Checking on the Aussie Birds

Everyone is still waiting for any sign of a pip or a hatch with Xavier and Diamond’s eggs at their scrape box on the water tower on Charles Sturt University at Orange. It is now mid-afternoon on the 7th of October. Diamond has been restless but she sure is not revealing anything to anyone!

Meanwhile the week-old chicks at 367 Collins Street are growing by leaps and bounds. It was really hot today and Mum was a great ‘Mumbrella’ to keep the heat off their pink skin underneath all that white fluffy down. Mom was panting, too.

Those four are really getting stronger too. Each of them can easily sit with their neck held relatively still. It is so much easier for the parents to feed them.

This is Mom feeding.

The baby or the 4th hatch is doing great too. There it is on the right. Their eyes are open wide. Such cuties. Just notice how much of the scrape box they take up today. We will compare this with them next week. It should be interesting.

This is Dad feeding. If you have trouble recognizing them, one of the best ways is to look behind the legs and between the tail. Mum has lots of long dirty feathers from brooding the chicks. Dad doesn’t. Dad has more yellow on the eyes and is, of course, much smaller. But the feathers behind the legs are a giveaway that it is Mum.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Cam was offline for a good part of the early morning. I do not know when the three osplets were fed but each had large crops when the stream returned. I think they must have had a really good feed.

If you are wondering how Little Bob is doing, well that ‘ps’ of his in the image below says it all.

Everyone is waiting for a fish, snoozing in the sunshine of a beautiful Australian afternoon. It is 17 degrees C and the winds are blowing at 16 kph.

The Sydney Sea Eagles are incredibly beautiful. We are getting near and nearer to branching. This nest has been full of wonderful surprises this year, just like the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest.

Lady Hawk did a 5 minute video of some of the cuteness that these two WBSE have gotten into. Have a look:

I took a drive on a very hot day to check out the number of Pelicans and Cormorants still around and to see the geese come into the fields. They begin around 15:00 and continue to dusk.

Manitoba has one-third of North America’s American White Pelicans during the summer season. There are often 100 or more on our Red River near the dam at Lockport Heritage Park. Today, there were only four Pelicans and two Cormorants. There were, however, quite a few Greater Yellow Legs. The birds were back lit and more than a football field away so the images are not as good as I had hoped.

This is a non-breeding immature Greater Yellowlegs.

The Double-crested Cormorant had just landed on the water and was drying off its wings. There were fish jumping and everyone will eat well today, if they already haven’t.

There are always lots of Ring-billed Gulls.

I have one last thing to share with you. Sandhill Cranes. I missed seeing the hundreds of them when they landed south of Winnipeg about a month ago as they began their migration. On Saturday, during Ferris Akel’s tour, he filmed a number of Sandhill Cranes at Montezuma. They are such beautiful birds. He has posted that edited video. Here is the link:

Thank you so much for joining me. I had hoped to have hatch news for you but we wait, just like Xavier does. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I take my screen shots: The Port Lincoln Osprey Project, The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Gold Star for PLO Dad – again!

It was a gorgeous day to be outside clearing up after the birds and replenishing their feeders and bowls. The gossip around the City is that the Robins are making their way through and stopping over for a bit before heading farther South. I don’t blame them. The wind is hardly blowing, the leaves are now golden, and the sky is blue. It is 24 degrees F. I would enjoy a vacation here if I didn’t live here, too!

It is nasty down in Port Lincoln, Australia. It is 11 degrees with 37 mph winds. Not as bad at the moment as yesterday but, the waves were fairly high and rough a bit earlier. That said I am just gobsmacked by the Port Lincoln Dad. A really nice fish hit the decks of the nest on the barge at 7:00:33. From some of the flapping going on, it appeared to be still alive. Little Bob doesn’t care! He just wants breakfast. I am certain that he currently has no idea of the effort his Dad went to getting that prize on the table.

There is a wee bit of chaos on the nest when the fish arrives. In front, with those lovely light grey stomach markings, and ‘staring’ at the fish is Little Bob. Oh, he does love his fish.

It really helps to get in the right position for Mum to see you. Little Bob keeps his eye on Mum and that fish. He needs to get himself up to the table and Big Bob is in the way.

Ah, Little Bob moves up. He is in the foreground or on the left of the choir but it is not a good place to be. Mom is feeding from the front of the fish. Little Bob really does like to go first. Will he move or stretch his neck?

They are all lined up nicely.

OK. Little Bob has relocated. He wants Mum to see his wide open mouth and fill it with fish. Do you think this is a better spot?

Bingo. The sun shines down on the ‘Golden Child’. The two older sibs look like they would rather lay down and not have the wind hit their faces. Little Bob prefers to eat.

Both Eyes wide open as well as beak open.

Yes! Little Bob is in the perfect spot. The others don’t seem to care. Indeed, they could well be used to him going first. There is always lots of fish to go around.

I wish you could see the smile on my face. Remember the day that Big Bob wanted to push her weight around and try and be dominant? You will recall that it didn’t work. Some of these third hatches are just brilliant. Little Bob is one of those. He doesn’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer so he figures out a strategy. Moving worked today.

Something happens. Mum starts feeding the big sibling in between Little Bob and the fish! Little Bob opens his mouth wide over and over again to try and get Mum’s attention.

It looks like the same image below, it isn’t. Little Bob tries over and over again. “Hey, Mum. Look, my mouth is open. Right here”.

Will his persistence pay off?

Finally!

Little Bob is getting some good bites. You can see the fish on his beak.

Little Bob is still opening wide. He has dropped the little crop he had and he is wanting more fish. Mum and Dad might have different ideas about that.

Did Dad want fish left for another feeding in case he couldn’t catch another one for awhile? It is unclear. At 7:32:57 Dad comes to retrieve the fish.

Every chick ate. Little Bob wanted some more bites but Mum said it was time to stop.

Surprise! Dad ate some of the fish and brought it back to Mum and the kids at 8:09:50.

It is difficult to see but it looks like everyone is crowded around Mom. The nest looks wet and cold. Hopefully that sun will come out and dry it tomorrow.

Is there someone still eating?

There is no telling who got what or how much. It is really windy and I bet chilly on the nest. Mom has them tucked in tight. The worst thing would be to get a chill in that damp nest.

Despite the cool windy weather, the chicks have had two feedings off that nice fish in the space of an hour and a half. Mom has them tucked in and they will be super toasty. Everything is fine on this nest. Just fine.

Mum and Dad are busy getting groceries for the four little falcons. My goodness they are growing and seem to be getting bigger and stronger by the hour. All you need to do is to take a look at the size of that wing in the image below to see the growth in a couple of days. Wow.

Xavier got a chance to incubate the eggs this morning so he was super eggcited.

WBSE 27 and 28 had an early feeding and they are both perfect – strengthening their legs and wings and getting very interested in the world outside of the nest. This has also been a great family to watch this year, just like the Port Lincoln Osprey family. No big dramatic events in either.

That is it for me today. I hope you had a very good weekend no matter where you are or what time it is. Take care everyone. See you soon!

And a last reminder. Mark you calendars. 9 October is eBird count day.

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

Saturday in Bird World

The wind is calm on the Canadian prairies today. The sun is pouring through what leaves are left on our trees, the squirrels are carrying off peanuts while the Dark-eyed Juncos dance around on the deck. It is 22 degrees C. Just a perfect day.

I wish I could trade my day for the one that the Port Lincoln Ospreys are having to endure. The winds at 6am were blowing from 40-45 kph with the promise that they will rise to 50 kmp. That is a horrible storm. There are white caps and rain. Everyone is hunkered down. No fishing for Dad for quite awhile. Mind you, he did well at 34 mph maybe there will be a break for him to go out fishing. The Bobs will be starving when fish does arrive. Or let me put it this way, they will think they are starving. Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey nest went without food for 72 hours twice. So it is not like they are really going to starve but, it could destabilize the food security of the nest that these parents have worked so hard to foster. That would be a tragedy so, send positive thoughts to this nest.

In the image below the wind is blowing parts of the nest around and causing them to flap. You can see them hanging over. Dad is hunkered down on his perch. Despite the fact that the osplets can thermoregulate better now, we do not want them to get damp and get a chill. Mom is really down low in the nest so that she can keep them warm and dry. I just bet she isn’t letting anyone poke their head out!

Meanwhile over in Melbourne, the four eyases had their first feeding at 6:12:50. Mom has left the nest for a much needed stretch and break.

Oh, such sweet little fluff balls. Here comes a parent with part of an old stashed pigeon. Doesn’t that sound just yummy?

Breakfast has arrived. Wake up everyone.

At 7:10:34, Dad comes in to check on the babies and feeds them the remaining pigeon left in the scrape box from the earlier feed.

Mom gets a good break. In fact, one of the things you should be noticing is that Dad loves feeding his babies. So instead of just seeing Mom feed them, look carefully because it could just be dad!

Dad is actually very good, just a bit messy for Mum’s liking.

Mum arrives back. Just look at how beautiful she is. She has to be pleased that she chose such a good mate. Dad is an excellent hunter and when he is not feeding his babies he is out hunting for Mum and them. It really makes this family quite magical!

Dad loved getting time to incubate the eggs but he is no so good at brooding them. He seems quite nervous around those wiggly white bodies.

Mom watches from the ledge. Someone made a joke on the FB page of the falcons. It was Dad telling the kids to listen and make a great effort to eat because Mum was watching to see if he did a good job feeding them. Looking at this image it seems really fitting.

Dad is off and Mum is back to brood. They still have their little mouths open. It sometimes seems that it is an automatic reflex when an adult comes around.

Mom is inspecting the nest and wondering what that thing is that Dad has left.

For those of you that have not watched this nest before, you need to know that Dad is a very messy feeder sometimes. On several occasions he has been known to bring a fresh pigeon into the scrape box and pluck it right on top of the chicks. Imagine dark grey feathers everywhere – and I do mean everywhere. Dad pays no mind. He can also make a real mess of the chicks with these really fresh birds. There is no need to worry if you see blood on them after one of his feedings – they are not hurt, just in need of a face cloth!

This is the third feeding of the morning and it has just turned 08:07. Here comes Dad with part of a pigeon he had in the cupboard.

Wakey, wakey. Time to eat again!!!!! You want to grow big and strong.

I noticed some of the FB members wondering what Dad is bringing in for the meals. 99% of the time it will be a Melbourne special – a pigeon. Urban falcons thrive on them. Indeed, one old falconer told me that is the only reason for pigeons – so they can be turned into falcons.

In contrast, the little eyases that will be hatching over in Orange, will have a different diet. There won’t be any pigeons. In fact, they might like a nice fat pigeon. Their diet consists of lots of Starlings and various types of parrots. But the real treat at Orange are the Cicadas. They hold them in their talons like a popsicle to eat them. Such a treat. Last year, Xavier and Diamond’s only hatch, Izzi, at them by the dozen. It is a wonder he did not turn green.

A clump of cuteness.

They keep each other warm but oh, they are so wiggly. I wonder how Mum gets any sleep.

Mom returns from her break. That egg shell seems to have caught her attention. I wonder if she will eat it? Those shells are full of calcium and Mum depleted much of hers making those four eggs.

She sure is beautiful! Have I said that twice?

Over in Orange, they are taking bets on when Diamond and Xavier’s eggs will begin to hatch. Yesterday, Diamond was not wanting to share incubating with Xavier. Many thought this might signal an early hatch. My bets are on the 7th or the 8th.

In Sydney, the two White-Bellied Sea Eaglets have recovered from the horrific storm with its very strong winds and hail. The impact on the nest was caught on camera. Notice the trees whirling in the background. This had to be terrifying for these young eagles. Here it is:

It is still misty in Sydney but the bad weather is gone.

Wow. That little sea eagle is really getting some air under those wings. I think it even surprises its sibling.

Now look. “See, I told you I could do it too!”

27 is standing up on the rim of the nest. It will not be long til there is more flapping and jumping all over the nest – and branching. These two are so healthy. Their interactions are so cute. Both would like a big breakfast delivery!

A last glance at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. The winds have not let up but the sun is out. The weather report says they might decrease slightly later in the afternoon. Mum is working hard to keep those three under her, out of the wind and the rain. Oh, let us hope that a break in the weather comes.

Other than Port Lincoln, every nest is doing well. Xavier and Diamond continue to incubate their three eggs while Mum and Dad are feeding the four eyases every hour or so in Melbourne. WBSE 27 and 28 survived the storm and are busy getting their wings and legs strong.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Sydney Discovery Centre, and the Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross.

Birds ‘Down Under’

Go and grab the tissue box or a handkerchief, you are going to need it. Lady Hawk has put out the season highlights for the Royal Cam family – LGL, LGK, and Tiaki! And while you are watching it, Tiaki is off being an albatross 95 km off the coast of Canterbury, New Zealand. She is going about her day, flying, landing on the water, and looking for squid!

Holly Parsons posted an article about Tiaki that appeared in a NZ paper. You might enjoy reading it. There are some interesting facts such as 2.3 million people watched the Royal Cam chick from 1 December til fledge which amounted to 400,000 hours of streaming cam time! Wow.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/300416181/royal-cam-star-tiaki-leaves-the-nest-as-bumper-albatross-breeding-season-wraps-up?fbclid=IwAR3mU94gmZpSDSRkFJ5U6MyqECSisvbspK0u9XXu3fAh3GXRGeUHegbLXDw

Clearly none of us knows what it is like to have to incubate four large peregrine falcon eggs for over a month but, early in the morning the Mom in the scrape box in Melbourne has been getting much more restless. Will all four hatch within six hours? Wow. That will just be crazy. I hope little Dad has been stashing pigeons somewhere close. If Mom refuses to give up her incubation duties, we will know that she is listening to the chicks and there could be a pip or a crack.

Thank goodness the earlier rains have stopped!

Here is the link to this streaming cam so you can watch the action when these sweeties hatch:

It will be about a week before there will be a hatch at the scrape box on the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange. Mom is trying to catch all the sleep she can before the trip join her and Xavier.

It would be wrong to put the link to the camera in Melbourne and not the one to Xavier and Diamond. This couple is such a sweet pair.

It is a little wet at Port Lincoln Osprey barge this morning. Mom is, no doubt, giving Dad some ‘Door Dash’ orders for breakfast.

The little one doesn’t seem to mind the few drops of rain. I just can’t get over how well these chicks blend in with the nest. Nature is the best designer!

If you have hesitated to watch this nest, I encourage all Osprey lovers to embrace it. The chicks are doing so very, very well. Here is that link:

The White Bellied Sea Eaglets are doing well this year, too. This nest has also experienced little aggression and both eaglets are thriving. Lady was in early to feed them.

They are beginning to explore the lower branches. It will be a blink before they are really branching. It has been a pleasure to watch the lives of these beautiful sea eagles this year.

I will update you on the feedings on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest later today and if there is any confirmation of pips or cracks at 367 Collins Street.

For now it is 31 degrees C or 87.8 F on 29 September on the Canadian Prairies. Unbelievable. It is a great evening to go and check on the ducks.

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me. Be kind to all living things.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University at Orange, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac. Thanks Lady Hawk for the video!

Checking in with the Australian Birds

Yesterday I waited until the trio at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest had their morning feast before I headed off to read and sleep. There was a smile on my face. The chicks had a huge fish to share with mum at 8:57:45. They looked like they were going to pop those crops! I did one last check and goodness gracious, one of them was having some extra bites at 10:20:16. I hope Mum got some good fish! Where in the world are these osplets putting all this food?

Here is an image of that breakfast fish. It is a nice one and all of the chicks ate well and behaved themselves.

Nice crops.

It’s clown feet time! Just look at how full Little Bob is – and the size of those feet.

Mum offering a chick some more bites. Just in case they might still be hungry. What a great Mum she is!

Dad made another delivery at 13:32:17. The chicks still have some crop left from the morning ‘whale’ of a fish.

Bigger crops. These three should sleep for the rest of the afternoon.

There is another small fish delivery at 17:00:36.

That little fish was gone very quickly.

And another fish was delivered at 18:18:57.

No one went to bed hungry.

It has been raining in Orange and Melbourne. There is no indication that there is a pip in any of the eggs at the 367 Collins Street scrape. That said it is really hard to see because the couple chose to use the scrape at the far end of the ledge away from the camera.

You can see the rain gathering in the gutter area. Stay dry falcons!

It is supposed to rain for the next couple of days. Maybe the eyases will wait. What lousy weather to hatch if you do not have any protection from the rain like the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond in Orange. It is about 8 days for hatch there.

Xavier arrived with a full crop and soaking wet to see if Diamond wanted him to take a turn incubating. While Diamond made up her mind, Xavier caught a little sleep. Oh, what a sweetie. Look at his crop – wow.

But look at how dry it is for these two. I wonder if anyone in Melbourne would consider putting some kind of a cover over those two scrapes for next year? Can’t do it now as it would stress out and disturb the birds but, maybe next.

Lady Hawk recorded WBSE 27 and 28 doing the morning duet with their parents. Oh, I remember when WBSE 26 sang with its parents. That was such a delight. Now we have these two joining in the family tradition. As you can see they are both doing fabulous.

There nest is quite dry. Sleeping duckling style!

That is the morning check in with our Australian nests and scrapes. Let’s hope that the forecast for rain in Melbourne is wrong! Otherwise, every bird is doing great. No worries here.

Thank you for joining me. It is another blue sky sunny day on the Canadian Prairies. We are blessed. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

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

Eagle Season is coming!

It is almost Bald Eagle breeding season in some parts of the United States. as more and more people and governmental agencies focus on the environment, there are studies from around the world trying to make wind farms more safe for our beautiful raptors.

The University of Minnesota has been doing just that. They discovered some interesting things when trying to use sound —– Bald Eagles just have normal hearing, nothing special. So as many begin talking about floating platforms in the ocean to generate renewable power, what can help the birds?

https://www.startribune.com/university-of-minnesota-researchers-protect-eagles-wind-farms-airspace/600100175/?fbclid=IwAR1ctzmnP07P3o5wb8IKkL0j35KkO33jluna8B38ge4CnZm2J-DTiqvhpeI

The sun is just rising over the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville, Florida. It is the home of Samson and Gabrielle (Gabby). This is their third season together. They have hatched Romy and Jules (2020) and Legacy (2021).

If you have forgotten, this is the nest that Samson hatched at. It belonged to his parents, Romeo and Juliet. Tragedy struck the pair in 2019. The story and video of it is here:

This is the beginning of the 2021-22 season. It is a new day with wonderful prospects for the fall and spring! I so look forward to their little ones. Legacy pulled at all my heart strings as she did thousands of others. What a grand juvenile she grew into. So, lots to look forward to.

Samson and Gabby had spent the night on the branches of the natal tree. It is just turning 07:00 and Samson is fishing. Gabby is down working on the walls of the nest getting it ready.

She looks all over trying to decide what to move and where the new branches should go. Typically, the male brings in the branches and the female positions them.

It will not be long til Gabby has this nest worked into her liking. It is high up on a pine tree and everything has to be perfect to protect the eggs and the eaglets.

She waits for Samson to arrive. You will notice that he has brought a big stick onto the nest. Now he has left again.

Now he is back! They are having a conversation about what to do during the day.

I have to admit that I really enjoy this Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. Legacy was just a joy last year as she navigated life with ‘Eggie’ and ‘Pinecone’ as an only child. Here is the link to their streaming cam 1 (they have 3):

There are two other streaming cams to watch and both couples have arrived. One of the most famous is the nest of Harriet and M15 on the land of the Pritchett Family in Fort Myers. Both eagles have returned to the nest and have been seen working on it.

The third is the Captiva Eagle Nest on Santibel Island. It is the home of Connie and her new mate, Martin. Both have arrived at the nest this afternoon. One was seen earlier in the day.

Last year, the two eaglets named Peace and Hope died of rodenticide poisoning. The male Joe – well, I would argue that he reacted the same way that Romeo did when he could not care for the eaglets in 2018-19 – and well, Joe is gone.

Let us hope that Connie and her new mate have a fabulous year and that the folks using these designer poisons have stopped and cleaned up the area for these beautiful birds.

There are so many Bald Eagle nests it is hard to keep up with them. At the same time, there are the beautiful White-tailed and Golden Eagles in Europe. The Latvian Fund for Nature runs a host of eagle cams and I will be bringing you information as it becomes relevant. I am hoping that Matilde will have a new mate and that this will be successful! Spring is going to be busy!

The female at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest is yelling to Dad to get a fish on the deck for the osplets!

Last year he seemed to ignore her but this year Dad has been, for the most part, on the ball. Sometimes he has to come to the nest to get his earful orders but then he goes fishing. Let us keep our fingers crossed for a very large fish like the one delivered yesterday. These kids are growing and they need more bigger fish. Less feedings but a lot of fish.

It is now 08:30 at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in Sydney’s Olympic Forest and WBSE 27 and 28 are waiting for a breakfast delivery, too.

This pair have done well this year. WBSE 27 has the darker head at the back with 28 here at the front. Both are healthy and there are no obvious physical difficulties like 26 had last year.

The problem that they do have are feathers and the two are constantly preening.

Both can stand and walk well.

Here they are watching for the parents to make a delivery! Waiting must be very hard when you are hungry. How dependent these birds are on the good health of their parents, too.

Food deliveries will be coming. The nestlings wait at both Port Lincoln and Sydney.

Thanks for joining me. I will bring you an update on the PLO nest first thing tomorrow. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The NE Florida Cam and the AEF, Captiva and the AEF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Godwits…and more

I have heard the name but have never seen the bird – or, at least, I do not think I have. With my lousy shorebird IDs, I might have even confused this beautiful long-legged shorebird with a Greater Yellowlegs. Of course, everyone would have laughed.

Godwits are ‘very’ long legged shorebirds but their legs are not yellow! Their beak is ‘very, very’ long and is bi-coloured – light rose and espresso -and ever so slightly upturned at the end. They are called waders because they live in the mudflats and the estuaries. See how their legs go deep into the mud, too. They feed by sticking that very long beak into the mud, rooting around for worms and small shellfish.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The breeding adults have a chest that ranges from a deep terracotta for the males to a brighter orange for the females. The wing and back feathers are more brown and white overall with a touch of the breast colour, sometimes. They have gorgeous dark eyes.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The juveniles have a cream coloured breast with overall brown and white feathering.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What is so miraculous about these shorebirds is their migration. They breed in Alaska and fly in September to New Zealand! They make only one stop, normally. And they do the trip in record time. It is an 11,265 kilometre journey or 7000 miles. They accomplish this in eight days! Yes, you read that correctly, eight days.

“Bar-tailed Godwits” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Neils Warnock, the Executive Director of Alaska Audubon in 2017, remarked,These godwits are epic migrants. We had a bird, E-7, that we had tagged, and she left New Zealand in the spring. She flies non-stop seven days, ten thousand kilometres, to the Yellow Sea. All of the Bar-tailed Godwits of Alaska, they stop at the Yellow Sea.”

The Yellow Sea is located between mainland People’s Republic of China and the Korean Peninsula.

Historically the mudflats of the Yellow-Sea have been rich with food for the Bar-tail Godwits so they can fatten up and make the rest of the journey to their winter homes in New Zealand without having to stop. Today, the mudflats of the Yellow Sea are under threat – they are disappearing with coastal development. This could prove to be a major challenge for these beautiful shorebirds. There have been many studies and the researchers have seen a drop in the number of shorebirds by 30% in the last few years because the mudflat areas have been reduced by 65%.

https://www.science.org/news/2017/04/migrating-shorebirds-danger-due-disappearing-mudflats

The reports of the shrinkage of the mudflats has been coming in since 2013 with alarms sounding.

Today the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand reported that Bar-tailed Godwit 4BYWW made his flight in 8 days and 12 hours arriving home at 03:00 on 26 September. He flew 12,200 km. His average speed was 59kph. 4BYWW may have set a new distance record for the Bar-tail Godwits. We will know when the others return home. Isn’t that amazing?

What I found most interesting was her route. She does not appear to have gone via the Yellow Sea. Is this because of the decline of the mud flats? Have the birds adapted their migratory route? I definitely want to look at this more closely.

This was the satellite tracking image posted by the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre FB page:

The Centre was tracking another four adults and 3 juveniles on their journeys home. One of those, 4BWWB, has been reported as flying non-stop for 163 hours and over 10,000 km. Seriously, my head can’t comprehend what that must be like. I am also truly amazed at what these sat-paks can tell us about the birds and their amazing resilience. Just incredible.

Tiaki officially fledged on the 25th of September. The Royal Albatross cam chick of 2021 is foraging off the coast of New Zealand at the present time. She will eventually make her way to the waters off of South America near Chile. We wait for her return in four to six years to Taiaroa Head where we will hear that beautiful Sky call, again.

While millions and millions of birds are moving from their summer breeding grounds to their winter homes, others are waiting for eggs to hatch. Holly Parsons posted a table of Diamond’s incubation history.

Xavier and Diamond’s first egg was laid in the scrape box on top of the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia on 31 August this year. Cilla Kinross, the main researcher, is expecting a hatch from 6-9 October with the most promising day being the 7th. Can’t wait!

Diamond was catching some sleep this morning. If all of the eggs hatch, her and Xavier are going to be very busy!

If the hatch is expected around the 7th of October at Orange, then what about those Melbourne Peregrine Falcons? The first egg was laid on the 21st of August – yes, that is right. Ten days before the Orange falcons. So, I am going to be looking for a hatch at Melbourne starting in two days!!!!!! This means that all of the Melbourne eggs, if viable, will hatch before those in Orange. It will be nice to get to enjoy them without trying to watch both at the same time!

For those of you wondering about those beautiful White-bellied Sea Eagles, 27 and 28, here they are. Talk about gorgeous.

Things will really be starting to ramp up shortly. Bald Eagle breeding season in the United States begins in a few days. Looking forward to checking on some nests to see if the birds have returned – such as Anna and Louis who had the first hatch on a nest in the Kisatchie Forest last year since 2013. His name was Kistachie – very appropriate.

Then there is always the trio at Port Lincoln. They had two feedings this morning and a third at 11:31:27 when Dad brought in a very small fish. All of the chicks were well behaved – quite civil to one another. And, of course, Little Bob is right there in front! Look carefully you can see him.

Life is good. Everything seems to be going really well for all the nests.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed learning about the Godwits as much as I did. Incredible birds. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or for postings on their FB pages that I have shared with you: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Feature image credit: “Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Oh, Little Bob!

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

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

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

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

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

“What cha’ doin’ Mom?”

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

There was another feeding around 13:08.

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

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

Around 16:00 the chicks are fed again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday in Bird World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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