There is never a dull moment at Port Lincoln

How many times have I said that watching the Port Lincoln Osprey lads are better than anything streaming on the telly? From hatch to today, they have not disappointed.

To recap. Bazza, the eldest, has not been seen since 9 January – 2 days ago. It could mean many things. Bazza could be off camera on the nest barge. He could be over on the old barge with Mum. He could be somewhere near to the nest barge OR Bazza could have left to find his own territory. It is interesting to note that Mum has not been seen since yesterday morning and Bazza could be with her. I did often call him ‘Mama’s Boy’. Yesterday, Falky, the middle hatch, caught what I believe is the only fish by a juvenile on camera at the nest. That was just fabulous. He was brilliant. As one of the watchers noted ‘JL’, to celebrate Falky flew a victory lap around the barge! I suspect Falky was so proud of that fish he caught he wanted everyone to see including Mum and Dad!

Ervie was ‘prime time Erv’ today. He might have been on the nest for several days and not moving too much but, there is nothing wrong with his flying and his attitude. Twice this morning Ervie engaged with Falky in what can only be described as ‘aerial dog fights’ just like you might have seen in movies or airshows about World War II. It was Ace Pilot Ervie at his best.

There are two main events with an intermission.

As you can see I cut out some of the time in between. In those minutes, you could see the shadows of the two going over the barge but, you could not see them. When they landed, before Ervie took after Falky again, they had both arrived wet so somewhere the pair of them went into the water. Good gracious. Is this really boys playing? or is this dominant Ervie deciding he wants the nest and barge all to himself?

That attitude of the third hatch wanting to take over the nest completely as the dominant bird has been seen elsewhere. Tiny Tot Tumbles at the Achieva Nest returned and even fought off adult interlopers. I clearly think that Ervie would do the same if that same instance happened.

I wonder. Will Ervie return to this barge and want it for his nest in a few years time? Only time will tell. So glad that he has a tracker on.

Ervie is not behaving like Falky is on the barge. When he sees someone he fish calls but he doesn’t appear to be willing to give up that nest to go out fishing independently – yet – since his return from his long flight a few days ago.

Here is the link to the Port Lincoln streaming cam.

I was going to bring you a report on the lack of streaming cams for raptors in Japan today but this will be delayed by a few days. I have not had time, sadly, today, to put all the strings together.

I have also not seen any news of any pips although Anna at the Kisatchie National Forest Nest looks like she is expecting something. She has been rolling the eggs and try as we might it is difficult. There is a mark on the egg but I think it is vegetation and not a pip. Perhaps later this evening.

The first egg at Berry College Eagle nest of Pa Berry and Missey is 35 days old today.

Gabby and Samson have been listening to the egg and rolling. They are getting really close to a pip watch.

R2 and R3 continue to do really well over at the WRDC Bald Eagle Nest in Miami-Dade country. Rita removed the Coot that had been on the nest and had a big meal herself. You can ‘sort of’ see the nice crop she has. The kids are well fed, no worries!

It is a wrap for today. We will wait together for those pips at Captiva, KNF, Berry College, and NEFlorida Bald Eagle nests!!!!!! Waiting is hard.

Thank you for joining me. I am delighted to have you here with me. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and my video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Berry College Bald Eagle Cam, NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, and the WRDC Eagle Cam.

Captiva Ospreys have their first egg and other Bird World News

Calling all Osprey fans. We have lift off. The new couple at the Captiva Osprey Nest have their first egg. Meet Lena and Andy 2. (The previous pair were also Andy and Lena).

Lena 2 laid her first egg at 10:04:08. From her actions, it appears that she could be a first time Mum from her reactions to the egg. She was very cautious which is a good thing and seemed a bit unsure about incubation at first.

Just imagine laying an egg for the first time!

The wind was really blowing. The weather station says it is 18 kph but, the gusts have to be much more than that. I have to remember that the breeze would feel good in southern Florida where the nighttime temperature is currently 24 C.

There is our proud Mum. Isn’t she lovely?

Oops. A big gust caught Lena when she was trying to incubate the egg and almost sent her flying off the nest.

Hang on, Lena!

Ahhh, nice and settled.

The nest is on the same property as the Captiva Bald Eagle nest. The land is owned by a Canadian, Lori Covert.

The first Andy and Lena laid eggs on this nest before. Sadly, the Corvids in the area come to the Osprey nests once the chicks hatch and eat them. As a result, Andy and Lena 1 did not fledge any chicks.

There is currently a discussion about having a poll to see if watchers want the cam left on if the eggs do hatch or have it turned off so that if the Crows come, we do not see what happens. The ultimate decision is, however, with the land owner.

This couple arrived early and laid their egg a month ahead of most. Hopefully that will help them with the Crows as well as any issues with the red tide that can occur in this area. Currently there is no red tide. If you would like to know the impact of the red tide, here is some very good information:

https://www.mysanibel.com/Departments/Natural-Resources/Protecting-Our-Water-Quality/Sanibel-H2O-Matters/Red-Tide-Information

Oh, let’s send this young couple positive wishes. You can watch Andy and Lena 2 here:

My intention was to report -again- on the Port Lincoln lads but it was so exciting to check on this nest first and find an egg had just been laid. Oh, I sure hope they do well.

It is quite clear from happenings on the Port Lincoln Barge why Ervie and Falky don’t have enduring brotherly love for Bazza. But, before I begin, this morning both Ervie and Falky had fish delivered which they ate on camera. Ervie got the first fish from Mum at 07:08 and Falky got a fishy shortly after from Dad at 07:23:25. When I went back to look at Bazza he had a nice crop so he has eaten off camera. I expect that one of the parents made a delivery to him but, it is possible Bazza was fishing and caught it himself.

In the image below, Bazza is on the bottom right perched on the yellow and black ropes. You can see he has a crop. It looks nice and full to me.

A few minutes earlier an incident between Bazza and Falky occurred. Please watch carefully as Bazza attacks Falky shoving him into the water. You will see Falky floating in the water below the ropes. Falky will make three attempts to get out of the water.

Falky kept his cool and did not panic. He managed the situation really well. That said, it is possible that Falky might have drown. I know that I have been watching the dust ups between the three brothers but there are instances when it can go very badly. It was such a relief to see Falky flying free of the water.

Ervie remained on the nest all day. Mum delivered a small fish to him at 15:29:44. Port Lincoln provided some really nice close ups of Ervie.

He’s a lovely juvenile.

There is a rare Stellar’s Sea Eagle that is making its way South. It was up around the Atlantic coast of Canada not that long ago and bird watchers, especially those working on Life Lists were ever so excited!

I want to leave you with a smile on your face. Have you seen anything cuter today than Harriet and M15’s babies, E19 and E20? It is getting much more difficult to tell them apart! They are adorable with their clown feet and big wings. They both have crops and enjoyed the ‘mystery’ meal that Dad brought in.

We could have pips Sunday morning from Captiva and the KNF Nest. Stay posted. We are also monitoring Berry College. So much going on.

Right now there is snow falling on Missey at Barry College. My goodness she just survived a hail storm and incredible winds. Now snow.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Window to Wildlife Osprey Cam, Berry College Bald Eagle Cam, SWFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

So you asked about Ervie…

Ervie. It is quite easy to tell, from the time the three boys hatched, that Ervie the third born, was my favourite. I will not deny it. I look for third hatches that become the dominant bird on the nest and Ervie is certainly that.

So a question came in – did Ervie’s reservation on the nest yesterday include a later fish and a breakfish?

Last night, Ervie got a huge fish delivered to the nest. It was one of the largest I have seen there. The time was about 20:09. Ervie has been eating for about 20 minutes. If you look very carefully – sorry the sun is setting and it is difficult to see – you will see how big that fish is. Falky and Bazza on the ropes as Ervie munches his way into full Osprey heaven.

And, yes, Ervie did get the breakfish this morning. Mum delivered it around 07:08.

In the image below Ervie is on the nest and Falky is his usual spot on the corner ropes fish calling. They can see Mum flying in with the fish.

It is a kerfuffle. Everyone wants that fish.

Mum gets out of there. All three are after the fish. Bazza is hovering over Ervie and Falky.

They scramble.

Ervie, facing towards us, has the fish!

As you can see everyone wanted that fish. Falky flew in from the ropes and Bazza flew in from being off camera. If you ever wonder where Bazza is, he is usually on the barge somewhere just not on camera.

Dad delivered a fish that Falky got at 07:23:25. Falky is down in Dad’s man cave working on that fish.

Falky decides to take it to the ropes.

So Ervie and Falky have eaten. I wonder if Bazza is being fed elsewhere??? is he also fishing? Mum used to favour him and there is no reason to believe that they only deliver to the nest.

So, yes, Ervie got his full reservations worth. Now if the rota is working correctly, Falky will be on the nest tonight. We wait.

Thank you for joining me and thank you for sending me your questions and comments. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Ervie defends his fish!

No doubt all of the Ospreys on the barge at Port Lincoln are hungry first in the morning. It could have been 10 or more hours since they had a fish, depending on who landed the last one/s of the day.

At 09:37, the three lads were snoozing duckling style on the nest. Was anyone thinking about breakfast?

Dad flew in with a nice fish at 09:38:15, just 20 seconds later, waking them all up in a start. My goodness, Ervie is quick. He is mantling that fish (on the far right in front of Dad).

Wings are starting to flap.

As the competition for the breakfast fish amps up, Dad is getting ready to take off.

There he goes just clearing Ervie’s left wing tip. It looks pretty crazy down there but this is what we want to see – these three really being able to grab the fish and defend it. Ervie is a bit like a magician when it comes to getting the fish, he is so fast.

Dad has lift off.

Bazza is on the far left. Falkey is in the middle. He would not mind challenging Ervie for that fish. Look at Falkey looking over. Bazza, meanwhile, is looking out over the water, unconcerned.

Falkey thinks he will try to get that fish by flapping his wings.

Ervie counters. They are looking at each other so intently – it is a wonder Bazza doesn’t slip through and take the fish. Just look at those two! Ervie is saying, “I dare you to try.”

Ervie flips Falkey’s wing back causing him to lose his balance.

There, it is all over and it only took 14 seconds. No feathers or wings injured in the process. Wow.

Ervie aka Little Bob has really become a force to reckon with since he hatched. He has never given in to his older siblings. Focused. A survivor. Every day he amazes me. I look forward to seeing his progress years from now.

Ervie was still eating at 10:10. He is up on the top left near the perch. It is not clear if there will be anything left for one or both of the others. Ervie looks pretty hungry!

There will be plenty of fish for all of the boys today. Dad will make sure of that. It is very interesting to see the competition between the two fledglings. It will help them in the real world and it was not a serious tussle. Ervie pretty much dominates the deliveries like he did when Mum was feeding everyone.

You might be interested in what it is like in the African desert for animals. I have become more and more keen on learning about the places where the UK and European Ospreys and Black Storks go for the winter. (More water there but this is enlightening). It is night in the Namib Desert but move the time line back. There are Wildebeests, Ostrich, Giraffes, Jackals, Hyeans, etc. depending on the time of day. Enjoy.

The Namib Desert is said to be the world’s oldest desert. It is in the southwestern part of Africa whereas the sites for the Ospreys are in the Northwest, south of the Atlas Mountains, in Senegal, The Gambia, etc. The Namib is home to iron rich soil creating red sand dunes and formations like those where I grew up in Oklahoma. It is also known for its nature reserves. The camera is at one of those.

There is Namibia northwest of South Africa.

Red iron oxide gives the soil its beautiful terracotta colour.

The lodge where the camera is located borders a really iron red rich area.

I have no new news on Grinnell other than he flew out of the rehabber’s box and was up on The Campanile. The UC-Berkley band started playing when he arrived! There is such an incredible amount of love for this beautiful falcon. Let us hope that it all ends well. Grinnell seems determined to take his territory and he is much healthier than when he was attacked 20 days ago. The image below is from the Instagram feed of Annie and Grinnell. Oh, he looks good. Nice deep yellow colouring on his beak, around his eyes, and legs. The vets indicated that his beak is growing and his wing is healing. They felt that it was much better to release him now. Thank you everyone at Lindsay Wildlife! Grinnell looks in great form.

Thank you for joining me. This has been a really great day with Grinnell’s release. It would only be better if he was sitting next to Annie on The Campanile. Maybe tomorrow. No news on the WBSE juvenile in care.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and to the Annie and Grinnell Instagram where I captured the image of Grinnell flying.

Oh, Ervie

So many are the greatest defenders of the ‘under dog’. You have watched and would have held talons, if you could, or delivered fish or chicken breasts! Oh, how you love the birds. I know that many of you could not watch the Port Lincoln Osprey nest this year because of Little Tapps last year. I promise you that I felt that pain. So, it was only right that we all worried about the third hatch this year – Little Bob. The history of the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest tells us that the third hatch has never survived. Never!

Born 51 hours after Big Bob, Little Bob proved us all to be wrong. We never had to worry but we sure did cheer him on and I know for a fact that I was not the only person watching him get in line to eat. As it happened, the few times that one of his siblings tried to claim nest dominance – and pick on Ervie – he turned it back on them. I stand to be corrected but I did not see him once back down. In fact, the aggression by Big Bob (again it really was only tussles), just made Little Bob more determined to be first in line.

You can really see the 51 hours difference in the image below taken when Ervie was 10 days old. He is in the middle. Big Bob is on the right. Middle Bob on the left.

Last year the sat-pak was placed on Solly. I don’t know if it was because she was the largest of the two surviving chicks or if she was judged to be the one that had the best chance of survival by her actions on the nest. This year PLO wanted a male – to compare the dispersal with a female. They had their choice of the three.

Little Bob was chosen because he was actually the ‘biggest’ of the Bobs. Over the course of the past 59 days of his life, Ervie has proven that he will try as he might to be the first up at the dinner table. As a result, he weighed more than the other two Bobs on the selection date. Is that single fact an indicator of his chances for survival in the wild?

Today, in 42 kph wind gusts – it was truly terrible in Port Lincoln – Dad proved that he was up to bringing in a fish to the nest. Mum normally still feeds the lads but she did not do that this morning. Was it because of the wind gusts? or was it so that they would begin to learn to fight for the fish in the wild? The fish came in at 07:04:55.

Look at the spread of Dad’s wings as he lands on the nest. Incredible. In fact, I really have to give Dad a lot of gold stars. He has come through the worst weather to deliver fish to this nest. I am truly impressed with his fishing capabilities. Not once was there food insecurity – and there was not a single stress line in the feathers of any of the three boys on this nest.

So Mum is not doing the feeding. She is down on the lower deck perch. I wonder if her and Dad discussed this?

Three hungry lads on that Osprey nest. All of them fit but only one is going to get that fish. Turns out it was a nice flounder.

There is your answer – Ervie! Nice mantling job. I wonder if Dad reports to Mum??

Ervie does a great job mantling that fish!

What was interesting to me was that neither Bazzy (Big Bob) or Falky (Middle Bob) did anything. Nothing. They were completely passive. they looked at the fish and ‘sniffed’ around but there was not a single second of any aggression.

Ervie was not going to share. He was still eating at 07:46:08. His brothers are watching and terribly interested but they are the same civil brothers that have lined up for their Mum to feed them.

Ervie was still eating ten minutes later.

In the end, Ervie ate all of the fish but the tail and he let Falky have it for breakfast. Hopefully the others will get some fish later but for now, this nest remains the most civil Osprey nest I have ever seen. My hope is that Bazza and Falky will be more aggressive out in the wild, if they need to. Perhaps with the low number of Ospreys in South Australia, they will not need to be aggressive.

Indeed, this nest ‘won’ this year because of the civility of the three brothers. Big Bob and Middle Bob are both 61 days old and Ervie is, said it twice, 59 days old. Solly fledged on day 65. So the count down is on. We wish them all well. History will be made with three fledges – a first for these parents and this nest.

It is rather bittersweet because I know that we are all still feeling the sadness from the death of Solly. I hope that the powers at be work hard to make South Australia a safe place for these beautiful sea birds. Our condolences go out to Port Lincoln and also to those at 367 Collins Street on the loss of Baby Bob.

The snow and blowing snow continue. The forecast is for much of the same – snow, blowing snow, and rain for the next week. Hunkered down it is. Tomorrow it will be shaking the conifers to get the heavy snow off. The garden birds and animals seem to have found the food inside the wood boxes and Dyson is on his belly eating seed out of the hanging tray. What a character. No sign of Mr Blue Jay and his family.

Thank you so much for joining me. Please do take care. See you soon.

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Oh, Little Bob!

The birds in my garden are always aware when I am watching them especially Mr Blue Jay and family. Sometimes he will stop and look right in the window and fly up into the lilacs and down to the corn as if he is teasing me. Other days he might sit on top of the deck chair calling to remind me that the corn cob has disappeared. Or maybe he is saying hello! Today, it was the youngest of the trio staring at me as he flew in and out to get kernels off the cob. Dad, Mr Blue Jay, was observing from the lilacs.

How do I know this is the youngest? He is a bit thinner and his legs are a charcoal grey, not black. I can also identify them by their facial markings and I still don’t know, after several years, where they roost or which is the male or the female. All I do know is that in exchange for a corncob, some peanuts, and some seeds, this family of three brings me year round joy.

Of course, the birds on the live streaming cams have no idea there are hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, watching them. Many have caught their reflection in the camera’s dome. I recall Izzi, the peregrine falcon eyas at Orange, and the little Golden Eagle in Romania liking to look at themselves. It is very cute.

Today, Little Bob was having some fun. It is a good thing he is not conscious or caring of anything to have to do with humans!

Yes, that is Little Bob. He is fanning out his tail like a peacock. While we are not able to see it clearly yet, Little Bob’s tail will have stripes, alternating white and espresso. This same type of barring will also be seen on the secondary feathers. The secondary feathers are those after the primary or wing tip feathers.

In studying other birds of prey, those dark stripes are often counted with the understanding that on a Red-tailed Hawk, for example, the nestling needs at least 5 dark bands to fledge. It is simply a way of gauging the length of the tail because tail length is one of the elements necessary for flight.

In the image below, Little Bob has lowered his tail a bit and is stretching his wings in what is known as the ‘W’ pattern. It will be familiar to you as it is the shape that gets tightened up when ospreys dive head long into the water.

The nest on the barge at Port Lincoln is getting crowded as these young ospreys grow. There is Little Bob looking out standing in front of Mum. You can clearly see that dark espresso line (it is neither brown or black) that runs from the beak, across the eye and down to the nape of the neck. This dark strip is your word for the day, it is the auricular. Many believe that this helps to stop the glare of the sun so the birds can see better.

There is a lot of speculation on the streaming cam chat as to the gender of Little Bob. Ospreys need strong legs and feet in order to fish and pull their prey out of the water. They grip their prey with their long black talons using those ‘scratchy pads’ – specialized barbs -on the bottom of the feet to hold the fish secure. They also are the only raptor to have a reversible outer toe which helps them secure their prey. They will, most often, position the fish so that the head is facing in front which is a help with wind resistance.

Ah, but back to telling the males from the females. Measurements will be taken when the three get their Darvic rings. Females tend to have thicker leg bones than males. A good example were the measurements taken of Laddie and NC0’s two fledglings, LR1 and LR2. With females being at least 20% larger than males (normally), the first to hatch and the largest was ringed LR1. The wing measurement of 337mm and weight of 1.51kg led the bander to state that LR1 was a female. The second chick was three days younger and had a wing measurement of 276mm. It weighed 1.4kg and was said to be a male. The differences are slight and the only real way to determine gender is through a DNA test or by seeing an egg laid.

Note: LR2, the male, is the fledgling that has been seen several times over the last week in Spain. Fabulous news!

That said there are a lot of people who believe that Little Bob is really Little Bobbette.

One of the other ways that people believe females are different is through their darker and wider ‘necklace’. Unfortunately, I believe this idea to be unreliable as there are a number of known males with very elaborate and dark necklaces. One good example is Blue 022 the ‘maybe’ mate of CJ7 at Poole Harbour.

It is often difficult to establish which chick is which on the nest. As my concern is in the third hatch, I have paid particular attention to Little Bob. Look at the top of his head. Whether you say Little Bob has a white V or a round circle on its head doesn’t matter – both apply. Look carefully at his head in the image below. One of the things that will not change over Little Bob’s lifetime will be the pattern on its head.

Oops… there Little Bob goes again!

Oh, my. This time he is going to spread his wings, too. Somehow I do not think Big Bob is going to be happy about that. Did I say this nest was getting crowded? Just wait til they all start flapping and hovering at once.

Just like Mr Blue Jay and family, Little Bob continues to delight me. I am so glad that he doesn’t know how many of us are watching his every move.

Take care and thank you for joining me. My newsletter will be late tomorrow. It is time to pick up a large order of birdseed and corn cobs for the garden animals for the winter.

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

Wow! Just look at the PLO Chicks

I am sorry to be so late in sending off my newsletter today. It was not intended and if you have worried, I apologize. The day wasn’t meant to be so busy but it simply turned out that way with a last minute trip to get 200 lbs of bird seed tacked on to the end.

Just look at these beauties. Overnight the three osplets on the Port Lincoln Barge turned into juvenile beauties. Those are serious feathers! Just look, all pushed out from their quills, perfect layering with that gorgeous white line and tip of the juvenile. Each one also seems to have grown a perfectly white beard over night. Their eyes are also that dark amber colour that will, when they are adults, turn to yellow.

Gosh. I can hardly take my eyes off of them. They are stunningly beautiful. If I could look like a bird it would seriously be a juvenile Osprey.

Mum was looking out over the water hoping that Dad was off fishing – and he was. He landed on the nest at 7:46 with a breakfish for everyone.

Little Bob, the closest to Mum’s beak and the front, is 34 days old today while the two older siblings are 36 days old. There is a ways to fledge – thank goodness, but, for now, we can enjoy how grown up they all are and how wonderful this Eastern Osprey nest has been this year. It has brought nothing but tears of joy! It goes to show how having chicks that hatch close together and plenty of food deliveries are a great combination to success.

Dr Victor Hurley heads up the research on the Melbourne Peregrine Falcons. He has been doing this for many years. He wrote a very good article about what the differences are for the two falcon nests in Australia with streaming cams – 367 Collins Street Falcons in Melbourne and Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross. The 367 Collins Street scrape box had 4 hatches this year while the Orange scrape box of Diamond and Xavier had one. So what is the difference to the falcons? is it better to have one or four? Dr Hurley believes for the falcons it is better to have four eyases and be run off your feet feeding them because the chance of one of them surviving to adult hood is greater than a scrape having only one chick. He believes, however, that it is beneficial to the chicks to be the ‘only One’ instead of one of four in terms of food resources. Still, others believe that the stress on the parents to feed four instead of one is immense but, we are looking at it from the chick’s perspective. Anyone watching the scrape boxes just know these growing chicks just want food!

While Dr Hurley did not address other issues, I wonder if being part of a larger hatch group helps in terms of understanding how to live in the real world where there will be pressure from others. Maybe it doesn’t matter? Last year, the male from the Collins Street scrape used to come into the nest and pluck a freshly caught pigeon. It was a terrific mess but those three girls could sure pluck a bird – and do it fast before they fledged – a skill essential to survival. Catch, pluck, eat, and go! I beg to be corrected but it seemed that Izzi had some difficulty with plucking even after an age when he should have had his own territory. So I wonder if they learn quicker and faster as part of a group??? and having plucking imprinted on them so many times?

The little eyas at Orange is 13 days old today while the Collins Street Four are starting their third week. Each is right on track in terms of development. Indeed, the little Orange eyas has been scooting around on its tarsus for a couple of days now and is very strong and healthy. – slightly ahead of the curve The plumage is changing radically on the Collins kids and they are standing and walking.

Kate St John did a wonderful blog on the developmental stages of the peregrine falcons. I want to share that with you.

Dad is trying out larger pieces of pigeon on the four. The prey came in one after another the other day. They are losing the soft down around their eyes and getting the juvenile feathers and they are also getting their wing feathers.

I am afraid that I got a little carried away with the images of Xavier and Diamond’s eyas. Not only is it loud – soon to rival Izzi – but it can also make the cutest faces.

They are all doing well. Last I checked the Bald Eagles in the United States are all still working on their nests. There is some intrigue at the Captiva Nest and the speculation as to who the male will be this season. Joe is gone and it appears Martin has been ousted also. Meanwhile, Harriet and M15 along with Samson and Gabby are steady as you go! To my knowledge there has not been a fledge at the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic forest but this could happen any time. And – for the lovers of Jack and Diane – it seems that the couple might be back on the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg together. They have a lot of nestorations to do!

Thank you for joining me for this quick catch up. I will be shaking my head and smiling at just how beautiful three juvenile ospreys look in the PLO nest. Take care all. See you soon.

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

I needed to check my glasses

It took me a few minutes to comprehend what I was looking at. For several weeks now the osplets on the Port Lincoln Barge nest have been looking more like dinosaurs than fish eagles. But, this morning with the rain, their plumage looked much different. There was a strange white over the water so my first response was – the camera has a problem. Then the water was blue and the chicks were having their meal and well——.

Here they are lined up for the 12:36:06 delivery. Gosh, they had to have been hungry despite all those feedings yesterday. The weather must have hampered Dad’s fishing.

Still, there was no fighting. The chicks are all lined up as normal with Tiny Little right up at Mum’s beak! Oh, this kid really does love its fish.

So let us remember what we know about osplets plumage. When they hatch, they are covered with a very light greyish coat of down. You can see this in the image below.

It is 21 September. That was 22 days ago. Little Bob is 5 days old; the other two are 7 days old. Note the prominent dark eye line and the light soft down. Gosh they were so little! The hatchlings will keep this light coat of down from hatch until they are 10-12 days old, according to Alan Poole.

Oh, just look at Little Bob. So cute with that great big crop. He is the one closest to the viewer.

It is 5 days later. A darker charcoal coloured woolier down replaces that soft light grey down.

This is a huge period of change in terms of plumage. As the dark wooly down comes so do the feathers. The feathers show up first on the head and back and then on the body, later on the wings and tail. The feathers on the head and neck are a coppery-gold colour. This phase is called the Reptilian phase because they look more like their ancestors of 65 million years ago than the juvenile ospreys they are becoming.

You can see those coppery-gold feathers in the image below. The osplets are also growing at a fantastic rate.

The image below of Little Bob was taken three days ago. He was definitely in the Clown Foot stage! You can also see the dark grey wooly down as well as a few of the copper feathers on the back of his neck.

The image below was taken yesterday. You can see that the juvenile plumage is really starting to come in. It appears as little round tufts growing out of the blood quills.

In the image below, Little Bob is eating the prize fish tail. He is in his usual spot near the beak of Mum!

The image below was taken just a few minutes ago. I realize that feathers, like hair and paint, can appear darker when wet so use your imagination. It is as if a huge amount of juvenile plumage came in since last evening. Those feathers are really pushing out of those quills!

That is Little Bob at the very back. He is facing to the left and looking down slightly. He still has that spot and the white on the cere with the white swipe under his eye. Right now I can still find him but I might not be able to tomorrow.

In a blink. We will begin to notice considerable changes in their size along with the continued growth of feathers. The very last feathers to emerge will be the primaries and secondaries also known as the flight feathers. Only when all of their feathers have emerged from the blood quills will the osplets be ready to fly. We will know that when they really begin to exercise those wings and attempt hovering.

To give you an idea of the ‘look’ of the plumage and the size of the feathers I have included an image of Tiny Little, the third hatch of the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. This was taken on 24 August just before she migrated. Blue 463. Look at the length of her tail and the beautiful symmetry of her feathers. This is how the trio on the Port Lincoln nest will look by the time they are 50-60 days old.

As a reminder, Little Bob hatched on 16 September so he is now 26 days old. They have a long way to go but their plumage and their size are going to change right before our eyes. We really do not need to get our glasses adjusted! It is them, not us.

Beautiful Tiny Little Blue 463 survived and became the dominant bird on the nest. She is on her way to Africa. We hope to see her again.

I couldn’t wait to show you those miraculous changes in the plumage of the three. It really is miraculous. Thank you so much for joining me. I hope to see you soon. Take care.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

Bird World Happenings

For those of you hoping for a second hatch at Diamond and Xavier’s scrape box, it is not to be. Either the eggs were not viable or the second chick died trying to hatch. What we have, however, is one really healthy eyas whose eyes will open in the next few days and what a delight that will be. One healthy baby is just fine!

A video was made of one of the chick’s feedings. I cannot wait til it can see its parents! How wonderful.

It is pitching down rain in Port Lincoln. Mum and the three osplets are absolutely soaked to the core.

Mum is the best. She is trying as hard as she can to keep her three babies from catching a chill. Sadly, Melbourne’s weather says it is to have rainy periods through Saturday. I do hope the nest gets a chance to dry out for this incredible Osprey family.

To my knowledge no breakfast has come in yet. Mum is really tired and would appreciate the sleep. She has a smelly wet pillow!

It is an hour later and Mum is beginning to dry out just a little. Hopefully Dad will be in with a fish soon.

The Melbourne Four have already had three meals today – before 8:30! These parents are working overtime. It has to be exhausting. Look how big that little one is and how big its crop is. These four are also healthy and strong. Well done Mum and Dad.

Skipping over to the US, those who fell in love with Anna and Louis during their first year as Bald Eagle parents will be excited to know that the streaming cam is up and running. Here is the link to that nest at Lake Kincaid in the Kisatachie National Forest. Last year, Anna and Louis had one eaglet fledge, Kisatachie. It was wonderful to watch the parents grow into their roles as parents. One time Louis was so eager to provide food early on that he had 18 fish in a pile. I can sure imagine quite a few nests that would have liked some of that! Kisatchie grew big and strong and honoured this old Bald Eagle nest that had not had an eaglet hatch or fledge in 13 years. Incredible.

Cody, Steve and the gang are handling the chat to answer any of your questions.

I have not checked on the Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia for some time. There is some troubling news, perhaps. regarding Julge. This latest report is on Birdmap.

“In the morning September 8, Julge crossed border between Germany and Belgium and from next overnight there was not long distance up to France border, anymore. 20-30 km, depends in what direction Julge continues migration. But perhaps, there is time to improve energy sources? Interesting, if quarry is good place to find food for stork…. Anyway, Julge flew south in September 12. That means France is next country Julge visits. And stayed in a village called Saint-Hilaire-le-Petit. Nor dare not fear the closeness of people. He could be seen picking up insects from the lawn in the parking lot of the nearby Pontfaverger supermarket … But on the afternoon of September 21, Julge flew some 30 km in direction of Paris. On 22 September, Julge reached a stopover between Paris and Reims, where the latest data were received on the morning of 25 September. Next behaviour of Julge is unknown. A local newspaper is also involved in the searches of Julge.”

You can check the migration status of the Ospreys, Black Storks, White-tailed Eagles, Eurasian Cranes, and the Lesser Spotted Eagles here:

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

I also wanted to check on Karl II and his three children and on their migration status.

First is Udu. This is from the Forum: “It is now becoming unlikely that Udu will find/follow the ‘usual’ eastern migration route, I fear. All other options to cross the Mediterranean Sea are far more complicated, difficult and dangerous. Unless Udu will winter in southern Italy, or in Greece?” Udu is now in Kosovo.

Here is the map showing the three members of the family: Karl II, his daughter, Pikne, and son, Udu . They are making wonderful progress!

You can follow the Black Stork family whose nest was in the Karula National Forest in Estonia here:

This was just a quick check on the developments at the Orange Australian scrape box of Xavier and Diamond. I am certain that chatters and followers would loved to have seen two eyases hatch but, it was not to be. We can, however, wait with wonder to see the little one open its eyes and see its parents for the first time – and grow, thrive, and fledge. Send positive wishes for a fish to arrive at the PLO and for the rain to let up so the nest can dry.

Thank you for joining me. It will get chilly on the Canadian Prairies tonight – down to 4 C. It will certainly feel more seasonal. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or Forums where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, the Latvian Fund for Nature, the Estonian Eagle Club, and BirdMap.