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

 

Birds Eye View

Osprey

Osprey     Getting a Birds Eye View

I haven’t posted for a few weeks because I haven’t been out very much, because of the rubbish weather.  It’s good for the region because it had been so dry for so long, and the birds don’t care, but I like the big blue sky and hope we get better weather soon.

The good news is that I see the ospreys regularly now, so I’m hoping that in a month or so they might nest again nearby.  The one above was less than a kilometre from the marina, on a fishing trip.

White-Winged Fairy-Wrens

White-Winged Fairy-Wrens

While I was trying to get a photo of the osprey, the fairy-wrens very kindly came to me.  The male’s breeding plumage is almost complete, but not quite.

Splendid Fairy-Wren

Splendid Fairy-Wren

I went to Yanchep National Park and the splendid Fairy-Wren was also putting on a show.

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

 

The water birds were out in force, including this spoonbill.  The spoonbill didn’t appear to be making a nest, but didn’t seem to want to give up his stick either.

 

 

 

Ducklings

Ducklings

 

 

It’s always a treat to see ducklings, and this mother had 15 tiny ducklings to care for.  I don’t know when they’d hatched but it must have been very recently.

 

Australian Shelducks

Australian Shelducks

 

 

The shelducks seemed happy to make the most of the break in the rain to sit and sun themselves on the rocks.

 

 

Pelican
Pelican

 

 

The pelican also seems to be happy to get the sun on his back for a while.  It’s raining again at the moment, fingers crossed for some sunshine and dry days next week.

 

Seabirds

Pacific Gull and Little Black Cormorant

Pacific Gull and Little Black Cormorant

Marina

Marina

 

Today the weather was perfect for an early start in the kayaks, so we had a trip around the marina and along the coast.  There were plenty of seabirds around.  Because we were on the water, I only had my little camera, so not very good for distance shots of birds.

Young Osprey

Young Osprey

 

 

The best thing this morning was seeing one of the young ospreys for the first time since they left hte nest a few weeks ago.

 

 

Osprey Mum

Osprey Mum

 

 

Mum kept a close eye from a nearby lookout – you can see her on the aerial on the roof.

 

 

Osprey nest

Osprey nest

 

 

 

Here’s a view of the nest from on the water.  You get a good view of the sculpture that it was built in.

 

Fishing Practice

Fishing Practice

 

 

 

 

And here the youngster is perched on a mast, looking closely for fish.

osprey call  Click on ‘osprey call’ and hopefully you’ll be able to see and hear it.  The young osprey was constantly calling to Mum during its training session.

Crested Terns

Crested Terns

 

 

There were several families of crested terns by the boats.

 

 

 

Female Darter

Female Darter

 

 

 

There was a family of Australasian Darters out.   This is the female.

 

 

Young Darter

Young Darter

 

 

 

 

Young darter.

 

Night Heron

Night Heron

 

 

 

I’ve also seen several night herons by the marina this week.  This is the best picture I’ve managed.  The problem is that I see them when it’s dark.  They are too far away to use a flash, so all the pictures were a bit dark and blurry.  Hopefully I’ll get a better one before they leave the area.

Pied cormorants

Pied cormorants

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

 

 

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

 

Chicks, chicks and more chicks

Magpie-Larks - Take Off

Magpie-Larks – Take Off

I love springtime and I love seeing chicks.  There’s plenty of action around at the moment.  The magpie-larks have left the nest but are still living in the garden, semi-reliant on mum and dad for feeding.

Chicks in nest

Chicks in nest

 

We had 4 chicks hatch.  Sadly, 1 fell (or was pushed) out of the nest very early on.  Even more distressing was when another was squeezed out only a week or so before it would have been able to fly.  It was very stressed – so were the parents.  Not surprisingly, it didn’t survive.

 

Leaving the nest

Leaving the nest

 

 

For several days the chicks left the nest but stayed in the tree, hopping between the nearby branches and practicing flapping.

 

 

 

Wagtail nest

Wagtail nest

 

 

This is the tiny nest of a Wagtail.  The nest is about 2m below the magpie-larks’ nest and it’s only about 6cm across.  They don’t seem to have eggs yet as they aren’t sitting on the nest much.

 

Purple Swamp-Hen Chick

Purple Swamp-Hen Chick

 

 

This is a purple swamp-hen chick.  Something of an ugly duckling, but it won’t be long before he looks like this …….

 

 

 

Purple Swamp-Hen

Purple Swamp-Hen

 

 

Adult purple swamp-hen at Yanchep National Park.

 

 

 

 

Cygnet

Cygnet

 

Lots of the swans now have cygnets. This one was at Herdsman Lake but Lake Joondalup plenty too.

 

 

 

 

Panting Osprey

Panting Osprey

 

And the ospreys?  Still no chicks, but mum is sitting on the nest and I think it should only be about a week before the eggs hatch.  It’s up at 30 degrees C now so it’s hot work sitting out in exposed sunlight all day.  You can see the mum ‘panting’ to keep cool.  Hopefully I’ll write another chicks post in a few weeks with wagtails, wattle-birds and ospreys in action.

 

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

AussieBirdLife Update

Carnabys Black Cockatoo feeding

Carnabys Black Cockatoo feeding

It’s time for an update on several of my previous posts.

In my post on the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo I said that if you wanted to see them, then you’d be certain to see them at Yanchep National Park. A few weeks later I visited and didn’t see, or hear any of them. They seem to have largely dispersed and small groups of them can be seen all over the northern suburbs, in areas I hadn’t ever seen them before. Presumably this is due to their breeding season, or possibly after a particular source of food. Several of them were feeding in a neighbour’s tree when I took the picture above.

Musk Duck displaying

Musk Duck displaying

I mentioned in my AussieBirdLife post about the musk duck how he would use his tail when displaying. This duck decided to give me a demonstration, incorporating all his best moves at once, like in this picture.

Musk Duck's tail

Musk Duck’s tail

 

 

He opens his beak to let out a loud ‘honk’, holds his chin up to stretch his leathery flap, throws his tail over his back, and caps it off will a big splash of water with his feet.

 

Osprey

No news is good news on the ospreys.  They haven’t started nesting, but then a local wildlife warden told me that they don’t normally nest in this region until September.  It’s usually in northern Australia that they nest in May/June time.  I had a spell of a few weeks when I hadn’t seen them, but I’ve seen them both together again this week.  So maybe I’ll have a nesting update in a couple of months time.

 

Osprey

I was in a kayak, having my first paddle across the nearby marina, when I saw a bird of prey where I didn’t expect to.  It was above my head on the balcony of a large house, and I was sure it was an osprey.  I knew that ospreys had bred on the coast nearby in recent years, but I hadn’t seen one until then.  Since then, I have undertaken the most civilised bird watching ever.  The balcony is on the opposite side of the marina to the shops and cafes.  So I am forced to sit in a cafe drinking tea and eating cake in order to watch the ospreys (and enjoy the view) – such a chore.

The balcony is too far from the cafe to get a decent picture with my little (not very zoomy) camera, so, the following weekend, I set off again in the kayak, this time with a camera.  I rounded the corner to see not one but two ospreys.  Fantastic.  I still had to zoom quite a lot, and the kayak was wobbling and drifting a bit, but I did get a picture.  Very cooperative birds.  Ok, so the picture is quite grainy, but I think it’s quite good given that I was bobbing about and using a little camera at quite a distance.

Ospreys on the balcony

 

The council thoughtfully erected an osprey nesting platform in the wildlife reserve about a kilometre away, so I’ve been going to look regularly.  On one occasion, one of the
ospreys flew over with a fish in its talons.  No, I didn’t manage to get a photo, it was far too fast for me.  So far, no luck with the nest, but I’ll keep an eye out as I’m sure they’ll nest somewhere nearby fairly soon.  I hope so as I’d really love to watch them raise a family this season.

Some of you may be thinking that an osprey isn’t just an Australian Bird.  No, you can find them in many parts of the world.  I’ve seen them in Britain, but the great thing for me here is the ease of seeing them, right on my doorstep – no hikes in the rain to remote places.