Oh, Little Bob!

Oh, another glorious fall day on the Canadian Prairies. The sun is shining bright and the sky is blue. The leaves of the vines looking like stained glass ranging in colour from rust to orange, light yellow, and chartreuse. Just stunningly beautiful.

I always worry about the third hatches. I have worried about the third at the Port Lincoln nest the minute the egg was laid. Last evening one of the chatters called #3 “Tuffet.” That is a great nickname for Little Bob.

And Little Bob looks like such an angel. If you are having trouble telling who he is, he still has his egg tooth today. That is him wide awake smiling at the camera.

My goodness. I have begun to feel sorry for Mum. She has only to wiggle or get up to stretch and he has his mouth wide open!

Big and Middle are not bothered at all. Little Bob still has a crop but he is sure curious as to whether or not Mom will give him some bites!

“What cha’ doin’ Mom?”

Little Bob is decidedly not hungry. When I last left the family Dad had brought what was left of the ‘whale’ that he had brought in at 12:35:44.

There was another feeding around 13:08.

If you are wondering, yes, that is Little Bob being fed!

By 13:24 Mum has them all tucked and Dad is over on the ropes.

Around 16:00 the chicks are fed again.

With the whale finished, Dad is going to need to go out and fishing. At 16:49 Dad comes to have a consultation with Mom. She puts in an order for a fish as the kids are growing restless.

The delivery comes in half an hour. Well done, Dad. I wonder if he has a stash of these nice large fish?

Notice that all of the chicks have some fish still in their crop from the earlier feeding.

Oh, dear. That fish was flapping. Hope that little one is OK. It sure isn’t stopping Little Bob with his crop from wanting a meal. There he is near that flapping tail.

Oh, these three are really going to be a handful when they are older. Dad is going to have to bring further reinforcements for the walls. Mom finishes feeding them and then…

She moves the fish and starts again! They all line up again.

Look carefully at the back of Little Bob on the end. Can you see the two dark stripes starting to emerge? and just look at how adorable those little wings are. Gosh these kids are cute.

Dad will remove the fish and return it at 18:20:01.

There’s Little Bob flaunting his crop – wondering if his is the biggest or not.

Mom probably thought she could have a few bites in peace and quiet. What do you think? Yes, that is Little Bob with his mouth open! Poor Mom.

Now another wants some fish. You can still see their crops from the 18:22 feeding. But there is also something else we can see. Look, pin feathers are coming. Soon they will look like reptiles. Their light coat of down will be replaced by a darker woolier coat at 10-12 days. That is followed by the reptile phase.

We are entering the second week. Already these chicks have more than likely tripled their body weight. It should, in fact double again in the next three to four days. The fastest period of growth will come at 15-30 days. This is when we need fish on this nest.

It is possible that when Mom got up to eat some fish she fed some of the Osplets around 21:13.

It was hard to tell because Mum swung herself around so we couldn’t see.

Little Bob wiggles his way out from under Mom in the middle of the night and is calling for fish!

And we are back where we started. Around 1:13, Mom wants to stretch her legs and Little Bob thinks it is time to eat again – crop or not.

It is now 2:51 in the morning, 22 September in Australia. Mom and chicks are fast asleep. No doubt Little Bob will be right up front at the table the minute that fish lands on the nest.

This third hatch is anything but shy or afraid. This nest has really turned itself around thanks to the good deliveries of fish by Dad and the continuous feedings by Mom. No one on this nest has been hungry.

The crucial period is not here yet. We need to make it through weeks 3 and 4.*

Looking for hatch watch with the Peregrine falcons in Melbourne in 6 days. That will liven things up a bit. Over at the WBSE in the Sydney Olympic Park, the parents are dropping prey now that the eaglets are self-feeding. Most of the time 27 gets the food. Yesterday, Mom did the feeding. 28 had a nice crop. The first seen in awhile. The pair continue to work their wings.

Thank you so much for joining me today — and thank you for your interest in the Eastern Ospreys at Port Lincoln, Australia. So far, so good. Continue to send warm wishes to all the nests.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

* Last year, the feedings were not as good at the PLO. Around Day 15 there was a perceived drop in food delivery. Siblicide occurred and sadly, little Tapps died when he was 18 days old.

Thursday in Bird World

Everyone that I know either loves to see an Osprey fish or they wish they had the opportunity to do so. This is one of the best two minute videos I have ever seen showing the physical stamina that the male needs to land his fish and get it out of the water for the family. Look at it closely.

John Williams kept a list of the fish that Dylan brought to the nest for Only Bob, Blue 496. That was the Lyn Clywedog Nest. There were 354 fish seen at the nest including Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and 10 Grey Mullet. This is for one chick and his mate. I wonder how this number of fish increases for nests of more than one chick? Does anyone know?

Last night, at 18:15, the Dad at the PLO Barge brought in a nice fish. He had eaten the head off. Mum proceeded to provide three feedings to the Osplets between then and 22:15. After the last feeding, she ‘hid’ the fish. Lots of times the fish are hidden to keep insects off. In some countries, the fish buried in the strawy nests stay fresher. I am thinking of the White Tailed Eagles in Latvia. Or maybe she did want to hide it from Dad!

One thing that we always need to remember is that video from the beginning. The male’s role is often forgotten in terms of its importance.

The Osprey nests ONLY succeed when the male is in tip top condition. Tiger Mozone made that point last night on the PLO chat. The nest will fail if the male is not a good fisher or is in poor physical condition. The male must eat. How could he keep up his strength otherwise? Dad eats first and brings the remainder to the nest. Eating the head – which might be the best part (I doubt it) – might also stop that fish from flapping (it doesn’t always). So do not begrudge the male a meal – cheer him on. We need the male healthy so he can exert the type of energy it takes to catch the fish. Many say it is 8 to 15 tries to get a fish. That is a lot of diving. Of course, we also hope that there are lots of fish around the surface for the male to catch.

This image has been circulating. I have no idea who took it, where it originated but it was in my inbox awhile ago sent from a friend. Thanks ‘M’.

The next time you look at the legs of the males – think strength. They do not need a gym membership!

Dad on the ropes eating the head of one of the fish he brought in.
The 3 Bobs stand at attention if they are hungry. This is an image after that fish was delivered.

The little ones at the PLO nest need bites of fish often now. Like I said, Mom fed them at 18:15 and then twice again before bedtime. In 2 weeks time they will need more fish. It is important that the 2-3 week period be stable with deliveries. This will be a big growth period.

This was at 18:15:54. It is less than a minute after the fish delivery. I am including this image so you will then notice how those three get to attention when it is feeding time.

In 30 seconds, they have all turned around and gotten in line. Well done, little ones.

The last feeding of the day. They look like they are singing!

It has been some days since I checked on the Black Stork family of Karl II and Kaia whose nest is in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The current tracking is for Karl II, Pikne, and Udu.

Udu is now in Hungary. The comment on the forum is that Udu seems to have an affinity for finding good fishing spots.

I like this map the best as it shows Karl’s family plus Jan and Janika’s Julge. Julge is the purple. You might recall that he got on a ship and went the wrong direction but righted himself and is now taking the Western route to either southern Spain and Portugal or on to Africa. I wonder if he will stop in Spain?? Karl II is near to where he was when I last checked on him. Near the Black Sea in the Ukraine. A great stopping off spot it seems.

While a few days might not change Karl II’s trajectory that much, it sure has changed the plumage of the White Bellied Sea Eaglets 27 and 28. Wow. They are gorgeous. And, yes, Toni Castelli-Rosen, they are as pretty as the Red Tail Hawks! Indeed, I have had to admit to Toni that they are double gorgeous. I love the plumage on these juveniles.

The last time Aran was seen was Tuesday morning so he might have left on his migration. The Glaslyn Valley will be waiting for him next year. Isn’t it gorgeous? I understand they are leaving the camera on all winter. Wow. What a treat.

It is not clear if Iris has left Missoula, Montana yet. There were photographs of an Osprey on Iris’s favourite branch eating a fish on 12 September. That was four days ago. Did she leave without saying goodbye to her nest? Maybe. Tiaki, the Royal Cam chick, had a feeding today (LGL) and Tiaki is still on Taiaroa Head. Samson has been bringing in sticks and him and Gabby are working on the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest.

Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me today. I had hoped to do a quick check on all the nests but the long drive in the rain was exhausting. I will do that this weekend. Stay safe everyone. Check out the trio at the PLO Barge. They are darlings.

Thank you to the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, the Eagle Club of Estonia and BirdMap for their streaming cam and FB pages.

Gabby is home!

Gabrielle or Gabby flew into the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville today, 12 September. She might well have been on the branches or around earlier but I have her at 19:33:12. What a wonderful sight – to have this fabulous couple back safe and sound on their nest. Samson doesn’t migrate and he was seen several times during the summer and, in particular, when the camera maintenance was taking place. Both eagles got busy inspecting the nest. They were digging around and I wondered if they were looking for ‘Eggie’ that Samson had buried last year after Legacy spent so much time taking care of it, incubating and rolling. Oh, Legacy, what an amazing character you turned out to be!

They seem to have a discussion. Samson is on the left in his Levi Black Stretch ‘Slim Fit’ jeans and Gabby is on the right.

I wonder why they are so preoccupied with this one spot. Is this really where ‘Eggie’ could be buried?

More discussions!

All is right in The Hamlet. How comforting seeing them both roosting on their branches of the nest tree. In 2020, Gabby returned on 12 September, too.

This is their third season. In 2019 they fledged Jules and Romey named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliette. This was their nest – indeed, it is the nest where Samson hatched. Last year, they fledged Legacy. What a sweetheart. She sure stole a few hearts!

After all the excitement in NE Florida, I decided just to check on the other nests. No hatch, yet, at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. For those of you watching the Royal Cam chick, it has been confirmed that her neighbour chick, SSTrig, fledged late afternoon 12 August nest time. SSTrig is the first chick to hatch and fledge of adults, Green Lime Green and Red Lime Black. Tiaki and SSTrig did not always get along very well. You might remember their little altercations.

At the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, Australia, a bird arrived around 13:35 13 August. WBSE 28 was more or less in a submissive pose during the entire feeding. WBSE 27 ate 98% of the gull. I wondered what had happened earlier but the camera feed would not let me rewind that far back – which seemed odd since you can always go back at least 8-12 hours. But, not today.

The adults at the 367 Collins Street Osprey Nest in Melbourne continue to make their well rehearsed handover of incubation duties. These two are really quite incredible.

I know that some of you have been wondering why dad isn’t bringing mom food at the nest. Prey will not be brought until the eyases hatch. There is a place up above the nest where the male leaves prey for the female so she can eat.

Here is cute little dad.

And beautiful mom. A couple more weeks. These two better rest as much now as they can! Four eyases. Oh, my goodness. I cannot wait.

Xavier has come in to see if he can have a turn to incubate their eggs. Diamond doesn’t get off and hand over the duties as easily as the mom at Collins Street. Poor Xavier. Xavier will often bring prey to the ledge and Diamond will take it and fly out of the scrape to eat it.

Why do the two falcon couples do this? keep prey out of the scrape when there are eggs? For cleanliness and not to bring in any parasites or insects. That is also the reason that falcons do not use twig nests.

It is now the wee hours of the morning on the Canadian Prairies. I didn’t intend to write another blog but, oh how I wanted to let you know about Gabby. This is wonderful news. Harriet and M15 are back at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest. And that reminds me that I need to check and see what is happening at Captiva.

Thank you for joining me for this quick alert. Have a great Monday everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, The 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Sea Eagles Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

As the Nest Turns 11 Sept

The female on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge woke up to some rain and by mid-day there was rough weather. The moderator of the PLO chat said they hoped that the chick would choose to stay in the egg!

It is currently 12 degrees C with a wind speed of 42 km/h or 26.09 miles per hour. Blustery. Not good for fishing. Best wrapped up in a cosy blanket with a cup of tea and a good book. Hang in there mum.

Aran is still in the Glaslyn Valley. Doesn’t he look grand on one of his favourite perches looking over ‘his’ territory. As much as others might have their eyes on their natal nest, Aran doesn’t intend to hand it over to either Tegid or Aeron, Monty’s boys, Z1 and Z2, respectively.

Some are worried. My notebook just said that ‘Aran migrates after the middle of September.’ That was accurate but not precise enough.

As it happened, Tiger Mozone on the PLO chat and so I was able to ask him. Immediately – literally – there was a link to ‘Tiger and Chloe B’s Osprey Data’.

https://www.imagicat.com/Glaslynstats2021.html?fbclid=IwAR1uxYgOaHJ85Yo7zbbEpttPlKvHn_N4zWrrL-TLutWheHwn_AQQRZPLr8c

These are the dates that Aran was last seen at the Glaslyn nest from 2015-2020:

  • 2015. 25 September
  • 2016. 16 September
  • 2017. 12 September
  • 2018. 22 September
  • 2019. 16 September
  • 2020. 15 September

The average is September 17th. That is six days from now. There is no need for anyone to be alarmed that Aran is still in the Valley, worrying that he is unable to migrate due to his earlier injury. Aran is ‘being Aran.’

Everyone that watches the Royal Cam Chick at Taiaroa Head, Tiaki, you should be giving a shout out to Ranger Sharyn. She located Tiaki 150 metres from her natal nest and the streaming cam. She carried her back to the general area of the nest – and just in time. LGL flew in and fed her daughter shortly after.

Here is Tiaki seeing her mom and coming quickly for that delicious squid shake. These chicks can really move when food is involved — or running away from ‘the dreaded basket’ when the rangers come round to weigh the chicks.

Victor Hurley, the Peregrine Falcon specialist who uses the streaming cam in Melbourne to study the falcons, is looking for some help. He was on the 367 Collins Street Falcons FB page today asking for individuals to accurately provide the time stamp for the incubation hand over duties. Later, he will be looking for time stamps for prey delivery. If you would like to help, please go to the 367 Collins Falcon Watchers and PM Hurley.

Here is a great example of what he is looking for. Mum is getting off the eggs and Cutie Pie ‘Dad’ is falcon walking on the ledge. They are such a good team.

It is windy in Sydney, too. WBSE 27 and 28 had a tiny bird – looks like another gull chick – around 6:29. 28 held back until almost all of the bird had been eaten by 27. That is a bit unusual for the first feeding in the morning. Normally 28 is right up front ready to go.

Notice that 27 stood for its breakfast! Oh, these two are really developing. Both have been standing more and trying to walk.

Another food item comes to the nest around 10:00. This time Lady splits the meal between both of the chicks.

28 is on the left and 27 on the right. You will notice that while the wing and back feathers are growing in nicely on both, 27’s tail is longer and 27 is noticeably larger.

In his book, Soaring with Fidel, David Gessner reminds readers that at the time of migration the juvenile Ospreys are transformed in appearance from when they were first fledglings. Gone is the white scallop on the feathers, gone is most of the down, the eyes are yellow, the dark feathers are darker, and the birds have ‘slimmed down’ somewhat.

So today an Osprey appeared on the Achieva Nest in St Petersburg. Help me out here. Could we be looking at a slightly older Tiny Tot?

The top two images are of the visitor today. The top one looks more like the face of Tiny Tot with the trademark ‘heart’ on the top of the head.

These are the first images that I grabbed of Tiny Tot out of the hundreds that I have. I wish that I could get both of the birds in the exact position.

Of course, it could be my mind playing tricks. I would dearly love for this to be Tiny Tot.

When I was scrolling for images of Tiny Tot, I cam across this one of Tiny Little. The Two Tinys are the stars of survival for 2021. The most amazing, clever, determined to live little birds who beat the odds. What I wouldn’t give for Tiny Tot to have a Darvic ring! Then we would not be guessing who is on that nest.

I will leave all of you with this mystery and a reminder of how inspiring these two little ospreys are to all of us.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: PLO Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Achieva Credit Union St Petersburg, 367 Collins Street Falcons, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn.

White Bellied Sea Eaglet 28 dominates feeding

The golden glow of the morning sun kissed the branches of the old Ironbark Tree in Sydney’s Olympic Forest. WBSE 27 and 28 were sound asleep in the nest bowl while an adult was on the parent branch keeping watch.

This morning breakfast arrived at 9:20:11. It was a nice chunk of fish.

28 was up at the breakfast table right away and dominated the feeding. There was no pecking and 28 was on the left side! Well, well.

It is easy to see that 28 really loves the fish! One of the things people have noticed is that the birds actually do have preferences. Some prefer fish, others prefer birds. Some don’t like specific species of birds. WBSE tend to really love their fish!

Here is a short video clip of the feeding.

WBSE 28 is still being fed after ten minutes. Indeed, Lady will still be feeding 28, almost exclusively, for another twenty minutes.

At 9:30:11 either a Pied Currawong or an Australian Magpie swooped down on the nest. Lady alerted and both of the sea eaglets pancaked on the nest.

Anyone watching the feeding would have immediately known that Lady’s alert call meant ‘danger’ and the sea eaglets stopped everything and became very still. This is what all raptors do, as far as I know. It is certainly what Osprey chicks do when their parent is alerting.

Oh, these eaglets love this fresh fish! 28 has gotten very good at the quick snatch method as well. He is very cute.

Lady finished feeding the pair at 10:01:27. They both settled down, each with a crop – 28’s was the biggest! He is in front sort of sitting up.

Right now it is easy to tell the difference – 27 has more juvenile feathers on its shoulders and wings.

No doubt, WBSE 27 might well dominate the next feeding. But it is significant to note that 28 stepped up first and was fed – and went to sleep with a very large crop. There was absolutely not a hint of sibling rivalry other than the typical ‘snatch and turn’ of 28 at times. The ‘snatch and turn’ is often a side effect reaction – grab the food quickly and turn – protecting one’s head from being pecked earlier in the chick’s life.

These two are doing very well. I hope that the Magpie or the Currawong – as well as BooBook Owl, and others do not inflict any injuries on any of the sea eagles. In fact, some of you might remember that it was a Magpie that helped WBSE 26 last year against the Pied Currawong.

The top two images are of a Pied Currawong and the bottom one is an Australian Magpie. Sometimes you only see a blur. Those familiar with the sounds of the forest might be able to tell who caused the ruckus.

“Pied Currawong ( Strepera graculina)” by Tatters ✾ is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Pied Currawong” by Tatters ✾ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are decided differences between the two but a split second sweep of black and white makes it difficult. The Pied Currawong has been a constant in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Perhaps it has a nest near to the sea eagles and wants the big birds – the top of the food chain – to get out of town!

“Australian Magpie” by Lisa.Hunt is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sadly, the Currawong did chase 26 out of the forest and she wound up the next day, after a storm that evening, on the 22nd floor of a condo building about 1.5 kilometres away from the nest. The Currawong are a big problem in the forest. They also chased 25 out when it fledged and I suspect they have done this in years past. 25 never returned to the nest. No one knows what became of her. Ideally, these two beauties fledge and return to the nest for rest and food just like the Bald Eagles or the sea eagle fledglings are fed down by the Parramatta River by the parents til they can survive on their own.

It has to be mentioned that Sydney’s Parramatta River is full of dioxins. Commercial fishing is banned after elevated levels of the toxins were found in seafood from the Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.

“Parramatta River, NSW, Australia” by Terrazzo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The toxins leaked into the river from a shipping container company as reported in The Sydney Morning Herald on 16 May 2009. The article said, “The Patrick’s site on the Camellia peninsula, near Rosehill Racecourse, has been found to be leaking the chemical Chromium VI, posing a risk to people and marine life.”

In 2017, 2ser 107.3 reported that the Parramatta River was a “toxic time bomb.” They said, “Fifty years of toxic chemical residue is sitting on the bottom of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River. It’s a toxic time-bomb and disturbing this sediment could worsen already dire pollution levels. And now sweeping developments along the shore of the River could be bringing more pollution to the already sullied waters.” While many might have hoped to swim in the river before they were too elderly to do so, contaminated storm water was pumped into the river in December 2020 causing more problems.

https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/contaminated-storm-water-pumped-from-camellia-site-into-parramatta-river/news-story/83b1a3c9e5e5c226d687ad47f0ee982e

That lovely fish that the two sea eaglets ate this morning came from this river. It is a tragedy.

Thank you so much for joining me. These are just the cutest little sea eagles. 28 is quite the character. Spend some time watching them. Everything is good.

Thank you to the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia’s Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clip.

A look at 3 feedings at the WBSE Nest

All of the other nests are relatively quiet. While I do love to see the adults sharing incubation duties, watching a bird incubate eggs can sometimes feel like watching paint dry. So I decided to go and see what was happening with the little sea eaglets. They were just finishing a meal when I started watching them. I turned away for a second and a second gull was brought to the nest by Dad at 12:47. Good gracious. Had Dad won the Silver Gull Lottery?

This is an image from the feeding when I first started watching the sea eaglets. Thank goodness for rewind. This was the first prey delivery of the day and it arrived at 12:19:01.

Both eaglets are sharing the prey and behaving themselves in this feeding. WBSE 27 is on the left and 28 is on the right. The picture shows Lady giving 28 a morsel of meat. She alternates between them. There is absolutely not a hint of rivalry.

Here they are standing up. It is a wonder they aren’t falling over from being top heavy.

They hear Dad approaching the nest.

Dad arrives at the nest with another gull. Both of them sit on their little bottoms in shock. Look at their faces seeing that prey. Also notice that 28, in the front, has a large crop, too.

The time for the second delivery is 12:47:20 as shown on the time stamp.

Remember, both have literally just eaten. Both chicks have crops. Neither one of them is ‘starving’. Indeed, there is no shortage of food on the nest. The behaviour in this second feeding demonstrates that rivalry is not always because there is less food being delivered. It is strictly about dominance on the nest.

In the image below, 27 is up by Lady getting ready to be fed. 28 is moving up from the back to go to the left of 28. I wonder why 28 did not go to the right. That is its usual spot – and it is a good place to catch the eye of Lady.

27 first gives 28 ‘the look’. Was it because 28 had to balance itself by extending its wing out and it touched 27’s back?

Whatever it was, 27 pecks 28 making sure that 28 realizes who is boss.

28 immediately goes into submission and stays that way for approximately 12 minutes while 27 eats the gull. These are the hardest things to watch on these large raptor nests between the chicks. We always want them to be nice to one another.

By the time that 28 straightens himself and gets up to the feeding place, the gull is almost gone. 27 got 98% of that gull while 28 got a few bites.

The behaviour of 27 shows that despite there being plenty of food, she will insist on dominance. She will eat first. Anyone watching large raptor nests will know that there is always a dominant bird. Often the one dominated gets very clever. They listen, watch, and learn to read ‘the clues’ so as not to be attacked. 28 has a little more learning to do. It would be interesting to see if 28 is only pecked when it is on the left.

So the time is 13:07:18 – and guess what?! A third gull arrives on the nest at 13:15:13. Yes, I am serious. Dad must have found a nest of gulls. If I remember correctly there is an old barge and the Silver Gulls make their nests there. It is not far away. Someone told me once that the pigeons are for falcons and gulls are for eagles. It certainly seems true at some of the Australian nests!

Here is the next prey item arriving on the nest.

Both chicks get up to the feeding area. 27 is on the left and 28 has its usual spot on the right. It is important to note that the eagles do not see straight in front of them; they must tilt their head a bit.

Just look at how full these two are! I do hope that Lady gets a chance to eat.

This time 28 got lots of food. Lady alternated between them. In the end, 27 was too full to eat anymore and 28 finished off that gull.

Both are in food comas.

There is no moral to this story. There is a lot of prey coming on the WBSE nest. This is the first time I have seen three prey items delivered and eaten in this short of time. WBSE 27 still feels that it needs to, sometimes, throw about her position on the nest. At this last feeding there was no rivalry. Both ate and they had big enough crops to last them til evening!

As they grow, each will need more and more food. The gull chicks are not that big. The food that is delivered is also meant for Lady. Let us hope that she gets a good meal today. The female’s lose vital nutrients making the eggs they lay and it is said that they lose approximately 30% of their body weight during the nesting phase. Hopefully Dad will bring on a nice big fish or eel for later.

The Silver Gull that Dad brings to the nest are the most common gull in Australia.

“Silver Gull” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

They are found everywhere. While the adults are 40-45 cm or 15.7 to 18 inches and have a wing span of 94 cm or 3 ft, the chicks would be much smaller. Last year Dad was always raiding the nests of the gulls in addition to fish, eels, and at least one turtle. I recall that one eagle expert said that the ‘red meat’ of some prey tends to make the eaglets more aggressive than the fish. That could be what happened today or maybe 27 was just annoyed at 28 for touching her.

Both sea eaglets are eating as you can see. It is a bit unnerving to see the eldest whip the little one into shape especially since they had been doing so well. Still, this is a worthwhile nest to watch because the behaviour is so fascinating. I am going to have to watch this nest more closely. I am curious as to whether the pecking only occurs when WBSE 28 is on the left of 27. Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

The link to the WBSE camera is here:

One of the things I find most fascinating are learning the birds connected with their vocalizations in the Sydney Olympic Forest.

Thanks so much for joining me today. Stay well, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre where I took my screen shots.

Third Egg for Diamond and a Rescue

Saturday Morning. I don’t think that this Swainson’s Thrush knew that he would be spending so much time with me. I suspect that he did not know that he was in for an adventure and a car ride.

Indeed, it is unclear how this little one wound up behind my kitchen in the grass. There were no window strikes. He turned around and faced different directions and thinking that it was simply stunned, I waited for 45 minutes. Still nothing. It tried to fly but that wouldn’t work so…….into the comfort of the transport box on soft, soft sheets and away we went to Wildlife Haven. It was still alive on arrival. Thank Goodness.

As I answered all of the questions by the intake helper, it was a reminder that it is migration season – something we have been talking about for several weeks. Juveniles are finding themselves in trouble all over the place – so what do you do?

  1. You should have the phone number of your nearest wildlife rehabber in your contact list. Check and see if you have that and it is current.
  2. As much as you would like to, please do not feed the wildlife anything – anything. It could cause the to be worse. No cow’s milk, no baby formula! You can offer them a very shallow bowl of water – think saucer actually so they don’t drown.
  3. Do not pet them. The bird or animal is stressed enough. Any undue stress could cause them to have a heart attack.
  4. Keep them in a quiet, dark place. I have a large box that my organic groceries come in. On each side are holes for handles. This is good for the air circulation and allows the box to stay warm and dry while at the same time they are not seeing you.
  5. Don’t let your pets around the injured bird or animal.

Swainson’s Thrush does, during migration, often find itself in back gardens and parks. It often gleans for food on the ground. In our case it could also have been at any one of the feeders or on the ground where the other birds kick off seed. Something, however, had caused it not to be able to fly. It wanted to but just didn’t have the battery power. I hope that it does well in rehab and is on its way to its winter home soon.

Speaking of wildlife rehabbers, they love donations. Many of the raptors like to play with toys. Did you know that? It helps them from being bored. I cannot imagine being a Red Tail-Hawk imprinted on humans that cannot be allowed to fly free. The rehabbers are always in need of food including rabbit and cat/dog kibble. Many rehabbers post a list of wanted items on their website and, of course, they are happy for donations no matter how big or small. So when you think of gifting, think of these folks that are not for profit and survive on donations, please.

Our wildlife rehabber also has one other concern for people who feed the birds. “If you feed the animals in your yards, they may learn to depend on the availability of food from you and may not store for the winter months. So if you are going to feed later in the fall, it is best to continue feeding until the spring months.”

There is very little news out in Bird World. Birds are flying or sitting on eggs. The only ones that seem to be feeding little ones are the White-Bellied Sea Eagles and that continues to go well. Those babies are getting big. Look at those beautiful juvenile feathers coming in.

WBSE 28 can give as good as it gets. This nest has turned around for the good.

Tiny Little’s dad, White YW, is still in his territory as of this morning.

Aran still remains at the Glaslyn Nest. Mrs G was last seen on Sunday, 29 August. Aran does not normally leave til the middle of the month so his presence is not unusual. I need to check on the dates for White YW.

Can you see Aran?

Another male that is still at home is Louis up at Loch Arkaig. In fact, Louis is still feeding Aspen and Alder. I am not sure when it was that Dorcha left on her migration. This makes Louis’s fledglings some of the last to migrate. Here they are sunning themselves on a branch. — You will recall that Louis’s mate, Aila, did not return from migration this year. He made a nest with his new mate, Dorcha, away from the old nest with the camera. Louis is simply a fabulous dad. He even fishes at night if the family needs food. We wish them all the best when they do leave and look forward to their safe return next spring.

Last but never least, Diamond, the Peregrine Falcon in the scrape box on the ground of Orange University laid her third egg this morning around 06:29. Will she lay 4 eggs like the female in Melbourne? or will this be it and she will start the hard incubation. We wait and watch.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care and stay safe. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB Pages where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam Project Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, the Friends of Loch Arkaig FB Group, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, and the Sea Eagle Cam@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Sydney White-Bellied Sea Eaglets

There was concern that siblicide was occurring on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is time to put those fears aside. Prey delivery has become regularized and the two are fed regularly, growing, and are becoming curious about what is happening outside the nest.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagles are Australia’s second largest bird of prey. They have a wing span of 1.8-2.2 metres or 6-7 feet. They weigh up to 4.2 kg or 9 lbs. The female is larger and weighs more than the male. This is known as reverse sex size dimorphism. The adults on the Sydney Olympic Park Ironbark Tree are Lady and Dad. There have been a succession of breeding couples using this tree nest for decades.

In 2021, WBSE 27 hatched on 29 July at 4:57 and WBSE 28 hatched 31 July at 5:48 pm. Just to remind you how tiny they were here are two images in those first few days.

In the first image WBSE 27 was not quite 24 hours old.

In this one, WBSE is not quite 24 hours old and WBSE 27 is almost 48 hours old. You can clearly see the egg tooth, the white piece on the tip of the beak that helps them break through the hard egg shell.

Now look at the two of them. WBSE 27 is on the right with WBSE 28 on the left. You can see how 48 hours difference in age impacts the growth of the juvenile feathers.

In terms of the development, we are entering weeks 5 and 6. By week 5, the chicks will still have their white down. Pin feathers will appear on the shoulders, the back and the wing tips. If you look at the image above you can see these dark feathers coming in on each of the chicks. They should be standing on both feet, checking out the nest, and trying to pick up food. They may start to flap their wings. As we get to week 6, more and more of the dark feathers will begin to show all over the chick’s body. They will preen a considerable amount of time per day. They will now do more wing flapping and standing on both of their feet without the aid of the wings. They will continue efforts at self-feeding (if allowed, Lady does love to feed them!).

Looking forward to developments during week 7, the chicks will do a lot more preening as the dark brown juvenile feathers will continue to grow over their entire bodies. It has to be really itchy – those feathers coming in. Their tail will become noticeable. When they sit they may spread their wings. You may see them begin mantling. They will become more steady on their feet. One notable change is the chick’s interest in grapsing twigs and food with their feet. They should continue to work on self-feeding but this, of course, depends on whether or not prey is left on the nest for them to practice.

WBSE 27 is standing nicely on his feet. WBSE 28 still has a crop from an earlier feeding. You can really see how many wing feathers are coming in. Just look at that little tail developing.

It looks like 28 has a bit of a food coma. 27 is busy looking at what is happening outside the nest.

WBSE continues to work on its balance. Notice how it is holding out its wings for balance. Often the birds will use the tip of the win to keep them steady on their feet. By the end of the 6th week, they should be standing without using the wings. WBSE 28 is working hard to do this.

WBSE is also curious as to what the adult is doing up on the branch. Notice how 28 is sitting with its wings loose to the sides. Sometimes I find that the chicks on the nest are actually ahead of the development scales for that week.

Lady has come a long way in her parenting skills. Both chicks wait their turn to be fed. She will give 28 a few bites and then 27 and then back to 28. This method has given the chicks food security and reduced the pecking of 28 by 27.

Lady always looks like she is smiling to me.

Here is the link to the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam.

Thank you so much for joining me. I know that there are so many people who love these little eagles and I wanted to reassure all that the nest is very calm and peaceful and the chicks are developing normally. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Monday in Bird World

If you are looking to take ‘decent’ photos of Canada geese, if it is a hot day in the afternoon, don’t bother. They are all taking siestas! Best time is in the morning and early evening. The Cooper’s hawks were not about either.

We had a lovely walk through the park anyway. It was just a beautiful end of the summer day i. The flowers are still blooming in the English Garden and there were more than eight people with their cameras cuddled up by the Bee Balm trying to see if they could catch a glimpse of a hummer. They were probably sleeping like the ducks.

Most of the time this pond is full of Canada geese. Not a one. A couple of lonely ducks out on the water.

This is the tower at the Duck Pond at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

All of the water features and the move from full sun to shade gardens made the stroll delightful. There were a few people wishing they could put their feet in the lotus pond.

So we drove to a different, small park. That is actually where we found the geese sleeping and alerted me to why we could not see them in the big park. Only a few were foraging in the grass.

The juvenile wood ducks are getting bigger! They have tripled in size in a couple of weeks.

The Mallards were so busy digging in the dirt under the bark they hardly noticed me.

What is she looking for?

They are sifting through the mud and bark near the pond searching for bugs, maggots, and anything else that they can feed on including little plants. The behaviour is perfectly normal!

This gentleman got back in the water and cleaned himself off later.

There were a few geese not sleeping. These were hot and stood at the edge of the pond drinking for about five minutes.

Then they decided to do a lot of preening.

Mr Crow was simply upset at everyone today. There were people having picnics not too far away. I wonder if he was looking for some treats? It was actually good to see that no one was feeding the ducks cakes and bread. The signs are working!

Gosh, isn’t this male Wood Duck lovely? What stunning colours and that big red eye.

Another one of the juvenile Wood Ducks.

This little male decided to swim right up so I could get a good shot of him. They have the most gorgeous patterning. The swept back crest and those iridescent feathers are just stunning. He had to be the most handsome male at the pond today.

He swam away.

And then he turned around again.

Male ducks are called ‘drakes’.

This is a male Wood Duck undergoing eclipse during the summer. During this time he will lose his beautiful male plumage but he will get it back in the fall. Some ducks are unable to fly when they molt. The females also molt too.

Oh, isn’t this female Mallard gorgeous?

She might not be as colourful as the male Wood Duck but she is always a beauty. Did you know that female ducks are called ‘hens’?

The Mallards were simply going crazy splashing up and down in the water today. It was like they were trying to shake the plants up from the bottom of the pond so they could eat them.

What a beauty. Just before she flew off.

All of the ducks will hatch their eggs, take care of their babies, molt, regrow their feathers, and everyone will hope to eat well before they migrate.

The ducks in the nature centres and parks are not ringed so that they can be counted if they are shot! We enjoy learning about their life cycles and watching their babies grow. Oh, I would not be popular in places where hunting is popular!

Just a some notes about what is happening in the rest of Bird World. The people running the Sydney Sea Eagle cam have turned it back on. They believe that the danger for WBSE 28 has passed. Both of the little sea eagles have been eating well and prey has been regular. This is fantastic news.

The last of the Black Storklings that was fed on the nest in Jegova County took an unusual flight path when it left for migration. And then,Julge decided not to fly but to get on a boat and it is now heading for Primorsk, Russia. It should be there on 31 August. Julge is the purple line showing in the middle of the sea on the Birdmap tracking. I hope that Julge is OK and corrects his flight path. It would be very cold in that northern part of Russia in the winter.

Diamond even accepted a Starling from Xavier today for her lunch. There has been lots of mating – sounds heard on the camera – but no egg yet.

This morning Idris was on the Dyfi nest defending it. What expressions came on this Osprey! His son, Dysynni has not been seen since Saturday the 28th at 10:57.

I know that lots of people like to plan trips – when we can travel again – to see the Osprey. It seems that those down in Poole Harbour, England have hit the jackpot. All of the migrating birds are stopping there to feed and rest. So think end of August – Poole Harbour!

Thanks for joining me today. Tiny Tot and Tiny Little are out somewhere making their way in the world. We want them to stay safe – all the birds – and all of you. Take care.

Thanks to the following for their screen cams where I took my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Project, The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University, Orange, and Cilla Kinross, the Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre and the folks running the BirdMap.

Late Tuesday happenings in Bird World

There is an excellent and rather cheeky article on the penthouse of our Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Meanjin Quarterly coming out of Australia. The author is Ester Anatolitis. It is outrageously funny and clever. Check it out!

For anyone who missed the news, the female at Collins Street laid that second egg today at 16:43. Yahoo!

I am posting a video that was shared on one of my Osprey FB groups today. There is a bit of foul language but it is the subject and the ‘heart’ of what is going on that is important and that is why I want you to find it and watch it. It also happened in Canada! Near Ottawa. A juvenile Osprey takes its first flight. Where does it land up? On the ground, of course! It is found by this couple who help it. If you have read my posts about Malin, this is what should have happened Thursday night. The wildlife rehabber should have been allowed access to the gate and stairs to get to the top of the tower with her binoculars. She could have found Malin and helped him – just like this couple did this Osprey!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/829595230542720/posts/1938586209643611

I was actually trying not to mention Malin for once but, this video caught my eye because it is the ‘right thing to do’. The man found the Osprey in the grass after its first flight. He helped the little one out of the grass. And flapped his arms and helped it until it could fly back to its nest. Bravo.

I am really keen on tracking and banding. Originally satellite trackers were used to study the foraging ranges of sea birds. In fact, that is precisely what is going on with the Royal Cam adults in New Zealand currently. More recently, however, trackers are used to study the migratory strategies and to identify the wintering grounds of several species. Others use them to study how weather conditions influence migration. This information and much more data like it will become paramount as we try to establish if the climate crisis has an impact on breeding and wintering grounds.

This is Karl II. Karl has been fitted with a satellite transmitter for a number of years. This is his last appearance of the nest that she shares with Grafiene in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The couple raised three healthy fledglings this year. Karl II was last seen on 22 August at 15:50. Satellite tracking indicated that Karl II was on his usual routing towards the Black Sea.

Karl II is an expert at migration. He travels from his breeding area in the Karula National Park in Estonia to spend the night in the Sebezhsky National Part in northwest Russia.

The latest transmission on the 24th shows Karl II travelled 278 km and is now near the Berezina River east of Minsk in Belarus.

The satellite tracking further showed that Karl II looked for food in the wet areas around the river and went to sleep in a forest on the bank of the river. It is an area known as the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve.

The following information was posted about the place where Karl II is located.

“It is situated on the flat watershed of the Baltic and Black Seas, in low valley in the basin of the Berezina River. Landscape is a mosaic of coniferous and deciduous forests, lakes, peatlands (60 %), rivers, floodplain and small arable fields. Climate is temperate continental, humid, precipitation total: 690 mm/year. Average annual air temperature is 5.2 °C.
The Berezina is the main river in the reserve, flowing through its territory for over 110 km. There are 7 small lakes with the total area being about 2000 hectares in the reserve. The flora comprises more then 2000 species with 804 species of vascular plants (42 rare for Belarus).”

“File:Spring day on the river Biarezina in April.jpg” by Maria Gnedina is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The female, Pikne, was the last fledgling to leave the nest for her migration. She loved being fed by dad. She is also the fledgling that has made the most straightforward routing. She flew from Latvia to Belarus and then on to the Ukraine. The map below shows the leg from Belarus to the Ukraine. She will do doubt be further still when her transmitter data is next recorded. In one day she flew 379 km.

Udu was confused in his travels. Everything seems corrected now. It is like driving a different way than Google Maps tells you and Google adjusts for the error. At the time of the latest satellite transmission, Udu had traveled 604 km in total. What the researchers are noticing is that while, Pikne is going the normal Asia Minor or Eastern route, Udu is heading towards Germany and the Western route. He was last in Poland heading southwest to Germany. This is very interesting.

There are issues, as I stated in an earlier posting, with the transmissions from the other male, Tuul. The transmission data showed little movement. I am awaiting news. It is possible that the transmitter is faulty.

The last combined image of the routes of the three for comparison.

At the same time I would like to show you what other information that the researchers and citizen birders can access. On the left hand side you can find the precise location of the bird, the speed they are travelling, and their altitude – just as if you were tracking a plane on FlightRadar. This particular information is for Pikne.

Things are not going well on the WBSE nest of Lady and Dad in the Sydney Olympic Park. Everyone was hopeful that the two sea eaglets, similar size, would get along and thrive. There was some bonking in the beginning but not a lot. That, however, has changed significantly because of the lack of prey delivered to the nest. WBSE 27 totally dominates the now much smaller 28. 27 is 27 days old and 28 is 25 days old. The rains started the issues related to prey delivery.

In the image below 27 has completely controlled the feeding and has a large crop. 28 was too frightened to try and eat.

Even when the parent is gone Little 28 is afraid to move. Like every little abused second or third hatch, 28 knows to keep its eyes open, to listen, and to keep its head down.

Little 27 waits til 28’s food starts making it sleepy and the little one moves up to the piece of prey left on the nest. 27 doesn’t care now. This is the perfect time for the parent to return to the nest and feed this baby who is so hungry.

The survival stories of our Ospreys Tiny Tot and Tiny Little are being played out on this nest in the life of 28. The Little one is starving. It needs food. It will be the first to self-feed. It is unclear if 28 got any of the food but it knows what to do. Let us hope that it is as clever as our two great survivors this year!

27 has fallen asleep. It is unclear if 28 was able to get any food. I somehow doubt it.

Lady returns. Wakes up the ‘beast’ and 27 begins hammering 28. This is turning into a horrible situation. Please send your positive energy that lots of food will come to this nest so that both are fed full! This little one needs to eat to survive.

This image was shot later in the day, hours after the morning attacks by WBSE 27.

I was told that a big fish had come on to the nest and both were fed well but I cannot find that in the footage of the streaming cam. What I do see is continued dominance and abuse by 27 over 28. No one will intervene.

I want to close with something nice because it is out there and we have to remind ourselves continually that there is ‘light’. At the same time, positive energy needs to go out to little 28 so that he can survive and thrive like Tiny Tot and Tiny Little.

One of the chicks destined to die of starvation on a nest was Tiny Little Bob, Blue 463, at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest in Cumbria. But, she didn’t. She lived to become the dominant one on the nest (as did Tiny Tot at Achieva). My last post had Blue 463 screaming her head off for a fish. Well, guess what? It worked! Dad, White YW, brought her in a really nice headless fish. Tiny Little went to bed with her crop full.

So when you think that the worst is happening with WBSE 28 just remember that the ones who survive do it by being clever, by watching and listening, learning how to overcome and get what they want ——— just like that big fish about to arrive on the Foulshaw Moss nest for her queen, Tiny Little!

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me. I hope you do not mind my including some repetition on the satellite tracking of the Estonian Black Storks. I wanted you to know where Karl II had been and is. Some do not read the newsletter every day and it is good to remember that banding and tracking are valuable tools in studying our beloved birds. I hope to have updated information on the Udu and Pikne’s locations tomorrow. Perhaps there will also be word on Tuul.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Eagle Club of Estonia, Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre, The Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam.