Life in Osprey World

Maya laid her third egg today on the Rutland Mantou Bay Nest. You might recall that her mate, Blue 33 (11) was the first to return from the migration to Africa followed in a few minutes by Maya. That was on the 19th of March. Their first egg was laid on 30 March with the second egg on 2 April. So far, Maya and Blue 33 (11) are the only monitored Osprey couple in the UK to have eggs in the nest.

Wow. You can see the full colour range of the Osprey eggs, from cream to red. 5 April 2021. Rutland Mantou Nest

You can watch Maya and Blue 33 (11) at their Rutland Mantou Nest here:

Blue 3J or Telyn and her mate Idris have been working to build up their nest. Telyn arrived on 26 March followed by Idris’s return on the 29th. It is the end of the day and Telyn is waiting for Idris to bring her a fish for her dinner.

I love looking at bird nests. My favourite is still that of Daisy Duck, the little Pacific Black Duck that made a nest on the White Bellied Sea Eagles nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park. Oh, it was so beautiful with her down interwoven with the beautiful leaves from the nest.

Telyn and Idris’s nest is getting larger. Look at the colours of the lichen on the branches.

Here is another look at Telyn waiting for supper. Youcan also see how high the sides of the nest are getting.

If you want to check in on Telyn and Idris, here is the streaming cam:

Blue 5F – Seren – has been busy working on the nest that she shares with her mate, Dylan at the Hafren Forest, Clywedog Reserve in Wales. A lot of twigs have been brought in and she seems to be weaving them together with some local grass materials. Look at that amazing sunset that she has! Wow. She is waiting for her dinner delivery from Dylan and here it comes!

If you want to check in on Seren and Dylan, here is their streaming cam:

And if the wind tearing up their nest was not enough for Laddie and NC0 at the Loch of the Lowes, then the snow and blowing winds that arrived late today are surely to put a damper on any more nestorations for a bit. Gosh, it is like winter is happening all over again in Scotland!

If you want to check on Laddie and NC0, here is the streaming cam:

One of the most lonely Osprey nests is Hellsgate Canyon just outside Missoula, Montana. The nest is prime real estate despite it being located in a parking lot between Missoula College and the Riverside Health Centre. It is only 15 metres or 50 feet away from the Clark Fork River. It belongs to Iris, the ‘grand dame of the Ospreys’ according to Dr Green at the University of Montana at Missoula. In the image below, taken in 2018, you can see the distinctive band in Iris’s left pupil that identifies her. Iris is believed to be at least 23 years old if not older. Her original nest was on a pole down the highway. This platform nest in the image below was built in 2008. She had a wonderful mate named Stanley that did not return from winter migration in 2016. Louis arrived on the nest on 26 April 2016 and Iris accepted him immediately. Their eggs in 2016 were infertile, in 2018 their one chick got out from under Iris and died of hypothermia. In 2019, there were three chicks. L’el’e was born on 4 June and survived. The other two did not. The issue had to do with starvation. Louis was not bringing food to the nest. At the time it was thought that he was just inexperienced at fishing but it turns out he had two families.

Louis and Starr have arrived back in the area. We wait to see if Iris returns. If she does, I hope that she gets a fantastic new mate and she changes the research on how long Ospreys can lay fertile eggs! Iris was last seen at her nest on 8 September 2020 just before she migrated.

Here is the link to the streaming cam at Hellsgate. Fingers crossed. Maybe we can catch Iris arrival! I sure hope she survived the winter. Or maybe she decided to retire and stay in the warmer climates year round. She certainly deserves it. She has probably raised 30-40 chicks to fledge. Incredible. Iris, you are my hero! I have seen you protect your nest, bring in huge fish by yourself. You deserve a good retirement or a great mate.

And when I checked on Tiny Tot at the Achieva Osprey Nest, he still had a crop from his morning’s feeding. It is nearly 3pm. Would be fantastic for him to get another good feed before bed. He needs to put all that food into growth. His energy and his cleverness have returned. Someone told me he is like Lazarus rising from the dead. Others stopped watching the streaming cam because they feared his demise. Tiny Tot is not out of the woods. The other two siblings are quite large, especially 2 which now seems to have taken over the dominant role on the nest. I am very hopeful if big fish continue to come into the nest on a regular basis, Tiny Tot will fledge!

Tiny is in front of Diane in the image below.

If you wish to follow Jack and Diane and the trio, here is the link to their streaming cam:

Thank you so much for joining me today. Fingers crossed as we await the arrival of Louis and Aila in Loch Arkaig ——– and the return of Iris. If she doesn’t return, I hope she is relaxing somewhere very nice!

I also want to thank all of the Osprey streaming cams that I have posted today. Their cameras provide the feed where I get my screen captures. Many of the cameras, such as Glaslyn with Aran and Mrs G, survive only on donations from viewers. If you are watching one of those cameras, think about chipping in a fiver. Every little bit helps. I have posted the links in the hope that more people will watch these amazing birds build their nests and raise their families.

World Osprey Week Begins

World Osprey Week is from 22-26 and it celebrates the arrival of the Ospreys from their winter migration in Africa back to the United Kingdom in spring. For the second year, the pandemic has caused previous large celebrations to be much scaled down. Still, it does not damper the enthusiasm of Osprey lovers throughout Wales, England, and Scotland as they welcome home these beautiful yellow eyed sea hawks.

There is even an app and a website where you can go for sightings and confirmed arrivals on nests. This is very impressive.

And there are educational programmes and YouTube videos all week. Here is Day 1:

There are also free digital educational packets which you can order on line. Simply go to this URL and sign up: www.lrwt.org.uk/wow

Now let’s check and see which of the Ospreys at monitored nests have arrived so far.

The very first Osprey to arrive was Blue 25 (10), a female. She is back on one of the Rutland’s nests. Blue 25 (10) was born in Rutland in 2010 – hence, the (10) in brackets behind the tag colour and number.

The stars of the Mantou Nest are Maya and Blue 33 (11). They arrived within thirty-minutes of one another. Great planning! Blue 33 (11) flew in at 12:29 followed by Maya at 12:56. These two have been together and raising chicks since 2015. And they wasted no time in getting reacquainted. The streaming cam caught them mating at 1pm! After fighting over a fish that Maya caught, Blue 33 decided some nestorations were in order.

After bonding it was time to eat and you can see that everyone wants the fish that Maya caught! Too funny.

All is calm again and it is time to start getting the nest in order. Don’t you think Blue 33 (11) is handsome?

Blue 33 (11) looking up at the camera.

And both arrived back on the nest right before dawn on the 22nd of March to start things off:

Laddie (LM12) arrived home at 5pm, 21 March, at the Loch of the Lowes Reserve nest. He is the resident male at this nest. There is a new female as of last March tagged NCO. She was ringed as a chick at Loch Ness in 2016. His former mate was LF15. She went missing on the 7 August 2018.

Lock Arkaig is awaiting the arrival of Louis and Alia.

The nest at Glaswyn is awaiting for the arrival of Mrs G (the oldest Osprey in Wales) and Aran.

The Cumbria Wildlife Trust is waiting for arrivals to their Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest . 2021 will be the eighth year running – should the mated pair arrive – that Osprey chicks have been born on this nest. The couple are Blue 35 (female) and White YW (male). This mated couple have fledged sixteen chicks between 2014-2020. At least one of their fledglings, Blue 5N, of 2018 has been spotted in The Gambia in 2019.

So everyone is waiting! Some people are trying to keep six screens open at one time in case someone arrives today. Enjoy the beginning of World Osprey Week! Find a nest and enjoy all the fun of the arrivals.

And before I close this off. Just a note. The Achieva Osprey nest fooled me again. All three had full crops this morning at 9:33 CDT. Wow. So happy. Let’s hope Jack continues to bring in very large fish. It helps.

Thank you to Achieva Credit Union, the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Friends of Loch Arkaig FB, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Scottish Wildlife Trust for their streaming cams where I got my scaps.

UC Berkley Falcons and quick Friday updates

The University of California Campus at Berkeley is ‘falcon crazy.’ They even named their basketball team the Falcons. Indeed, the feathered pair nesting on top of this beautiful building are ‘stars’. Everyone knows about them and gets excited – how grand is that?!

“The Campanile of UC-berkeley” by ChanduBandi is marked with CC0 1.0

The Campanile was designed in the Gothic Revival style and was completed in 1914. The tower, reminiscent of the Campanile di San Marco in Venice, is ninety-four metres or 308 feet hight and has four bells. It is the most recognized building on the University campus.

This is the view from the roof:

In 2016, a pair of Peregrine Falcons began to roost on the roof of the Campanile. Their scrape box is two floors up from the bells and to everyone’s amazement the bell concerts do not seem to bother the raptors. If it did, we can imagine that they would have left quickly. Most of the time it is a safe place to raise their young but they have had, like other nests, intruders checking out their prime real estate.

In 2017, the same pair returned to raise eyases. They were given the names Annie and Grinnell in honour of the founder and first director of UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Annie Grinnell. Annie is not banded and her history including how old she is remains unknown. However, Grinnell was banded in 2013 as a nestling near Martinez, California. All of their chicks are banded in the nest.

If you have read most of my blogs you will know that I am a great proponent of banding. The amount of information that can be discovered is significant. And for Birders on the Ground it is an opportunity to take part. It takes a village to chase after falcons and check their bands, photograph them, and then find the right person to contact to tell them of the sighting.

If you have never seen a nestling banded, here is your opportunity. This is a short video of Poppy, Sequoia, and Redwood being banded in the scrape box in 2020 along with a Q&A:

Annie and Grinnell made their first nest on a sand bag on the roof of the Campanile in March of 2017. Poor things! But they had nothing else. In the wild, Peregrine falcons make their nests on a the edges of cliffs with a sandy base or in gravel.

In the image below, Grinnell is incubating the eggs in the permanent scrape box. Notice that it is a simple enclosure, with a single opening at the front. Wooden rulers have been fixed to the frame of the door and the corners so researchers can check the height of the young. Simple pea gravel or small river stones line the bottom. This is the ‘nest’. No other materials will be brought in. The falcons will rub their breast into the gravel to make a hollow for the eggs.

When two of the eggs of Annie and Grinnell’s first clutch rolled off the sandbox and broke, the University decided to install a temporary scrape box. Annie and Grinnell accepted the box and fledged their first babies – two eyases- from the Campanile. They were a male named Fiat and a female named Lux. The names were derived from the University motto, Fiat lux, which means bringing knowledge to light. Fiat survived but Lux was killed by window strike.

The following year the University installed a permanent nest box for the pair hoping that they would return and lay their eggs again. In April of 2018, Annie and Grinnell had three eggs hatch. Named after three elements discovered at Berkeley the chicks were a male named Berkelium, another male named Californium, and a female named Lawrencium. All three fledged. Lawrencium is the only one of Annie and Grinnell’s chicks that has been spotted. She is nesting on the island of Alcatraz.

In 2019, the exploits of Annie and Grinnell were streamed to the world. That year two chicks hatched and were successful fledges. One was named Carson after Rachel Carson. Hers is a name that you should know. Carson is the author of the book Silent Spring that led to the banning of DDT. Cade was named after Tom Cade, an Ornithologist recognized for his efforts to both protect and reestablish Peregrine Falcon populations after they were wiped out by DDT. Cade was the founder of the Peregrine Fund. He died in 2019 at the age of 91.

In 2020, Annie and Grinnell fledged three – a female named Poppy, a male named Sequoia, and another male named Redwood.

It’s 2021 and Annie and Grinnell are incubating four eggs! The first was laid on 10 March, followed by the second on 12 March, the third on the 14th and the final egg on St. Patrick’s Day.

In the image below, Grinnell has arrived to partially incubate the first three eggs. The eggs can actually range from a cream colour to red but here you see that Annie has laid three lovely red eggs.

While it is known that falcons sometimes lay five eggs, it is rare. And this brings me to why I love falcons so much and it isn’t just their very ‘cute’ plumage. It is because of delayed incubation. Annie and Grinnell can hatch four eyases but I am not up worrying all night when one didn’t get fed or the eldest was aggressive – it would be rare for that to happen but I am aware that it does.

Grenville on hard incubation duty, 19 March 2021.

The embryos inside eggs only develop when they are warm. Peregrine falcons, Red Tail Hawks and other raptor species (other than Ospreys and various species of eagles) want their eggs to hatch at roughly the same time. That way there is not a significant difference in development. To achieve this synchronization, the early eggs are only partially incubated until all are laid. Then hard incubation begins. Annie and Grinnell will take turns incubating the eggs. After hard incubation starts the eggs will hatch in roughly 32-33 days after the last egg was laid. The eyases use their ‘egg tooth’ to help them get through the thick shell which can take from 24-48 hours. Pip watch should start about 19 April! I am so excited!

UPDATES: Speaking of pip watch, Jackie and Shadow can hear one of their little ones chirping in the shell. Big Bear Eagle fans are on hatch alert!

Maya and Blue 33 have both arrived at the Mantou Bay Nest at Rutland in the UK on 19 March. Blue 33 (11) came in at 12:29 and Maya was right behind him at 12:56.

Maya and Blue 33 (10) arrive at the nest in Rutland on 19 March 2021.

So far it appears that Blue 25 (10) is still waiting for her mate at Rutland.

The three on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida have now been fed to the relief of everyone. The storm caused Jack to bring in only a small fish last evening. Brutus, the eldest, was very aggressive towards the smaller two and they went to sleep without any fish. (Brutus is the name given to the eldest by the chat group). First fish this morning was also small and caused aggressive behaviour. However, Jack went and brought in a nice sized second fish right away and everyone ate and were congenial.

Both were fed at the Duke Farms Bald Eagle Nest in Hillsborough, New Jersey so all is well on that nest.

Solly, the Port Lincoln Osprey, is 181 days old today. She spent the night at the Streaky Bay Hospital and has been out and about looking for fish. She loves this area. I hope it keeps her safe and is her forever home.

It’s nearly 4pm on a beautiful sunny day on the Canadian prairies. Let’s hope it stays that way so that everyone can get out for a walk and check on the local wildlife in their area.

Thanks to UC Berkeley Falcons, Duke Farms, Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg, Big Bear for their steaming cams and Rutland Wildlife where I took my scaps and to Port Lincoln Ospreys and the PLO researchers for the satellite tracking for Solly.

First Osprey arrives in the UK – and the little eaglet in the Kisatchie National Forest has a name

The first Osprey to land on a nest in the United Kingdom for the 2021 breeding season is Blue 25 (10). This gorgeous female was the first to arrive last year as well but this time, she is a day earlier.

So who is Blue 25 (10)? She is the daughter of Maroon AA (06) and Argyll BTO (R). She was born in 2010 at Rutland – hence the (10) after her tag number. ‘Site Fidelity’ is when an animal or bird returns to where they were born. Normally only the males return to their natal nest area but, Blue 25 returned to Rutland in 2012. She bonded with Blue 11 (10). In 2013, they had two chicks: Blue 3K is a female and Blue 4K is a male. The male returned to Rutland on 10 July 2015. He is the first 4th generation bird to return. That is quite an accomplishment! In 2013, the pair fledged a single female Blue 5K. In 2014, they fledged Blue 8K, a male, and a female, Blue 9K. The records unfortunately stop in 2015.

It is now 2021. Both Blue 25 and Blue 11 are now eleven years old. Let’s hope that Blue 11 arrives back at the nest!

Ospreys were completely wiped out in Britain. This early extermination was caused by game wardens on large estates killing the birds, through egg collection, habitat loss, and by taxidermy – yes, the killing and the stuffing of these lovely birds. wiped out in England by persecution – through egg-collection and taxidermy – and by habitat loss.

In England, The Leicestershire and Rutland Trust introduced sixty-four 6-week-old Ospreys (introduced from Scotland) between 1996 and 2001. At Rutland, in 2019, there were twenty-five Ospreys in the area with eight couples breeding. One of those couples is Blue 25 (10) and her mate Blue 11 (10). And we know that half of that bonded pair has safely returned to Rutland from Africa.

The other pair is Maya and her mate 33. They were the celebrated parents of the 150th chick to be born in Rutland in 2019. They have claimed the nest at Manton Bay where, since 2015, they have successfully raised ten chicks.

If you would like a list of the UK Ospreys, their band numbers, dates of return, etc. up to and including 2015, please go to this Internet site:

http://ukospreys.uk/rutland-breeding.htm

That beautiful only eaglet, so spoiled by its first time parents Anna and Louis born in the nest in the Kisatchie Forest has a name! And it is a wonderful name: Kisatchie. Anna and Louis celebrate the great state of Louisiana while Kisatchie immortalizes this nest in this forest. It is the only national forest in Louisiana and consists of 800,000 acres covering seven parishes in the state. It is designated an Important Bird Area and is now covered with Loblolly and Slash Pines after reforestation efforts. The raptors living in the forest include Red-shouldered hawks, Sharp-shinned hawks, Broad-winged hawks as well as Cooper’s hawks and Bald Eagles. Other species of birds include the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Northern Bobwhite, Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-bellied and Downy woodpeckers along with the Brown-headed Nuthatch.

This young couple came last year to check out the abandoned Bald Eagle nest and returned this year to make it their natal nest. The rangers say that they are young, 5-6 years old. They had just gotten their adult plumage in the fall of 2020. At 11pm on 23 February 2021, the little one hatched. The nest is very close to the lake and Louis is an amazing fisher. The pantry is always full and Anna never wants her little one to go hungry. If you watch this nest, the youngster always has a crop and Anna is always wanting it to take just one more bite! It is too cute.

Anna says, ‘Please just one more bite!’

Once upon a time I worried that Anna would never figure out how to feed her baby and the baby wouldn’t catch on either but – well, that was pretty silly. This Bald Eagle nest is the envy of most.

As World Osprey Week quickly approaches on 22 March, I am certain that there will be more announcements coming soon of arrivals from Africa. Let us hope that each one arrives home safely.

Thank you for joining me today! And thanks to the Forestry Services at the Kisatchie National Forest for getting those cameras streaming and for handling all of the naming contests. They names are fantastic. And thank you to Rutland Wildlife Trust for the camera where I took the scap of Blue 25 (10)’s arrival!

The introduction of Osprey into the UK

Writing about Wales and the United Kingdom makes me a little ‘homesick’. My family and I lived in a beautiful little town in Lincolnshire while I read for my PhD at the University of Leicester. There were canals full of ducks, the prettiest gardens, and wonderful friends. Those were wonderful years and many times, in the last few years, I have longed to return, not as a visitor, but to live in the wildness of Pembrokeshire or the highlands of Scotland. My desire to see the Osprey and the eagles ‘in the wild’ will happen soon in Manitoba. Patience is required like it is for everyone else waiting. The Ospreys will return to the nests built by Manitoba Hydro and the Bald Eagles will be fishing off Hecla Island. On the way, they will stop in Winnipeg. It is always a surprise for everyone- looking out and seeing a Bald Eagle in one’s garden. Indeed, the first Bald Eagle has already arrived.

Leading up to World Osprey Week from 22-26 of March, I started with two of the nests in Wales yesterday. I had meant to move up to Loch Arkaig today but, it makes more sense to find out about the reintroduction of the Osprey into the United Kingdom before going to Scotland where there are now, at least, three hundred breeding pairs. Indeed, those first twelve birds brought to Rutland twenty-five years ago, when only five weeks old, came from nests in Scotland.

“Osprey – Rutland Water” by Airwolfhound is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Today I want to share with you just one little eight-minute video. It really is worth a listen! I could not write with the enthusiasm of Tim Appleton – trust me – this man is inspiring and passionate.

In 1994, an Osprey landed in the tree across from Tim Appleton’s garden and that was the beginning of the work with Roy Dennis to establish The Rutland Osprey Project. Tim Appleton, MBE is an amazing individual. Just reading his biography on Google makes me tired! This man is a dynamo when it comes to doing good works for birds. Roy Dennis is Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Dennis worked with Appleton to create Rutland. Indeed, the success at Rutland led to the founding of the nests in Wales.

“The osprey nest at Rutland Water” by Phil McIver is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Here is the interview with Tim Appleton talking about this great adventure that lead to 170 fledglings. It must have been the most amazing journey. You can just ‘feel’ Appleton’s joy and love for these amazing birds.

Here is the streaming cam to the Manton Bay Osprey nest. Ooops. Looks like another hijacked nest! That is definitely not an Osprey on that nest. It’s a Cormorant and right now there are gale force winds on that nest and this bird is determined to stay. Wonder what the owners will think about that after their 6400 kilometer or 4000 mile journey from Africa to come home? It could get interesting. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be that Cormorant if the female owner of this nest got mad! I don’t know how many of you watched Solly take it out on DEW on the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest in Australia – but, wow. Wouldn’t want to mess with this Osprey not for a second.

Cormorant is gone. Wonder if it will return?

This is another very short video showing the 2019 Osprey family from the Manton Bay nest. A fresh fish is being caught to take to the nest:

If you want to read more about the Rutland Ospreys, this is an excellent book. You can purchase it from amazon.co.uk Yes, you can actually order from the UK site. You might be able to purchase it directly from the Leicestershire and Rutland Trust Offices – but I cannot promise. When I was in Scotland in 2019, most of the Osprey sites had buildings where you could buy books, pins, and clothing to help support the different projects.

Thank you so much for joining me today and celebrating the arrival of the Osprey in England so long ago and you can wait for their return from their winter migration. It is a long journey and we hope that they all arrive home safely!

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Credit for the feature image: “Photo of the Week – Osprey at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (VA)” by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region is marked with CC PDM 1.0