Annie and Alden, a whopper for Zoe and some serious hovering…early Monday in Bird World

21 November 2022

Oh, the best of the morning to all of you! I hope this newsletter finds you well and happy and taking some time to de-stress out of doors if you need it — or watching our marvellous birds from inside your home or on the streaming cams. It is so nice to have you hear with us.

The weather continues to be wintery with no break now until spring, late spring normally here in Canada. The garden animals have been all flooded up keeping warm. Me, too! It is, however, very hard to imagine that in 40 days it will be a brand new year.

Dyson never disappoints in her ability to find and get food efficiently. She has a perfect spot on a branch where she sits and can eat right out of the bird feeder!

The Starlings really are lovely. This one flew down to check out what the Blue Jay was interested in on the deck but, normally they always stay in the lilacs or the back trees.

The Starlings and Sparrows share the Butter Bark.

In the Mailbox:

‘J’ sent a link to a blog that some of you might find interesting. It goes to the heart of our earlier discussions about birds and emotions. Thank you ‘J’!

Website of Gaby Schulemann-Maier: https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.birds-online.de%2Fwp%2Fen%2Fbirds-online-english%2F&data=05%7C01%7C%7C49ef41f33eef4818ef3508dacb2dc009%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C638045694605754558%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=v%2Fr%2BhO5flt0reUFvtxw5W3DyZoKqhMrl8uH5CodWB7E%3D&reserved=0

‘BG’ and I both agree that we neither fans of soccer or Twitter but, a World Cup of Birds – yes! Each team in the World Cup has been assigned a bird. Let’s follow and see who wins. Thanks ‘BG’ for sending me this!

Jer Thorp: “We’ve got 4 days until the World Cup. 4 days to decide the MOST important question: Which country in the tournament has the best national bird? 16 birds have already flown home. 16 are ready for glory. Welcome to the knockout stages of the #WorldCupOfBirds!!!”

Making News:

‘B’ sent me a note. Annie and Alden were on camera at The Campanile on the grounds of UC-Berkeley on Sunday. I admit to shedding a couple of little tears – tears of joy – to see them together and with such a nice crop. Looking forward to screaming eyases. Can’t wait. Thank you ‘B’. I know that everyone has been wondering about this lovely couple – Alden another one of those amazing males that stepped in and saved the season.

Emyr Evans of the Dyfi Osprey Project in Wales has permission to post all the information about Paith. Faith was the youngest of the three osplets (2 females, 1 male) of Idris and Telly at the Dyfi nest. The information that Evans has comes from early September – so awhile ago but he just received it. Faith was in Brittany, one of the northern most areas off France and due south as straight as a crow could fly from her nest in Wales. Is she on her way to Africa? or will she overwinter in France?

To get the full story and see the maps, and migration ages of the osplets from Dyfi, please go to dfyispreyproject.com

Tiger Mozone has also posted some information that indicates there are Ospreys that do over winter in this area of France. I think this is really interesting because it is always presumed that the birds go all the way to Africa. It appears not and we do know that many are now over wintering in Portugal and Spain. It may help with the decline in populations due to migration incidents and it might also speak to the changing landscape in Africa in terms of fish availability.

Congratulations goes out to Dave Anderson who has won the prestigious prize – the RSPB Species Award. Anderson is well known in the UK raptor world for his work with White-tailed Eagles and, in particular, promoting research on them by using satellite tracking. I cannot think of a more deserving person. You can read all about him and his extensive work with raptors – a life dedicated to bettering theirs – by clicking on the link in the announcement below.

Australian Nests:

Early Monday morning in Australia, Xavier went to the scrape box with a nice prey item for breakfast. Was he trying to lure Rubus and Indigo to the box?

Indigo will arrive in the box and will be seen on the top of the tower but, Rubus did not fly up to join Indigo. They have been seen in the trees and it would appear that all is well. Xavier was there with them for some time and Diamond was photographed flying around the trees keeping guards on her precious fledglings.

News has come in regarding Rubus today: “Rubus fledged yesterday at 0818 h and has been found alive and well in a pine shelterbelt a few hundred metres from the tower. He was in a tree (so can fly at least a bit). He was still in the same area this morning, but a bit closer to the tower, He was found on the ground and placed in a tree in the woodland.”

Shines found Rubus and wrapped him in a blanket and placed him on the tree branch. Thank you, Shines!

Xavier and Diamond have both been in and out of the scrape. It is entirely possible that they are trying to lure Rubus back into the box so that he can rest and they can feed him there.

In Port Lincoln, Dad flew in with a whopper for Zoe at 1015. Port Lincoln has a severe wind alert for gusts up to 34 kph. Mum and Dad are very smart. This is one way to keep Zoe on the nest – a big fish!

Mum flies in while Zoe mantles the fish.

Just look. Dad had a good feed and Mum is looking down knowing there should be some left for her, too. I wonder if Zoe will want all of this fish to herself?

Zoe is trying. She has her talons in the fish holding it down and is doing a pretty good job eating away.

That is a big fish!

Mum would really like to have some of that nice fish but Zoe isn’t quite ready to give up.

At 11:56 Mum takes control of the fish. Zoe looks like she wants Mum to feed her. She has not made much progress on it herself.

Mum had different ideas. She wants some fish, too and it looks like Zoe ate enough to have a nice crop. Mum flies away with that fish so she can enjoy it all to herself. I wonder if she will bring any of it back to Zoe?

Zoe was not happy!

Of course, the answer is ‘yes’. Mum ate her fill and returned to the next some time later to feed Zoe.

That fish was sooooooooo large that the entire family had a nice big meal. How grand. Thanks Dad!

Zoe did some serious helicoptering. She is ready to fly! It will be soon.

No 11 The Red List: Montagu’s Harrier

Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus” by Ian N. White is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Montagu’s Harrier is the most rare of any of the birds of prey in the UK. This incredible raptor was not in any nest records in the UK in 2020 nor in 2021. Their numbers began to decline in 2015. That year there were only 5 nests in the UK. It is feared that they might already be extinct, not just vulnerable.

These are magnificent raptors that fly low, like the Hen Harrier, in search of rabbits, small birds, lizards, insects, and shrews. They also soar high above the fields in the thermals and their flying and hunting has been described as ‘spectacular’.

Just look at that stunning plumage. Again, it is anything but a drab grey. How about a light blue steel grey on the wings with a light cream around the eye, a very slight dark blue grey eye line and band around the cream. How else would you describe this magnificent species?

Montagu’s Harrier – Circus pygargus (male)” by Tarique Saniis licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

They are a medium sized raptor, 43-47 cm long, that is slim with very long pointed wings like a Hen Harrier. They have a long tail. The upper body of the male is grey. The primaries are black and the secondaries have a black stripe or band across them. They are white underneath. The female is a gorgeous dark brown. The bills are hooked and black with a bright chrome-yellow cere. Their legs and feet are also chrome-yellow. Notice the striking yellow eyes.

The demise of the Montagu’s Harrier is due to the over and expanding use of pesticides, the expansion of fields into modern agriculture, the destruction of their nests which are on the ground in the fields during harvesting. In addition, their food sources have declined dramatically due to the use of pesticides! These raptors need protected areas for nesting and an end to the use of contemporary pesticides that kill the birds by secondary poisoning or by killing their food source. The Montagu’s Harrier migrates to Africa and so, in both of their respective homes, they are subject to ever expanding agricultural practices and the use of deadly poisons. Those poisons should be banned internationally. They are also quite dangerous to humans. Ask anyone who has lived around a farm in Canada who has developed asthma and breathing issues early in their life.

This is an immature. Notice that gorgeous rust brown above the yellow legs, the barred tail with the grey and espresso brown, the light grey around those chrome-yellow eyes…what a beauty.

Montagu’s Harrier immature” by Rainbirder is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

I couldn’t leave without posting an image of a mature female Montagu’s Harrier. These females are stunning in their own right. Look closely. Their plumage is anything but a drab brown. Starting with the head and around the eyes, that bright chrome-yellow cere stands out amongst that deep chocolate brown. The white around the eyes with the espresso eyeliner and eye liner inside of the dark espresso band on a camel coloured head and breast are brilliant. It took a lot of the crayons out of the box to come up with this outstanding colour palette. That camel mixes with the deep chelate again on the back, and the wings while holding its own on the breast, chest and underparts. She is gorgeous.

File:Montagu’s Harrier, juvenile, Bangalore, India (edit).jpg” by Cks3976 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Oh, thank you so much for being with me today. It is always my pleasure to carry on and on and on about the beautiful feathered friends that bring us so much joy – and most often, tranquility. Take dare of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: ‘BG’ for the World Cup of Birds, ‘B’ for letting me know about Annie and Alden, ‘J’ for her great link in the mail re birds and emotions, Cal Faldons, Dyfi Osprey Project, Gregarious J Toonen for Ospreys Pandion Haliaetus FB and Tiger Mozone, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Open Verse.

Late Sunday in Bird World

23 October 2022

Hello Everyone,

I hope that each of you has had a fabulous weekend!

In my earlier blog today, I did not catch the ‘auto correct’ of Samson when I posted that him and Gabby were working on their nest. It is, of course, Samson not Damon!!!! Goodness.

The Sparrows thought it was warm enough for a bath today. And it is. It is a beautiful 14 degrees C – for me the absolute perfect temperature. It could stay like this forever and I would never get tired of it. They had such a good time! For well over an hour, one group after another spent time in the bird bath. They were so excited! I really do love sparrows…and I hope that those that think they will go extinct are wrong! And those that refuse to feed them because they are ‘not special’ will think again. They are so varied that I have a 8 cm thick book on them and still have trouble sometimes with Clay Sparrows and Vesper Sparrows — and I shouldn’t!

During the last month I have seen hundreds of Crows fly over my house around 1700. I did not know what they were doing until ‘N’ posted a YouTube video on Crows flying to join one another at a communal roost. It happens an hour before sunset. Thanks, ‘N’.

But, why did Crows get the moniker ‘Murder of Crows’? Apparently the use of the name goes back to 15th century English literature but, the Crow expert at Cornell University said the term is incorrect. ‘Scientists would call it a flock’. Indeed, Crows are often connected with death because they are black and because they eat carrion (dead animals) like Vultures, Condors, and Eagles. So remember, the next time you see a large group of Crows it is a flock!

As you will know, from reading my blog, I love ‘my’ Crows. Mr Crow has been around the garden for a number of years but, this year, he was joined by three fledglings that grew and grew and grew. (I always say Mr Crow…it could well be Mrs Crow!). This summer they started alerting me to when the wandering well-fed domestic cats were in the garden. They were so loud that their caws could not be ignored. For several days it seemed that they were wanting more food. They must have think I am truly daft. It wasn’t food – it was the cats. I am so grateful to them for protecting the other garden animals. In fact, most of the garden animals live in harmony. There is enough space and lots of food. It is the cats that cause the unhappiness.

But back to the Crows. ‘H’ wrote to me that Crows are signs of bad luck or death in Australia. In North American Indigenous traditions, the Crow and the Raven are good signs. They are signs of protection and often are viewed as messengers of wealth. In Manitoba, the Crow is part of the Creation Story of many of the local tribes just as it is with those in northwestern California. There are ceremonies that use the symbol, the power, and the prayers of the Crow to invoke protections – and these are very sacred, only used and known by those who deal with the Spirits. For the Inuit who live in the far north of Canada, the crow and the raven are often considered the same. You will find the creation stories of the Inuit and the Haida from British Columbia, using the Raven or the Crow, to tell their myths. The myth ‘The Crow Brings Daylight’ describes the moment when the people who lived in total darkness first saw the light that was brought by the Crow.

https://prezi.com/r9jz3ih7karv/crow-brings-daylight/

I hope that the Crow will bring you much luck and will guard and protect you.

All of the nests have had breakfast in Australia early. No one has had to wait for food to arrive despite the ominous clouds that you can see out the window of Xavier and Diamond’s scrape or the rain drops collecting on the camera at Port Lincoln.

Xavier brought in a Starling for Diamond to feed Indigo and Rubus. That was at 063320. Indigo and Rubus watch everything their parents do intently – each is a learning opportunity. The chicks will learn how to pluck and feed through observation. They will watch their parents fly from the scrape and, after they fledge, Xavier will teach them how to hunt. (With hawks and raptors it is often the role of the Dad to teach the fledglings to hunt.) Still, I have seen many, if not most, of the females do this as well. The exception would be the female Ospreys that leave the nests in the UK prior to the chicks fledging.

Notice that Little Rubus is in the corner with Indigo. Everything Indigo does, Rubus copies.

Indigo was so frightened by the Starling head last week. And here is another Starling head dangling! Do falcons have nightmares?

Just about the same time in Melbourne, at 0634, a plump freshly caught pigeon landed on the ledge at 367 Collins Street.

This morning you could really hear the stomping on that metal gutter! The eyases ate and began running up and down getting their legs strong. They are also flapping those little wings. Soon the white dandelions will be covering everything as the down flies off revealing the gorgeous juvenile falcon plumage.

It did not take long for the Melbourne Four to ‘decorate’ the far end of the gutter. Did you know that when falcons are looking for a good territory/scrape box/cliff, they will check to see how much guano is spread all over. The more ‘ps’ the better – it means that the area is rich in prey. An ideal location to have a nest!

Flapping and flapping. The others are almost all the way down to the other end of the gutter. The little one, however, chose to stay in the scrape. Cute wings!

Thankfully, Dad was out fishing early at Port Lincoln (as I am told he always is) and he hauled in a flat Zebra fish at 065757. The feeding was absolutely civil. In fact, it looks like Middle got the largest portion of that early fish.

It is difficult to describe how thrilled I am that Big has settled down and that life on the Port Lincoln Osprey platform is civil. It helps everyone. Middle can now eat without too much fear of reprisal. Still, he should be a wee cautious just in case Big wakes up on the wrong side of the fish one morning.

The nests have had their first meal for Monday in Australia. All is well.

There is no further news on Sea Eaglets 29 or 30 – both are in care. Dad and Lady have been working on their nest. They must wonder where their fledglings have gone. I wonder if they will leave for Lady’s favourite spa location, Goat Island, soon?

Thank you so very much for joining me. Take care of yourself. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Pinterest, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross,. 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Forest, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Melbourne Four on camera!

20 October 2022

A big round of applause and thank you for Mirvac. The camera at 367 Collins Street has been moved so that it shows the eyases at their digs. Yesterday it was shot hot and all of the chicks were able to thunder down the gutter. They packed their bags and left their natal nest and moved. Mum and Dad had to go along with them!

They are enjoying a nice pigeon meal!

You can join the thousands who watch the antics of this first time falcon couple in Melbourne here:

Thank you so much to 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Big shuts Middle out of fish…and other breakfast news from Australia

20 October 2022

Yesterday was a good day. All four of the Blue Jays were seen along with all four of the Crow family. The two Chickadees came flitting through. Four grey squirrels and one red one. Loads of Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. I know I have mentioned all of them recently but there is something so reassuring to see them – alive. Urban environments present particular challenges for our feathered friends and, it is like knowing that your whole family is fed, warm, and tucked in for the night. It feels good just like watching the little falcons eat. Something very rewarding.

Making News:

SE 30 was seen in a residential area around the Discovery Centre. What a beautiful sea eagle.

Jackie and Shadow have been working on the nest in the Big Bear Valley. Shadow has a new hair style to show off for this breeding season!

It is that time of year that lead begins to make news – and never in a good way. Read the post by one of my favourite Wildlife Rehab Clinics in the US, A Place Called Hope. It takes one lead pellet or one lead sinker to damage or kill an eagle. When there are alternatives, this is unacceptable. If lead paint is outlawed because it can harm humans, then lead hunting and fishing equipment that causes death to our raptors needs to be outlawed as well.

I wish that I could tell you that all is well at Port Lincoln. A whole fish arrived at 090824. Middle did get some bites but Big ate the majority of that fish making Middle have to do the snatch and grab. At 124709 another fish arrived on the nest. Big is going to eat all of it. She has beaked Middle so that he is afraid to come up to the table. Middle was tucked in tight. Listening and watching. At 13:10:58 Middle slithers up to Mum. Is there any fish left? No. Mum just ate the fish tail.

There will, of course, be other fish. But there is still a problem. We had high hopes that Big would calm down and everything would be civil on the Port Lincoln Nest on Monday. Big did get most of the fish but she was not chasing Middle away from the table.

Both eating on Monday.

By Wednesday everything had changed significantly. If Big continues to eat the way she is, Mum is not getting enough food and Middle will continue to be intimidated and afraid to go and eat.

Big will stop eating to intimidate Middle.

Middle really needs to have a good meal.

There were other fish but beyond the 0909, Big did not allow Middle much. Those fish came in at 1247, 1651, 1931, and 1952.

If Middle moves a speck, Big raises its head. This is not a good situation. Middle neeeds to eat today, Thursday in Australia.

At Melbourne, the problem was the heat. The eyases were very hot. Some made it to the other end of the ledge to enjoy the shade. Mum and Dad had turns acting as umbrellas to block the sun.

Both parents dug in their talons and tried to help the Melbourne Four.

Thankfully the shade came! What a difference a couple of hours makes.

Lots of prey came for the Melbourne Four. It looks like Mum took charge of all the 5 feedings. Thanks to ‘H’ and ‘A’ for the time stamps and information. At the 0552 feeding, the eyases ate for 9 minutes; at 0749 it was 21 minutes, at 1627 for 32-33 minutes, at 1734 for 12 minutes, and a bedtime snack came in at 1859 and the kids ate for 5 minutes.

Indigo and Rubus had five feeds yesterday, too. Those came at 072721, 100848, 105425, 144754, and the last one before light’s out was at 181056. The prey thought to be a Red Waddle bird at 100848 was positively identified as a Noisy Miner later.

Have a close look at little Rubus. He is starting to get pin feathers.

Diamond is making sure that Indigo uses her neck muscles, too!

Diamond is fascinated by the camera!

Migration News:

The news coming for Karl II and his family of Black Storks from the Estonian Karula National Forest appears to be all good. Little Waba flew 298 km and is now in Turkey. S/he did that in one day!

This is an image from where Waba’s tracker indicated s/he is feeding. Just lovely.

There was no new transmission from Kaia. She continues to be in Chad in a dry area it is believed.

Bonus is still in Romania feeding in the ditches east of Latinu.

Karl II really got to flying. he covered 373 km in one day and is now feeding along on the eastern side of the Nile River near Asswan.

Great News.

Two things I try to avoid when bringing you news about our feathered family are politics and religion. Sometimes, politics cannot be avoided because our wildlife are wrapped up in particular views and policies that belong to the different parties in the various governments around the world.

There is a quiet movement behind the scenes to see what can be done to change the intervention laws in South Australia in the memory of Little Bob. What we have learned is that David Speirs -often seen with the ospreys, Janet Forster (Port Lincoln Osprey founder), and who is now President of Friends of Ospreys- was the Minister of the Environment for the State of South Australia and, as you can tell, extremely supportive of the Ospreys. The Liberals lost the last election and the Labour Party is in power. David Speirs (Ervie is named after the village in Scotland where Speirs was born) is now the leader of the Opposition.

Every day something new is discovered. Current regulations and policies are being examined to see how to move forward. The last thing anyone wants to do is to damage the fine work that Port Lincoln and Friends of Osprey have already done. It takes time for change but, no one is forgetting Little Bob least of all Port Lincoln who support intervention but cannot within the current policies and guidelines or they would lose their licenses and everything they have gained in terms of being able to provide for the Ospreys. All of this is good. Little Bob is not forgotten.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care. See you later today with the breakfast news. Send positive wishes to Port Lincoln, please.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB, Friends of Big Bear Valley, A Place Called Hope, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Looduskalender.

Crops popping at Port Lincoln

10 October 2022

I am playing catch up with what has happened on the three other nests in Australia late this evening. After watching the step-dad care for the four eyases at 367 Collins Street (feed and shade), I turned my attention to Port Lincoln. What a surprise! Dad brought four fish in already and it is only early afternoon!

The first fish arrived at 07:23:40. It was a really nice size fish. The feeding ended at 07:44. All three Bobs had crops.

The second fish arrived at 08:16:13. No one was expecting another fish so soon. This time it was a whole fish that was very much alive. Big Bob got the first bites. By the time the fish was finished – and it is almost like the three of them vacuum up that fish – at 08:34:23, the crops of the three Bobs were bursting.

No one was really hungry when the third fish arrives at 10:31:26. The chicks were fed until the last flake was eaten at 10:49.

Just look at that crop on Little Bob!

The fourth fish arrives at 12:48:22. I cannot imagine that anyone had room for any more fish but, the one good thing about all of these deliveries is that Mum got to eat! I would like to have said that there was no beaking but Little Bob made the mistake of looking Big Bob directly in the eyes and he got a couple of beaks from Big for doing that. If there is discord, never look the other osplet in the eye. Never.

If Dad does not deliver another fish today, the osplets are quite full and have had plenty to eat. I have been reading about Hen Harriers and in the books, it states categorically that a Hen Harrier can live on two voles a day. That is good enough. Wow. I did not know that. Voles are small mouse like creatures that live in burrows.

So we can all relax. Port Lincoln is good. Sweet.

Thank you for joining me for this update on our osplets. Continue to send good wishes for good fishing for Dad. I will try and catch up with Orange and Sydney before midnight. Tomorrow, Tuesday, I have an appointment and my report will not be coming in until early evening. I just wanted you to know.

Update on Collins Street: Mum has returned to the ledge with a partial pigeon at 14:30:33. Incredible. What is this female doing???

Thank you to Port Lincoln Ospreys for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Early Tuesday in Bird World

4 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

It is late Monday evening in Canada, and it is 14 degrees C. as I begin thinking about Tuesday’s blog. The difference in time between Canada and Australia means that I am going to bed when all of the action starts. I am very grateful to those readers who send me time stamps and information about the nests in case I missed it! So thank you.

Tomorrow promises to be another beautiful fall day. I would love to send a break in the rain to the Mum and Dad at Port Lincoln so they could get those three osplets fed. Part of the big fish was returned to the nest after Dad removed it. ‘A’ reports that Middle appears to be the only one to have had anything to eat; the other two desperately wanted to stay warm and dry. Melbourne will be getting the rain tomorrow and it looks as if it could continue at Port Lincoln for most of the week Xavier and Diamond’s wee eyas will be quite dry in the covered scrape at Orange. Eyes are on the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Park as it gets towards midnight in Canada. Will 30 fly while I am sleeping?


What does a Possum Merino beanie have to do with birds?

Well, it turns out that the beanie is sold at the Royal Albatross Centre on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand to fund the activities taking place on the headland. When you begin to think of donations or purchases, do keep the Royal Albatross in mind! Of course, like all the centres, they have more items for sale than beanies. That said, this beanie is the softest one I own and it is going to keep my head snug and warm when I am out birding in the winter here in Canada.

Everyone continues to be worried about Lena and Andy, their new platform and camera and, Lori Covert’s property. This is the latest announcement from Window to Wildlife with a satellite image of the nest on the left after Hurricane Ian and on the right, before the hurricane hit.

Wales is planning to increase areas of peatland to help biodiversity and to save species. After sitting in the grass near one of my city’s ponds this morning watching a Greater Yellowlegs, it is reassuring that countries are working hard to bring back conditions so that lovely shorebirds have a chance at survival.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/oct/03/wales-unveils-plans-to-triple-rate-of-peatland-restoration

There is more news about the cost of Avian Flu to birds around the world.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/03/europe-and-uk-hit-by-unprecedented-number-of-bird-flu-cases-this-summer

There was a really informative programme (short) on the monitoring of the goshawks in Scotland. You can read about it or watch it if you have the BBC Player app.

Nest News:

The osplets were cold when Dad came with a fish at 16:23. Look at Little Bob all curled up. I so feel for the chicks when the weather is wet and miserble. They cannot yet regulate their temperature til they get all of that thermal down covering them from tip to talon.

If you are having trouble finding Little Bob, all of his soft down on the head is gone and he now looks like he dipped it into oil over the afternoon! I am so grateful that these three behave themselves when it is feeding time. This is a big, big help. Often the older ones do not allow the younger to eat at all until they are finished. Not the case here. Fantastic.

‘A’ tells me that Mum looked around for scraps for Little Bob after this feeding. He was still fish calling.

At Port Lincoln Dad came to the nest with a small much-needed fish at 19:14. It will be good for them to have fish in their tummies overnight. Gosh, those osplets lined up nicely but, each anxious for some fish. It looks like Little Bob certainly did get his share and did not get shut out by the big ones.

They all had nice little crops at the end of the feeding. Mum got right back on top of all of them – a great way to stop any dust ups and also it is cold and windy. These three need to stay super dry and warm.

So thankful Mum and the kids had some fish before bed. Mum had been screaming at Dad to get a fish on the nest. This one was not large but the osplets got fed. They would have liked more. It will be a long night and Mum is as hungry as the chicks. In fact, she is probably hungrier. Rain will start at 1100 on the 5th in Orange so hopefully, Dad will bring in a couple of nice big fish before then so that the family is stuffed to the gills as the rain drops fall later in the day.

It is, of course, the opposite problem at Orange right now but, they do not have any rain. Only Bob is enjoying the life of a single chick, nicely spoiled with plenty of food and no one to share it with but, Diamond. You might have noticed that Diamond does eat her share! Two extremely devoted parents sharing the life of their only chick. It is beautiful.

It does not appear that that either of the other two eggs have a pip. How long will Diamond continue to incubate them? Good question. Some will do so for 2-4 weeks. Many of you will remember the Dunrovin Osprey nest this summer where the eggs were incubated almost the entire summer with no hope of hatching. Shadow at Big Bear once incubated eggs for 60 days! They did not hatch. The little one will use the ‘eggies’ to prop on and, sometimes, in the case of the eagle nests anyway, the chicks actually incubate the eggs, too! Spirit did that with ‘eggie’ at Big Bear this year and Legacy at Northeast Florida became so attached to ‘eggie’ that people thought she would need a backpack so she could take the egg when she fledged. Samson, ultimately hid, it. It will be fun to watch to see what this little one does with those two extra egss.

Just look at the size of that little one!

Upside down roly-poly baby!

Here is a cute video with a good look at Xavier and Diamond’s chick.

There are reports coming out of Orange that Xavier and Diamond’s stash has been located. Many believed it was in the trees that you can see if you are watching the ledge cam but, it turns out the stash is on top of the tower. My goodness! Thanks, ‘A’ for that wonderful bit of news.

There is so much food coming to the 367 Collins Street scrape. This Dad keeps that pantry – at the opposite end of the ledge we think – full of nicely prepared pigeons. The four eyases are fed regularly and are growing like bad weeds. I so wish the camera was a little closer so you could see the change in their feathering. At least one of them is beginning to look like ‘bug eyed and thin necked’ as its plumage begins to change. There is nothing stopping this Dad from taking part in the lives of the eyases either. He has perfected feeding them but, because of his smaller size, still has some trouble getting them all under him for brooding.

The feedings at Collins Street generally last a full half hour. The top image is Mum brooding the eyases.

Mum has gone for a break and Dad is doing the feeding. He watched and learned.

Each eyas had a nice hard little crop after the long feeding.

Dad tries to brood them. Here comes Mum after she had a nice tea time and a bit of a rest.

Bye, Dad!

Mum feeding them again. They could hardly have been hungry but no one is going to go without on this nest. This couple have created perfect handovers and feedings. Just imagine how worried we were a fortnight ago? We can put that all aside now!

To my knowledge, SE30 still has not fledged. SE29 takes small flights and, so far, has been returning to the nest. I had been worried that SE29 was getting all of the fish deliveries as rewards for returning to the nest but, SE30 managed to get its talons on a delivery from Lady in the middle of the afternoon yesterday. SE29 flew in as 30 was trying to unzip the fish. No fights. No skirmishes. Totally civil.

It was really nice to see SE29 get that fish!

SE29 has just arrived on the nest. Look at Lady. She watches everything her eaglets do – she is looking at how well or not SE30 is self-feeding.

At one point, Dad flew in and both Lady and Dad were honking at the Currawongs. Yes, they want to keep them away from the nest and their eaglets. Sometimes I wish that the Sea Eagles actually ate the Pied Currawongs. Maybe then they would not bother this nest so much!

The chicks were more interested in the fish than the Curras.

Lady gave 30 plenty of time with the fish. SE29 did not come and take it over but wanted some fish and Lady has decided to feed both of them. I wonder how much longer she will get to enjoy her babies???

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Everyone in Australia is sound asleep. Now the weather app has rain starting at Port Lincoln at 1000. It is going to rain all day at the Sea Eagles nest and it will start raining at 0900 in Melbourne. Horrid days for keeping warm and dry and — for staying in the nest and not flying. Diamond and chick will be fine. They are nicely covered! Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts that make up my screen captures: Royal Albatross FB Group NZ, Window to Wildlife, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Flapping fish, pip dates and…more in Bird World for Tuesday

6 September 2022

The families are back at work and the children will be in school. There will be no more loud yelps when a grasshopper has been found and checked off the list of treasures in the ‘Nature Scavenger Hunt’ at the nature centre or toddlers trying to pull the tails of the ducks. It will be quiet.

it was 26 degrees C on a sunny Sunday afternoon as I set about trying to find that dear wee duckling at Ft Whyte. Originally there were two. I did not see the second one today either when I went around the final bend but I did find the tiny one sleeping in the sunshine. Now that the water level is falling all manner of little islands are appearing in the ponds. They are nice places for ducks to sun themselves in the middle of the day.

The wee darling even had its eyes closed. You can see the downy fluff on its back. I am so worried that the feathers are not developing correctly – a little bit like Yurruga last year at the Orange scrape of Diamond and Xavier. Will they fill in, I wonder.

Have you had experience with ducklings? Can you offer advice. The little one has grown since I was there a couple of days ago.

Sibley tells us that the wing feathers of the Mallard require 60 days to fully grow so that the duck can adequately fly. This little one is about 3 weeks old or 21 days – the closest I can guess from my visits and seeing it – at the nature centre. We need 40 more days. This duckling will make it. That would be the 15th of October! Help me cheer it on.

This beauty looks so gorgeous in the sun between the springs of plants. I love how the tail feathers are fanned out and look like lace with a beautiful satin blue ribbon trimmed with black and white. Mallards are lovely. The more I see them, the more special they become.

All of the ducks seem to have been eating rather well and filling out. They will need all of that energy for their long flights.

The plants are beginning to change adding some oranges, reds, and browns to the green leaves. The ducks can melt into the landscape if you do not look closely. These three were characters. Just look at their crops, especially the one facing us nearly straight on. Well fed I would say!

Sometimes it is nice to be able to look down and see the gorgeous orange legs paddling – it means that the water is no longer murky. This duck seemed to be smiling at me.

This one was tucked up nice and tight on one of the islands. It took some time to see her.

One of the silliest things that happened today was between two Canada geese. They were both on the boardwalk. On stayed put while I tried, as quietly as I could, to pass. The other decided to walk in front of me going around the corner out of sight of its partner. They then started ‘talking’ to one another. This went on for nearly 6 minutes without either moving to go to the other…I left to go and check on the wee duckling that I had spotted ahead of me. I wonder if those geese are still honking?

This morning I woke to the alarm calls of the three Crows in the garden and sure enough, there was the cat – and the rabbit. They are protecting little Hedwig by calling me out to chase the cat away. I do wish that people would be responsible for their pets.

In the Inbox:

‘J’ wrote to tell me the story of the two Sea Eagles and the fish tail. I had not seen it. ‘J’ said, very appropriately, “It seemed more educational for them both than anything.” I missed this specific occasion and I am terribly grateful that ‘J’ gave me the time stamp because I was able to catch a few minutes of SE29 and SE30 doing some friendly exchanges with that tail – they even got a few nibbles of fish, too!

‘R’ writes: Why do the Magpies continually dive bomb the sea eagles? Anyone who has been watching the Sea Eagles nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest will have seen the most recent attacks by the Magpies on the Sea Eagle nest. There will be others such as Boo Book Owl, too. The Magpies have their own nests. It is believed that there are about 50 breeding pairs of Magpies in the forest. The Sea Eagles are the top predator in the forest. The Magpies have no hope when it comes to a challenge with them but they dive bomb them hoping if they are such a nuisance the eagles might leave the forest. Of course they will not! That said, the smallest owl has inflicted injury to Lady in the past. They are silent when they attack and have hit Lady and hurt her eye. You might also have seen the Great Horned Owls attacking the SWFlorida eagle nest of M15 and Harriet. The GHOWs are formidable enemies to the eagles but Boo Book is so much smaller. Still he can do harm and any of them might want a tasty eaglet for dinner. The sea Eagles must be careful with the owls. The Magpies are a nuisance to the adults but can and do drive the youngsters from the forest when they fledge, like the Pied Currawong do. You will often see larger predators being constantly attacked by smaller birds. The Mockingbirds continually follow Big Red and Arthur on the Cornell Campus.

‘A’ asks: “Why don’t the Osprey parents just kick their fledglings off the nest or stop feeding them?” That is a great question and I am certain that there are a lot of people wondering the same thing. I am going to use the term that is often employed ‘good parents’, if you will excuse me for that. The goal of the breeding season is to raise healthy chicks and to either increase the population of the species or, as one researcher noted, hope to have a replacement for each parent when they die. Not feeding the chicks or kicking them off the nest is counter to all of that. The adults might begin to limit the feedings encouraging independence but the chicks will depart for their own territories or for migration when they are strong enough. When that day comes, nothing will hold them back! Until then, ‘good parents’ continue to feed their chicks as best they can while also building up their own strength. Louis and Idris are great examples. Everyone has left but Sarafina and Padarn. They will continue to feed their girls until such time as they leave. Both are excellent dads. Aran and Mrs G are doing the same. None of the fledglings have left. Fish is continually supplied. Mrs G would normally leave before the fledglings. Let’s keep an eye out and see what happens.

Padarn is one of the most beautiful fledglings I have seen!

Making News:

You may recall that Loch Garten’s Osprey chick 1C1 died after being unwell for several days. It was believed that she had an infection and it was confirmed today through the necroscopy that it was a case of salmonella. It is unclear how the little osprey got salmonella.

Do you know the term ‘war wilding’? Ukraine re-flooded the Irpin River so that the Russian army could not get to Kyiv. What is fascinating to me is that this has created a wonderful wetland for the birds that could last for years creating new opportunities out of war.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/05/warwilding-a-new-word-to-describe-the-startling-effects-of-using-nature-as-a-weapon-ukraine-korea-aoe

The author cites cases where warWilding has been used to create biodiversity hotspots and bring new hope for wildlife such as in Mozambique but, he also tells us how this can be turned against wildlife – when water is drained to cause harm to people and, as a result, to the birds and animals. It is a good read. Check it out when you have time. There is a link to another very good paper within the article on the same topic, if you are interested.

There is a new book, Peregrines in the City by Andrew Kelly and Dean Jones. Do you recognize the scrape? More to follow after I have had a chance to read this book on such an interesting topic!

Nest News:

It appears that there might be only one Osprey nest in the entire UK that has both adults and all the fledglings still at home. That is the nest of Aran and Mrs G in the Glaslyn Valley in Wales.

The sun is just starting to show. You can hear the songbirds, the cows mooing, and the sheep bleating. One chick is already fish calling!

It might have been the one that was calling from the perch as the sun was setting on Monday!

It has been a wonderful year for Aran and Mrs G, one that certainly made up for the loss of their three nestlings last year and Aran’s injury. Everyone is really healthy and getting strong.

At the Charles Sturt scrape box on the campus at Orange, we will be on pip watch for the first of Xavier and Diamond’s eggs on the 29th of September with hatch watch from 1-3 October. Mark your calendars!

Handsome Xavier got some eggie time!!!!!!!!!

If pip watch is the 29th for the Orange Peregrine falcons, then we have to be checking on the Melbourne falcons earlier. I am going to mark my calendar for the 23rd for pip watch at 367 Collins Street!

At Port Lincoln, if all goes to plan, we are less than 2 weeks away from the first hatch!!!!!!!!!! In the meantime, Dad had everyone a little anxious when he brought a live whole fish on to the nest for Mum’s breakfast. Let us all hope that the eggs are OK.

At the Sea Eagles nest, it looks like an eel was brought in – or was it a fish? – at 1330.

In Florida, Samson has delivered at least one stick to start rebuilding the nest in NEFlorida and Harriet and M15 have returned to the SWFlorida Eagle nest in Fort Myers.

Blue 022 fooled everyone. Believed to have left for his migration after his family, he shows up at another platform in Poole Harbour. Is he scouting for another nest after the goshawk attack? or just resting?

Migration:

No tracking news for Karl II. It could be that his tracking signal is being jammed as he is in the location of Cherson (Kherzon), Ukraine. Bonus is still in Belarus near the River Pryjpat. Kaia flew a short distance but remains near the Desna River in Ukraine. Waba is between two rivers, the Buzhok and Slutsch. Please keep this beautiful Black Stork family from the Karula National Forest in Estonia in your warmest thoughts.

From the Book Stack:

Bill McGuire’s, Hothouse Earth. An Inhabitant’s Guide, minces no words when it comes to the destruction of our planet and the inability of anyone to stop the warming. McGuire is Professor Emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College, London. He accepts neither climate deniers or climate doomists and insists that we must be prepared for what is currently happening and for what will come in the future. We have not been able to halt the 1.5 degree C rise in temperature that was thought to be the tipping point. “How Bad can things get?” is a complex and intertwined question surrounding the relationship of the climate, the natural world, and human society and economics. McGuire says, “…what we can be certain of is that climate breakdown will be all-pervasive. Insidiously worming its way into every corner of lives and livelihoods, no one, anywhere – not even the tech billionaires in their guarded redoubts – will be immune” (143). He warns against all of the geoengineering methodologies and climate hakes being proposed including volcanic cooling and the refreezing of the poles. Instead, McGuire is very pragmatic. If we want to limit the worst effects of climate chaos til the end of the century, then there are some things that humans must do immediately: 1) methane emissions is a top priority; 2) the scraping of subsidies for the oil and gas industry; 3) the ceasing of new exploration licenses for gas and oil must stop forthwith; 4) banks must be made not to invest in gas and oil ventures; 5) damaged and desecrated land must be restored by reforestation and rewilding; 6) progressive phasing out of beef and dairy farming; 7) the restoring of peatlands and wetlands – places that store more carbon; 8) cutting back on flying and shipping consumer goods around the planet; 9) massive investment in home insulation and green domestic energy. I note that he questions the cost and value of electric vehicles (replacing world’s 1 billion fossil fuel vehicles, the lithium farming, etc) and focuses instead on green public transportation, journey based car pools, and car shares and more cycling and walking. ————Of course, it is not just humans that are impacting by the escalating heating of the planet but our beloved wildlife – and our dearest feathered friends, many who are struggling now. McGuire says his intention is to frighten people into the reality of what we are facing.

Tomorrow a look at Birds. A Complete Guide to their Biology and Behavior.

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is so nice to hear from so many of you. Stay safe. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their tweets, postings, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Dyfi Ospreys, Loch Garten RSPB Abernathy, The Guardian, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, SWFlorida Eagle Club, and the Birds of Poole Harbour.

Early Thursday in Bird World

4 August 2022

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

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

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

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

Here is the link to the camera:

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

scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk

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

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

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

The only surviving fledgling on nest #4.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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