Ervie, ‘the main man’

I cannot possibly tell you what joy – sheer joy – the Port Lincoln Osprey nest has brought to me this year. There is a huge lesson in that statement. The biggest one is: Do not let something that happened on a bird nest in a previous breeding season deter you from returning to that nest. There are so many different factors that impact a season from the time the eggs are laid to the chicks fledging.

These factors can be as simple as the weather – and we all know that weather is not simple. Chicks can die on a nest from cold damp or extreme heat. They can also thrive, of course. A parent might be injured or die. This year Aran, the male at the Glaslyn Nest in Wales, was injured in a territorial battle and could not provide fish for his family. At the same time, the Glaslyn Valley was hit by a bitter wet storm that lasted days on end. The three chicks of Aran and Mrs G perished. Aran and Mrs G survived through the generous donations of fish on a feeding table. Some eggs are thin and break easily due to lingering DDT in the area even after it has been banned for 50 years. Food supplies can shift. Predators. The list is long including the gender of the siblings on the nest and the number of days between hatches.

I disliked Solly so much last year after Tapps died of starvation that – well, it was hard for me to return to the Port Lincoln nest. The history of the nest told me that the likelihood for another siblicide event was acute. Many of you felt the same. My need to witness and try to understand the survival of third hatches, ultimately, compelled me to return to the PLO barge.

What then are the adjectives to describe the 2021-22 Osprey breeding season at the Port Lincoln barge? Beautiful. Serene. Delightful. Joyous. Come on, you can help me! It certainly was enlightening and instructive. It will also be unforgettable for all the right reasons.

It is possible to do a full scale analysis of weather, wind, fish deliveries, etc. Port Lincoln keeps all of the information on a myriad of events on the nest and everything could be fed into a computer. A really quick glance of fish deliveries tells me that this year is pretty comparable to last year. Certainly Mum and Dad didn’t change their behaviour. Is it possible then that it comes down to the time between hatches and the gender of the nestlings? Does it have anything to do with how the third hatch presents itself to the oldest? I don’t yet know the answer to those questions but, I am hoping to have more insights after another decade for collecting data. For now, I just want to celebrate the achievement of this nest. Three fledges! A first for them. Well done.

Let’s go back in time – almost four months ago. This video clip is a feeding from 16 September.

This feeding is 6 November, not quite two months later.

This year, on the Port Lincoln Barge, Ervie is the ‘main man’. Hatched 51 hours after Bazza, the oldest, Ervie did not have the challenges that many third hatches have. He was not that smaller than Bazza after several days of eating. We still worried because Bazza was picking on Ervie. Ervie, however, didn’t take it. He refused to be submissive or lose his place at Mum’s beak. Indeed, he insisted that he was the first fed!!!!!! Talk about an attitude. I openly admit to adoring this bird for his spunk, his confidence, and determination. Yes, I really do believe that there are some birds that are more confident than others – just like humans.

When it came time to measure, band, and put a satellite pack on the back of one of the three, everyone believed that it would go to a male bird so that the data could be compared to that provided by Solly’s tracking. Did they think there were three males on the nest? I wonder. Someone must have decided then that if all three were male, the biggest would get the tracker. That morning Ervie weighed the most. Ervie, who came from third to be the dominant bird on the nest, got the sat-pak. It really was an inspired choice.

A few days ago we worried because Ervie spent the night and the next day on the nest with his head held down. Granted it was very windy and having noticed the others doing this, that behaviour was not worrisome. But Ervie – all night and day on the nest??!! I have now joked about there being a kind of rota chart for nest time.

For a couple of days after Ervie spent all that time on the nest we didn’t really see him much. He flew in around 13:00 yesterday and, typically, with his arrival, chaos ensued. Ervie enjoyed the last fish of the day before spending the night sleeping on the nest.

When Ervie woke up in the morning, Dad delivered the breakfast fish – and because Ervie was on the nest, he got it. It was 07:02. Falky would have liked it but he stayed on the ropes.

Ervie also got the 09:36:52 fish delivery from Dad. This time Falky was again on the ropes but this time, Falky flew to the nest to try and get the fish. He failed. This means that Ervie had the last three fish deliveries!

At 11:00 both Ervie and Falky are on the nest. Falky finds a fish tail left from Ervie. He grabs it and flies over to the ropes to have a snack.

At 11:12:56 Falky flies over to the nest to join Ervie. Falky probably wants to see if Ervie left any more tasty tidbits.

The arrival of Falky on the nest does not sit right with Ervie and there is a dust up.

Ervie decides he has had enough and leaves. After all, he has had 3 of the last 3 fish deliveries.

Falky gets the 12:45 fish delivery from Dad.

Falky is on the left and he has relieved Dad of the fish. Dad is on the right. You can see that the fledglings are as large as their parents.

Two hours later, Falky remains on the nest. I wonder if this is his reservation day??? We wait to see.

Will Falky occupy the nest and get the next three or four deliveries? Will he spend the night on the nest? We have to wait and see.

I hope that each of you really learned a lot from this Osprey nest and that all of you will tell a friend to watch with you next year.

The Fosters do a great job with The Port Lincoln Osprey Project. They have successfully advocated for satellite trackers for the birds and we have learned much from Solly’s travels. Now we have the opportunity to learn from Ervie. The Fosters also advocate for safety measures for the birds including covers for the hydro poles. Hopefully they will post how that is going on their FB page. I am very grateful to them for this streaming cam and for their FB page. That is where I took today’s screen captures and video clips.

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

Thursday in Bird World

It is still super cold on the Canadian Prairies. You don’t even have to look at the temperature on the phone when you hear a super loud crunch when you walk on the snow. It is so dry, the snow, that you cannot even pack it into a snowball or a snowwo/man. The European Starlings were waiting for the first food drop, all lined up on the tips of the Lilac Bush branches. Surprisingly, the Sparrows beat them out. Four sparrows to one Starling. They will all eat but, most of the time, the Sparrows get shut out. The other day Little Woodpecker was here. He just stays away from all of them. Which reminds me – I need to go and fix his suet!

Looking back on the history of the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, I realize that we probably have another month with the three lads. Last year DEW was last seen on 17:01 25 January. He was never sighted again after that time. Solly departed and flew West on 2 February. We know from her tracker that Solly thrived until that tragic day this fall when, after catching a fish, she landed on a power pole and died. I know that Port Lincoln has lobbied hard to get those poles covered and I understand that the power company is cooperating. For those who wrote letters to the Minister, thank you. Public pressure can help.

Ervie had advanced from flying to the fishing ramps to hanging around the commercial shipping yards over at the Marina!

That is Ervie on his perch. You can see that is crop is full.

Ervie and Falky on the nest hoping to get a fish from Dad.

The nest of White-tail Eagle, Milda, at Durbe has been covered with snow. Still, nest visits have taken place. Just look at the forest and the view. So beautiful. This nest will not become active until spring when I will be reporting daily on the happenings. Looking the White-tail Eagles raising chicks and the return of the Black storks.

Kindness’s nest is all covered in snow up at Glacier Gardens in Juneau, Alaska.

If you are wondering what Kindness might be doing, please have a look at this 2 minute video. It is a bit dated in the sound but the information is correct to the present time. The images of the eagles flying and eating are gorgeous. The video ends abruptly. I would have loved to hear about the two clans but, another time! There are so many Eagles in Alaska. They sometimes take over small trucks delivering fish to the canneries.

The Roe Deer feeder is in Latvia. Yesterday, for the first time, they caught a female deer cow and her calf coming to eat. You can see them arriving on the right to try and get some food. The males are the ones with the antlers and from my reading it can be dangerous. The mother and her baby will wait after being escorted by the leader of the bucks and return.

You can see the little one eating here. There is a hierarchy in all of the groups. This is, of course, why our birds try so hard to be dominant and why Ervie, once he established himself, expected to get the first fish of the morning. E19 and E20 are going through this process currently.

Andy and Lena were both alert and alerting at the Captiva Osprey Nest this morning.

Of course their eyes are so good. All I could hear were people below. I wonder if that is the issue? They sure have a beautiful site for a nest! Hopefully it will be a successful season for this lovely pair who continue to try and continually have the Crows steal their eggs.

You can watch Andy and Lena here:

Harriet and M15 are being kept busy by E19 and 20. You can hear the little ones chirping away to Mum and Dad.

The pair got started on all the beaking as soon as Harriet got up to feed them. Oh, my.

There are over 4000 people watching these two at any one time and a myriad of videos coming up on YouTube. You won’t be able to miss them!

Everything is just fine in Bird World. The eggs at Taiaroa Head have been candled and OGK and YRK’s egg is developing normally. We are a month away from hatch. Gabby and Samson are taking turns up at NEFlorida and you will see me getting pretty excited in a couple of weeks. Thankfully, Daisy has not yet returned to the WBSE nest that I am aware. The latest news was awhile ago on WBSE27 who is currently in rehabilitation. The two chicks at Hilton Head are doing great. My copy of The Season of the Osprey arrived in the post this morning. That is on the agenda for today. It is far too cold to be outside for very long.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Stay warm, stay safe and take care until I see you again.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Glacier Gardens, Roe Deer Feeder in Latvia, SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett Family, Port Lincoln Osprey, Captiva Osprey Cam, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

Friday and Australian Raptors

The FB of the Orange Australian Peregrine Falcons posted an interesting article with the vocalizations of Peregrine Falcons. Want to understand what those falcons are doing or saying?

When Victor Hurley did his Q & A session about the Melbourne Collins Street Falcons, he mentioned a book. That volume, Australian Birds of Prey by Penny Olsen is one of the most informative and beautiful books. Published in 1995 most of the information remains relevant today. The statistics on how many birds exist will change but the information on all of the falcons, size, ID, brooding, etc remain the same. One of the things I love about it are the drawings of the raptors.

Note: Do not be fooled by books of a similar name. Check and make sure it is Penny Olsen 1995.

Images from old print collections. In this instance it is the Wedge-tailed Eagle, the largest raptor in Australia, in a hand coloured drawing from the early 19th century.

The stories of how these early drawings came to be made just wrenches your heart especially when foreigners to Australia would injure the birds and hope to take them back to England. This bird managed with a wound to claw its way through a rope and escape, thankfully. Our ideas of the rights of animals are changing but we still have much much more to do!

The image below is of a Hobby. Olsen comments that young raptors spend much more time lying down than they do standing. The photographer has caught this small falcon resting. What a lovely capture!

The Hobby is also known as ‘The Little Falcon’ or the ‘Little Duck Hawk.’ It is a member of the Falconidae family of diurnal, day time hunting, raptors.

One of the things that I like about the book are the tables that compare the various raptors in Australia to one another and the topics that cover everything from ecology (habitat, dispersion, , mortality), predators, reproduction, health, raptors and humans as well as conservation.

This is an impressive book and if you can get your hands on a copy – there are no reprints – it is, as Victor Hurley says, ‘essential for a library’.

Continuing on with the raptors from Australia, Cilla Kinross posted a video of a bonding session between Xavier and Diamond. Listen for the vocalizations (after you read and listen to the first article today).

There is no current update on Yurruga. He was seen day before yesterday on a roof. It rained hard and steady yesterday and Orange and I imagine our wee fledgling was hunkered down somewhere wanting to stay dry. Not good to try and hone your flying skills in a down pour!

I have not seen any updates or sightings of the 367 Collins Street fledglings. If something comes up I will let you know! It is still bittersweet looking at the four of them and the wee male not making it. But, on the brighter side, we could have lost all of the eyases this year. “Be thankful for what we have and don’t wish for what we don’t” was a common mantra of my grandmother.

The season in Australia is winding down as our lads on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge continue to get stronger and stronger and will become more independent and learn how to fish soon. It is wonderful that we will be able to follow Ervie on his adventures with his sat-pak. Let’s see if PLO has posted anything today!

This is the last posting when Ervie flew over land on 23 November. To the surprise of many, Solly also flew over land and into the interior a bit which will go a long ways to informing the power companies where they need to put those protectors on the hydro poles.

All three are sleeping adult style, standing up with their head tucked under a wing.

As to the situation with Annie and Grinnell and the interloper, the interloper male flew in to the Campanile and was greeted by Annie. UC Falcons have not seen Grinnell and Annie together as yet. Challenges and conflict over territory could happen. Fingers crossed.

As things go quiet in Australia, I will begin to list some of the Bald Eagle and Osprey nests in North America that you can watch. If you have a favourite, let me know and tell me why you like it so I can pass that along to others. Thank you!

Thank you for joining me today. Stay safe. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Orange, Australian Peregrine Falcons, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Oh, Bazza

Bazza, the first hatch at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, is the last nestling to fledge. OK. He hasn’t fledged yet but you might have been fooled at 06:15 this morning when you saw an empty nest. Bazza was doing amazing hovering. Maybe this will be his day to fly! Wouldn’t that be grand? Bazza could begin to explore the cove with his brothers, Ervie and Falkey.

He really seems to want to be out there enjoying all the fun! But to put all of this into perspective, Ervie fledged early at 60 days. Bazza is 65 days old and Solly fledged last year at 65 days. DEW did not fledge til 73 days. Ervie just got us all excited! And then of course, Falkey followed suit rather quickly, too. But if Bazza does fledge today it will be right in line with Solly.

Yurruga, the nestling Peregrine Falcon in the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia, is waiting for her breakfast. She is looking a little ‘ragged’ this morning. Almost all of the baby down is off!

Grinnell, the resident male Peregrine Falcon, at the Campanile on UC-Berkley’s campus, was released one hour ago in his territory. He has been in the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital and in ‘home care’ since he was injured in a territorial take over bid on 29 October. That is the latest news that I have. The cameras are being rotated a bit to try and get a glimpse of what will ultimately happen when Grinnell tries to land on the Campanile and take his place beside Annie. Will he succeed? Will the interloper? Here is a link to one of the cams:

It is nothing short of a blustery winter day on the Canadian prairies. Snow is blowing everywhere, some more flakes are falling, and the temperature is warm enough to be causing ice. It was a bit worrisome when I stopped at the pond and found a few ducks in a small open space of water.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves. No one seemed to have feather or wing issues but that open water is closing in fast.

There they are from a distance. It will give you some perspective on the size of the little pond.

I was surprised to see a few standing on the ice. Ducks – at least here – tend not to like to get their paddles cold.

My garden has been ‘very loud’ all day with about 200 or more House Sparrows all clamouring for food – which is in abundance. This little fellow was all puffed up to stay warm.

There was one lone Black-Capped Chickadee eating something in the Flame Willow. Like the sparrows, the chickadees are year round visitors to the feeders.

The two books from Roy Dennis Wildlife – Mistletoe Winter and Cottongrass Summer – arrived today. I have just finished Chris Packham and Meg McCubbin’s book and Isabella Tree’s on wilding to help restore the environment. It will be interesting to see what Dennis says in his latest book, Mistletoe Winter. Now for a nice cup of hot tea to go with it.

Send out positive wishes to Grinnell and all our feathered friends.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone and be safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Diamond is so patient

Little Yurruga has really been shaking it up – or should I say ‘off’? Those fluffy white down feathers, so soft and so cute when she was younger, must be driving her crazy. Underneath what is left is going to be a lovely bird, just like her Mum, Diamond.

There is no doubt that Yurruga can be loud and she certainly almost claims those eggs as her own in the video above. She can also persuade the parents to go to the ledge or leave entirely. But, Yurruga feels like a much gentler soul than Izzi. Diamond is simply a patient observant Mum and after a bit, Yurruga stops with the prey calling when she sees that nothing is coming. Rather nice.

A few minutes later, Yurruga was running around with a Starling beak. What a character!

There have been several fish deliveries at Port Lincoln. Ervie got the first fish and left a little for the brothers. That came in at 6:50:24. There was another delivery at 12:11 and another at 14:25:11. I could not tell who got the last fish but, Bazza picked up the noon delivery. Maybe Falky got the last one. Ervie didn’t. They are all getting fish to eat and no one is hungry despite the scramble for the latest delivery.

Port Lincoln posted Ervie’s flight path yesterday. He is definitely exploring around the barge.

Falky continues his flying and landing exercises and Port Lincoln adds that Bazza seems to figure if he stays on the nest, he has the best chance of getting a fish! One of the chatters wondered if he was too ‘heavy’ for lift off. Bazza will fly when Bazza is ready. We don’t need to urge him on. I am certain Ervie and Falky are very capable of doing that.

I am continuing to read and enjoy Emry Evans Monty more and more. I am on my second reading of parts of this marvellous book. While it is about the foundational male of Welsh Ospreys it is also about this wonderful species and insights into their behaviour. I was particularly moved by the essay on Monty’s mourning the loss of his daughter, Ceri, and the links drawn to all of the studies that demonstrate that animals not only experience ranges of emotion but also pain and suffering and to Dr Marc Bekoff’s writing as well as to that of Jane Goodall. One of those is The Ten Trusts.

Those trusts, according to Goodall and Bekoff are: 1. Respect all life; 2. Live as part of the Animal Kingdom; 3. Educate our children to respect animals; 4. Treat animals as you would like to be treated; 5. Be a steward; 6. Value the sounds of nature and help preserve them; 7. Do not harm life in order to learn about it; 8. Have the courage of your convictions; 9. Act knowing that your actions make a difference, and 10. Act knowing that you are not alone.

Because of the unnecessary death of Solly, the 2020 hatch at Port Lincoln, on the power line at Streaky Bay, I am particularly interested in #9. Each of us can make a difference and I note that in Wales, all that had to be done to keep the Ospreys off the power lines where they love to eat fish was to place two diagonal rods. How simple is that?! The South Australian Government could do this with all of the power lines near the coasts where the birds fish and eat.

There is an update on Grinnell, the male Peregrine Falcon who was injured in a turf war. Of course, everyone hopes that Grinnell is super fit and able to take on his assailant who is now courting Grinnell’s mate, Annie. This was 19 hours ago:

https://hoodline.com/2021/11/celebrity-berkeley-falcon-in-avian-love-triangle-close-to-recovery-after-injury/

It is a another grey day with the promise of more snow. Meanwhile everything seems to have a crust of ice on it or, in the case of walkways, several centimetres of ice making it nearly impossible to walk. The birds are very inventive. They have been burrowing tunnels in the snow and then standing in the holes – it is like having one’s on private igloo.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB groups where I took my screen captures and video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project Cam and FB Page, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Tragedy strikes Port Lincoln

I didn’t think that another sadness could follow so quickly on the loss of eyas 4 at the Collins Street Four in Melbourne but it has. I want to thank a very kind reader ‘B’ who wrote to me to tell me of this shaking news.

Solly was the first hatch at Port Lincoln for the 2020 season. She was big sister to surviving male sibling, DEW. Because she was a female and showed all the promises of success, Solly was fitted with a tracker. Her flights changed our knowledge of Eastern Osprey dispersal ranges. She loved Eba Anchorage and going out to Kiffin Island for fish and she usually made it home to roost in ‘her’ dead tree.

Sadly, Solly flew to Streaky Bay to go fishing. On the 11th of November, postings began to appear on the Port Lincoln Osprey FB page wondering if anyone had seen Solly. Her tracker had not moved.

After reading the posting, Richard Hobbs went out in search of Solly. Everyone hoped that her tracker was broken. Sadly, it wasn’t. Richard found Solly’s body at the base of a power pole. This is just shattering news.

The killing of birds by power lines does not need to happen. This was an entirely preventable death. We have seen two birds in the same White Stork family die on power lines near Mlady Buky this year (mother and son) in the Czech Republic. I am sent notices of birds from all around the world who have lost their lives by being electrocuted. Latvia has brought in legislation that every power line must be amended so that birds cannot die by landing on it. I am informed that the power companies were given a long leash and have now waited to the end time period to adhere to the laws – birds dying in the meantime.

I get letters every day from people asking me how they can help the birds. Every day. Beautiful people reading this blog. Here is one way that you can help today and it will not cost you anything but your time. And it is not an expensive fix for the Hydro companies either. They do not have to replace the poles, they just need to put a protective device over the points of contact.

  1. Take the time to write an e-mail about the horrific deaths that birds face when they land on unprotected power poles.
  2. Give them a specific example. Solly is a good one but you might well know of one in your area of the world also.
  3. Inform them that these are unnecessary deaths that are cruel and should never happen.
  4. The need to protect our wildlife from human causes is very important. We need nature and the birds and animals much more than they need us. Word something like this if you wish.
  5. OR speak to what nature means to you and how the birds and animals enrich your life.
  6. Send an e-mail to The Honourable David Spiers, Government of South Australia, Minister for the Environment and Water. His e-mail address is minister.spiers@sa.gov.au
  7. Appeal to him to be a leader. He was with the Port Lincoln team banding the nestlings this past week. Pull at that connection. Whatever you think you can write that invoke action on his part. He can make a huge difference and set an example to everyone.
  8. Lastly, think about writing to your own local power company. Outcries work. In Manitoba, after some horrific Osprey electrocutions, people literally went wild towards out public utility. Those poles were not only protected but Osprey poles began to be erected. Just this year, a small group of us stopped them from clear cutting where there was an active Cooper’s Hawk nest.
  9. People can make a difference.

I just didn’t think the news could get sadder. It was only a couple of days ago we celebrated three healthy male brothers for Solly this year. Solly had such promise and taught us so much. Do it for her – do it for them! I am writing my letter right now. If Spiers loves Ospreys as much as people say, your love for them can only inspire him to do something. A positive that his constituents can see also!

Thank you to ‘B’ who wrote me right away. I didn’t know and I am so glad you reached out. Thank you to the Port Lincoln FB page for the map and to all those who loved Solly including Richard Hobbs who went in search of her.

Great News for Karl II and family

There was quite a bit of worry a couple of days ago when there had beern no transmissions received from Karl II, Udu, or Pikne.

Karl II, 2021
Karl II and his mate, Kaia, 2021
Karl II with his and Kaia’s three chicks in the nest in the Karula National Forest, Estonia, 2021. Of the three, Udu and Pikne survived. Tuul sadly passed.

Sometimes we just have to trust and hope that the birds are alright. One of the best ways to keep the GPS trackers very light weight is to power them by the sun. Even in the Mediterranean, the sun does not always shine and the batteries can run very low and need a charge OR the birds can be outside of an areas with signals OR both. Today, we are going to celebrate! Just look at the tracking below for Karl II, Udu, and Pikne, the Black Storks from the Karula Forest in Estonia. Tears.

Ladies first today. Pikne is in the Eastern Desert of either Ethiopia or Eritrea and is currently out of signalling range. She has moved and is making great time!

The Eastern Desert is simply the area of the Sahara Desert on the east side of the Nile River. It is sometimes called the Red Sea Hills. There are mountains as well as the coastal waters along the Nile. The area is known for its beautiful clear waters and excellent scuba diving.

“Nile Class Sailing boat & Tridentte 16 on the Red Sea Egypt” by Sierragoddess is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Udu successfully crossed the Mediterranean and is now in the Western Desert of Egypt. So, Udu is west of the Nile River. That is incredible news. It is extremely challenging for the birds to cross the Mediterranean Sea and this fledgling did it on his first trip. What a strong bird Udu is!

“P5010091c Gilf Kebir. View at the top. Western Desert, Egypt. 1st May 2006” by Paul Ealing 2011 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Dad may have stayed around the Baltic Sea for awhile but he has really moved and look – he is at the Merave Reservoir in Sudan along the Nile River. He is alive!

“Nile River at Sunset, Sudan” by valerian.guillot is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The whole family is safe. What an incredible relief for everyone.

People in New Zealand and all the followers of Tiaki, the Royal Albatross Cam Princess for 2021, can also celebrate. She has reached the waters off the coast of Chile.

Another tracker that has been on the ‘fritz’ is Solly, the 2020 female fledgling from the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. People were also getting worried, just like they did for Karl II and his two children. But all is well with Solly, too. She is still staying at her favourite tree at Eba Anchorage.

In a week or so, one or all of the three Bobs at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge will be fitted with a tracker like Solly. It is going to be so interesting to follow their travels and to see where those wings take them to fish and live.

Here is a great article on the use and benefits of satellite telemetry to study birds and their migration. It was written in 2012 but everything still applies today.

https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/satellite-telemetry-and-its-impact-on-the-94842487/

It is raining on the Canadian Prairies just like it has been in Melbourne and Port Lincoln. Even so, the birds were fed and all are well. The falcons at Melbourne learned about thunder and lightning! It is hard to imagine but we will be on fledge watch in two weeks for those four running up and down the gutter – and the week after that we will be expecting Yurruga to fledge. My, my. Time passes so quickly.

Thank you for joining me today. For those of you who did get to see Season of the Osprey, drop me a line and tell me what you think. Take care all. Stay warm and dry and safe.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey FB page for the figure showing where Solly is, for the NZ DOC and Wildlife Computers for the tracking of Tiaki, and to the Eagle Club of Estonia for its Forum page and its streaming cam where I took screen grabs of the family and the map showing where Karl and his family are currently located.

Ospreyland with Telyn and the Port Lincoln Gang

This is just a glorious fall afternoon and with 27 and 28 degrees C, I have spent much of my time today outside.

Underneath all of these beautiful Creepers is a very ugly chain link fence.

‘Something’ decided to break the large cylinder suet holder. All the normal suspects eat without doing any damage. Little Woodpecker loved to hold on to the bars. So what was it? The obvious is the raccoon. But do raccoons eat bug and nut suet with fruit? Or maybe one of the well-fed domestic cats have reached up and pulled it down trying to get to the birds. The nuts and bolts were scattered and a piece broken. It is definitely a mystery. These incidents continually remind me that a feeder cam might come in handy.

Idris brings Telyn a fish after her commanding performance during Storm Hannah.

I have been meaning to share a video with you and until someone else mentioned it today on the PLO chat, I had forgotten. It is about Telyn. Telyn is the mate of Idris at the Dyfi Osprey Nest in Montgomeryshire, Wales. I think you will have a genuine appreciation of how protective and fierce these Osprey mothers can be!

This is the backstory. This is a weather warming that the BBC Weather Service issued on the 25th of April 2019 as the storm ravages.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-48050305

And here is the video of Telyn incubating her three eggs in 2019 during that monster of a storm:

Wasn’t that incredible?! She just hunkered down deep into that nest. Wow.

What a gorgeous sight – the sun coming up over the horizon full of energy, joy, and hope at Port Lincoln.

It is 16 degrees C with 84% humidit. The weather network mentions the potential for rain and a thunderstorm. The wind is blowing at 13 km/h.

Mum and the babies are all sleeping with the gentle rock of the barge. Oh, just look at them! Old enough to regulate their own temperatures and too big to fit under mom. I bet if it rains she will quickly become the Mombrella! or she will stuff them under her. What do you think?

Sometimes breakfast is early but it seems the average is around often around 9:30 lately.

Mom is standing up looking for a fish delivery. Meanwhile, just look at those chicks and how dark they are today. Will we be able to tell who is Little Bob anymore?

Those feathers must be really itchy.

At 8:57:45 Dad brought in a whopper for Mum and the kids.

Everyone is going to be full. Great fish, Dad!

Little Bob is eating first (of course).

Oh, my gosh. I see food comas coming on quickly. Every chick ate. Every chick has an enormous tight crop. They were completely civilized. Mom and Dad PLO you are doing good!

That is Little Bob closest to the fish. So far I can identify him by his cere. Look at his crop. Do you think Ospreys ever get indigestion? And look at how much of that nice fish is left. Mom eat it up! There will be some left for Dad, too.

Oh, my. Itchy feathers and colossal crops. Time to snooze in the warm Australian sun while Mom has some nice fish for breakfast.

Every once in awhile I get little tears. They start and they must won’t stop. Not because I am sad. It is because I am so joyful and full of hope for this nest this year. Let’s keep up the momentum. Each chick will be rewarded with their very own sat-pak! We can follow them like we do Solly.

Speaking of Solly, she is a year old. Her tracker was out of sorts for a few days and had people worried but she was fine. Boots on the ground spotted her on her favourite tree at Eba Anchorage. Solly, you have done well! We are all so very pleased for you. Happy Birthday!

Just a peek at ‘not an Osprey’. Everyone seems to be fine eating in the beautiful warm sun at Port Lincoln, but in Melbourne, all eyes are on the Mum at 367 Collins Street. Will those four eggs start hatching at once? and how soon will that be?

Gosh, she’s beautiful!

That is it. I waited to make sure that everyone was fed and full at the PLO and they certainly are.

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

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

The Birds ‘Down Under’

As people in North America wait for the Bald Eagles to begin preparing their nest and breeding, much of the ‘bird’ action is in Australia. I pulled up a map so that we can locate the nests that are on streaming cams in Australia – fondly known as ‘Down Under’ here in Canada.

I made the map a little larger just so it is easier to see. Or is it just me that is having trouble reading all that small print?!

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest is in Sydney. On the map it is in bold letters on the lower right hand side. The Peregrine Falcon Nest of Xavier and Diamond is in Orange. Orange is just outside of Sydney. Trace your finger to 10 o’clock from Sydney and you should see Orange in grey letters. The 367 Collins Street Falcons are in Melbourne. It is at the very bottom in black letters. The Port Lincoln Osprey Barge is in Port Lincoln. This is a small place. Locate Adelaide which is up the coast from Melbourne on the left. Take your finger and move it over in a straight line to the left from Adelaide to the bottom of the second peninsula. There is Port Lincoln. I am also going to include Solly’s Location so you can see where she is relative to where she hatched and fledged at Port Lincoln. Solly is currently staying the majority of the time at Eba Anchorage. Solly is 311 km from the place she fledged. Prior to Solly, the general understanding was that Eastern Ospreys stayed much closer to their natal nest. The evidence from the satellite tracking is changing the understanding of how far these fledglings might travel upon fledging.

Time flies. It was only a blink and Pippa Atawhai, the 2020 Royal Cam chick, had fledged — BUT, that was a year ago. Now we are waiting for Tiaki to fledge soon. It seemed like the month of August just melted. It was on the 3rd, the 6th, and the 9th that Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge laid her eggs for the 2021 season. At this very moment, the PLO FB Page is taking guesses on when the eggs will hatch. Yes, we will be moving into hatch watch within a week. Baby Ospreys are coming. Oh, those lovely little reptiles!

Dad continues to bring in materials for the nest. They are all over the place – big strips of bark and moss – even some more rope. He is a bit of a pack rat. Thank goodness he hasn’t been bringing in toys like Richmond and Jack in the US. It would be awfully crowded if that were to happen.

Watching this nest is not for the faint of heart. Siblicide is a regular occurrence.

The dominant hatch of 2021 was Solly. She is 352 days old on 7 August, Australian time. Solly was considered, out of the two surviving chicks, to be the one that would succeed. We have no news of DEW and unlike Solly, DEW was not equipped with a satellite transmitter. Solly has, however, demonstrated that she can survive and today she flew rom her normal home tree in Eba Anchorage to Perlubie to check out the fish. This is the graph from the satellite transmission.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Project is taking guesses as to the date of the first hatch on their FB page. You don’t need to be a member to pick a day – go and have some fun!

The White Bellied Sea Eaglets are doing fine. They are well fed and protected and they are growing so fast. Those beautiful juvenile feathers are coming in changing their appearance almost daily. They had a good fish feast the morning of the 6th and the wee ones slept and then woke up and began picking up sticks and leaves on the nest moving them about with their beak. They are not yet steady on their feet but they are standing more and 27 was attempting to walk today.

Both still had big crops after the fish breakfast. 28 got the majority.

Just look at those beautiful colours coming in. 27 is on the left and 28 is on the right.

Here 27 is standing watching 28 play with some sticks with its beak and talons. The sea eaglets are developing at a normal pace. It is all good.

The golden glow of morning fills the scrape box of the Peregrine Falcons, Xavier and Diamond, in Orange.

Each parent takes turns incubating the eggs so that the other can have a break. Diamond will do the overnight incubation and Xavier will be the security guard.

Here is a short video of the hand over of incubating duties from Diamond to Xavier:

Remember that the males are about 30% smaller than the females. Xavier works with his feet and wings to get those three large eggs under him so they can all be warm.

It is even harder for the tiny male at the 367 Collins Street nest who has four eggs to warm!

Mom arrives for her turn.

She is working her wings too to get those four eggs under her.

Looked at how poofed out all those feathers are. Wow.

Here is Dad. His feathers are all poofed, too. He is so tiny compared to mom. My goodness – he really does have to work to get all four under him properly.

After wiggling about he gets everything settled. We will be looking for hatch towards the end of September.

Thank you so much for joining me. All of the birds in Australia seem to be doing just fine. We will watch the sea eagles change colour before our eyes and anticipate the arrival of the Ospreys. It’s a few weeks before falcons start hatching. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clips: The 367 Collins Street Falcons, The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and FB Page.

PLEASE NOTE: I am taking my computer in for servicing. I hope to have it returned to me sometimes on Thursday so I will be back with another newsletter Thursday or Friday.

Tracking…birds and hurricanes

Hurricane Ida has made landfall on the sixteenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that wrecked havoc and caused so much destruction to Louisiana. Throughout the day I have been checking on the Kisatchie National Forest, the home of Bald Eagles, Anna and Louis. The Bald Eagles are likely north of the storm area as they do not spend the hot summer, as far as is known, at Lake Kincaid (although they could).

The winds were getting stronger and the waves more choppy as the morning broke into the afternoon. That camera quit working at 15:39:19. You just get a circle. The KNF is in parishes that are northwest of New Orleans. They include Grant, Natchitoches, Winn, Rapides, and Vernon.

Isn’t that just the most beautiful area to raise a Bald Eagle family?

Cody and Steve did a great job running the camera, answering all of the chatters questions, and even held a contest to name the eaglet. Please send them warm wishes to stay safe.

At 18:00, Hurricane Ida just went through Mathews, Louisiana.

There are several other maps that I am also watching today. One of those is just fantastic. If you want to follow the Black Storks on their migration, you need to know this link.

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

The ‘Birdmap’ has several Ospreys along with the Black Storks who have satellite trackers. They are first sorted into species and then by name of the bird. Click on the name of the bird and you can see where the birds are located. It is magnificent.

I clicked on Karl II’s name. Then I clicked on the player at the bottom and I could see the precise route that Karl II has taken since he left the nest in the Karula National Forest. He is heading to the Black Sea. I wonder if Karl has a favourite spot there?

I owe Karl a big apology, too. I know that Pikne and Udu are ‘his’ storklings and brain keeps telling my fingers to type Grafs. Big apology, Karl!

Oh, how I wish Tiny Little had a tracker. It would be so much fun (well, if everything went well) to watch her journey rather than hoping by mere chance that someone would see her blue Darvic Ring and record the number. Perhaps it would be too much to ask them to take a photo, too?

There is not a lot of news in Bird World. Maya was photographed at Rutland Water today so she has not left for her migration. The Collins Street Falcons have started the hard incubation now that the 4th egg has been laid.

This is mom. She always has a bit of grumpy face and she takes up most of the scrape box.

This is cute little dad. He is much smaller as you can see – he doesn’t take up so much room in that scrape box. If in doubt, he has really neat bright yellow “goggles” around his eyes.

I know that it is hard to see what is going on and you are afraid that you will miss all of the action. There is another scrape box at the other end of the ledge with a camera and these parents have a tendency to move the chicks about. There is nothing funnier than seeing 3 large juvenile females chase after poor little dad with his pigeon. This year it will be 4! I hope the pigeon population in Melbourne is robust!

Diamond is keeping everyone guessing. The latest that she has ever laid an egg is the 31st of August and that is tomorrow, Australia time! At this point I am not even going to guess. Diamond has been fooling me for days on end.

When in Australia, I have to remind myself to check on Solly. She is 344 days old – my goodness, almost a year since she hatched on the PLO barge. Look at this map of her travels. She is so confident now that she is taking the short cut back to Eba Anchorage from the coast near Streaky Bay instead of going the land route. Well done, Solly! So proud of you.

The nest of Mom and Dad looks so much more together than it did after Solly and DEW fledged last year! Oh, I hope that there is lots of food and all three of those eggs hatch and fledge. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I have to admit that I did not feel so kind towards Solly last year but, in the end, I was glad to see two strong birds fly off that old boat. The satellite tracker put on Solly opened up everyone’s eyes to how far the Eastern Ospreys travel from their natal nest. I do hope they will do this again this year. At the same time, I would like to see trackers on all the birds from this nest. Everyone wants to also know where DEW is. If it is the cost, do some crowd funding up front – there will be people from around the world willing to chip in and help with the costs.

‘S’ sent me some images of the Osprey juveniles in Alberta this morning. My goodness did I ever feel guilty. I checked in on them for the first time yesterday in ever so long – and that was because I had heard of an unmonitored nest fledging two from the interior of British Columbia this morning.

There were three eggs that hatched at the Red Deer Osprey nest in June. Two of the three died on 3 July during the wretched heat and then rainy/stormy weather.

This beautiful juvenile fledged sometime the first two weeks of August when the cameras were down. This is a strong bird, a real survivor. It has been given the name, Little Braveheart, by her fans.

The two juveniles at the Fortis Exshaw nest up at Canmore are doing really well, too. Both fledged and they are waiting, just like the juvenile in Red Deer, for the call to fly south. That is such an incredibly beautiful spot to have an Osprey platform with the Canadian Rockies in the background.

Thank you so much for joining me. Do check the Birdmap and see how it works. Satellite trackers are wonderful tools. And please send your warm wishes and positive thoughts to those in the path of Hurricane Ida. Take care and stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Fortis Alberta Red Deer, Fortis Alberta Exshaw, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, The Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project.