Happy Canadian Thanksgiving from my garden to yours

It is 17 degrees C, clear blue skies, and the birds are chirping their heads off. After two days of grey damp rain, everyone is happy to celebrate and we are all thankful for the wonderful weather.

Thanks to the birds or squirrels there are sunflowers popping up around the planters. The Vermillionaires are for the hummingbirds, and the Cosmos for the bees and butterflies. The thicket in the back of the garden is a favourite place for hiding or cooling off.

I am thankful to each of those that live in or visit our garden every day. There are three different Blue Jays, one Red Squirrel (Little Red), three Grey Squirrels (Baby, Scraggly, and Monk), Mr and Mrs Wood Pecker (he is missing from the images today), Mr Chickadee, and Hedwig, the garden rabbit.

The joy they bring is immense. The Blue Jays have been demonstrating the many ways to clear the kernels off their corn cobs before Scraggly takes the entire cob. Everyone else has also had special seed or suet over the weekend to thank them.

It seemed that half of our City was at the local park today enjoying the beautiful weather and having picnics instead of big elaborate dinners. You could hear laughter all around the pond. Sadly, there was one female Mallard that has a broken wing. I am waiting for someone to bring me the proper pole with netting and we will be out to attempt a rescue to Wildlife Haven.

Of things to be thankful for today, is not only the joy that all of the birds have given me but also for those that dedicate their lives to trying to mend them and get them out in the wild again. Wildlife Haven is certainly one of those!

The trip had been to check on the little Wood Ducks. The one below is an adult female in her summer/fall plumage. Note her striking white eye patch and the yellow line around her eye. She does not, however, have the red iris of the male. She has white streaking on her breast. You can see the blue secondaries.

Indeed, it is very difficult to ID the Wood Ducks at this time of year because there are so many variations occurring.

We know this to be a male because of the red Iris. There is stunning secondaries. In this instance, they look iridescent green at this angle. This is a first year male in his winter plumage.

I was looking for the adult male. The last time I checked he was almost finished his moult and it would be so nice to see him in his magnificent plumage before they leave the pond for their winter homes. He is sleeping up on the bank of Duck Island on the left. You can get a glimpse of how gorgeous he is. Indeed, most of the wood ducks were having a nap. Perhaps they do not like all the people walking about, laughing, having fun.

From my garden to yours, I hope that like us you have family, friends, and critters who delight you and for whom you can say ‘thank you’ every day! Wildlife is wonderful.

Thanks for joining me today. Wish us good luck in getting that female Mallard out of the pond! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Tuesday in Bird World 5 October 2021

It is another glorious day. The sky is blue and it is going up to 28 or 29 degrees. Winds are a bit gusty. Still a noon walk around the pond seems to be something to aim for. Will it be too hot for the ducks and geese? Will they be sleeping on Duck Island and not on the water?

Before anything else happens during the day, I always check on a couple of nests, especially those in Australia to see if there are any surprises or if all is well.

The Port Lincoln Dad continues with his good fishing streak. Added to the already 3 or 4 feedings yesterday were two more: 16.41:26 and 18:33:08.

Everyone was fed yesterday. Each of the three is doing well and changing so much. What a magnificent Osprey nest to watch this year and despite some of the chatters fearing the worst (why I ask?), there is no evidence this year to indicate anything other than three successful fledges with their own sat paks.

It is only 6:33 in Port Lincoln. Not breakfast time yet.

There are four! A viewer was worried that something had happened to one of the little eyases. You have to be very creative in recognizing the individual falcons sometimes. They tend to collapse in a pile keeping each other warm. There is the baby looking right out at us. Each is thriving. Those parents are busy stocking the pantry! These kids can eat. This is not a nest that is going to have issues unless a real tragedy hits (like a parent dying). These are well seasoned parents that know precisely how to take care of their little ones. Not a worry at all. Just enjoy them!

How many of you watched the Peregrine Falcon nest at Orange with Xavier and Diamond last year? If you did, I know that Izzi, their only hatchling, stole your heart. Today, Izzi is having his one year birthday. Holly Parsons did a slideshow tribute to Izzi and posted it on YouTube. Here is the link:

Today we are waiting for the first hatch of Xavier and Diamond’s 2021 brood. It will happen anytime! Here is a link to the camera in Orange. You won’t want to miss any of that action.

The best guess on the first hatch is 7 October – tomorrow in Australia. This morning Xavier really wanted to incubate those eggs and Diamond let him! He is not giving us any hints if there is a pip. One happy Dad!

Do you know why Xavier is named Xavier? It comes from Saviour. In 2016, Diamond’s eggs were ready to hatch and her mate Bula went missing. Xavier showed up and helped Diamond raise the chicks that year. He provided all the food for them. Xavier and Diamond are a bonded pair raising their own chicks for the past five years. Xavier ‘saved’ (hence Saviour) the chicks lives that year. He is a very devoted Dad and a great mate.

Speaking of devoted mates, the Cornell Bird Lab has unveiled a Tupelo wood sculpture of Big Red and Ezra and their 2016 nest titled Hello Daddy. The artist, David Cohen, wanted to do a tribute to Ezra as he died the following year. The wood was decorated by burning and acrylics and depicts the first hatch with the other two eggs in various stages of hatching. Ezra wears the real metal band that he wore in life. The sculpture was unveiled today and will be on display for three years.

The trip to the duck pond to see the progression of the plumage changes in the male Mallards and the Wood Ducks was a bit of a bust. It is just too hot and almost everyone was on ‘Duck Island’ staying cool in the shade.

There was one lonely White-breasted Nuthatch foraging on one of the tree trunks as I arrived. They lack the black eye line and the rosy breast of the Red-breasted Nuthatch.

A few of the Canada Geese were out. Perhaps they were hoping that some of the picnickers might share some of their lunch with them. I don’t think it was working. Everyone seems very mindful of the signs saying “Do Not Feed the Wildlife”.

There were a couple taking a bath and flipping themselves over like people in a kayak. It was quite interesting to watch although it would have been much better as a video!

A few Canada Geese were flying in and landing.

What a great landing!

I could watch them all day!

Thank you for stopping in. I hope that you have had a really good day and that it continues that way. Stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac. I would also like to thank Suzanne Arnold Horning for allowing me to post her images on my blog. She kindly attended the opening reception of Hello, Daddy.

Wednesday in Bird World

Lady Hawk has posted some close ups of the Royal Albatross cam chick, Tiaki, doing some wing exercises. Tiaki is all grown up, a beautiful juvenile, the daughter of LGL and LGK. She will fledge soon beginning her five or six year journey at sea – never touching land – til she returns to the headland to begin finding a mate. Perhaps one day Tiaki’s chick will be the Royal cam chick. I do hope so. It will mean that the seas are safer places for our beautiful squid eating birds.

“Masked Bobwhite (female ) (subspecies of Northern Bobwhite) | BANWR | AZ | 2016-04-15at07-43-413” by Bettina Arrigoni is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Audubon Society has posted some really good news. The Masked Bobwhites are once again seen in southern Arizona. They were believed to be on extinct or on the edge of extinction because of cattle grazing in the Arizona deserts. Today they are listed as ‘critically endangered’.

They are a small round quail. When I was a child, we would travel to visit relatives in Arizona every summer. Oh, was it hot! But there were always Bobwhites. It is nice to hear that they are now returning.

This photo was taken on the 10th of September. I wrote about it at the time because in migration news, this is great. The son of Aeron Z2 and Blue 014 at the Pont Cresor nest in the Glaslyn Valley – and the grandson of Monty and Glesni – had reached Brittany. That was 12 days ago. He would now be further on his migration, perhaps stopping in Spain. The photo of Blue 494 was taken by Colette Leclerq.

Photo by Colette Leclerq, Brittany France

Speaking of migration and waiting and wanting news of Blue 464, it is more than time to check on the Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia.

First up, Karl II, his daughter Pikne, and his son Udu. They are from the Black Stork nest in the Karula Forest in Estonia. This map is taken from the Karl II migration pages of the Forum.

Udu is now in Hungary near the fishponds at Banhalma. Karl II remains around Kherson Oblata in the Ukraine. Pikne has doubled back and remains in Moldova. What I think is interesting about this map is that Udu has turned and is heading towards the Asia Minor route. There was a question as to whether he might go the western route to Africa but it seems he will be flying over Greece.

This is the data from BirdMap. You can access the BirdMap here:

http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/EN

I was wanting to see about the Black stork Julge. He is Jan and Janika’s only surviving chick this year. He is now in france. You can see him still heading over the westerly routing.

The birds that are in the centre of Africa are two Ospreys!

So far everything looks in order and everyone is still safe.

I cannot bring you a late afternoon update on the Port Lincoln Ospreys. The camera was frozen for most of the day and has just returned to normal. Mom has the kids covered tight. It is only 8 degrees at 16:00 with winds blowing over the water at 11 kph.

I can show you a bit of what a beautiful day it was on the Canadian prairies. I really need to practice with my camera and my tripod. These are some images today taken at a distance of about 68 metres. I found the tripod tricky to use – I need a counterbalance for it – so these are all hand held. The set up was heavy. But there were a few passable images.

A female Mallard. This species is very common in Manitoba. They have, on occasion, fooled me so I have had to go to our local eBird expert. This is a real beauty.

The Canada Geese would like the entire pond to themselves. They swim after and honk as they pursue the ducks.

There is your dabbling duck. She knows that goose is there but is trying to ignore it.

The park was just beautiful. It was 25 degrees today. One of the fountains was not working and that end of the pond had men working. Still the geese on the other side were a bit curious.

All of the Wood Ducks were either up on the islands or down by the fountain that was working. This is a female and she is such a cutie. I sat and watched her swim in and out of the water droplets for quite awhile.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Tomorrow is a day away chasing shore birds. I hope to have a posting tomorrow evening (Thursday). Take care everyone. Stay safe. Stay Positive!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Friends of Ospreys, and to the Eagle Club of Estonia, BirdMap, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

Taiki to get GPS tracker

It is 9 September in Australia. My computer tells me that it is 17:34 on the Canadian Prairies on the 8th of September. In three hours, around 20:00. CDT, the NZ DOC rangers will fit Tiaki with the tracker. She is 228 days old and could fledge any time.

Here is the link so that you can watch. Both LGL and LGK were fitted with trackers. LGK’s is still working providing valuable information on where the adults forage for food for their chicks.

In other nest news, it has been confirmed that Z2 (Aeron) and his family have now all departed for migration. Aeron’s nest is the Pont Cresor in Glaslyn. At the same time, Aran is still at the Glaslyn nest. Many worry about his late spring wing injury but, he most often doesn’t leave until mid-September.

Wales issued a statement that due to the cold spring weather and misfortunes, their six nests produced only six chicks to fledge.

9 October is one of Cornell’s big bird submission dates. This year they are even calling it October Big Day. They want everyone to do a bird count around the world. Mark it on your calendar. I will give you more details closer to the day.

eBird submissions are very helpful. Some recent discoveries, sadly, include bird and plane collision information.

A photo of an adult Osprey yesterday leads everyone in Missoula to think that Iris is still in Montana. The image was taken from the Owl Pole Camera.

Let’s chick on where the Black Storks are today.

Pikne is in Moldova.

Udu is in Southwest Poland.

Udu’s area is full of lakes!

There was no data update for Karl II.

Julge, the only surviving chick of Jan and Janika, has made its way through Germany and looks like he is flying into France. This stork picked the Western Route! Julge is the purple line going into Belgium. It is nice to know he is safe.

The last time that Big Red and Arthur’s K1 and K3 were spotted was 3 September. If they are truly gone and starting their own lives, we wish them and those that are migrating good winds, food, and safe landings.

My original computer issue was fixed but now it seems that some of the keys are sticking. It isn’t fun to keyboard. I will leave you with a couple of images of ducks and geese from my excursion to the park today. It was quiet. Everyone was off tracking down a Green Heron that had flown into town!

A juvenile male Wood Duck.
Juvenile Female Wood Duck
Adult male Wood Duck,moult
Canada Geese

Thank you so much for joining me today. Don’t forget to drop in and see Tiaki get her tracker! My hope is that it is equipped with a 7 year battery. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen shots: Montana Osprey Project, Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, and BirdMap.

3 Cheers for Tiny Little Bob!

White YW delivered the tea time fish – a nice large one – to the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. Blue 462 nabbed it first and then guess who pinches it off big sibling! Tiny Little!

Big Sibling 464 on the left and 462 on the right – all waiting for Tiny Little to make a wrong move with that nice fish. Go away both of you!!!!!

Then 462 got it back!

The first round both 462 and 463 struggled with the mouth and eye area. Wonder who is going to get that fish when it is nicely opened.

Ah, White YW cannot stand to hear one of his fledglings call for food. He promptly went out and got another one. Blue 464 got that one. It was such a nice fish that 464 was eating on it an hour later. Tiny Little flew off the nest probably chasing Dad. No one should be worried thought. Tiny Little had a nice crop prior to snagging that fish off 462. None of these chicks are hungry!

Blue 464 is enjoying his nice big fish – alone! No one is around sniffing for some pieces.

Good Night Foulshaw Moss Ospreys!

In Wisconsin, Malin is busy self-feeding on a piece of a fish that Dad delivered. What captivates me today are the wing feathers. They are looking so good. There is a condensation mark but if you look to the right that one dangling feather from earlier in the month is now ‘crossing over’ the way that it should. The other wing feather scallops are lined up perfectly. Oh, Malin, you are growing up!

The nests are so big and every streaming cam distorts the images (or so it seems). It is difficult to try and determine how big Malin actually is.

There is no time code on the Collins Marsh camera. I believe that there was another delivery by Collins to Malin – this time another piece of a fish. That is really helpful for Malin to work on its self-feeding and not get caught up with the bony mouths and eyes. Eventually Malin will need to do that. Right now one of the wonderful things is Malin’s anticipation of the food drop and his excitement and mantling on its arrival.

In the imager below, Malin sees Collins flying into the nest. Look at his eyes. He has also dropped his wings in anticipation of mantling that fish.

Malin pivots. Wings stretched down and out for mantling with beak forward to grab the fish from Collins’s talons.

Get out of the way Collins! Malin has secured the food.

Ah. Over. I notice also that Collins’s crop is nicely full. He has eaten the head and perhaps part of the fish before the delivery.

These two food drops for Malin to self-feed come after the aggressive manner that Malin approached the fish yesterday with Marsha. We are moving on to the next phase: no more feedings by mom? Let’s watch and see.

Is this the tail of a little Bullhead?

It is a beautiful day on the Canadian Prairies. For the first time in ever so long we can see blue sky, not sky filled with smoke. It is 21 degrees C. That is 69.8 F. Just lovely for a trip to the one of our local parks.

It was a delight to walk up to the duck pond and discover that our Parks Department has put up signs to educate people on why they should not feed the ducks bread. Last year the local birding group had a big campaign to get this practice stopped. Today, the signs are up. They are large and prominently placed at strategic entrances and exits. No one was feeding the ducks, they were just enjoying them! Well done Parks Department!!!!!!

Thanks to the recent rains many of the geese were out on the fields where people play soccer or cricket eating green grass.

A male juvenile Mallard enjoying the water fountain at the rocks.

There was real discussion on the identification of the duck above and the one below. The discussion ended when the little duck below showed us her feeding behaviour. She is a dabbler so she is a female Mallard – not a female Blue Winged-teal.

Mallards come to Manitoba to breed. They arrive in the spring and leave in the fall. Here the little female is mottled brown with a whitish tail, and orange feet.

When feeding, she tips up and dabbles in the shallow waters of the duck pond for pondweeds and aquatic invertebrates. They also feed on larval amphibians and fish eggs.

The female Wood Duck and her ducklings. You can tell the Wood Duck by its white tear-eyed eye patch. Her breast is a mottled brown and white.

Wood Ducks are migratory birds in Manitoba. They arrive in the spring, normally April, and will head south in October. They are cavity nesters. They will lay their eggs in a tree cavity or specially built enclosed wood boxes. The ducklings are ready to bounce from the nest when they are 24 hours old. Precocial animals and birds hatch/born with all their feathers, skin, etc. and are able to see, hear, and move about.

The little Wood Duck and her ducklings mingled with the Canada Geese. Only once did I see a goose get aggressive towards one of the little ones.

Malin’s initial feather issues have caused me to spend more time looking at the back and wings of birds than I ever would have thought possible. Each individual feather is simply beautiful – taken together they are like a wonderful musical symphony – each performing their own task to help this Canada goose swim, walk, and fly.

The tail and wing feathers of a non-breeding male Mallard.

As we were leaving, a Juvenile Bald Eagle was soaring above us.

Then the Northern Goshawk beats its large wings. The Northern Goshawk lives in Manitoba all year round except for the southern part where they can be seen only in the summer or in the winter if food supplies in the North fall.

It was a good day! The skies are turning grey and the wind is picking up a little and maybe, just maybe, we will have some more rain. Wishing and hoping.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest and the Collins Marsh Osprey Nest.