Ervie, Indigo…and more news in Bird World on Sunday

13 November 2022

Good Morning Everyone.

Saturday was one of those quiet stay-at-home days. It gave me a chance to think of the ways that those of us who live in wintery climates cope with the weather. As it is, the sow is dancing down right now. The European Starlings are eating suet and Butter Bark and Mr Crow cawed so much that I gave him high protein kitten kibble. Oops. The Starlings have found the kibble!

Inside the house, the candle holders have been cleaned and given new candles. An apple crisp is in the oven. So, instead of starting out birds today, we will begin with something simple to make your house cosy on a crisp day. Put 1 sliced orange and 1 sliced lemon in a 2 litre (qt) pot. Leave the peel on – that is where the lovely oils are. Add a few bay leaves, 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks, a good tablespoon of cloves, and cover the whole with water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer. You can add water as needed. I used to add tea bags to the brew. It is a lovely spiced tea but needs some straining. The other thing you can do is to take the peels of your oranges and lemons and use them. I always have bags in the freezer! It is part of a strategy to have zero waste.

Making News:

Our darling Ernie. Poster child of handsome beginning to do some moulting.

For the very first time successful fledges at Maine’s Hog Island Boathouse Osprey platform. Dory and Skiff are making the news! Congratulations to this Osprey couple who successfully fledged three osplets from the Hog Island Osprey platform this year. What an amazing family this was to watch.

Oh, so very grateful to Cilla Kinross for finding Indigo and showing us how this handsome lad is doing after fledging. Isn’t he a stunner?

Tweed Valley fledged three ospreys this year. Two of them have perished. The other, Glen, found himself on a couple of container ships before finally making it to Spain! Here is the latest on this youngster.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-63584969?fbclid=IwAR1vsE2ErGcB71e711Z9k01Xt4GWUC4PDPCn03KH3yCzRLdl3MECQnPSDz8

In the Mailbox:

‘EJ’ sent me some grand news. It is amazing what we can do when we get together to help benefit the environment and wildlife. A community joined together and raised 2.2 Million GPB to purchase a tract of land to enlarge a nature reserve. Just think – this could be a way of halting development in areas that are needed by the wildlife. Is there land where you live that is adjacent to a nature reserve that could benefit from such an endeavour? Keep this positive action in mind if ever you get a chance to work with your community.

File:The Ewes Water Valley – geograph.org.uk – 1538379.jpg” by James T M Towill is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

You can read about this successful project here:

https://www.scotsman.com/heritage-and-retro/heritage/langholm-moor-ps22-million-raised-to-complete-community-buyout-3793764

Australian Nests:

All eyes are on Port Lincoln. Ian Falkenberg was up at midnight finishing up the permit forms – that myriad of red tape that Port Lincoln has to do in order to ring the osplets on the nests. Fran and Bazza said that he was up again at 0600 getting ready. So, today, Big, whether you like it or not you will be weighed, measured, hopefully a sample of your blood is taken for DNA, and you will be given a sat pak. Big, we all know that you are one big cranky girl that won’t let any bird get in your way. You are now the only hope of Port Lincoln for 2022 – you carry a heavy responsibility. Please do not ever land on a hydro pole no matter how much you might want to.

Ian Falkenberg has made the call to postpone putting the tracker and ringing until later today or tomorrow. This cannot be done in wet weather. In addition, it really is now or never. In the UK, birds are not banded after 45 days because of the great fear of scaring them off the platforms and fledging early.

Mum and her ‘Big’ Girl crying out to Dad.

Dad brought a fish in around 0815. Big kind of rushed Mum once she had the fish. Mum got the catch anchored to her talon and flew around the nest arriving on the other side where she had control of the fish. It was headless so Dad has his share, too. Mum and Big had a nice chunk.

A small headless fish arrived around 1515.

The rain began. Mum and Dad had been perched together. Mum flew over to the nest to Big and Dad joined them at 19:44.

It appears that three of the Melbourne Four have now fledged. One remains at night and some of the others show up on the ledge for prey deliveries.

At Orange, Rubus is shedding many of the dandelions and is watching for Xavier and Diamond to deliver prey. They do not disappoint. Here was yesterdays recap from the moderators: RECAP 10 41 15 D w/ prey, Rubus takes; 11 25 12 X w/prey, D arrives/feeds: 13:31:22 X w/juv star, feeds, X takes: 16:30:10 X w/prey, feeds 18 53 31 Xw/prey, Rubus takes, D arrives , tug o war, D feeds.

There was a tug o war and lots of excitement. Just look at how much of the baby fluff is now gone.

Other Bird News:

One of the things that changes for me – during the winter – is that I do not travel on the roads as much nor do I go to the nature centre 5 days a week for a walk. Saturdays become very quiet and one of the joys is having Ferris Akel in the background doing his live stream around Wildlife Drive, Montezuma, Sapsucker Woods, and Ithaca, New York. We have a few ducks still in the City and a few geese were flying overhead this evening. Someone even has a Baltimore Oriole in their garden today – with the snow! I am, however, having duck withdrawal and Ferris does seem to find them this time of year! I really recommend Ferris Akel’s tours on Saturdays beginning about noon Eastern time. Ferris is humble always saying he doesn’t know this or that but, he does. I have learned so much for him. In fact his tour is often on in the background to whatever else I am doing. You can also check out some of the archived tours of Ferris by going to YouTube and entering Ferris Akel Live.

‘A’ said that she had learned to embrace ‘brown’ never realising that there are so many shades and hues. Fantastic! That brings me great joy. Most of the female birds are considered dull compared to the flamboyant colours of some of the male species. Here is a female Ruddy Duck. Just look at all those wonderful browns and tans, there is a touch of caramel and espresso, and that lovely sort of grey-brown.

All of the birds are at a great distance from where Ferris is streaming. The images are then quite soft. Nonetheless, I hope that you enjoy the few that I am including.

Just a slightly different angle.

A female Shoveler. You can never mistake a Shoveler for a Mallard. Just look at that bill. It is massive in comparison to the size of the head.

There were American Coots and I know that none of us will ever make the mistake of saying a Coot is a duck. It isn’t.

Oh, how I love Sandhill Cranes. They glean the farmer’s fields just after the seed crops have been harvested. There are many in Southern Manitoba in October doing this exact same thing. Gorgeous.

I don’t blame the Canada Geese getting out of Canada. Gosh, golly, it looks like much more fun in the pond at Sapsucker Woods than it is walking around in the snow in Canada and not finding any food.

What shocked me is precisely how much smaller the geese are when compared to the swans.

Just look at that. It makes the Canada Geese look like miniature ducks. Seriously. And I have always thought of them as large.

There was a juvenile Bald Eagle lurking about at Sapsucker Woods also.

Looking for some lunch?

No 6 The Red List: The Hawfinch

Ah, this is another one to pull out those shades and hues of brown. With its head the colour of rust or Corten Steel, its black bib and black eye surround, and heavy beak, this beautiful little bird, the Hawfinch, has a jaw and beak so strong that it can exert pressure of more than 50 kilograms on a seed! The strong triangular beak is black in the winter changing to a blue-black in the summer. Notice the rusty head in comparison to the grey-brown back and that intensive brick-brown eye. Both males and females are similar in appearance.

Hawfinch bill

Hawfinches like to live in woodland where they will feed off various hard seeds. Some, if you are lucky, can be found around gardens eating cherries. The male builds the nest out of dry twigs and grasses lining it with lichen. The female will take over in roughly a fortnight.

Today there are less than 1000 breeding pairs of Hawfinch in the UK. There are a number of causes. Nest predation by Jays and Grey Squirrels is one of these. In Wales, the culprit has been trichomonosis. Trichomonosis is an infectious disease caused by the parasite Trichomonas gallinae. The parasite attacks the upper digestive tract, mainly the crop and esophagus making it difficult for the bird to eat. It can also impact the liver, lungs, and air sacs. The fourth hatch at Melbourne last year died of trichomonosis as did the Mum at the Janakkalan Osprey nest in Finland this past summer.

That’s it for today. I hope that each of you have a wonderful weekend. It looks like it could be dry at Port Lincoln so maybe, at the age of 57 days, Big will be ringed and get that sat pak. We wait to see.

Thank you for being with me. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams which make up my screen captures: Friends of Osprey, Audubon, Cilla Kinross and the Orange, Australia Peregrine Falcon FB, BBC, Tweed Valley Ospreys, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Ferris Akel Tours.

Early Sunday in Bird World

2 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

It is going to be 21 degrees C on the Canadian Prairies. Just a fabulous autumn day to be outside checking on the geese and the ducks and other birds that are migrating through the area. That is where I am headed shortly. It is so rare to get this kind of weather in October that it has to be enjoyed.

I want to thank everyone, before I forget, for all their letters and comments. Much appreciated!

In the Mailbox:

I have had word that it will be a long time before anything can be confirmed about the eagles and ospreys on Captiva/Sanibel. Individuals have seen both eagles and ospreys flying in some of the news broadcasts from the area. The area was more or less completely destroyed I was told. So sad for everyone’s property but thrilled that the raptors appear to be around.

Several have written in to ask if there is something wrong with Mum’s eye at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge? Thank you, ‘M’ for the image of Mum!

What you are seeing is the nictitating membrane or third eye lid. This thin membrane helps the Ospreys to see under water and instead of lowering this third eye lid, it raises up from the bottom. You will often see the birds pull up the nictitating membrane when they are resting. Some people call them a windshield/windscreen. Their function is to hold in the lubricating fluids of the eye. — So there is absolutely nothing wrong with Mum’s eyes!

Making News:

A recent poll in the UK reveals that the majority of individuals believes that nature is in need of protection! While I do not have a crystal ball, it seems that this might be the sentiment in most countries in the world. So why is there not being more done to protect the land and the wildlife – not just words – but action?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/30/most-uk-adults-think-nature-is-in-urgent-need-of-protection-poll

Cornell Bird Lab reminds us that October 8 is Big Day for Bird Counting.

Here is how you can take part:

https://ebird.org/news/october-big-day-2022#:~:text=Mark%20your%20calendars%20for%20October,birds%20to%20bring%20people%20together

The Tweed Valley Osprey Project has given an update on Blue 694, a fledgling, seen in Portugal!

https://forestryandland.gov.scot/blog/osprey-update-29-september?fbclid=IwAR2DpHTcmnVUilg0fnubkJ2CgXBsTLFLADdXdpZdKJ4HPflqdvep8_RjknE

Mr Kes at the Robert Fuller nests in the UK has a new mate!

Nest News:

If you are a fan of Big Red and Arthur, the Red-tail Hawks on the Cornell Campus, then you will be thrilled to hear that L4 was caught on Karel Sedlacek’s streaming cam catching a squirrel yesterday. This is the longest that any of this popular couple’s fledglings has ever been seen on campus. It is fantastic.

The osplets at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge just seem to be ravenous. Big Bob is 2 weeks old and they are entering their big growth spurt and consuming more and more fish will help that. Dad brought a small-medium fish in at 1334 and it was completely gone by 1400. At first Big Bob was right up there followed by Little Bob. Little Bob got a couple of good bites and then Middle joined the line. Middle had the advantage in terms of position with Middle and Little seemingly getting all the bites. I wondered when Big would tear into them but s/he didn’t and all left the table with crops. I wondered about the heat – it is 19 degrees C in Port Lincoln and they are in the direct sun. They had a nice meal and that is all that counts. What was interesting was that both Big and Middle made attempts to pick at the fish themselves! Keep the fish coming in, Dad!

The three had another fish and finished it off around 1900. Look closely. Little Bob is losing his soft light grey downy coat. Oh, he will be a reptile soon!

It was really hot up in the scrape box at 367 Collins Street. Mum was just panting and it appears that both Mum and Male2 provided the eyases with some much needed shade until the sun was no longer on the scrape.

Yesterday I said something that confused one reader and I presume more, so my apologies. The couple at the Melbourne 367 Collins scrape are both new parents. I had been watching the old couple for about 5 years -.

What I ascertained from the 13:13 feeding is that it is possible the male has now served as a umbrella to shade the chicks, is bringing in prey for the female and the chicks, and has fed them. I admit to being completely confused by these two unless they are side by side and I can see the line of black in the white at the neck of the male. Both have extremely dark heads. The be all end all of this is that we should not be worrying. These first time parents are working this out and it seems that male2 will be another ‘saviour’ like Xavier.

They are soooooo cute!

Everyone is wondering whether or not Xavier and Diamond will have a second hatch at the scrape box on the water tower in Orange. Big Bob (or Only) is only a day old. Yes, many times falcon eggs hatch within 24 hours of one another but, that not happening in Orange does not mean it can’t. The last two years Xavier and Diamond have had only one hatch out of three eggs – Izzi in 2020 and Yurruga in 2021. It is common for not all of the eggs to hatch – there is one egg still in the 367 Collins Street scrape that hopefully will not hatch!

Mum and Dad have done wonders with SE29 and 30 this year. Big beautiful eaglets ready to fly.

I love this image of SE29 up on the parent branch with Lady. SE29 has ‘officially’ been declared as branching at 1445 on Saturday. Thanks, ‘J’.

Thank you for being with me this morning as we check on all the action that happened late Sunday in Australia. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts that make up my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab, Robert E Fuller, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

4 eggs for Melbourne, Victor is moved outside and other news in Bird World…Monday morning

30 August 2022

What happened to August? It seems as if we blinked and it flew by. Despite the heat there is a look about the leaves on the trees and the wilting of the tomato plants despite their being well watered that is alerting us to the end of summer, not just the calendar. There is another 9 or 10 days before the teachers and students are back to their classrooms in Manitoba. It is a reminder that it is time to get a small delivery of firewood. There is something so cosy about a wood fire on a crisp autumn morning and if August is any indication, autumn will be here in two blinks.

The colour of the light and the water of the pond seemed to be taking on the hues of autumn.

The rain started in the early morning hours of Monday and everything has turned green in the garden again…it is raining so hard! And for once, I am so glad to see it! Monday will be a good day for reading the small pile of books accumulating on my desk.

In the Mailbox:

‘N’ writes: “Do all falcons incubate the eggs the same no matter where they live? Do all ospreys?” Oh, what an interesting question! I am not a specialist on incubation, the term used for the behaviour whereby adult birds keep the eggs warm until they hatch. My experience watching the nests of different species is that birds are very individualistic and even within a single species, the attention that they give to their incubation duties varies. I found a paper that actually discusses the different approaches to this important task. It is not a recent one but it is quite interesting. The author covers some birds that are unknown to me but, I believe the findings and the data can enlighten us as to the full answer to your question, ‘N’.

In the News:

RSPB created an extremely short video about Avian Flu killing the White-tail Eagle chicks on the island of Mull. What is so intriguing is the landscape of the island and the beautiful chicks so alive in the nest. It is clearly not the be all- end all informative presentation but it was nice to see where these eagles live.

Just a couple of months before Avian Flu began killing the White-tailed Eagles on Mull, this beautiful 7 minute video was made showing them on their island setting. Have a watch:

The attempt to rid Gough Island of its House Mouse problem has hit a wall. The eradication of the mice that were biting and killing Tristan Albatross chicks and adults is now being viewed as a failure. Everyone had such high hopes that the island would be rid of these invasive mice but an unknown problem presented itself – the slug. Have a read:

https://www.acap.aq/latest-news/4427-alien-slugs-thought-to-be-the-cause-of-failure-of-the-house-mouse-eradication-on-gough-island

I found an excellent story dealing with the tragedy of the mice and the Tristan Albatross and why the eradication attempt is so important.

In his newsletter, David Hancock of Hancock Wildlife just posted the following information about the Delta 2 nest in British Columbia, Canada: “Firstly, both Ma and DM have gone on their migration. Ma was last seen at the Delta 2 nest/territory on July 25th. DM (taking his new role as Ma’s mate very seriously) hung around for another week keeping an eye on things. He was last seen there on August 1st. Thanks to all who donated to the GoFundMe campaign, as well we received a a few private donations which are greatly appreciated. These donations are going to cover the costs associated with the installation of a sturdy new nest pole and two (2) new cameras at Delta 2.”

Nest News:

It is egg 4 for the Melbourne Peregrine Falcon couple on the ledge of 367 Collins Street! Oh, my goodness. Dad you are going to so hope that the pigeon population of the city is very plentiful!

Here is a video of that last egg being laid:

It was a prey drop and a chance for Dad to get himself acquainted with how you have to wiggle around to get 4 big falcon eggs under so they can stay warm.

It is a lot easier for Mum to get those four eggs tucked in tight. Do you think there will be a 5th?

We have a ways to go before hatch for Melbourne and Diamond might not be finished laying eggs. Incubation is a time for the females to rest. It is going to be very hectic if all the hatch at Melbourne! And exciting.

The Sydney Sea Eagles are developing right to schedule. Their plumage continues to come in and they are picking up sticks in the nest and preening. SE29 is standing and walking better each step. They really are gorgeous. The Monday morning feeding saw both 29 and 30 with nice crops full of fish. I have seen no concerning aggressive behaviour on the part of 29 to 30 that would cause me to worry.

We are about 3 weeks away from hatch watch at Port Lincoln. Mum and Dad continue to take turns incubating. That said, Mum will always have night duty and Dad will provide Mum with her meals.

You would think that Mum would be very stiff incubating the eggs all night. Dad has arrived and is nudging her off so he can have a turn. Mum goes away for her breakfast and a break, returning in about half an hour.

You are doin’ good, Dad.

There has been an unknown male visit Annie in the tower.

There is a notable change in the behaviour of the female Ospreys in the UK this year. Normally they would depart the nest about 10-14 days prior to the fledglings leaving on their migration. This year it appears the majority are choosing to remain on the nest while some or all of the fledglings depart. While we will not know the specific reason, I wonder if it is, in part, due to the raising of these large female chicks and the Mums needing more time to get in top shape. Or could it be that prey is plentiful, the weather is nice in the UK, and they just want to be home for a little longer?

Idris, Telyn, Padarn and Paith are still at the Dyfi Osprey nest in Wales as of Sunday the 28th. Idris has stayed on the perch all night. Pedran was last seen on the 11th of August at 0905.

If you follow Tweed Valley, the three fledglings are going in very diverse directions including Glen who remains on the nest. Kirk is in Ireland having flown south and turning back to the land. Tweed is nearing land in Portugal.

Ruthland is updating us on their second hatch at Manton Bay, 1H2:

Tiger Mozone says that the fledglings need good DNA and luck. 1H2 certainly has great DNA. Let us all hope she has some awfully good luck, too.

1H2’s parents, Blue 33 and Maya, along with older sibling 1H1 were all still at the Manton Bay Nest at Rutland on the 27th and there is no news of either 1H1 or Maya departing since.

Seren was on the Llyn Clywedog nest early this morning and Dylan even popped in for a few minutes to join her later.

It is just incredible. Bonus continues to prove that he is a very special Black Stork! He flew from the nest in Estonia and spent the night in Latvia on the 27th. He has now flown through Lithuania and is in Belarus near Minsk. That was a total of 279 km.

Kaia, Bonus’s foster mother, remains in Belarus in the Prypjat Wetlands near Shestovicy.

So what intrigues me is this. If Kaia remains where she has been for the last several days since she flew north out of the Ukraine, is it possible that Bonus might also wind up in the same wetlands? Or will Bonus fly into the Ukraine? and remain there? or turn back north like Kaia? We should have our answer in a day or two.

Here is the distance shown by Google Maps:

Waba has begun the journey also and the tracker shows that he crossed into Latvia from Estonia on 28 August. He then flew a short distance.

I have received word that Karl II has left the nesting area in the Karula National Forest and has begun his migration. More on that to come tomorrow.

Victor has done so well since Dr Sharpe travelled to the Two Harbours nest on the Channel Islands to take him to be treated for zinc toxicity at the Ojai Raptor Centre. He has now been moved out to the big flight area! It just doesn’t get too much better than this until he is released. Wow. Victor. Way to go!

Looking forward to Lena and Andy at Captiva next year? or Connie and her mate? Window to Wildlife posted a 7 minute video about updates changes to the cameras, etc with some lovely pictures of Lena feeding the wee nestlings last year.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you so much to the following for their streaming cams, their videos, and their posts that make up my screen captures: RSPB, 367 Collins Street Falcons and Mirvac, Charles Sturt Orange Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Dyfi Osprey Project, Tweed Valley Ospreys, Rutland Osprey Project, LWRT, CarnyxWild, Looduskalender, CIEL, and Window on Wildlife.