Early Thursday in Bird World

4 August 2022

Good Morning Everyone! I was not going to write my newsletter until the end of the day but some of you might wish to know about the banding of the Royal Cam chick. There is a bit of other news as well. Both chicks at the Loch Garten Osprey platform fledged today – so every osprey chick in the UK has now fledged. Fantastic. I am getting notices that the cameras at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Harriet and M15 and the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest of Gabby and Samson will go live in two weeks. Wow. Time is speeding by. Those cameras will turn on just about the time we have Osprey and falcon eggs in Australia.

The little fledgling Blue Jay has decided that it is time that I get some more peanuts outside for the three of them! Too funny. These wee ones can be quite loud when they want to be. They are getting their beautiful blue crests. I believe this is the smaller of the three – a little female -. She has that developing crest raised up high because she is excited! They are so cute and so animated.

The NZ DOC rangers will be banding the chicks on Taiaroa Head today. Here is the announcement by Ranger Sharyn Broni posted by Sharon Dunne on the Royal Cam FB page. There is no mention of the time. There will be an archived video of the banding of QT if you miss it!

I know many of you are anxious to also find out about the naming of QT. They may mention how this will be done this year. On line voting took place during the pandemic but this might change now.

Here is the link to the camera:

An Osprey rescue in Scotland that warms our hearts. You might have to keyboard the URL if it doesn’t give you an automatic link. It is the story of the collapse of the Balgavies Osprey nest mentioned a few weeks ago in my blog – this one has pictures!

scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk

The youngest chick on the Janakkalan Nest has yet to fledge. Titi often remains on the nest now that Boris is flying about for longer periods of time. With intruders and goshawks in the area, it is dangerous for Titi not to be flying.

Boris arrives in the bottom image to protect the nest. Hopefully s/he will take care of its sibling.

This brings me back to the mystery of why a normally wonderful Mum on a Finnish Osprey nest would attack her children. Nuppu on nest #4 attacked her youngest who had not fledged and the eldest who had fledged (much less) last week. Humans wondered how this loving mother could turn on her children. One of my readers ‘L’ suggested that it might have been to get the youngest to fly. Nuppu, knowing that a goshawk was in the area, wanted both of her chicks off the nest and flying free to lessen the threat of predation. I spent some time asking several osprey experts if this could be the case and they said, ‘absolutely’. The youngest did not fly and was predated when the intruder came to the nest. The eldest flew. So, there we are – the mystery of the physical attacks was to get the second chick off the nest and flying. Nuppu wanted to save her chicks, not harm them.

The only surviving fledgling on nest #4.

I do not understand why Titi on the Janakkalan nest has not flown yet. S/he has been doing some exercising of the wings. Hopefully soon!!!!! This is the nest without a female so Boris has taken on the job of security when Dad is not around.

The Sydney Sea Eaglets are doing fantastic. The tips of the wing feathers are beginning to show. You can see them coming in on both chicks – look carefully at the wings.

You will notice that the time between feedings is a little longer. That is because the eaglets can eat much more at a sitting than when they had just hatched and needed a few morsels of fish every 45-60 minutes from dawn to dusk.

SE30 even did a little beaking of 29 yesterday. Nothing major but it was cute when it sat up and gave it a bop.

Both had nice crops! Fish will not be stacked on the nest so much now because it could cause predators to become interested in the nest and the eaglets. They are not big enough yet to be out of danger. They need to be 28-30 days old.

It is raining in Orange and Diamond arrives at the scrape box on the water tower soaking wet! But with a full crop. Looking for eggs in a couple of weeks.

The high temperature for the day will be 23 C at the Osoyoos nest. What a change! A nice fish arrived early on the nest and Soo fed both of the chicks. They made it! Olsen and Soo you should receive a reward – you did fantastic in your strategies to protect the two osplets. Just look at them.

Right now the camera is fairly clear at the Fortis Exshaw Osprey nest in Canmore, Alberta. We can get a good look at those three good looking osplets! We are on fledge watch for this nest. At least two are flapping and starting to hover. It will not be long.

Karl II delivered a number of fishes just a few minutes ago to the four Black storklets in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. So far all is well. The storklets are hovering and jumping and practising their perching to prepare for fledge.

A portrait of the three females at the Loch Arkaig nest this year. From left to right: Willow, Sarafina, and Mum Dorcha (unringed). When we talk about the females having beautiful necklaces have a look at these three! Gorgeous.

I am not sure I have ever seen three females with such elaborate necklaces. Dorcha is really influencing the genetics at this nest. Bravo!

A blast from the past. The four Peregrine Falcon eyases being fed at the CBD-367 Collins Street scrape in Melbourne. Time is ticking away. The camera will be up and running in September. Just in case you forgot how incredibly cute little falcons are!!!!

Thank you for joining me this morning. Things look pretty good in Bird World. Take care. See you soon!!!!!!!!!

Thank you to the following for their posts and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Friends of Loch Arkaig and the Woodland Trust, Eagle Club of Estonia, Fortis Exshaw, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Osoyoos Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Finnish Osprey Foundation, CBD-367 Collins Street Falcon Cam, and Royal Cam Albatross NZ.

Friday in Bird World

27 May 2022

I have been away most of the afternoon and have not been able to check on all the nests on my return. It was raining on the two osplets on the UFlorida-Gainesville nest and it looks like they have been at the hair salon, too!

It has been terrible weather at the ND-LEEF Bald Eagle nest. As I understand it the last big feed for ND17, Little Bit was last evening at 21:25. Little Bit was quite full. Eagles do not have to eat every day but 17 would benefit from having more regular food. I saw a discussion about the feathers on Little 17s head. Chicks show stress in their feature development if they have not had regular feedings or as much food as they should be having. In addition, siblings can during beaking pull out feathers. For 17 it could be a combination of both. He will be fine when food comes in later – except that the big siblings will also be hungry. Fingers crossed for lots of fish once the storm passes and the waters clear for fishing.

Sean and Lynn have posted the banding and Q & A session for Cal Falcons. There is some really interesting information in there and if you are interested, please do take the time to listen. Make sure to start it back at the beginning.

Mrs G and Aran now have two chicks as of 20:42 at the Glaslyn nest in Wales! This is the 51st chick for Mrs G and the third egg is cracking!!!!!! These three will be very close together. Fantastic. I continue to worry about the third hatches at both Loch of the Lowes and Llyn Clywedog.

Idris and Telyn have two of the cutest little osplets on the planet at their Dyfi nest, also in Wales.

Idris has two fish on the nest for Telyn and the kids. He is eating some of the second fish before departing for security duty.

There are three chicks on the Llyn Clywedog nest of Dylan and Seren. Yesterday, Dylan had been missing and the weather was terrible. A fish finally came to the nest. Everything seems to have been fine since then. Things have dried out. The third chick is quite small. A nice fish was delivered at 20:51.

The chicks at Manton Bay are so big compared to these wee hatchlings. They no longer fit well to be brooded by Maya.

Blue 33 was acting like there were intruders around. He kept looking around with his snake eyes.

I can hardly believe it. The rain and wind are gone. Dorcha has been able to dry out. We should be on hatch watch by the 31st for her and Louis’s chicks.

I am very concerned about the third hatch at Loch of the Lowes. Blue NC0 has a tendency not to feed them if they are not right in her face and beak. The two oldest at Llyn Clywedog are a bit of a handful, too. This was the early morning feeding at Loch of the Lowes. The wee one did not get any food and I haven’t seen it get fed today – I hope I missed it and please tell me if I did.

So the worries are Llyn Clywedog and Loch of the Lowes. A great nest to watch, if you are looking for one with little drama is going to be Idris and Telyn at the Dyfi. They are as steady as you go, just like Blue 33 and Maya at Rutland. Mrs G and Aran are the favourites of many and I personally like Foulshaw Moss with White YW and Blue 35 but I do not like their camera – no rewind!

Take care everyone. It was great to know that Annie was in the scrape with the two eyases – a daughter and a son – five minutes after the banders left! That is fantastic. Thank you so much for being with me today. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages: Cal Falcons, Friends of Loch of the Lowes and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Dyfi Osprey Project, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Friends of Loch Arkaig and the People’s Post Code Lottery, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, and LRWT.

Sunday in Bird World

13 March 2022

Gracious. Andy is sure hauling in the fish. There have been 9 fish deliveries at the Captiva Osprey nest before 14:30!!!!!! Needless to say everyone has eaten well and all chicks are sporting blood feathers, tail feathers, and contour feathers. It is a good day at Captiva. Lena is even looking much refreshed.

It is busy at the West End Nest of Thunder and Akecheta. The newness of parenthood has not worn off Cheta. He is bringing in fish, brooding babies, and being security guard. The third hatch had its first taste of fish juice, saliva, and fish flake at 11:28. There it is in the image below.

Thunder and Cheta with their three babies on a beautiful California morning. This just puts a smile on my face! Beautiful.

Here is a video of the third chick getting its first meal from Thunder and one of the older siblings doing a great poop shot. Its plumbing is definitely working!

There is now going to be no time to rest. The UK Ospreys are arriving and it looks like the first one at a streaming cam is Laddie, LM12, at the Loch of the Lowes nest! So Laddie is here on 13 March. Last year he arrived on the 21st of March. He is eight days earlier than in 2021. Last year Laddie and NC0 raised two beautiful chicks to fledge. NC0 arrived on 25 March last year.

To see the Osprey you need to go to the lettering at the top. Stop at the ‘c’ in camera and looking down. Laddie is sitting in his favourite spot on the very top of the dead Silver Birch tree.

Here is the link to the Loch of the Lowes Osprey Cam:

I was expecting Blue 33 and Maya to be the first to return! That nest looks very empty. I cannot wait til they get back. They are one of my absolute favourites of the UK nests.

There is a new camera at the Loch Garten nest in Scotland. Here is the link:

Loch Garten holds a very special place in the heart of Osprey lovers in the UK. In the 1950s, a pair of Ospreys settled on the nest and began breeding. It was then the very first nest to have a breeding pair after the ospreys were made extinct in the UK. Indeed, the pair returned to the ancient Caledonian forest, part of Abernethy Forest Wildlife Reserve, near Aviemore, in 1959. It was a perfect place for Ospreys. There were lochs, rivers and estuaries full of fish. There is a little paperback that tells the story of the nest and the return of the Ospreys to the UK. It is Lady of the Loch. The Incredible Story of Britain’s Oldest Osprey by Helen Armitage.

There are high hopes for attracting a new breeding pair to the fine new nest that has been erected for them!

Loch Garten” by Lee Carson is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Talk about hoping to have a new breeding pair. The folks at Poole Harbour cannot wait for CJ7 the resident female who did not have a mate and Blue 022, a male who courted her last year, to return and raise chicks on CJ7’s nest. It this happens it will be the first time in 200 years that an Osprey chick has hatched at the site! Incredible.

Turning back to North America, everyone is on pins and needles waiting for Iris, the oldest osprey in the world, to return to her nest at Hellgate Canyon in Missoula, Montana. No one expects Iris to raise chicks. Her mate, Louis, has another nest that he cares for. I have a soft spot for Iris and feel that at 29 years old it is time she enjoyed her summer holiday. Raising chicks is a lot of work and really diminishes the health of the mother who loses approximately 30% of her weight.

Each of the three chicks at the Dale Hollow nest of River and Obey had a good feed around 11:28ish. Even Little Bit. They all stood in line and were very good as River fed them.

The wee one is doing well. The two older siblings are generally well behaved towards it – such a relief.

You can see that the snow is really melting as we see more and more of the edge of the nest. All of the babies are having a nice sleep in the warm sunshine.

I happened to look over at the Captiva nest. Andy just delivered the 10th fish of the day and it is a nice one. Little Bob is really enjoying this fish. Everyone is being civil and the kids are stuffed to their eyeballs…It is 15:48. Look at Little Bob open his mouth wide for delicious fish. Big is not paying him any mind at all. Food security is back in the mind of Big. Yippeeee. And well it should.

little Bob is still up near the table. Big looks like she has eaten so much she is going to get sick.

Little says there is room for more Mum!!!

What a beautiful image. All three chicks so full that they are passing out in food comas and Lena is getting some nice fish to herself. It just puts tears in your eyes. This nest has had a few really rocky days but today is one for the record books.

Every nest is doing really well. That is just wonderful. We can all rest easy tonight. Here is a sweet moment at the nest of Jackie and Shadow. Keep your eyes on the little one.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB Pages where I took my screen captures: Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, Dale Hollow Lake Bald Eagles, Explore.org, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, Loch Garten, Poole Harbour Ospreys, Rutland Wildlife Trust, and West End Bald Eagles.

Tuesday in Bird World

01.03. 2022

I was in great need of a giggle and a smile and Jackie and Shadow provided it. This couple is incredible. Now that pip watch is upon us, Jackie is less and less prone to letting Shadow do any incubation duties. In the short video below, I captured the moment that Jackie returns from her break and wants Shadow to relinquish the nest.

I have re-figured my math (never a strong subject of mine). The first egg was laid on the 22nd of January with the second on the 25th. If we do not count the day the egg was laid, that means that egg 1 is 36 days old today and egg 2 is 33 days. At an elevation of 2058 metres or 6751.9 feet, Big Bear Lake is within the Bear Mountain Ski Resort area.

Because of the elevation of the area, it takes eagle’s eggs longer to hatch than those in nests at much lower sites. It might be, then, that Jackie and Shadow’s eggs will take the full 40 days to start pipping. Each of us and the more than 3000 fans needs to keep up the positive energy for this much loved eagle couple.

News has come that the second Hilton Head Island Trust eaglet of Harriet and Mitch has died. The bodies of both HH3 and HH4 have been sent for a necroscopy. It is believed that both have died from avian flu but this has to be confirmed. Our thoughts go out to Mitch and Harriet and all the people at Hilton Head Island Trust eagles.

The first fish of the morning came in at 08:44 to the Captiva Osprey nest. Lena fed the chicks for nearly an hour. She finished off the skin at 09:44.

Just look at Andy’s long legs or tarsi. These allow him to reach quickly and deep to get his fish. You will notice that the legs of other raptors are not quite as long.

It looks like a different fish than the Sheepshead Andy normally brings to the nest.

Turn around Little Bob!

Little Bob still sports his fuzzy down which is actually unbranched feathers. Alan Poole describes them as being “almost furlike”. Little Bob is changing though. His head is not as soft looking as it was.

Awww. There you are right, Little Bob, up there with that long neck of yours. Dinosaurs. Tomorrow or Thursday you will all look like dinosaurs!!!!!!

These nestlings still cannot regulate their body temperature. It will be another week or 10 days. Until then it is Lena’s job to protect them from the heat of Florida and the rain.

They are, however, quickly entering the period of their fastest growth – between two weeks and a month when they will gain an average of forty grams or .09 lb a day, according to Poole.

From this angle you can clearly see the change in the plumage between one of the older Bobs on the left and Little Bob with its still fuzzy lighter down on the right.

At the Dale Hollow Lake Nest in Tennessee, the third hatch, DH16, is eating along with its twin siblings, DH14 and 15. They are so cute. Here are the fuzzy bobbles everyone loves. Precious.

The nest can only be seen from the water. In May, there is a large group picnic with opportunities to go out and have a view of Obey and River and their eaglets. Check the Dale Hollow Lake website if you are interested.

The second egg has hatched at Duke Farms. Congratulations everyone!

1 March is the first day of meteorological spring. The followers of UK Osprey nests bring out their UK Arrival Sheets and start keeping track of who arrives where and when. The first official sighting of a returning came today from the hide in the Holkham Fresh Marsh in Norfolk. Of the public nests where there are streaming cams, I am hoping for Blue 33 and Maya to get back to Rutland Manton Bay quickly!

Loch of the Lowes is gorgeous. This nest fledged two last year. It is the home of Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0. I adore Blue NC0. She is a great angler and she is not shy about getting a huge fish up on the nest for her chicks if Laddie isn’t delivering food quick enough!

Everyone is hoping that 2022 will be a fabulous year for Aran and Mrs G at Glaslyn. What a serene pastoral setting. Last year their three chicks perished.

There are, of course, many people who fell in love with Ospreys because of this nest, Loch Arkaig. We continue to hope for a miracle to happen and Aila to return after not being seen since August of 2020. That year her and Louis fledged the JJs – they stole our hearts and I personally cannot wait to see if JJ7 will be seen in Scotland this year.

The JJs, July 2021

Last year Louis bonded with another female at a close nest and fledged two beautiful chicks but not with the one he shared with Aila.

There are many, many more Osprey streaming cams in the UK and as the birds arrive I will be posting those. One of my favourites is the nest of White YW and Blue 35 in Cumbria at Foulshaw Moss. It is the home of Tiny Little, a third hatch so wee compared to the two older siblings, no one thought she would survive but, survive she did thanks to the ingenuity and hard work of the parents and her very own cleverness and determination.

The sun is out and there is a hint of blue in the sky today. Yesterday it was -8 and today it is a little colder at -13 C. I had a lovely walk accompanied by seven Black-capped Chickadees, a White Breasted Nuthatch and a Red Squirrel. They all knew I had seeds in my pocket!

They were so cute and it was a nice warm day for them, too.

There is still no sighting of Annie at The Campanile. It is very sad to say goodbye to her. She gave us and the world 13 beautiful chicks in the five years she was at the scrape as Grinnell’s mate. I hope by some miracle she returns and is only away quietly healing from an altercation. Send her your warmest wishes.

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

My sincerest thanks go out to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clip: Glaslyn Bywyd Gwyllt, Friends of Loch of the Lowes and Woodland Trust, Loch Arkaig, People’s Post Code Lottery, Duke Farms, Dale Hollow Eagles, Friends of Big Bear Valley, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife.

Oh, our lovely fish eating birds

I love Ospreys – bet you can tell! Still, the anxiety rises when there are three eggs on a nest that, historically, simply cannot support that many mouths to feed. Right now the Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge in Australia is incubating three eggs. In 2020, a drop in fish deliveries around day 16 of the youngest life meant that food insecurities hit the two older and much bigger siblings. Tapps was a victim of siblicide. Will 2021 be different?

So far the two adults are working like a super machine. Today Dad came in with a fish delivery for mom. She left and he incubated the eggs for a half hour. Have a look at that smooth exchange:

The 2019 female fledgling of the PLO nest has been seen and photographed at Tulka yesterday. Solly, the 2020 fledgling with the satellite tracker still seems to prefer Eba Anchorage but she has spent some crazy time at Streaky Bay again. Solly is 339 days old on 26 August Australian time.

If it has been awhile since you watched an Osprey catch a fish, have a look at this slow-motion video shot in the Scottish Highlands. Incredible. When you are watching this remember that Ospreys and Owls are the only birds whose outer toe is reversible to help them hold on to their prey. It allows them to grasp with two toes in the front. Great design.

The Ospreys that live in Australia along the coasts and the rivers are Eastern Ospreys, Pandion cristatus. Eastern Ospreys do not migrate. Their status ranges from secure to vulnerable and rare in various states of Australia.

Ospreys have a system of communication between one another that individuals, such as yourself, will recognize if you have been watching Osprey nests. There are 11 physical and visual displays that show they are resting, alarming, soliciting for food, in a defensive posture, nest protecting, under attack, or sky dancing to impress their mate. In addition to the body language Ospreys use they also have 8 sounds that they make alongside the physical signs. Those include alarming, food solicitation ranging from a very low sound to an extremely high pitched sound, a sound for guarding, being excited, screaming, and the sound during copulation. These findings were published in 1993 by Vincent Bretagnoll and Jean-Claude Thibault. The article is “Communicative Behavior in Breeding Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus): Description and Relationship of Signals to Life History.” It was published in The Auk, Volume 110, Issue 4, 1 October 1993, Pages 736–751.

The British Library and the Cornell Bird Lab have an extensive library of bird sounds that you can access. Also, just watch the birds intently on their nests in different situations. You will soon be able to recognize their different visual postures. For those working in situations that deal with Ospreys, it is essential that they learn the communication and behavioural signals of these birds. These skills would definitely have helped those reviewing Malin’s flight off the nest and, in the future, could save a bird’s life.

Blue 33 (11) has delivered Maya a nice fish for breakfast. So Maya is still here. It doesn’t mean she won’t eat and fly! We just need to wait and see.

Either White YW left Tiny Little an early fish or the silvery white object is a leftover piece of fish from last night’s late feed. Is Tiny home to eat it? and will she be in Cumbria all day?

Ooops. Looks like Tiny Little is too late!!!!!!!! Mr Crow has found a nice breakfast. Does this mean Tiny Little has started her first migration?

UPDATE: Tiny Little is still here. I didn’t get the photograph but someone else did. Yippee. Will try and chase her down today.

It is another misty morning. Aran is on his perch almost in the exact same position as he was yesterday morning.

And here is Aran with Mrs G. She remains in the UK still.

At the Dyfi nest, Telyn was last seen on 21 August at 12pm while Ystwyth was last seen on 24 August at 09:26. Dysynni and Idris were both at the nest on 25 August. Idris brought Dysynni a whopper.

Yesterday, Laddie, LM12, delivered a fish to LR2 on the nest. LR2 was 97 days old.

After a pesky crow flew around the nest, LM2 decided it was safer to take that whopper over to his favourite Birch tree to eat it. Wow, Laddie, great fish!

LR1 left for her migration on 15 August. This was only the second time in the history of this nest that a fledgling has left before the female.

Oh, it is lovely to see some of them still home. Thank you, Tiny Little! News in other news is there are now three eggs for the Collins Street Falcons! That last egg arrived at 23:53 last night. Congratulations. And last, if you follow the Loch of the Lowes Nest a wonderful surprise. A 2015 fledgling, FR2, flew over Guardbridge in Fife yesterday. They got a photo. Fantastic. A survivor! There is sad news today. The Black Stork fledglings received their names yesterday. 7181 (no 1) was named Julge meaning Brave. 7181 (no 2) was named Malbe meaning Sedate. 7183 (no 3) was named Tasane meaning Peaceful. You might have recalled some animal sounds being heard at the base of the nest tree. It is now confirmed, so sadly, that Malbe has been killed by an animal. Urmas has taken the body of Malbe to be examined. Word has also come that Tuul, Karl’s fledgling, has also perished. The Black Storks are so rare – it is so sad to hear of these deaths. Our hearts go out to all who loved these beautiful families and to those who so diligently worked to make sure Jan’s nestlings were fed and healthy to fledge. There has been some problems with the tracking and posting of Karl II and his fledglings locations. I will bring this to you as I locate it. Did you follow Milda? You will know that this brave White Tailed Eagle from Durbe lost her mate and sat on her eggs for eight days without food and then a potential mate came. But last year turned to be a sad year for Milda. She is now working on the nest with her new mate, Mr K. So happy for her. There is word that WBSE 28 did, finally, get some food. Send your warm and positive wishes off to all of the birds.

Correction to earlier news letter. Karl II has only had a transmitter for two years. I said ‘many’. Thank you!

Have a wonderful day everyone. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and The Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Osprey Project, The Scottish Woodland Trust and the Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, LWRT and the Manton Bay Osprey Nest, the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and FB Page.

Late Saturday and early Sunday 17-18 July in Bird World

If you have watched Kindness, the Bald Eagle nestling at Glacier Gardens, then you might have caught her nipping at her mum’s beak. It looks like she is trying to kiss mum. A couple of days ago a video was made showing Kindness interacting with her mum. My goodness, Kindness, you are lucky your mum is so patient! Have a look.

At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, it looks like the final touches have gone on the nest renovations. The egg cup is now lined with very soft pieces of bark. Mom decides to try it out!

Dad flies in with something else on his mind! No eggs yet but mating is taking place. Season will begin soon!

As we approach fledging at all of the Northern Hemisphere Osprey nests and migration in a month to six weeks, if you fear Osprey withdrawal, here is the link to this nest. Just a warning. This nest has had instances of siblicide in the past.

The Port Lincoln’s eldest chick from the 2020 season, a female named Solly, was fitted with a satellite tracker. Solly is 301 days old and she is still hanging out at Eba Anchorage and Kiffin Island. It sure seems that Solly has found her forever home at Eba Anchorage. For those of you unfamiliar, the movements of Solly changed what everyone understood about Ospreys in Australia. It was believed that ospreys stayed near to where their natal nest was located. Solly travelled over 200 km to Eba Anchorage and Perlubie giving the researchers fresh insights to the behaviour of these ospreys.

To my knowledge there has been no sighting of DEW, her younger brother. He did not receive a tracker but he did get a metal ring and a Darvic colour band.

Suzanne Arnold Horning was on the Cornell Campus again this evening. How lucky she was to get some great images of Big Red with a squirrel down on the ground – and it wasn’t raining. (Send the rain to the Canadian Prairies when you get tired of it, Suzanne!).

It was wonderful to see Big Red with prey that she was going to eat herself. She needs to build up her strength after laying eggs, incubating those eggs, and feeding and caring for the three Ks until fledge. Even now she is doing some prey drops and is busy training the Ks to hunt.

Big Red with Squirrel. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

The Robins were giving Big Red a lot of grief. Could it be because Arthur has been up at their nest eating their babies? Or the fact that K1 caught a bird today and it was rumoured to be a young Robin?

Robins being rather assertive around Big Red. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

Big Red and her squirrel also attracted another visitor – a Turkey Vulture!

Would you mind sharing asks the Turkey Vulture. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

The pair also attracted a human who was said to have tried to interfere with the situation. Both of the birds were fine. Big Red was eating and the Turkey Vulture appeared to be waiting to see if she left anything.

One of the things that I have learned is that hunting is difficult and prey is not abundant always. Raptors can wait for hours, half a day, or even a day to catch prey to eat. It is estimated that only 1 out of 3 juveniles live to the age of two years – mostly due to starvation. Humans should not interfere when a raptor is eating. As a result of the human intrusion, Big Red chose to fly away from the human who was interfering. This also caused her to leave part of her meal. The vulture did eat the rest – so in the end everyone ate- but it was a situation that should never have happened. Remember if you see a hawk hunting or eating, please leave them alone. Finding their meal is not that easy.

Turkey Vulture at Cornell. @Suzanne Arnold Horning

The scientific name for the Turkey Vulture – Carthartes Aura – means ‘cleansing breeze’. They are scavengers, eating mainly carrion. They have dark espresso coloured feathers, red legs and head, with a white beak. Like the condor, there are no feathers on their head. This is a great evolutionary trait so that pieces of the dead do not stick to them causing disease or parasites. The Turkey Vulture’s sense of smell is so great that they can find a fresh killed animal a mile away! The only raptors larger than the Turkey Vultures are the Eagles and the Condors. What I find interesting is that they are the only raptor that cannot kill their own prey. They simply do not have the right talons to do this – their feet are more like that of a chicken. That said they can tear through really tough hides with their beak. In other words, the Turkey Vulture was never a threat to Big Red.

As I prepare to settle in for the night, Tiny Little is waking up. The early morning fog over the marsh is just starting to clear. You can see the parents, or siblings, or both back on the parent tree. Tiny Little is still sleeping like a duckling on the nest. Good Morning Tiny Little! Let’s get that gear box into forward today.

Tiny Little is also checking the nest for any little tidbits of leftover fish. And just like Tiny Tot he has found some lurking under those sticks.

Tiny Little was doing some prey calling and looking up in the sky. The morning fog doesn’t seem to be clearing. What a beautiful colour it is – that sort of golden pink gradually fading into the grey-blue-green. Lovely.

Update: Tiny Little had a huge breakfast. It is now mid-afternoon and Blue 462 is working on a fish that arrived. 464 is standing next to that fish and Tiny Little, 463, is ignoring it right now. She is probably still full enough from the morning not to bother. Unclear if Tiny Little has taken a second flight today. I stayed up waiting! But had to give in to being tired.

This is the image of the afternoon line up for a fish! 462 is eating, 464 is pretending to be Tiny Little and bugging his big sibling. Tiny Little is over at the side duckling style. Tiny Little is full from breakfast and knows that Mum will come to the rescue later if she gets hungry.

There is a beautiful peachy almost coral sky as the morning begins at the Poole Harbour Osprey nest. CJ7 and Blue 022 are roosting elsewhere.

Golden diamonds are falling on the nest of Blue 33 and Maya at Rutland Manton Bay. No one is home. They are all perched elsewhere. Blue 33 does make food drops at the nest for the two Bobs.

A little later, Blue 095 flies into the nest and settles down and then flies out again.

Blue 095

Oh, wow. Just look at that sun coming up over the Dyfi nest of Idris and Telyn in Wales. It is so bright you cannot see the perch!

A very short video of Ystwyth fledging at 7:59 am on 17 July is here:

It is serene up at The Loch of the Lowes. No one is home but it sounds like there is a fledgling on the camera perch.

What you don’t see here is that later, NC0 is on the nest, spots a fish, goes out and gets it, and gives it to LM2.

Early Morning at Loch of the Lowes. 18 July 2021

The only thing you can hear at Glaslyn are either bees or wasps on the microphone! Oh, it is so beautiful and green. It has been hot at this nest, 26-29 degrees C – and the birds are staying cool in the shade of the trees. Even with the heat the landscape looks so lush. What a gorgeous way to begin the day.

Early morning at Glaslyn. 18 July 2021

Thank you so much for joining me today. I so enjoy hearing from all of you. Stay safe! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Byrwd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Poole Harbour Osprey Project, LRWT and the Manton Bay Ospreys. I would also like to thank the Port Lincoln Osprey Research Project and the PLO FB page where I took a screen shot of Solly’s recent tracking. And last but never least, I would like to say a huge thank you to Suzanne Arnold Horning for allowing me to use her images on my blog. She holds the copyright on them so please do not use elsewhere. Thank you.

So you want to read about Ospreys!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Checking on ‘the Bobs’

There is actually something refreshing happening in the United Kingdom. All of the Osprey hatches are called ‘Bob’. The term references the fact that after hatch they are all ‘bobble’ heads. There are Little Bobs and Big Bobs and sometimes Middle Bobs and there are also Only Bobs. Strangely, unlike some of the North American sites, there doesn’t seem much discussion about whether they are male or female – or maybe I have just missed that. When the chicks are banded, information is usually given out on their gender. At the same time, blood tests may be taken to formally determine the gender and to put their identification into a DNA data base. When the blood tests have not happened there have been, on occasion, a few surprises – a particularly large Bob thought to be a female might return from migration and be found to be a male. But, generally, they seem to get the gender right with the weight and measurements.

There has been a lot of worry about Little Bob at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest of White YW and Blue 35. For a day or two I was even afraid to look. The Cumbria Wildlife Trust does not have a replay feature so when you are watching it is live. Sometimes the chicks are eating and sometimes they are sleeping. I was very lucky this morning and arrived there on time for a feeding – and it was marvellous. One of those feel good moments of a humid Friday! There were the three of them all lined up behaving themselves. Little Bob was getting most of the bites and then I realized I could film it for you. He is still getting some in the video but, prior to this he was getting more. The still image below captures one of those moments. The little one is beginning to get full in the video. That is a wonderful sight to see. Tears. This little one is another like Tiny Tot. Oh, send all the warm positive wishes you can!

Blue 35 is an excellent mother and she really seems to have this feeding under control today.

I want to thank the Cumbria Wildlife Trust from whose livestream I took this clip and the screen shot. Check out their live camera here:

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/cams/osprey-cam

The ‘Only’ Bob and Blue 5F Seren got really excited when they saw Dylan arriving with a whopper of a Rainbow Trout. Look – he hadn’t even eaten the head off! Incredible. I love the expression on Only Bobs face with his mouth wide open. Only Bob looks like he is saying, “Wow, Dad!” I bet Seren can already taste it.

Those dads often look like they could surf or ride skateboards really well.

“Only Bob, don’t you think you could have just one more bite!” I wonder what the size of that crop is after eating most of a trout? Only Bob just seemed to fall down in a face plaster. There are clearly some advantages to being an Only Bob and not living in a nest with Three Bobs.

I want to thank the Carnyx Wild Wildlife on the Web and Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymruy whose livestream I took these screen shots. Check out their live camera here:

The Two Bobs up at the Dyfi Nest of Idris and Telyn were also enjoying a great big fish that dad had brought in. It seems like the weather and the wind are really working in favour of the fishing today.

One Bob is already fool and in a food coma.

Well, I had no more than turned around and Idris had another fish on the nest for Telyn and the Two Bobs. Is there some kind of fishing competition going on today between these male Ospreys? That is a really good looking fish, Idris!

You might recall that there was a mesh bag on the nest one day and then a bin liner. Telyn removed the bin liner – and I am not sure which adult removed the mesh bag. It is a really good lesson for humans to dispose of their litter carefully. You never know where it is going to wind up – in the rivers, wrapped around the little talons of the chicks, or stuck onto an adult.

I want to thank the Dyfi Osprey Project from where I took my screen shots. You can watch Idris and Telyn live here:

The condensation on the camera at the LRWT Manton Bay Osprey Nest doesn’t really let you see the Two Bobs of Maya and Blue 33 (11) very well. Blue 33 (11) is one of our super stars when it comes to bringing in fish for Maya and the chicks. These Two Bobs are growing and growing. It is fantastic to see them. I hope those of you that read my blog on a regular basis enjoyed that short BBC One show on Rutland with the film of Blue 33 (11) diving for that fish – and being successful first try. Amazing.

Thank you to the LRWT Rutland Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took this image. You can check out all the action of Maya and Blue 33 (11) and the Two Bobs here:

And last, but never least, is the Osprey Nest up at the Loch of the Lowes in Scotland with Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0. Their Two Bobs are doing remarkable well. I worried so much about Little Bob and NC0 not being able to handle two chicks – and then sometimes Laddie was only bringing in appetizer size fish – but things have turned around there and these two look excellent.

It is so nice to see them leaving that Reptilian Phase and getting their juvenile beautifully curved feathers. Older Bob on the left really has a lot of peach coming in. You can see that Little Bob is a bit behind but he seems to be catching up.

What a beautiful setting. It looks like Laddie has been filling up the nest with moss. Maybe he didn’t know there is a Friday fishing competition!

Thank you to the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Friends of the Loch of the Lowes for their streaming cam where I grabbed my screen shots. You can watch all the antics of Laddie and NC0 and the Two Bobs here:

They are all doing well. Aran continues to improve at the Glaslyn Nest and the community continues to care for him and Mrs G. Everyone hopes that he is completely healed from his wing injury before migration in September. Today was especially heartwarming for me to see Little Bob on the Foulshaw Moss Nest getting fed right up with the other Two Bobs. He is so very tiny and the oldest Bob has been especially cruel at times. This was just a warm fuzzy day at that nest. Let us hope it continues.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope your Friday and the weekend is as good as it has been for these Osprey families today. Take all good care. See you soon!

Loch Arkaig Ospreys

What can I say? Spring is in the air everywhere and the folks in the United Kingdom are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their beloved Ospreys. There are now sightings for some of the nests and, we are, like them, getting ready for World Osprey Week. Today, the focus is on Loch Arkaig.

The staff at Loch Arkaig were shocked – pleasantly so – when the numbers of viewers of their streaming cam jumped from 60,000 to 400,000. Can you imagine? Many of the viewers during the pandemic were first time visitors to streaming cams. It is delightful because so many who began watching in the spring of 2020 now realize how much they enjoy the birds and how precarious their lives are. The people advocating for safety measures and donating to streaming cams has increased significantly. Many fell in love with the Scottish wilderness and the beautiful Osprey. Loch Arkaig is located in one of the only remaining Caledonian pine forest. These trees are part of the very first pine trees to be brought into Scotland during the Late Glacial period, about 7000 BCE.

Despite the fact that the Loch appears to be far away from Glasgow, it isn’t. If you travel to Scotland and like hiking, this area is a place not to miss. There are no less than twenty different trails near Loch Arkaig ranging from an easy walk of 9.5 km or 6 miles to a very hard walk of 224 km or nearly 15 miles. There are moors and there are hills, some of the highest in the area. And if you are a Harry Potter fan, you can catch the Harry Potter train at Fort William.

“LOCH ARKAIG: Forest road above the loch (5/16 an038)” by Ted and Jen is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“File:Beinn Bhan from Loch Arkaig woods.JPG” by Mick Knapton is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

As elsewhere, the Scottish Osprey disappeared during the twentieth century. In Scotland, the game keepers of the large estates killed the Osprey because they believed they were a threat to the wildlife on the grounds. The other major destruction came from egg collectors. Breeding pairs were seen before World War II at Loch Garten but it was not until 1954 when a pair of Scandinavian Ospreys arrived at the Loch that the modern era of Ospreys began in Scotland. In 2011, there were 202 known pairs and a decade later, there are more than 300 breeding pairs. Today, the Osprey is a Scottish icon.

In the United Kingdom, the ospreys grow to about 55-62 cm or 21 to 24 inches in length. Their wings span ranges from 145-180 cm or 57 to 71 inches. Their heads are white with the tell tale brown band running from the gorgeous yellow eyes. The breast of the female has a darker apron than the males with beautiful brown plumage on the backs and wings. They weigh 1.2-2 kg or 2.6 or 4.4 lbs. They have Reverse sex-size diamorphism meaning that the female is larger than the male.

The Scottish Ospreys are a migratory species. They return to Scotland in late March (or early April) where they will stay til September raising their young before returning to Senegal or The Gambia for the winter. The clutch has an average of three eggs which are incubated for five weeks (35 days). The female does most of the incubation and brooding while the male provides the food and security. The Osplets will fledge between 51-56 days. About 21 days after the young fledge, the female leaves the nest for Africa. The male remains feeding any chicks for another 7-14 days. Then the male leaves for Africa. The juveniles also go to Senegal or The Gambia although some have been noted to remain on the southern coast of Spain and Portugal. The juveniles will not return to Scotland until they are two years old. To avoid interbreeding, the males tend to return to their natal nest area while the females go elsewhere.

The return of the Osprey is being celebrated during World Albatross Week from 22-26 March – the return of the Osprey to Wales, England, and Scotland! It is a joyous time with birders tracking the bands from the south of England and posting the notices on various FB pages. Indeed, it appears that the Ospreys in Scotland could be arriving back early. The bands on the Perth and Kinross Osprey were seen at Glen Shee flying west today, 21 March 2021 at 15:54. Wow!

Last year I marvelled at Louis and Aila at the Loch Arkaig Osprey nest. Louis first appeared in 2017 and was later joined by Aila. Their first Osplet was named Lachlan by the public and hatched in 2017. They lost their clutch in 2018 to Pine Martens (many sites are putting up protections for the Osprey from the Pine Martens) but fledged two in 2019, Mallie and Rannoch. And in 2020, nearly half a million people watched Doddie, Vera, and little Captain. To aid in identification, Scottish Osprey have a blue/white Darvic ring (blue band, 3 white letters/numbers) on their left leg and a metal British Ornithological band on their right. This is reversed for Welsh and English Ospreys. In Scotland they are called tags and in North American, they are called bands.

The unique letter and number code for Loch Arkaig Ospreys is:

JH4 – Lachlan, male, fledged in 2017
JJ0 – Mallie, female, fledged in 2019
JJ2 – Rannoch, female, fledged in 2019
JJ6 – Doddie, male, fledged in 2020
JJ8 – Vera, female, fledged in 2020
JJ7 – Captain, male, fledged in 2020

The family keeps Louis busy fishing. Loch Arkaig is 19 km or 12 miles long. Louis has brought in both fresh and salt water fish meaning that he also fishes at sea. That is apparently a little farther distance than if the fished at the very far end of Loch Arkaig. The favourite fish on the nest appear to be Brown Trout and Salmon.

In 2020, Louis brought in 553 fish. Ailia fished and brought 26 to the nest late in the breeding season. Breaking this down, information from the Loch shows that of those 579 fish there were 459 trout, 64 flat fish, 34 mackerel, 11 sea trout and grilse, 7 Arctic Char and 4 pike. Impressive.

Here is a video of the highlights from the 2020 season:

And another. Enjoy!

None of the offspring of Louis and Aila have been spotted except when Doddie stopped in at Somerset on his first migration in the fall of 2020. The journey of more than 6400 km to migrate is treacherous. They get in storms, the winds, they can be shot, there was Avian Pox in Senegal in 2021, there are droughts, water shortage, and they can simply starve to death being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The little ones are young when they leave the nest. They have a long way to travel and find food and manage on their own without their parents or siblings there to help. Let us hope that some of them are spotted this year. That would be grand. It is heartbreaking to watch them hatch, grow, and fledge and never hear another word. It is one reason I am very grateful that some of these birds have satellite trackers like Solly from the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. (The Australian Osprey do not have to migrate but the young ones still have a daunting time surviving to adulthood).

I have to admit that the Osprey have become one of my favourite birds to watch. While I am counting down to World Osprey Week in the United Kingdom, I will also be looking forward to the arrival of the Osprey in Manitoba. More on that in the late spring.

Thank you for joining me today.

Cover photo credit: “Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)” by Allan Hopkins is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0