Friday the 19th in Bird World

It has been a bit of a day in the bird and wildlife world. Coming hot on the heels of the banning of trail hunting on Natural Resources Wales land and the National Trust properties in the UK, the State of Washington in the US has suspending bear hunting. It was well known that the adults were killed right when they came out of hibernation leaving cubs to fend for themselves, often dying. People, like you and me, called for these archaic practices to halt. The government listened. Remember that because every person can make a difference! You want hunting suspended in your state or province, phone and find out who to talk to. Write an informed letter. Demand change. Ask like-minded people to join you.

I am not going to start off with the streaming cams just yet. It was a grey damp day – with a little sunshine at times – on the Canadian prairies. The garden was full of birds, mostly sparrows and some Starlings. Mr Blue Jay came and went quickly. He does not seem to like the frozen corn cob. And, of course, there was Dyson & Company, along with Little Red.

All these years I have pondered the sheer amount of ‘bird’ seed that we go through in a week. It is true that there are normally 250-300 birds singing and eating daily but, how much can they eat? It appears that not all that new seed – seedless chipped sunflower and peanuts – is going to birds!

Dyson didn’t like the frozen corn either and didn’t bother to even take it for later. He has discovered how to vacuum out that new bird seed. I think I now know who broke my other feeder. Dyson has no shame. He lives to eat.

Dyson looks a little thinner in the image above but the one below is more of a likeness of this little one. Dyson brings us so much joy that we are thrilled he is healthy going into what might be a very bad winter.

With Dyson occupied on the sunflower/peanut feeder, it meant that Little Red could sneak on the tray feeder and eat all the cashews, fruit, Brazil nuts, and peanuts. If you are wondering, yes, the birds and animals possibly eat better than I do! Little Red is so cute.

Little Red lives in the penthouse. It is a ‘shed’ the size of a garage that is taxed like it is a new garage by our City. We haven’t had the heart to evict the little fellow even thought he fills everything up with Maple seeds and knocks everything off its hooks and generally makes a complete mess of the space.

There were a few European Starlings still in the garden. They will migrate returning next April but they are lingering just like some of the ducks and the Northern Cardinals. Who knows? Maybe they know what winter will be like better than anyone. They certainly have enjoyed eating the suet cylinder.

Others felt like Black Oil Seed today.

Isn’t she cute with her rosey legs and slightly pink tinted beak? Female house sparrows get short shift in the bird guides. It is a pity. They are quite lovely.

Last year I planted Scarlett Runner Beans and at the end of the summer the sparrows went wild shredding all of them and eating the greenery. What you are looking at below is a Flame Willow shrub. In winter the branches are red – super beautiful in a world of grey, white, and beige. There is some little vine or plant growing on that shrub. The sparrows have discovered it and they are doing the same thing – shredding and eating. Has anyone seen this behaviour?

And now back to the streaming cams for a quick update.

Port Lincoln Osprey Barge: By 09:30, three fish had been delivered to the nest. Bazza initially got the first fish when it arrived at 06:23. Ervie took it away from him. Bazza did nothing to try and get it back. Falkey got the 06:49:38 fish. The third fish arrived at 09:11:09 and Falkey got it, too. Ervie had a huge crop. He wasn’t bothered. Yesterday Cilla Kinross of the Orange Peregrine Falcons said that “Shrinking violets will not last long in the real world.” Bazza is hungry and he needs to challenge his brothers despite that he might be fearful of another incident like he had with Ervie.

Falkey has the fish. Bazza is crying to Mum and Ervie with his big crop is looking out to sea on the right. Will Mum take the fish and feed Bazza?

The White Tailed Eagle Nest in Durbe, Latvia. Milda and Mr L were at the nest working on more renovations. It was getting ready to rain and the image is a little ‘foggy’. Sorry about that. It is nice to see Milda. I hope that this will be a successful year for her after the tragedy of spring 2020.

The Minnesota DNR has turned on its Bald Eagle cam. Here is a video of that amazing couple – the sub-adult male who fathered his first chicks at the age of four last year – and the older female. This video was made on 18 November. It looks like Dad has his adult plumage this year! How wonderful. He will have turned 5.

Cornell Red Tail Hawk Cam at Ithaca. The camera has been frozen for awhile. I wrote to the Cornell Bird Lab to inform them and to also ask them if there have been any confirmed sightings of Big Red since the last one on 16 October. I will keep you informed.

Annie and Grinnell. I have not seen any updates. As well, nothing on the WBSE juvenile.

You might remember Tiny Little Bob from the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. That little one is a fine example of a third hatch so tiny everyone thought it would die and well, she became the dominant bird on the nest. Her number is Blue 463. I am watching all of the announcements for her arrival in warmer climates. Today, however, the 2016 hatch from Foulshaw Moss, male Blue V8, was spotted in Tanji Marsh in The Gambia. He was seen there in January 2021 and was in Cumbria during the summer of 2021. This is the good news you want to hear. Survival.

And on that wonderful sighting, I will close. Take care everyone. Enjoy the end of the week and the beginning of the weekend. Stay safe. Thank you so very much for joining me.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, The Latvian Fund for Nature, Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and to Lady Hawk for her video on the arrival of the two Bald Eagles to the MN DNR nest.

Season of the Osprey

One task I take very seriously is alerting readers to the importance of banding and monitoring the birds, reporting sightings, and examining ways to stop human induced injury or death to our lovely feathered creatures. A few days ago I reported the tragic death of Blue 2AA, a Rutland 2015 hatch, who had killed when it landed on a high voltage wire in Spain where he had wintered for the past six years. Here is a well-written article from Rutland that covers many of my concerns with special regard to Duracell, 2AA:

https://www.lrwt.org.uk/blog/abi-mustard/osprey-threats-and-sightings?fbclid=IwAR1orkmPXp58chrj5RANcoqoGuM09ucy8dWhE-NTBmCUsg_Cl2mXtQE-B3A

For those of you waiting word about this fabulous documentary, Season of the Osprey, here is the news for viewers in the US:

This is just two days away!!!!!! Please watch and make sure you check your local stations for any change to the time. I also understand that a DVD will be sold at a later date. That is great for folks like me that don’t have cable television. Thank you PBS!

Spotters in Africa and the Iberian Peninsula continue to report Osprey sightings. There are now more than 600 in Senegal alone. I know that each of you will be thrilled to hear that Loch of the Lowes couple Laddie and NC0’s 2021 female fledgling, LR2, has been repeatedly spotted in Spain. She is at the Veta la Palma Espacio Natural Donana, La Puebla del Rio.

This is one of the largest nature reserves in all of Europe. She could not have picked a safer and more appropriate spot for her very first winter. Here are the map images and here is a link to the website so you can see all of the birds and wildlife at this ecological site. I am also posting this in case some of you want to travel at some time to see the birds – all kinds – this time of year – but do not wish to go all the way to Africa.

It is always good news when the first year fledges find a safe place with abundant resources. It is even better when we know about it and can celebrate with them. As you know only about a third of the fledglings succeed so big smiles all around. Laddie and NC0 would be thrilled! Another Rutland bird, Blue 081, a male fledgling of Maya and Blue 33 spent his first year, 2020, and has been seen this year, at Veta la Palma, Cota Donara, Spain. I continue to wait with great hope for news of Blue 463, Tiny Little Bob from the Foulshaw Moss Nest.

It is early morning in Australia. Mirvac has changed the zoom on the camera for the 367 Collins Four but you might find that the eyases are still out of view. I understand that it will not be changed again. You can hear the little ones running around on the metal.

Diamond and Yarruga are awaiting a breakfast delivery.

The trio at Port Lincoln Osprey Barge are still snoozing.

There has been no further word about WBSE 28. WBSE 27 has been seen by several people and photographed near to the Discovery Centre across the river from Lady and Dad’s roost. They will surely know where 27 is and be providing food for it. The eagles first get their flying and landing skills down before fishing and hunting (normally). The parents help them by providing them with food. I sure hope that Lady and Dad also know where 28 is! Ranger Judy reported she has done a walk through the forest adding she did not hear or see anything but that it is a large area.

That is it for today. It is a cool sunny day on the Canadian prairies and it is time to clean up bird seed. The goose flight images were not good last night because of where people had to stand due to pandemic restrictions. I hope to go out to the other nature centre before the end of the month to see if I can catch some of the thousands of Canada Geese making their way south.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today.

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

Wednesday in Bird World

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Colette Leclerq, Brittany France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday in Ospreyland

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

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

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

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

Look at the crops!

Dad eating some leftover fish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday in Ospreyland

There is super news regarding the fledglings. Pont Cresor Blue 494, son of Aeron Z2 and Blue 014 was spotted at Point Caillot in Brittany, France by Colette Leclerqu. Blue 494 was also a historic hatch – the first for the Pont Cresor Nest in the Glaslyn Valley.

Blue 494 has a great pedigree. He is the grandson of Monty and Glesni. Looking forward to his return in 2023!

If anyone hears of someone spotting Blue 463, Tiny Little, from the Foulshaw Moss Nest, please let me know!!!!!! Did you know that Foulshaw Moss was one of only a few Osprey nests in the world to successfully fledge three Osplets in 2021? Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest with Tiny Tot was another.

I did a short report on the feedings at Port Lincoln in the middle of the night. There were at least two other meals for the three after I shut my computer down.

Mom knows with the cool winds coming off the water that the chicks need to be kept warm. They don’t! They are curious and wiggly and want to look around! Too funny. These three are going to be a handful.

Calypso, the 2019 hatch from this nest, a female, lives and is seen often around Port Lincoln. Solly, 2020 hatch, has a satellite transmitter and continues to stay around Kiffin Island and Eba Anchorage. Solly is 364 days old. Tomorrow is her first year hatching birthday!

The Montana Osprey Project has officially said goodbye to Iris for the 2021 season. She did not return to her nest to say goodbye this year and she was last seen about four days ago on the branch at Mt Sentinel eating a fish.

Here is one of the most iconic of Iris images. For those of you just learning about Ospreys, Iris is the oldest Osprey in the world. She is unringed. No one knows where she spends her winters. Her nest for the spring and summer is at Hellgate Canyon in Missoula, Montana. Iris, we wish you safe travels, great fishing, good weather, a wonderful winter break, and a speedy return to us.

It continues to be a good day in Osprey Land. Wishing for lots of fish for the PLO and great feedings today.

What a treat. An Osprey came into view while Ferris Akel was streaming at Wildlife Drive in Montezuma, New York.

I am off to check on the ducks today. Thank you so much for joining me. Emyr Evans if you are reading this, please open the on line store so we can all order our copies of Monty!

Thank you to the PLO Project, the Dyfi FB Page, Ferris Akel Livestream, and the Montana Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

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.