Ospreys Are Back!

Osprey Nesting

Osprey Nesting

After a bit of a lull in activity, there’s suddenly lots of action around.  The best news is that the ospreys have nested again, in the same place as last time.  Most of last year’s nest had been blown away by storms so I wondered whether they’d choose somewhere else.  The nest already looks more robust than last year, so hopefully it might hold together better for them.  I don’t know how many eggs, if any, there are yet.  I’ll be back to take some more pictures next week.  Let’s hope they’re as successful as last year.

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

A couple of months ago I saw a red-tailed black-cockatoo for the first time, but I couldn’t put a photo up because I didn’t have my camera with me at the time.  Then a couple of weeks ago, I saw a pair.  I watched them fairly close to for several minutes.  Getting a photo isn’t easy as they feed so high up and there are always twigs in the way.  Then I managed to get this shot when he took off, I was so pleased.

Breakfast time

Breakfast time

What a delight getting up has been this week.  This lovely tree is flowering. I open my curtains in the morning and see the rainbow lorikeets feeding, such a treat.

Grey Currawong

Grey Currawong

This is one of those birds that I’d never heard of until I saw it.  In fact, when I saw it I just assumed it was a magpie and didn’t notice it.  It was only when it squawked that I realised it was something different – a very strange sound.  So I got a picture (just), and looked it up when I got home.  I was camping at a place called Wave Rock at the time which is spectacular itself.  I know this is a bird blog but I’ll finish with a picture of the rock for anyone who’s never heard of it.

Wave Rock

Wave Rock

 

White-bellied Sea-eagle

White-bellied Sea-eagle

White-bellied Sea-eagle

As I mentioned before, I’ve never actually seen a sea-eagle properly.  These pictures were taken by my husband on his trip to the Northern Territories, east of Darwin, in a place called Corroboree Billabong.

I'm looking at you

I’m looking at you

 

 

He was only there for a few hours yet he managed to see at least 6 of these lovely birds, and fairly close too.  They seemed to realise that the people on the cruise boat were no threat.

 

Perching

Perching

 

If you want to see a white-bellied sea-eagle in action but, like me, you aren’t near a good viewing spot, try this.  It’s the white-bellied sea-eagle cam, a live stream from a nest in Sydney.  It’s been running for several years. As I type the eggs are due to hatch any minute.

 

Setting off

Setting off

 

 

As the clouds rolled in this one realised the photo opportunity was coming to an end and flew away.  Their wingspan is over 2m so it’s quite an impressive sight.

 

 

Always on the lookout

Always on the lookout

 

Hopefully it won’t be too long before I see a sea-eagle for myself.  If not, I’ll have to save up for a trip to the Northern Territories.

 

 

 

Although it was the sea-eagles who stole the show, these whistling kites were quite cooperative too.  The one on the left is a juvenile.

Whistling Kites - probably

Whistling Kites – probably

 

 

 

 

 

Whistling kite – a very sad day

Whistling Kite - covered in diesel

Whistling Kite – covered in diesel

This is a very sad sight indeed, a pathetic little whistling kite having diesel removed from its body and feathers.

Last week I took my son to a nearby wildlife rescue centre, Express Wildlife Rescue, for him to do a few hours of voluntary work and in the end I stayed too.  It’s in Wanneroo, North of Perth, and is run by a very driven and dedicated woman called Andrea.

The kite was rescued by a ranger from a vat of diesel and was covered head to toe in a sticky goo, just like when birds are taken out of an oil slick.  One of the last things I helped with before I left was cleaning some of it off.  It’s a tricky balance though.  The diesel seeps in through the skin, so it’s important that it is removed as soon as possible.  On the other hand, it’s a wild bird and too much handling could cause it to die of shock.  And it’s bound to be even more stressful when being handled by 2 people and washed.  Sadly, the bird died the next morning.  As with any animal that dies there, the vet did a post mortem.  One of the reasons is to find out over time which treatments are best what sort of care has the highest success rates ( how long can you handle a wild bird for before it’s too long, foods, temperatures etc ).  It turned out that it was covered in goo inside too, so it had it in its stomach and lungs too.  There was no way it could have survived that.

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth Doing a very good impression of a log

Andrea has a very high success rate with around 75% of all of the animals she takes in being returned to  health and to the wild.  She had another kite there which was due to be released within the following few days after recovering from an attack by a cat.

Most of the animals fall into the following categories.  1) Attacked by another animal (fox, cat, dog etc).  2) Hit by a vehicle. 3) Deliberately hurt by humans.  I was shocked by just how many felll into that third category.  There was a beautiful white dove there.  It had been rescued after it had been completely plucked  by its owners while it was still alive.

Monopoly

Monopoly – making sure that bit is soft enough to rest his head on as he falls asleep

One of the most popular residents is Monopoly, the kangaroo.  He was orphaned when his mother was shot, then he was poisoned.  The cruelty left him epileptic, so he’ll never be able to be returned to the wild (he needs regular medication) and he probably won’t make it to maturity.  But, for now, he has a very happy life.  His best friend is a golden retriever who enjoys his company.  The two of them played together for ages, before finally settling down for a rest.  Monopoly needed to just make sure the hair was soft enough before he too lay down with his best friend for a rest .

The rescue centre is a not for profit organisation and is always fund raising to pay the medical fees and food bills.  There’s a page on the centre’s website listing things that they are short of (news papers, towels, food bowls etc) so if any readers live nearby, perhaps they could take a look at the list to see if they can drop off anything useful.

 

Caversham Wildlife Park

Barking owl

Caversham Wildlife Park – Barking owl

This week’s pictures are of captive birds.  We had an outing over the Easter break to Caversham WIldlife Park, mainly to see the koalas and wombats.  I had no idea how big it was or how much there was to see and do there.  As well as all the marsupials there were lots of native birds on show.

Sooty owl

Sooty owl

 

 

In one of the ‘meet and greet’ sessions there were owls and ‘parroty types’.  Feel free to correct me if I’ve identified them wrongly.

Frogmouth

Frogmouth

 

 

 

 

I love being stared out by owls.  This one is a frogmouth.  I’m still not entirely sure whether a frogmouth is an owl or not.

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

 

 

 

 

 

Electus Parrot

Electus Parrot

 

 

 

 

 

The parrots and cockatoos were entertaining as ever – so intelligent and playful.

 

Upside down
Upside down

 

 

 

 

 

They  were keen not to be out-done by the wombat and were showing off their best moves for us.

Masked Lapwing

Masked Lapwing

 

 

 

Then outside there were enclosures with birds from different states.

 

Bush stone-curlew

Bush stone-curlew

 

 

 

 

 

This stone-curlew was fairly well hidden until it started to stand up.  If it hadn’t moved I may have missed it.

 

 

 

I couldn’t end without showing the cutest marsupial of the day.  It’s called a bettong – a tiny, tiny kangaroo.  It was surrounded by visitors, but just fell asleep, upside down, in the arms of its keeper.  With his feet in the air, he quite happily slept through the action as all the visitors gently stroked his tummy.

Sleepy head

Sleepy head

 

Osprey Chicks – Almost Flying

Mum Feeding Osprey Chicks

Mum Feeding Osprey Chicks

The osprey chicks are making rapid progress and I don’t think they’ll be at the nest for much longer.

2 Osprey chicks

Mum (top left) and chicks (top right and front)

The great news from this week is that we still have 2 chicks.  The few visits prior to that I’d only seen one chick at a time, so I started to worry that maybe one of them hadn’t survived.

Osprey chick flapping

Osprey chick flapping

There’s quite a lot of ‘flapping practice’ going on each day.

We Have Lift Off

We Have Lift Off

As you can see above, the bigger one is now airborn.

Osprey Chick Staring Me Out

Osprey Chick Staring Me Out

Although the parents are used to me and not really interested in passers by, the chicks are still a little wary.  This one gave me a long hard stare before returning to his flapping practice.

I’m sure it won’t be long now before they all leave the nest – Dad is already disappearing for increasingly long spells.  Hopefully they’ll move back to the parents old feed ground nearby and I’ll be able to follow their progress into independence.

Looking Over The Edge

Looking Over The Edge

 

 

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

 

Wedge-tailed eagle – wow.  They’re huge. And very impressive.

I have to start with an apology for the photos. 2 problems. Firstly, I’m not a professional photographer so my photos are always going to be amateur.  Secondly, their ‘comfort zone’ is about 5m longer than the range of my ‘zoomiest’ lense, so they fly off just before I can get a really sharp picture of them.

Wedge-Tail Fly

Wedge-Tail Fly

 

Last week I went on a trip to North-West WA.  The best thing about the really long journey was seeing so many wedge-tailed eagles.  I managed to see one or two of them very close up (not in time to get a picture though).  I’ve seen a couple before, but only circling high above.

 

Wedge-tail

Wedge-tail

 

 

You can see from this where their name comes from, and also just how big they are.  Their wing span is about 2m and they’re about 1m long.

 

 

Older wedge-tail

Older wedge-tail

 

The young birds are pale to mid brown.  They get darker as they get older until they look almost black.  This one was very dark.  Like many birds of prey the female is larger than the male.

 

 

Wedge-tail Soaring

Wedge-tail Soaring

 

My favourite fact about the wedge-tailed eagle (thank you wiki) is that they can see a greater range of the light spectrum than us, into infra-red and ultra-violet, which allows them to see thermals to climb on.

 

Termite Mound

Termite Mound

 

Although they’re good hunters, it’s much easier to eat road kill for breakfast.  So they cruise along the highway in the morning to see if a kangaroo or a goat has been hit overnight.  You can see them either feeding on the carcass, or sitting in a nearby bush keeping an eye on it for another feed once breakfast has gone down.  This one found an alternative perch.

Perching

Perching

Wedge-tail

Wedge-tail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dad and Chick

Dad and Chick

 

 

 

This family was definately my favourite wedge-tail sighting during the trip. This is the Dad (I think) and this year’s chick on the termite mound.

 

 

Chick

Chick

 

 

This is the chick once Dad flew up to join Mum.

 

 

 

 

And below are the parents perched above the rocks.

Wedge-Tailed Eagle Parents

Wedge-Tailed Eagle Parents

 

So, if ever you want to see a wedge-tailed eagle, I suggest you head out into the middle of no-where on one of those very straight, very long, very empty roads with plenty of supplies and just keep your fingers crossed.

Road to No-where

Road to No-where

 

Hatched! Osprey Chicks At Last

Osprey Chicks

Osprey Chicks

Phew.  After a very long and frustrating wait, the ospreys at last have chicks. Twins. Here they are in the nest with mum.  Given how hard they were to see in the nest, and how low down they were, I can’t help wondering whether they were already there last week.  They don’t have that fluffy ‘I’ve just hatched’ look about them, do they?

Parents in nest

Parents in nest

 

 

Here’s mum (on the left) and dad (head just showing) in the nest.

 

 

 

 

Mum and chicks

Mum and chicks

 

 

Mum and Chicks in nest, Dad on fencing behind.

 

 

 

 

Female Osprey

Female Osprey

 

 

Mum

 

 

 

 

 

Male Osprey

Male Osprey

 

 

Dad

 

 

 

 

It’s nearly Christmas and, like everyone else, I’ve got a busy list of things to fit into the next week.  However, some of them will just have to wait as I will be going to visit the nest regularly and trying to get more pictures.

 

Osprey Pair

Osprey Pair

 

Whistling Kites – Nesting

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite – by John Mac Fadyen

All credit for this post, about the successful nesting of a pair of whistling kites, goes to one of the site’s readers, John MacFadyen.  John got in touch to tell me about the birds and ask if I’d like to see a photo.  Of course I did, and I thought others would like to see them too.  John has kindly agreed to let me post the beautiful photos on here and also gave me a bit of background – all of these pictures were taken by John.

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

 

The whistling kites were nesting in the far South-West of WA, South of Bunbury.  It’s just as well that John has a great zoom lense as the birds made it very clear to him if they thought he was getting too close!

 

Whistling Kite chick

Whistling Kite chicks

 

They chose a very tall tuart tree to nest in, building the nest very high up.  (A tuart is a type of eucalyptus native to SW WA, and upto 35m high).  This picture was from October 24th.

 

Kite chick

Kite chick

 

 

Here’s the last chick to leave the nest, taken on November 10th.

 

 

Magpie attack!

Magpie attack!

 

The magpies weren’t very impressed with their neighbours and were typically fearless chasing the kites away from their nest.  My son has been dive-bombed by magpies regularly for the past month as he walks by in a local park.

 

A very big thank you to John MacFadyen for sharing this story and his lovely pictures with us.  It must have been a real joy to watch them over the last few months.

Whistling Kite in the tuart tree

Whistling Kite in the tuart tree

 

Wangara Lakes – A Great End to a Boring Week

Little Eagle

Little Eagle

 

We all have boring weeks sometimes, and mine had been full of housework, paperwork and finances.  The forecast was for days of rain and I ‘Needed to get out.’  So on Saturday morning we headed to an area nearby where we often see signs to lakes but never actually see any water.  It was time to investigate Wangara Lakes. Before the storm arrived.

Lake Jandabup

Lake Jandabup

Wangara Lakes isn’t an official place,  but the area around Wangara seems to have a series of small lakes as part of the Gnangara Mound.  Many of them only hold water for part of the year as the water table is so low now, and one of them appeared to be a boggy area rather than a recognisable lake.The first Lake we visited was Lake Jandabup.  Very quiet, very pretty.

Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon

 

Almost straight away I saw a Crested Pigeon.  My husband was annoyingly underwhelmed and said he’d seen them several times before.  But I hadn’t and I was very pleased to see it, and pleased that it was so happy to pose.  We also saw a great egret in the water and a pair of swamp harriers (I think) overhead.

Red-capped Parrot

Red-capped Parrot

Next was Badgerup Lake – this was the one where we couldn’t actually find any water.  A lovely wood, but no lake.  I’ll have to go again sometime in the car and have a look for another entrance just in case we missed it.  Before long we saw a little bird.  My thanks to John at ‘Birdlife Australia’ for identifying it as a red capped robin.  Then the elusive red-capped parrot.  I think I’ve glimpsed them before, but never for long enough to be sure.  And never long enough to get a photo.  We saw a pair for a couple of minutes before they disappeared into the wood.

Gnangara Lake

Gnangara Lake

Then we headed to Gnangara Lake, but the clouds were already rolling in.  It seemed silent after Badgerup and we didn’t stay for long.  I saw 3 red-capped plovers down by the water’s edge (see picture below) and then a bird of prey.  Most Australian Birders would have thought ‘there’s a little eagle’, but I had never heard of one never mind seen one.  I didn’t even realise it was something that I hadn’t seen before to be honest.  All I could think was ‘I must get a decent photo’.  All my efforts went into trying to get a clear picture and keep it in focus.  It was only when I got home that I realised that it was different to what I had thought I’d seen and I had to look it up.  At least I had several pictures to identify it from.  It’s the ‘Little Eagle’ in the picture at the top of the page.

So it turned out to be a fantastic walk to clear my head and I saw several birds that I’d never heard of, and I arrived home before the storm hit.

Red-Capped Plover

Red-Capped Plover

 

Ospreys are nesting – fantastic

Osprey on Nest

Osprey on Nest

Fantastic news, the ospreys have nested.  And they are obviously of an artistic disposition as they have chosen to nest in the top of a sculpture.

Osprey with Fish

Osprey with Fish

There seems to be no shortage of food for them.  The male (I think) has just caught a fish here and sometimes takes them back to the nest.

Osprey on Nest

Osprey on Nest

 

I think this must be the female.  She keeps rearranging the nest.  She has a fantastic view of the marina from here – people pay millions of dollars for a home location like that.

 

Osprey Pair

Osprey Pair

 

 

She doesn’t spend all of her time on the nest though.  Here she is on her usual perch – a balcony overlooking the marina.  It’s very tempting to knock at the house and invite myself in for a better view.

 

Osprey feeding

Osprey feeding

 

 

The male likes to take his meal back to eat near the nest too.

 

 

 

 

Incubation should take about 5 weeks according to wiki so hopefully sometime in November I can post pics of chicks in the nest.

One of them shows great disregard for the rules here.

Osprey Ignoring Sign

Osprey Ignoring Sign