Port Lincoln Osplets have names

Oh, there was such excitement yesterday. The Port Lincoln chicks were banded and, in addition, there were rumours that 3 or 4 of the Melbourne eyases had fledged. Let’s put that rumour to bed. Mum is sleeping on the weather protector above the four. So everyone is still home. That is fantastic. Maybe they will all fledge from this end so we can see!!! Ironically, Victor Hurley said they would turn the camera around to face the other direction after his Q & A session so there was a better chance to see them fledge. With two ends and one camera, it is very difficult to predict which end will prove to be ‘the one’.

Port Lincoln wanted to band a male chick because they wanted to compare his dispersal to that of the female, Solly, who fledged last year from the PL nest and has a tracker. Solly has taught osprey researchers much including the distances that female osprey will disperse. In Solly’s case, she traveled 311 km to Eba Anchorage. There were rumours that osplet 2, Middle Bob, was to get the tracker because it was thought he was the only male. In the end, Port Lincoln had three males to choose from and they went with the one who weighed the most – Little Bob – who turns out to be the ‘biggest’ Bob.

Here are the names and weights:

  • Big Bob, first hatch, has a red band, weighed the least at 1280 grams and is named Bazza. The name celebrates Take 2 Photography’s husband, Barry Hockaday, who did so much to bring the Osprey Barge to a reality.
  • Middle Bob, second hatch, has a yellow band, weighed 1330 grams and is named Falky after Ian Falkenberg, the bander.
  • Little Bob, third hatch, has a dark green almost black band, weighed 1380 grams and is named Ervie. It is the name of the Scottish town where Australia’s current Minister of the Environment grew up. This choice focused on the fact that the growth in the Eastern Osprey population and this project would not be possible without the Minister’s support.

And that is how ‘never miss a meal Little Bob’ became the biggest Bob! And got the sat-pak! Well done, Ervie.

The chicks behaved as expected. When the boat came close they pancaked so much you could not see them above the nest. Each was removed and put in a small sack. There was no stress at all. A gift of fish was put in the nest. The parents returned within minutes of the chicks being put back in the nest. It was a beautiful process and so much will be learned through the monitoring of Ervie’s travels including dispersal and threats. I will not deny that I am a huge supporter of banding and tracking. It is the only way to learn where the birds go, where they breed, what dangers there are in the environment, what happens to them, etc.

I admit to being very tired this morning. I could not stay awake long enough to find out the names last night or, should I say I stopped waiting at 2 am in Canada. It was so nice to run to the computer and see all the information this morning.

Many wondered how they could donate to keep the cam running at Port Lincoln. It is complicated and it is my understanding that they cannot accept donations. That said, if you or someone you know is going to the area why not take one of Calypso Star’s nature tours? Go out to see the sea lions or get in a cage and watch sharks. That would be a great way to thank them.

Update on WBSE 27 on 5 November (in case you missed it): “SE27 is doing well, gaining in strength and is feeding by itself. It has moved to a larger raptor cage to allow it to exercise and recover. The treating vets have advised that SE27 will be in care for a few weeks while it recovers and will be released back into the wild as soon as it’s well enough. Healing takes time so please be patient. Updates will follow when possible.”

It is another gorgeous day on the Canadian prairies. 13 degrees C. The sun is bright and I can see the squirrels already hoping that their breakfast will be taken out to the deck. They are a little early.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Everyone is a ‘Bob’

Oh, what a day!

The banding and measuring of the Port Lincoln osplets began well after lunch once the boat – the Calypso Star (above) – that took tourists out to see the sea lions returned. The entire process took approximately two hours. Mum positioned herself on the boat anchored next to the barge with the nest on it. At various times she expressed her growing dissatisfaction. She wanted her chicks back on the nest. There she is in the image below on top of the mast.

When Mum got tired of waiting, she flew up to the barge pole and began yelling at the banders to hurry up!

There they are in the nest before the banding took place. All nice and calm.

First off, I was wrong! Little Bob is Little Bob. Big Bob is also Big Bob. Middle Bob is also Middle Bob. All three are judged to be male.

It was only after Janet Forster said they were all males on the chat that things began to fall into place. There is only 51 hours separating the oldest from the youngest. That is incredible in itself. I cannot comment on prey deliveries in former years but the fish were consistent this season leading to food stability. To me, this was possibly the calmest, most civil osprey nest with three chicks I have ever seen. Does gender play into that? Is a nest with three males much less prone to aggressive rivalry? than if there is a female on the nest? or two females?

It is almost 4pm in Port Lincoln. We are still awaiting the names and to see who got the tracker. PLO wanted the tracker to go on a male. This was because the tracker was put on Solly, the first hatch and a female, last year. Now they have a choice of three! Oh, I am hoping for Little Bob.

Chicks returned to the nest at 15:41:33 with some fish treats.

The chick on the right has a yellow band and has found a fish and is really doing well at the self-feeding. Some of the images are a little blurry. Everyone loves that Middle Bob got the yellow band – ‘Mellow Yellow’ they are calling him.

One chick is looking out to sea and not quite ready to have fish. And then there is the one right up front, right under Mum’s beak wanting fish. That chick has a black band and there is a sat-pak on its back. Can you guess who loves to be fed by Mum? and who is decidedly the ‘Big Cheese’ on the nest now – for certain? and who is always at the table first? I know you know who that is!

Little Bob got the satellite tracker! Tears are flowing down my cheeks.

The nest started off with seven fish. There are only three left now. Ah, now two. Dad came and took one and joined in the celebration.

Here are a series of close up images. You can clearly see the red band and look, there is also a metal band. It is the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme. Each bird (or bat) has a distinct number. If found, the number is called in to identify it for tracking purposes. There is a similar scheme in North America.

The sat-pak, if it is like the one that Solly has, should last for up to four years. It is going to be fantastic to see how far a male fledgling goes from the natal nest. You might remember that Solly broke all expectations when she moved more than 300 kilometres away from Port Lincoln to Eba Anchorage. No one realized the females would disperse that far. It brought a new understanding to the movements of the Eastern Ospreys.

So typical. Little Bob decided to come back for seconds.

The chicks have had a stressful day. They are doing fine and so are the parents. All that nice fish left by PLO surely helps.

Little Bob is looking through the nest for any leftovers! Typical. He stole a lot of hearts from the time he karate kicked his way out of his shell to putting a big sibling in its place a couple of times when they thought they might push him around a bit. It did not work. If he was hungry, he was always up at the table and ready to eat. No one would stop him. He is a great choice for this tracker.

We are just waiting for the names to come in. It is now in the wee hours of the morning in Canada. Someone just commented that while they will have official names, they think #3 will always be Little Bob. Could be. Someone else suggested Big Bobbie. I hope he lives long – I hope all of them do – and father many healthy chicks to help bring the population numbers of Eastern Osprey up.

This is a momentous occasion. So very happy for the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, all the people behind the scenes, and this amazing osprey family.

Thank you so much for joining me. Next stop at this nest: fledge. Perhaps in 7-9 days. That will come too fast. Names have not been released yet. I will post those tomorrow. It is nearly 2 am and I am zonked. Want to bet they will post the names the minute I publish this blog? Most likely. Take care everyone.

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

Port Lincoln Osprey, update

It is currently late afternoon in Port Lincoln, Australia. The osplets have been flapping their wings steady all day. At one point, I felt that one or more of them might take flight.

The original timing of the ringing, measuring, naming, and attaching at least one sat-pak to one of the trio was to be Monday 8 November. That timing has been brought forward. It will now take place in the morning Sunday 7 November Port Lincoln time.

It is unclear to me if you will be able to see the process or not. Please check your local time with that of Australia if you wish to check to see what is happening live. The link to the streaming cam is here:

On Monday, the Thistle Island chicks will be banded and one will get a sat-pak.

Oh, I can’t wait! Time to set the alarm.

Take care all. Thanks to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shot.