The Daisy Chronicles, Day 19

Daisy only took an hour break last evening (Day 18).

It was extremely hot on the nest reaching to more than 98 degrees F on the forest floor or 37 degrees C. Did you know that extreme heat can kill the embryos? just like extreme cold? My friend told me that the layers of down that Daisy folds over can protect the eggs from either. Daisy was awfully not yesterday. She was often seen panting.

Daisy had a few hours reprieve from any intruders after she returned from her foraging. After midnight they arrived. Then at 00:41 she had to defend her nest and eggs from a Bushtail Possum! Daisy lunged at the Possum just like she did the Ravens. Gosh, our little duck mother is very protective and brave. Someone caught the action of the Bushtail Possum, the Ringtail Possum and a Lizard! My goodness.

“Bushtail Possum eating” by yinzhou1 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

There appears to be no consensus as to whether or not the Bushtail Possums will harm the eggs. Many say they ‘hiss and look scary’ (my friend) but won’t be interested in the eggs while many individuals in Australia believe that the Bushtail have taken their eggs from the hen house.

The main streaming cam, cam4, that I watch continues to go offline. The cam operator for Twitch has moved it to focus on Daisy. Thank you. The Ringtail Possum continues to climb around the tree. Daisy may not take her break before sunrise because of them but after sunrise she runs a risk of the Ravens. That also applies to the afternoon if she leaves too early.

Here is a video – the image is grainy – of the Ringtail Possum coming up the tree to pester Daisy. I believe Daisy will wait to leave for her morning break until this possum goes into its nest and quiets down.

Daisy first started thinking about leaving for her morning foraging at 05:03 when she began tucking the down around her body. Then she stopped. Then she started again.

Wee get a wee peek at the eggs in the first image.

Daisy is very thorough.

She will move around the nest several times scooping up and pulling down and leaves over those 8 eggs.

She is almost done. This is her third swing around the nest.

Satisfied that the eggs are covered as best she can, our lovely little Duck – this brave duck – heads off for a quick breakfast.

She’s gone.

Sunrise is at 05:41 today. The temperature in the forest will range from 21 degrees C which it is presently to 31 degrees C mid afternoon. The wind is only 2 km/h so no creaks on the old Ironbark Tree today for Daisy! It could be a perfect day for the Sea Eagles to come and check on their nest. That is a horrible thought but they are due and the weather is good. Hopefully they will come when Daisy is away from the nest. Otherwise, she will flee leaving the eggs exposed.

While we wait for Daisy to return, there is some good news. When the camera maintenance is undertaken on the WBSE nest, there will be an attempt to remove the monofilament fishing line. They can’t go up while Daisy is incubating so it will not help the legs of her tiny goslings should they hatch and make their way to get off the nest. It could frighten Daisy and she might not return to the nest. It will, however, help the Sea Eagles – all of them. It must have come in one of the fish deliveries. This fishing line is so dangerous – along with the lead and the hooks.

It is cold on the Canadian Prairies which means the sun is shining! It is -17 C today. A good day for reading and hot tea. The summer solstice will occur at 02:58 on Wednesday the 22nd of December for Daisy. For North America the winter solstice is at 09:58 tomorrow, 21 December.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I will continue to monitor Daisy on the nest throughout the day and evening. Let us all hope it is boring and uneventful! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and also for their videos. Thank you to Pat for the alert about the possums and Dasha for turning the Twitch cam on Daisy instead of the wide view of the tree while the main cam is down. Much appreciated.

The Daisy Chronicles, end of Day 17

So far Daisy’s day has been incredible – beautifully boring. The wind and its gusts in the forest have rocked the big nest in the Ironbark Tree as she sleeps. Without sound it is impossible to know who is in the forest unless they come down low enough to see. Funny the Ravens stay up high. I wonder if Daisy did frighten them those two days? Still they wait hoping they will arrive when she is gone because they know what Daisy has hidden. Personally, I wish they would go on a holiday to Melbourne or Canberra for the next two and a half weeks.

The wind has picked up in the last few minutes. You cannot tell from the image below but that nest is really swirling around and the tops of the trees below are twisting and turning. Daisy is not phased. The clock on the streaming cam indicates that it is getting close to the time when the storms might begin. The forecast is for a 70% chance of a thunderstorm starting at 15:00 dropping to 50% at 16:00 and to 40% at 17:00. There is no more rain forecast after that. I hope we are lucky and Daisy just gets rocked a bit faster than usual but no rain.

It is so strange to see the trees whipping about and the nest almost twirling but there is no creaking. It must be loud in the forest.

With trees below the large nest twisting and turning, I was surprised when I looked down to see Daisy tucking the down in around her. Is she leaving her eggs in the middle of the afternoon? Do the dark skies make it appear later in the day? So many questions were going through my head. Daisy removed some more down and pressed it around the eggs.

At 15:28 Daisy prepares to leave to take a break and forage. You can just see one of the white eggs to the right, under her tail.

Bless her heart. She worked hard tucking and turning, making sure that not a single egg was exposed.

Wonder if the winds will drop some more leaves down on the nest? or will they blow some of the down off the eggs?

The tree was swaying and it was extremely gusty as Daisy headed to the rim of the nest to fly off.

I have to admit that I am a bit confused. Daisy has been so careful except for the past two mornings when she has returned after sunrise. Why leave now? If Daisy can leave and fly to go foraging then the Ravens can be flitting around the forest also. I hope they aren’t. Of course, my other concern is the rain – if it comes. Feeling helpless. We wait.

So far the wind has not blown the down off but it is whipping about the ends a bit.

It has been almost an hour between these two images and Daisy’s nest doesn’t look any different – and that is a good thing!

The sound surprised me. It came on around 17:27. The gusts are now are between 30 and 45 km/h but the prediction for rain has been removed. You can sometimes hear small bird vocalizations. Daisy has been away from the nest for two hours. Can you feel how tense this is making me? I really hope she knows more about those Ravens than I think I do!

At 17:46 I could hear the Pied Currawong. Then there were some Noisy Miners in the distance. The wind gusts are still strong.

The cam operator checked to see if the Sea Eagles, Lady and Dad, were still at the River Roost. They were not.

That said, it is still light in the forest, the birds seem to be waking up after the nastiness of the afternoon’s weather, and Daisy, our dear little duck, has been away for 3 hours. I hate to say it but it feels like she is pushing her luck. Sunset is at 20:04.

Like clockwork, the camera went off line in a huge gust. Daisy, I hope you get home safe to your nest.

Daisy returned to the nest at 19:11:56. She spent some time drying off before going over to incubate her eggs.

The wind had actually fluffed up the down.

Gosh, it felt good to see Daisy back on her eggs!

At 19:26:37 the cam operator zoomed in on something worrisome – both for Daisy and the Sea Eagles. It is a piece of monofilament fishing line on the nest. That should be removed. It is a direct human caused issue.

It is nearly 03:00 on the Canadian Prairie as the sun begins to set on Daisy and her 8 eggs in the great big sea eagle nest. The winds have quieted and there is no reason to believe that Daisy will leave the nest before midnight or that predators will come. Good night, Daisy! You are one lucky duck.

Thank you for joining me and for sending all your love and positive energy to Daisy. Tomorrow is Day 18. Day 18 out of 26-30. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Just a note: My report on Daisy will be sent out about 18:00 CDT tomorrow.

The Daisy Chronicles, Day 13

Ever since Daisy landed back on the nest this morning, I have been more than curious. Her neck was ‘huge’. This image is later but squint and see that floppy large ‘crop’! It is so big that it is catching the light and looks like a shiny ball almost in the centre of the picture. She looks like she is sleeping on a puff pillow.

Over the time Daisy has been on the nest, I have had conflicting reports about whether or not ducks have crops. I was told that they have an expanded esophagus as well as a gizzard.

I continued to research this because I was completely dumbfounded about Daisy. She has obviously foraged very well during the three hours she was away before dawn. That bulge looks like a crop – a term used with raptors – for a place to store food before it goes to the main stomach. So I found this image by Murray State University. The vet students were dissecting a wild duck. Do you see what I see? The arrows for the Empty Crop and the Esophagus point to the same place. If we look at our live duck, Daisy, I think it is safe to say that an extended esophagus is also a crop. Mystery solved. Daisy is literally ‘full to the brim’. Hopefully she will be quite content to wait til sunset not have to leave. It seems that the Ravens check at least twice a day to see if she is on the nest.

So far, it has been another wonderfully uneventful morning on Daisy’s nest. I just want to pinch myself. Could our little duck actually fledge those 8 ducklings to be?

A Noisy Miner came to visit. It is right on the branch that is illuminated – look right above Daisy. This bird will not harm Daisy – it doesn’t have the nicest voice but it will not hurt our Duck or her eggs!

Last clutch, everyone wished that Daisy had come to the nest earlier – in December – because that is when Lady and Dad seem to spend the most time on Goat Island. Lady loves Goat Island. Dad’s former mate liked a different location after fledging the eaglets. No sign of Dad or Lady at the River Roost so far today.

Daisy is just sleeping away with the warm sun shining down on her and her 8 eggs. Oh, what a little sweetheart.

It is after noon for Daisy. I cannot tell you how quiet the forest has been. It is positively wonderful. There is a gentle wind that rocks Daisy and her eggs. You can hear a plane fly over once in awhile. Blissful.

Here are some images that I enlarged so we can see Daisy better. She is so camouflaged in those images above that you can hardly make her out from the sticks.

Other Bird World News: Wow. Ervie, that incredible third hatch at Port Lincoln Osprey barge, is really flying. Fran Solly, Take2Photography, reports that Ervie’s tracker shows he is following Dad to go out when he goes fishing. ​Solly says that “He (Ervie) went around the corner to the main Bay and along the wharf. I’ve seen Mum and Dad both fish there.” Oh, Ervie, you are a survivor! At the Kisatachie National Forest Bald Eagle Nest, Anna broke one of the two eggs while landing today. While that is very sad, hopefully the other one will stay safe and hatch. One healthy eaglet is good! Last I checked there was not an egg on Samson and Gabby’s Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville, Florida. We wait. Anxiously.

Oh, I wish the NE Florida nest used a 24 hour clock!

Ferris Akel has cut down his streaming tour of last Saturday to show the Snowy Owls. For the people around the Finger Lakes of NY, Snowy Owls were a rarity. In Manitoba, you can often see 25 or 30 within a short distance during the winter. If you want to see these fluffy owls, here is the link:

Everything is alright in the world of Daisy. This is so wonderful. I will continue to monitor her until she leaves for her evening foraging. I hope this time is as quiet as the morning has been!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sea Eagles@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, NE Florida Bald Eagles and the AEF, and Murray State University.

The Daisy Chronicles, Day 11

Daisy opted to take 2 breaks. One right after sunset on Day 10, returning about two and a half hours later. She then incubated until 03:08 when she left for a morning break and foraging.

While Day was away, the little Ring-tail Possum was climbing around the branches of the tree gathering leaves for its nest and showing some curiosity about Daisy’s spot. I was so glad that it did not get too close to that fluffy down covering the eggs. It might like some of that softness for its own nest!

Oh, but look. Isn’t it cute? It will not hurt Daisy or her eggs (unless it does take the down because that is what is covering the eggs!).

Daisy returned at 05:38:10. Literally 10 seconds after sunrise. Amazing inner clock this little duck uses.

The camera operator caught WBSE flying around the River but they did not come to the nest in the old Ironbark Tree in Sydney’s Olympic forest.

That is the Parramatta River and that white streak over the trees in the foreground is a WBSE. There are other WBSE nests around the area so it might not have even been Lady or Dad.

The two Ravens came to the tree cawing trying to scare Daisy at 07:40:37. They were in the branches up above (you could not see them when the cam operator pulled back). Daisy took no notice of them – she had no reaction and they left within 30 or 40 seconds. I find this behaviour very interesting. This little duck is really getting smart.

It is currently around 09:45 on the nest and so far it has been a relative peaceful morning. Here are some images of Daisy on the nest.

Daisy looks so peaceful sleeping in the middle of all that fluffy down.

All I can hear in the forest are the Noisy Miners and some Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. Hopefully our beautiful little Pacific Black Duck – Daisy – will have another peaceful day incubating her eggs. Fingers crossed.

Thank you for joining me to check in on Daisy. I will continue to monitor the nest from now (16:49 until the wee hours of tomorrow morning) and I will post a very late night notice. Take care everyone. Send all your positive wishes to Daisy – they are working!

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

The Daisy Chronicles, Day 10 -11

Daisy has spent the day peacefully sleeping, pulling some down, and rolling eggs most of the day.

A Raven arrived on the nest at 16:40, cawed, and left by 16:41:43. Daisy did not seem agitated by its presence.

It is now 5 minutes since the Raven was at the nest, I heard it briefly further into the forest. Daisy continues to rest. She has been incubating the eggs since 21:55:42 last evening without a break. It is assumed that her strategy is to leave right after sunset, go to the river and forage. Last evening she covered her eggs well with the down but she needs more leaves. My eagle friend told me that the Ring-tail Possums were up in the tree getting leaves for their nest which is below Daisy’s. She wished they would drop some of their leaf load for Daisy. Wouldn’t that be splendid?!

Daisy took her first break at 20:01:33. Six minutes earlier than the day prior. She returns at 22:32:40.

Daisy decided to take another break in the middle of the night. She flew off at 03:08. Great idea. She is currently still away but she will return before dawn! What an intelligent young duck. She’s pretty much got it. By going foraging right after sunset and right before sunrise not having to leave during the day but having had two feedings herself, she just might do this!

It is such a privilege and a blessing to be able to watch this amazing and brave little duck try to have ‘a family.’ She is working so hard – so many of you have written wanting a miracle for our darling Daisy. It would seem that everyone is both excited and frightened at the prospects. So for now, let us just revel in the fact that so far today, on Day 10, that all is well. It has been relatively quiet. The Raven came once but Daisy didn’t even flinch. So far Dad and Lady have not shown up so that Daisy has to scramble off her eggs. There is much to be thankful for today.

It is 03:36:45. I am expecting Daisy to return in about an hour. My next report will come late today. There were few close ups of Daisy yesterday. I included the 2 during the time the cam operator zoomed in on Daisy at the end of the evening. Isn’t she just beautiful?

Thank you so much for stopping by and checking in on our favourite duck. It is now Day 11. Take care everyone. See you soon.

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

The Daisy Chronicles, Day 9 continued

The Ravens came around 09:37. They were in the branches of the Ironbark Tree where Daisy has her nest. They made loud noises, stayed for a couple of minutes and left. They never went down to the nest. The day was relatively uneventful until the Ravens returned at 15:52. Daisy froze. They made loud ‘caws.’ They sounded frightening. From the camera position I could not tell where on the tree the Corvids were. Daisy turned around once as if they had moved behind her and then, they were gone. Throughout the day Daisy has been plucking more down off her breast and sides.

It has been reported that the White-Bellied Sea Eagle couple, Dad and Lady, that ‘own’ the nest Daisy has her eggs in have left Goat Island. The cam operator looked over at River Roost and they were there.

Hard to see but 2 white dots on tree middle ground 1/4 in from left edge – those are the WBSE

Meanwhile, Daisy is snoozing. She has spent a lot of time today sleeping which is really good since she had less than 3 hours to forage. It doesn’t take a lot of her energy to incubate. Hopefully she won’t have to use what she has to escape from the WBSE if they show up or if the Ravens return before dark.

No predators came. Daisy spent much time putting down between the eggs before she flew off the nest for her break at 20:07:47. So she left just a minute or so after sunset. The nest looks nicely covered. Well done, Daisy!

Thank you so much for joining me. Tomorrow is Day 10 for this brave little duck. Take care.

Thank you to the Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for its streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Catching up with Miss Daisy

You will remember from my earlier posting today that our favourite little duck, Daisy, got home to her nest at 19:03. A couple of hours later and not having any evening contact with the mated pair of White Bellied Sea Eagles, Daisy was relaxing. And then BooBook Owl came and scared the wits out of her. She did not leave her nest but she got in defensive posture ready to protect her nest. At first Boo flew low right over Daisy on the nest. It is 20:51:40.

In the image below, Boo is nothing more than a blur as she flies directly over the centre of the big sea eagle nest. She is so close that she almost touches Daisy when she does the fly through.

The blur of BooBook Owl.

Daisy immediately gets into defensive posture. Boo circles the nest flying around the branches, going round and round. It keeps Daisy attentive and moving with the small owl. She always wants to know where the owl is. At 21:06:35 Boo lands on one of the small branches up near the top right corner of the image below. You can see the legs on the branch but not clearly. Look carefully. The left leg appears lighter than the right.

Defensive posture.
Boo moves closer down the branch to have a good look at Daisy.

BooBook Owl finally decides to sit closer to Daisy. Now you can see the eyes, the beak and the left leg along with the little owl’s body.

Boo is a nuisance to our Daisy, right now. She is also curious about this little duck in the sea eagle nest. Boo is used to bumping into the eagles in the night often injuring Lady’s eye. Boo is especially aggressive when she has her own nest of babies, November-December, and would love it if she could harass the sea eagles enough to get them to leave the forest. Fat chance on that happening!

BooBook Owl courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Boobook is the smallest owl in Australia. Owls are nocturnal so that is why Boo only pesters Daisy after dark. Boo will hunt all kinds of insects and very small mammals such as mice, small bats, and moths. Boo is about 27-36 cm tall or 10-14.5 inches, and weighs only 140-360 grams or 5 ounces to 12.6 ounces. The wings span ranges from 188-261 mm, or 7-10 inches. In comparison, remember that the White-Bellied sea eagle is the largest bird in Australia with a wing span of 2-2.3 metres, standing 80-90 cm tall and weighing 2.5 to 4 kg. Pacific Black Ducks are approximately 54-61 cm or 21 to 24 inches in length and they weigh 1025-1114 grams or 2.25 to 2.4 pounds. Daisy is bigger than Boo but the most important thing for her right now are her precious eggs and their protection. Boo could make a terrible mess and while the little owl does eat insects and bats along with mice, it might also be interested in Daisy’s eggs.

The sea eagles did not show up this morning. They were at Goat Island and it was raining and windy. Daisy’s morning was, as posted earlier, rather uneventful til she starting listening and raising her neck listening to the vocalizations from the other birds in the forest.

At 9:29 the ravens arrive. You cannot see them but Daisy heard them coming and knows they are about on the nest tree. The little duck immediately goes into a defensive posture. Notice, in the image below, how she has fanned out her tail and she has her feathers puffed up. This makes her look larger.

The Unkindness stay for approximately twenty minutes. Daisy moved as they did, just like she did when Boo was on the nest tree. She always kept her head tucked, her tail fanned, and her other feathers puffed.

As the day wore on, there were periodic showers on the nest. Daisy did some housekeeping, moving leaves closer to the nest in case she needed them for cover.

By noon, Daisy was relaxed and ready to take a wee bit of a rest. She tucks her bill in under her wing for warmth. Instead of being 40 degrees C like it was two days ago, today it is only in the low 20s with showers. What a change in temperature!

Daisy begins sweeping the leaves toward the nest and tucking the now dry down inside. She is preparing to go foraging. It is 13:58:14. This is quite a bit earlier than the last several days.

Daisy has camouflaged her nest well. In with the fluffy down are some leaves and twigs.

Leaves and twigs help hide the nest.

It is now 16:04 and Daisy has not returned to the nest. She often returns around 19:00 or 20:00 right before dusk but when she has left this early she has come back around 16:45. One day Dad had arrived and she had to abort her landing on the nest to avoid him seeing her. I wonder when she will come home today?

Thank you so much for joining Daisy and her adventures in the big sea eagles nest!

Thank you to Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for providing the cameras where I did my screen captures.

Daisy ducks!

No sooner than I had posted my last update on Daisy, than the little duck got busy covering her eggs and going to forage. The time was 14:41:26. It is in the normal range of when she leaves the nest. Sometimes she has not returned until dusk because she knows she will avoid the sea eagles. Now that she is getting nearer to hatch, will she stay away that long?

Covering the nest

As she leaves she finds some down that she has missed when restoring her nest. She loosens it from the twigs and pulls it down to the floor of the nest.

This time Daisy has tucked the down and added some leaves at the side. She tried to fold the top onto itself but not getting it tight like she did during the early stages of her incubation. Let us hope that the gusts of wind do not pull the down apart leaving the eggs open to eating or destruction by the Ravens or the Currawongs.

You can compare the next image below to the one right above. Look at the fluffy light down. Looks like it has twinkly stars embedded in it.

Well the rain became heavier and made its way through the canopy of leaves.

There isn’t much difference in the image above and the one below except for the down covering Daisy’s nest. It has begun to rain just a little harder with more of the drops making their way through to the nest. Daisy’s nest looks so wet and so sad without her in it. It is 17:50. Wonder how much longer she will stay away? It is 20.3 degrees and rain is forecast through Sunday.

The protective down gets very wet.

Daisy returned to her nest at 19:03, an hour before sunset. She was a very wet duck! The nest was soaked and the down was a solid wet glob.

Daisy is a little soaked.

Daisy settled in at the task in hand. Daisy was away from the nest for five hours. The sea eagles did not return at dusk. Whew! But, two hours later, once it is dark, BooBook Owl comes to call and scares Daisy by flying from branch to branch.

Ducking!

Daisy flattens herself over her eggs increasing the size of her body and extends her neck. She is in protective mode. Boo bothers her for about a minute and a half and Daisy goes back to incubating her eggs.

The old Ironbark Tree where Daisy’s nest is located.

It is now 7:34 in the Sydney Olympic Park. The heat from Daisy’s body and the wind have dried out the down. The sea eagles did not arrive. They have been spotted at Goat Island. That does not mean that they will not return. It just meant that Daisy didn’t have to scurry from the nest before dawn. A good way to start the day, nice and relaxed.

Daisy and the down have dried. Rain is forecast for today.

It may look boring but a boring, quiet day without any visitors to Daisy is a good day! Let us all hope that it stays that way for her.

Yesterday, some of you noticed that Lady didn’t like the down. It looked like is was sticky. Now we know that sea eagles do eat birds so, Lady would be very familiar with feathers. But she might not know about eiderdown. This is what I was told from someone very familiar with ducks and geese, “Cling is an attribute of eiderdown and very mature goose down, also known as”sticky down”. “Cling” is found when tiny hooks develop on the individual filaments of a down cluster”. I immediately thought of Cling film that we pull over bowls and things to keep food fresh. It sticks to itself and to the bowl. Well, that is precisely what Daisy’s down did to Lady. It must cause Lady a lot of confusion. And, you know what? That is OK. I know that this is Lady’s nest where she raises her eaglets. But Daisy is not a threat to the sea eagles or their babies. Yes, she chose their nest but this might have been because she lost all of the ducklings in her first brood this season and she wanted to see if this nest might help see some of them to hatch. I know that each and every one of you are cheering our little duck forward.

One of Daisy’s fans also sent a video for all of you to watch. A Mandarin duck made her nest on the balcony of an apartment twenty-stories up from the ground. It is an amazing video showing how the people of this city came together to help the ducklings. Have a look!

Daisy wants to thank all of her friends wishing her success. People have joined her from Canada, the United States, Australia, Mexico, Poland, Croatia, China, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. Check back for updates. We are getting closer and closer to hatch!

Thank you to Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for providing the camera for the screen captures.

Oops. Too close for comfort!

Before I bring all of you up to date on our cute little duck, Daisy, Daisy wants to thank everyone from Canada, the US, Australia, and all the people from Poland who are concerned about her and come to check on how her day has been going. The last 20 hours have been anxious ones for Daisy.

Zanim opowiem wam wszystkim o naszej uroczej małej kaczce, Daisy, Daisy chce podziękować wszystkim z Kanady, Stanów Zjednoczonych, Australii i wszystkim ludziom z Polski, którzy się o nią martwią i przyjeżdżają sprawdzić, jak minął jej dzień. jechałem. Ostatnie 20 godzin było niespokojnych dla Daisy.

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It had been so hot on the nest, with the temperature rising to 36 C, that Daisy took another break, yesterday, at 16:14:38. It had only been four hours since she returned from her last break. The heat is very hard on Daisy. She has lost so much weight and her stores of calcium creating eggs, laying them, and now brooding. And unlike other mated pairs of birds, she has no one to bring her food to the nest or to relieve her. Daisy is all alone. There is no one to even protect her from predators except herself. And the predators are lurking about today.

Daisy sitting in the hot sun before she takes her break.
Daisy carefully covers up her nest of eggs with lots of leaves and other plant material.
Daisy using her bill to get more leaves to cover her nest.
Only a little bit of down is showing!

While Daisy is away dabbling, one of the White Bellied Sea Eagles flies in to check on the nest.

Dad sits on the branch at 20:04:58

WBSE ‘Dad’ looked out all over his territory and waited by the nest right at dusk to see if anyone was there. But no one! You don’t see anyone on the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest, do you?

Daisy was very lucky.

Daisy returned to the nest at 20:15:36. Our little duck might not be a permanent resident of the forest but she has learned how to listen and tell when the big eagles are about. She waited until she was certain that Dad would not be returning. They missed one another by eleven minutes!

Daisy carefully returns to her nest.

The sun had completely gone down by the time Daisy returned to her nest. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that ducks are not smart. So far she has used all of the powers that she has to keep her and her eggs safe. And we have also learned something. Daisy has much better night vision that the sea eagles. In the image above she is carefully returning to her nest. She does not want to drawn any attention to where her eggs are.

There are no visitors to Daisy’s nest during the night. She is awake many times preening or turning her eggs. The sun will be coming up in about half an hour.

Daisy is awake on her nest at 15:53.

It is going to be 40 degrees in Homebush Bay, Australia where the duck nest in the Ironbark Tree is located. I wonder if Daisy will go out to forage and cool down before dawn?

Daisy thinks she has heard something in the forest.

Daisy decided against going out to forage. But at 5:50 am, she raises her neck. She has heard something!

Daisy has a split second to get off her eggs before the Sea Eagle lands on the nest! In the image below you can see her flying directly off the eggs to get out of the way of danger.

Daisy flies directly off the nest and out of the tree.

Daisy had no time to cover up her eggs. The White Bellied Sea Eagle lands just as Daisy clears the big branch. It is 5:50 am.

Daisy had to leave the eggs uncovered,

The White Bellied Sea Eagle walks over to check on the nest and look around.

First of the sea eagles lands and looks around.

In a few minutes the second White Bellied Sea Eagle comes to the nest in the old Ironbark Tree. In unison, they both look down at the eggs.

For some time, the sea eagles have appeared utterly confused by what is happening in their nest. Who has laid these eggs? Where are they? Who are they?

I often wonder if they think it is a bigger bird trying to take over their territory. There is, of course, no concern that a tiny little duck would want to do that.

Utterly confused.

Both of the sea eagles look like they are talking to themselves. One of my friends thinks that this could be a very funny conversation between Dad and Lady with Dad trying to explain to Lady that he has nothing to do with these eggs.

WBSE look like they are having a confab.

Once again, the White Bellied Sea Eagles do not disturb the nest. They are curious about the intruder into their territory but they do not appear to be hostile to the eggs. It is all quite interesting.

For a few minutes both of them are on one of the branches of the big Ironbark Tree. You can barely make out one on the branch that cuts through the middle of the right hand side of the image.

Sea Eagles stay on the tree watching.

At 5:57 the sea eagles do the second of what is known as the ‘duet’. It is a morning greeting for the sun. At the same time it is also a sound they make when they are defending their territory. It is a series of honks.

Lady leaves at 6:11 but Dad stays on the branch for at least another hour. Meanwhile, Daisy eggs are exposed. It is 21.8 degrees C.

Exposed duck eggs.

Daisy returns at 7:50:11 and once again is very careful when she gets on her nest. She has no more than relaxed and she begins to hear a commotion in the forest coming towards the nest tree. She raises her head to listen carefully.

Daisy listens to see who is coming.

Daisy listens very careful. It is the Ravens. The Unkindness comes to the tree at 7:58:06. They are cawing and Daisy is afraid. She fans out her feathers to not only make herself look larger than she is but also to protect her nest. Just like raptors protect their food, mantling.

Daisy stays still. You can see one raven on the top right.

The ravens leave after about ten minutes returning in half an hour to harass Daisy again. They want her to get off her eggs so they can eat them! Daisy remains still turning in the nest so that she can always see where the ravens are.

Whew! In the period of two and a half hours, Daisy has been frightened off her nest by the WBSE and has had two visits by the Ravens. It is getting hotter and hotter for our little duck. She is going to have to come and go often today if she is to stay cool. The humidity is 98% and the temperature is climbing steadily up to 40. Right now the nest is in the shade. It is nearly 11 am and maybe Daisy will now have a quiet day. The Ravens and the WBSE should be trying to find a spot to stay cool for the day.

I have checked with a person who knows about eggs. The Ironbark Tree is a very deep and wide tree. It actually holds the heat. Daisy’s nest is right in the middle. Even though she did not get to cover her nest and despite the fact that it was only 21 or 22 degrees C then, it is thought that the down and the warmth from the WBSE nest would have kept the eggs sufficiently warm. This is Day 15 of incubation. Let us hope so! The individual that told me about the temperature said that they were worried if the eggs got too hot from being exposed to direct sunlight. We learn something every day!

Thank you for joining Daisy. She hopes to have a nice quiet albeit hot day in the Sydney Olympic Park forest. I will provide an update if anything should happen in about six or seven hours. Otherwise Daisy and I will see you tomorrow. Good night. Stay safe!

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Thank you to Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for the cameras where I took my scaps.

Ravens threaten Daisy!

Daisy’s Monday morning in Australia (Sunday in North America) started out as beautifully as it ended the evening before. She had gone to forage returning at 19:45 yesterday evening. It appears to be a growing pattern, leaving in the heat of the afternoon and returning right before dusk. This pretty much ensures that she will miss the sea eagles if they come.

While she was away yesterday, the Rainbow Lorikeets came to visit Daisy, full of energetic chatter but, at the same time, wondering where she was! They are so cute. They almost look like stuffed plushies someone has placed on Daisy’s nest tree.

Where’s MY Daisy?

It is going to be hot again today for Daisy. They are predicting temperatures of 34 climbing to 39 tomorrow. Our pour little duck needs a paddle pool up there with her!

Daisy decided not to leave this morning for a bathroom break or to forage. Instead, she stayed on the nest. The Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos can be heard around 7:15 but it is an Unkindness that rattles Daisy’s world at 8:04. A group of Ravens is called an Unkindness and they were certainly not nice to Daisy. In fact, they were downright threatening. They moved from the top of the tree down closer. It was impossible to get am image of them in the tree (see second image below) but their shadows could be seen and their noise was deafening. Daisy was so frightened.

Australian Raven. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Look at the image below. Notice that Daisy has spread her feathers out in a manner similar to when a raptor mantles its prey. Her tail is fanned out and the feathers on her back are raised. She is protecting her clutch of eggs from these predators. The Ravens try harder and harder to get Daisy off her nest of eggs so they can eat them!

Daisy flattens her feathers and her head against the nest.

The Unkindness bullied Daisy trying to get her off her nest for five minutes. It must have seemed like a life time. And then they were away!

Except for the heat, the rest of the day has been relatively uneventful. The birds and animals of the forest are trying to expend as little energy as they can and remain cool in the hot Australian heat.

Daisy gathers up leaves and methodically covers her clutch of eggs and flies off to forage at 13:04:44.

Daisy leaving her nest to forage.

Notice how Daisy has moved leaves over on top of her down and tucked it in tight today. She might be worried about the Ravens coming back to try and find her nest. Or maybe she thinks the sea eagles might stop in to see if anyone is incubating the eggs.

Daisy flies from the nest.

Look at the image above. You can just see Daisy flying off. It got really hot on the nest today. The afternoon is the worst. Daisy left a little earlier than usual. Eggs are incubated at 37.5 degrees. It is possible that the heat from outside and the down stuffed around could keep the eggs toasty warm until later today. I wonder if Daisy will return around 17:00 or if she will wait til almost dusk.

Update: It was a very short foray for Daisy. She was gone only until 14:32 – so under an hour and a half. When she returned it looked like she was pretending like she had just landed on the nest. Like always, she looked around and walked very slowly before going over to her nest. What I find interesting is that she does not immediately move the leaves or open the down. It is always like she is simply waiting a little more being overly careful. Daisy is so cautious. What a good little mother!

Thank you for joining us and checking in on the little duck that built her nest inside the nest tree of the big sea eagles.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for the cameras that provided the images.