they were trying to shake the plants up from the bottom of the pond so they could eat them.

What a beauty. Just before she flew off.

All of the ducks will hatch their eggs, take care of their babies, molt, regrow their feathers, and everyone will hope to eat well before they migrate.

The ducks in the nature centres and parks are not ringed so that they can be counted if they are shot! We enjoy learning about their life cycles and watching their babies grow. Oh, I would not be popular in places where hunting is popular!

Just a some notes about what is happening in the rest of Bird World. The people running the Sydney Sea Eagle cam have turned it back on. They believe that the danger for WBSE 28 has passed. Both of the little sea eagles have been eating well and prey has been regular. This is fantastic news.

The last of the Black Storklings that was fed on the nest in Jegova County took an unusual flight path when it left for migration. And then,Julge decided not to fly but to get on a boat and it is now heading for Primorsk, Russia. It should be there on 31 August. Julge is the purple line showing in the middle of the sea on the Birdmap tracking. I hope that Julge is OK and corrects his flight path. It would be very cold in that northern part of Russia in the winter.

Diamond even accepted a Starling from Xavier today for her lunch. There has been lots of mating – sounds heard on the camera – but no egg yet.

This morning Idris was on the Dyfi nest defending it. What expressions came on this Osprey! His son, Dysynni has not been seen since Saturday the 28th at 10:57.

I know that lots of people like to plan trips – when we can travel again – to see the Osprey. It seems that those down in Poole Harbour, England have hit the jackpot. All of the migrating birds are stopping there to feed and rest. So think end of August – Poole Harbour!

Thanks for joining me today. Tiny Tot and Tiny Little are out somewhere making their way in the world. We want them to stay safe – all the birds – and all of you. Take care.

Thanks to the following for their screen cams where I took my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Project, The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University, Orange, and Cilla Kinross, the Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre and the folks running the BirdMap.

Late Saturday and early Sunday in Bird World

Everyone at the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre are working hard to provide videos and updates on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Cam in the Sydney Olympic Forest. A number of days ago I simply had to quit watching the live camera feed. The level of prey had dropped coming into the nest and WBSE 27 was overly aggressive to WBSE 28. It appears that the current delivery of prey items is quite good and, 28 has figured out how to wait and watch and then get fed. These are all good things and helped our Ospreys, Tiny Tot Tumbles and Tiny Little survive.

In the image below, both WBSE 27 and 28 are full to the brim. This is excellent. Soon WBSE 28 will be too big and any worries of siblicide should evaporate. Fingers crossed for this little one.

Gorgeous light on these two. 27 is quite large compared to 27. But both are full and clown feet are coming!

Diamond, the female at the Peregrine Falcon nest in Orange, Australia continues to think about laying that first egg. It is Sunday morning in Canada and I just checked on Diamond. Still waiting for that egg.

If you missed it, the female at 367 Collins Street laid her fourth egg.

My goodness what a beautiful morning in Wales. I wonder what impact the streaming cams will have on tourism when the world can travel again?

I love seeing the cows going in from the fields. It is all so serene.

These little birds seem to be all around the nest. Do you know what they are?

Aran came to visit the nest before the mist was gone.

He looked around every direction and then left. Yesterday he was on the perch with Mrs G. This morning, Sunday, Aran was at the nest around 6am. He will probably leave when Mrs G does. They may be staying longer to make sure Aran is fit for migration – every day of healing helps – or they may still be protecting that nest against Monty’s kids. Maybe they will wait for them to leave!

Yesterday, both of the boys, Idris and Dysynni, were on the nest at Dyfi. Dysynni was 100 days old. This morning all is quiet. Are they still around? Telyn migrated on 21 August with Ystwyth following on the 24th. There are sure lots of people including Emyr Evans watching the Dyfi nest this morning to see if either Idris or Dysynni or both show up.

Idris has arrived with a nice fish for his son. He is looking around. Doing his duty. Idris flies off the perch with the fish looking for Dysynni. Will he find him? has he left? It is about 6am.

Idris arrived back in Wales on 29th of March. He is reputed to always be one of the last Ospreys to leave Wales. What a fabulous dad he has been. With all the sadness this year, Idris raised one-quarter of all Wales’ hatches to fledge. You are a great dad, Idris. I remember those whoppers you brought in this year. Incredible. You deserve your break now.

It is equally quiet up at The Loch of the Lowes. The Scottish Wildlife Trust has issued their official statement that Laddie, LM12, Blue NC0, LR1 and LR2 have departed for their migration. Stay safe all.

Rutland Manton Bay’s Osprey nest seems very lonely as well.

Are you interested in Goshawks? Here is a lovely six minute video I found of a compressed breeding season. It is quite nice. I love when the three are learning to self-feed. So cute.

We have Northern Goshawks that live in Manitoba year round. They only come down to the southern areas of our province if prey is limited in the north.

My heart skipped a beat. There is an Osprey on the Foulshaw Moss nest! Is it Tiny Little? No. It is White YW also doing his duty, like Idris, to make sure that his chick has breakfast. White YW has been looking about and calling. There is no Tiny Little rushing to the nest to tear at his toe or grab the fish. While he waits, White YW decides to do some nestorations. Gosh, it must be hard trying to figure out if they are just over at the river or have left.

White YW flies away from the nest. Will this be his last visit to check on Tiny Little? Blue 463 – our fantastic Tiny Little – could be in Brittany by now.

My garden is filled with birds this morning. It is a roar to go out to the feeders. Today we may have to fill them up four times. The delight, however, came in the form of a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the Vermillionaires. Did you know they are capable of speeds up to 100 km per hour. Their wings beat up to 1200 times a minute – which is precisely why it is hard to get decent photographs of them.

We are just so delighted to see them.

If this is a normal year – and so far it has been anything but, the hummers will be gone by 3 September.

We did not put our the sugar water for them this year because of the wasps. Our City has been consumed with them and they take over the feeders. The wasps do not, however, bother with the Vermillionaires.

Soon all of the Ospreys in the UK and Europe will be making their way to Africa. We wish them good winds, great feeding places enroute, and a safe arrival. Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you have a fabulous Sunday or start to the week depending on where you are. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots and video clips: Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dfyi Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre FB Page, LRWT Manton Bay Ospreys, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes.

So you want to read about Ospreys!

I have received several letters asking about books on Ospreys. I have quite a few in my bookshelf and I will try to spend a little bit of time telling you about each of them. I have picked out the ones that are well written and easy to read. I have not ranked them. That would be impossible or at least to me it is. Each one is rather different. Some are general knowledge while others focus on specific sites where ospreys breed. There are even books on specific birds. For those wanting to find books on these beautiful sea eagles, you are lucky. There are a number of well-written books available both new and used. I cannot say this about Red-tailed Hawks!

Alan Poole’s Ospreys. The Revival of the Global Raptor came out in 2019. It is actually a much revised version of a book by Poole written several decades earlier. Poole is an enthusiastic lover of Ospreys. The book is easy to read and extremely informative. If you wanted a first general book on Ospreys this is a good choice. It covers everything you might want to know about ospreys from the four different sub-species and their differences, to the geography and distribution, their behaviour, life cycle and breeding habits, challenges during migration to the intimate details of the mother feeding the little one. There are personal stories that bring the information to life. Only available in hardback. 220 pages with beautiful colour photographs.

Roy Dennis’s A Life of Ospreys is written just as enthusiastically as the Poole. This book also has some good general information on Ospreys but, at the heart of it are the personal anecdotes and stories that go hand in hand with Dennis working decades to reintroduce the Osprey back into the United Kingdom after it was almost made extinct at the beginning of the twentieth century. One of the things I enjoyed most was the information on conservation ecology and the Osprey as well as the inclusion of Dennis’s original notes from the 1970s. Paperback. 224 pages. Colour photographs, maps, and charts. Published in 2012.

I am a big fan of Roy Dennis and the work that he did to bring the Osprey back to the skies of of the United Kingdom – as well as his work with translocating Osprey to places such as Urdaibai Biosphere Park in Spain. Dennis fell in love with Ospreys as a teenager and has never looked back. His latest book, Restoring the Wild. Sixty Years of Rewilding Our skies, woods, and Waterways was published in 2021. It is really the personal journey and all the challenges with the kind of personal details that animates the story of the return of the Ospreys. Hardback. 452 pages. Black and white.

Written with all the love and joy this man can muster for his beloved birds of prey. While you can order this from the many on line book sellers, if you do decide to purchase it and you can afford the postage from Scotland, I suggest you order it directly from Roy Dennis’s website. Roy Dennis Wildlife Trust. All of the funds go back into helping the osprey and you can get it signed.

Many of you will be familiar with Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world. Her nest is at Hellgate, Missoula, Montana. Dorothy Patent and William Munoz have written a book specifically about the Ospreys in Montana – Call of the Osprey. Along with a general introduction, the pair cover, in great detail, the setting up of the artificial platform near the Riverside Health Centre for Iris and Stanley. There are excellent colour photographs. The book also discusses the Montana Osprey Project which looks into the toxins in the rivers from mining in the area as well as the new research using satellite trackers to find out where the osprey from Montana travel for the winter. Lovers of Iris and Stanley will, no doubt, like the detailed history of them as a couple. Hardback. 80 pages.

Another geographical specific book is The Rutland Water Ospreys. It is written by Tim Mackrill. You might recognize the name. Mackrill is the expert that assisted the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre with information on setting up the fish table for Mrs G, Aran and their now deceased chicks at the beginning of June when Aran was injured. Beautiful colour drawings and photographs give the history of all of the Ospreys at Rutland Water. There is information on the use of satellite trackers and migration. It is a great book if you are a fan of the ospreys at Rutland – and who isn’t, right? There are maps of Rutland Water Nature Reserve, histories of the birds, as well as information by year going from 2003 to 2012. A real who’s who of the Rutland birds! A joy to read. Hardback. 2015. 160 pages.

For older children (and adults like me), I highly recommend Belle’s Journey. An Osprey Takes Flight by Rob Bierregaard. Written in 2018, it is a beautifully illustrated book telling the intimate story of Belle. Belle hatched on Martha’s Vineyard. The book covers her migration to Brazil using real satellite tracking information. Easy to read but not childish. Extremely informative. There are 19 chapters – something to keep going as a bed time story for nearly three weeks. I would suggest getting a map if you do purchase the book or a globe so that you can follow Belle’s journey. 106 pages. Hardcover.

There are more books and I will mention them another time but there is one book I have in my hand to read in the next couple of days and another that I am waiting to purchase. There are many biographies about famous people but a biography about a bird? Lady of the Loch. The Incredible Story of Britain’s Oldest Osprey celebrates Lady, the oldest osprey in Scotland. She laid eggs and raised chicks for more than two decades at The Loch of the Lowes where Laddie and NC0 have their two chicks this season. It is a remarkable little paperback that from the first few pages appears to be written with great love. General information about ospreys, conservation efforts, migration and its perils are interwoven with stories about Lady. As I understand it from people I have spoken to, Lady gave all those trying to reintroduce ospreys to the United Kingdom hope. 2011. 177 pages. Black and white.

The book that I am waiting to get my hands on is only available through the Dyfi Wildlife Centre. It is by Emyr Evans and is on the life of Monty, the male super star of the Ospreys that located themselves in Wales. It is called Monty and if you followed him and his mates this will be a book that you will want to order. I understand the shop will be back on line for orders in September.

Thank you so much for joining me. If you are looking for books on ospreys, one of these should help. I want to close with a picture of the morning of 15 June 2021 at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest – the home of White YW and Blue 35 and their three osplets. I am particularly interested in Tiny Wee Bob. He has been having some nice feeds lately but yesterday he decided to pick on Middle Sized Big Bob. It wasn’t such a good idea as you might image. He looks OK this morning. Fingers crossed he is one of the amazing third hatches that survives and goes on to do wonderful things.

You can hardly see his head but there it is in the middle of the image below. He is sort of in a strange state of his feather development. Hopefully any pulled out by the bigger siblings will return! You cannot see his body. He is between the bigger ones.

Here is Tiny Little Bob with his neck extended. You can see the Reptilian phase feathers coming and that great line of mascara extended from his eye to his neck.

Thank you to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust streaming cam where I grabbed the screen shot of the chicks at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Get the worry beads and the tissue…

Those Ks look too small to start thinking about fledging but we know the time is coming. Big Red is showing them where to stand on the fledge post for their first flight. She is leaving hints on where to go with those oak leaves, and the other day Arthur started his aerial flying demonstrations for the three of them. Gosh, they look too little to fledge. Did I say that twice?! They don’t have all of their feathers on their heads even! But get your worry beads out they are hopping and flapping.

I don’t think K3 appreciates all of this – oh just wait, K3, you will be flapping soon.

This video was posted by Rebecca Alexander on the Cornell Red Tail Hawk FB page and there was a ‘share’ button. I shortened her original version to fit on this blog. Enjoy.

They may be getting big but those Ks still like it better when Big Red feeds them.

Arthur delivered a chippie – gosh it is good to see chippies on this nest instead of Starlings – but K3 told the others if they waited and left it Big Red would come in and feed them before bedtime! K3 is guarding it in case it runs up the light box like one did last year for the Js. Seriously. If you didn’t see it there is a YouTube video. I will find that and post it at the bottom. It is so funny!

Tiny Tot has been on and off the Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest. Jack brought in two fish this morning. Oh, Tiny was hungry! And he left and he returned to the nest at 1:52:44.

Just stop for a minute and look at that form. Beautiful. He will nail that landing.

Someone wrote to me wondering if the parents were teaching Tiny Tot to fish. The answer is: No. The Osprey instinctively know how to fish. The precise programme of how to hold their feet, fit their wings together in that beautiful delta profile and go down head and talons first is in their long, long history – more than 50 million years of it. That doesn’t mean that Tiny is going to go in and catch his first fish easily! Nope. They say on average it takes 15 tries. That could be tiring. I assume the choppier the water the harder the fishing. There are some super star osprey, like Blue 33 (11) who seem to always get their fish on the first try but most don’t.

Everyone is already missing Tiny Tot and he has not left the nest yet. There is a sadness that comes over all that love him just thinking about it. Certainly by September the Ospreys in the north – Canada and the northern US – will get that twitch that calls them to migrate – even for the first time. It just happens. I love the description in Belle’s Journey:

Higher and higher she climbed, making big circles in the sky. As she turned south and faced the ocean, she could feel the earth’s magnetic pull. Something told her that she should go toward the ocean. Soon the water would get cold, and the fish would go down too deep for Belle to catch them. her instincts told her she had to go south, where it would be warm during the winter and food would be abundant.”

Belle had a satellite tracker that showed her migration from Martha’s Vineyard to Brazil. But it doesn’t get cold in Florida like it does farther north. Florida is, in fact, a place where many osprey stay the entire year. Neither Jack or Diane are ringed. They do not have trackers. We do not know if they stay or go. Or one does and one doesn’t. Richmond stays in the San Francisco Bay area – always has. Rosie migrates. They meet at the nest around Valentine’s Day! How utterly sweet.

One thing that is known is that males return to the territory of their natal nest to raise their families. Many take over the nests of their fathers. We do not know if Tiny Tot is a male or a female. Both males and females have necklaces. In fact, Blue 022 on the Poole Harbour Nest has a pretty nice necklace! There he is in front flapping his wings.

If Tiny Tot is a male, I have said that I want to draw and log images of his head. His body will change but not the markings on his head. I want to recognize him if he returns. And, as I am always grumbling, those chicks were not banded! Drives me nuts.

But back to Tiny Tot. Breeding season is a long way off. The only thing that will cause Tiny Tot to naturally move off the nest is his instinct or the parents shifting him off. But since the parents won’t be using the nest again until 2022, they have a free security guard in Tiny Tot. Who knows how long he will be on the nest. Who knows when he will leave. Enjoy every moment he is there – it is all we can do.

And last but not least, if you are missing or thinking you are going to be missing your favourite bird, you can get a fridge magnet. I had one made of Tiny Tot by our local photography store. They are reasonably priced everywhere.

I can talk to Tiny every time I open the fridge!

Thank you for joining me. The birds give me so much joy and there are so many it is hard to keep track. Right now my focus remains on Tiny Tot and Big Red and her family. Then I will be switching to some of the Ospreys that will be fledging soon – and then to the lovely Royal Albatross Cam Chick as she approaches fledge.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Poole Harbour Osprey Project, and Cornell Bird Lab and the RTHs. I also want to thank Rebecca Alexander for the video she posted that I have shared and to Lady Hawk for keeping me up to date on the owls and the pigeon.

Monty’s last hatch ever – of 2019 – returns to Wales as a juvenile

The ‘general’ understanding by Osprey researchers is that males return to the site of their own hatching to raise their families and the females relocate to the territory of the male. This has, of course, caused lots of problems if there are more males born in a certain region than females. But, today, that didn’t matter. The juveniles are returning from Africa! And there is no happier place than Wales where one fledgling from every clutch at the Dyfi nest has now returned – with the arrival of Hesgyn today.

Hesgyn was the last chick of the much loved Monty – Hesgyn hatched in 2019. He arrived two weeks short of his second birthday. He is in amazing condition – great DNA. That is his mother, Telyn, on the Dyfi Nest right now! Did she look up and recognize Hesgyn? Laura Culley would say, “And why wouldn’t she?”

Tears were flowing in Wales today.

Let us hope that Hesgyn and all his siblings find wonderful mates to bond with and then return next year to start their own families (if they are lucky enough to find the one!).

I want to recommend a book to you. It has completely absorbed me. The book is Belle’s Journey.

This is the true story of Belle, an Osprey that hatched on Martha’s Vineyard. Dr B fitted her with a satellite transmitter (he has fitted lots of ospreys with these). It is a story about migration and the challenges for the Osprey and the joy at looking at a computer screen and knowing they are alive! The book says it is for children – I think 11 year olds and upwards but what a joy for me, too. The illustrations are lovely and it is a page turner but, if you read a chapter a night, perfect as a bed time story. You could even get out a map and learn about the sites where Belle travelled – where she stopped and rested catching the fish to give her the energy to move onwards.

Hatch watch is on for several nests including Loch of the Lowes, Foulshaw Moss, and Glaslyn. In a couple of days, we will be checking on Telyn!

Thank you for joining me. Every one of the other nests that I check on regularly appears to be just fine this evening. The only one where there could be a change is the Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. Sibling #2 left today and had not returned this evening. We must enjoy Tiny Tot while we can – there is no promise that she won’t fledge and be up and gone. Of course, the best scenario is for Tiny to hang around the nest for several weeks strengthening his flying skills.

Tiny did a great job feeding herself. Diane is looking to see if she will share and guess what? Tiny does!

From left to right, Jack, Tiny, and Diane. Just look at how ‘big’ Tiny’s wings are!!!!! She is filling in – . I will try and find a frontal view, a good one. Tiny has a beautiful necklace – one of those signs of a female, normally.

Take care all!

Thanks to the Achieva Credit Union for their streaming cam where I grabbed my screen shots of Tiny and Diane and the family threesome.

Iris

Iris is the oldest osprey in the world – the grand dame of all of them. In her lifetime it is estimated that she has fledged between 30 and 40 chicks but no one knows for sure. It is possibly way more. Iris is known around the world and her arrival on 7 April 2021 to her Hellsgate nest made print and television news. Social media announcements were full of joy and were sent internationally. This is a huge event. No one knows when Iris leaves Missoula, Montana in the late summer if she will return from her winter migration. In fact, no one knows where precisely she winters.

The Osprey Telemetry Studies plotting map indicates that the Ospreys in Montana winter from southern Texas to Central America. None of the birds go to South America. Dr Erick Greene of the University of Montana says that wherever Iris goes it must be great as she returns to Missoula very healthy.

It is a challenging journey. We are so pleased to be able to watch this amazing bird live her life. I just wish we could find her a fantastic mate. Even after travelling so far, she visits her nest and then goes and catches a whopper of a trout to eat. Can you imagine how great a mother she still could be?

Iris catches a whopper of a trout. 8 April 2021. Photo by E. Greene from Montana Ospreys FB Page.

Iris lands at her Hellsgate Nest in Missoula, Montana at 10:35:55 on 11 April with a nice fish for breakfast.

Landing with a nice big breakfast. 10:36 am. 11 April 2021

In the afternoon of 11 April, Iris is working on nest renovations.

Iris digging up the nest cup. 11 April 2021
Bringing in sticks and moving them about. 11 April 2021
Look at those strong legs Iris has. 11 April 2021
Iris having a break. Nice crop! 11 April 2021

Yesterday Louis came to visit while Iris was building her nest and they mated. I know that Louis and Iris are birds but Louis has a family over at the Baseball Park and it would be nice if Iris had a mate that would help her incubate, that would feed her, and that would make certain her chicks were well taken care of and fledged. Stanley was amazing. Her years with Louis have ended badly. Iris will probably not take a new mate if she still considers Louis her mate – and his other mate is Star. I think it is sad. We will never know if the oldest Osprey in the world can still lay fertile eggs and raise chicks. Last year she lost her egg to the Raven. Louis does not provide for her in terms of help – any help – and she has to leave her egg to go and feed herself. Quite honestly, I am disappointed. Will leave it at that. Iris deserves better.

There is a very good book on Iris and her mate Stanley and the studies at the University of Montana at Missoula. It shows Iris’s old nest, the erecting of the current nest, pictures of her chicks and a good discussion of the heavy metal studies being conducted due to the mining in the region. It is called The Call of the Osprey.

Thank you for dropping in. I know that the people who love Osprey love Iris. This is just a quick glimpse at what she has been up to since returning to her breeding site in Missoula, Montana.

Thank you to the Montana Osprey Project and the Cornell Bird Lab for the streaming cam where I got my scaps and to Dr Erick Greene for posting the image of Iris and her first trout on the Montana Osprey FB Page.