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I've been watching a pair of Osprey at their nest on a dead tree above the Swan River in Perth for several weeks. I've been very fortunate in being given access to private land overlooking the nest. I went there this afternoon and the Ospreys have a baby. My lens doesn't have the focal length to get really good detail at this stage. This shot is of the female, identified by the leg band and bung or blind left eye.
Trust me, there really is a baby there. If you follow the female's beak and eye direction, although that's the blind eye towards the camera, you may be able to see a tiny wide open mouth. I've cropped to billyoh to provide some detail. I'll head down there each afternoon if I'm not working and will hopefully be able to provide chronological progress. I don't know if there was more than one egg. So exciting.
Now, from today. The chick's head is visible above the clump of frayed, yellow rope. Let your eyes move left in a line from her left claw and you should be able to spot it. Again I've had to crop heavily to provide the detail there is.
I thought I saw two chicks, but having a look at the six million shots I took on the computer when I got home, I couldn't see another one. Time will tell. The angle is just that bit too narrow to be able to see properly.
Oh, by the way, OP, yes, they are dead bodies (just kidding). Their nest is so full of rubbish. The chicks are so well hidden, tucked down behind the bits of frayed rope, it's really difficult to get a good shot. Quality isn't the best, but I should be able to improve things when the chicks start growing and moving around a bit.
This little bird is called a Willie Wagtail and it started harassing the male Osprey, who had gone to have a well-earned rest after his fishing expedition. I couldn't believe my good luck at what I was seeing. I snapped away like a crazy woman, eating up CF cards like a piranha. It was chattering away the whole time, trying to drive the Osprey away. Even though the Osprey's nesting tree is situated out over the water and not really close to anything else, the Willie Wagtail must have a nest nearby. These little birds are noted for their courage and will try to chase anything away that they consider to be too close.
Great to see the two chicks Margaret! Wow, weren't you the lucky one to be there at the start of it all! Lol! Are they Cormorants waiting for an easy meal?
How rich do you feel, lol, you could do with a longer lens but the chicks will grow bigger, making it easier. :) Can't wait to see them grow!
I did the same thing last year with a Wood Pigeon in my Oak tree, the chicks fledged in a week but were still dependant for a long time after, they could hardly fly! I lost the pics in a crash but put some on here if I could find them, it was last autumn when the leaves were turning.
Thanks Gary. I've been thinking that maybe it wasn't such a random event that I observed. If the Willie Wagtails have a nest close by, there's a fairly good chance that it will be repeated. Guess where I'm going today!
Nanny, I kinda suspected that there were two, but couldn't see pixelled proof. They are soooo tiny and when you see the parents with those gigantic claws moving about near them, sometimes grasping a fish, you wonder how they aren't trampled. They are just so gentle with the bubs.
Wallaby, I actually hired a longer focal length lens to take those shots, with maximum focal length of 500mm. I didn't have a tripod and it was real heavy. I've resisted getting a tripod because it's so cumbersome, but I think I may have to if I ever win the lotto and can afford a super fast, super focal length lens.
With the cormorants, I think they were just resting there.
Good to see you've found it cparts and good timing.
I've jst finished downloading my fourteen trillion shots from this afternoon. I was pretty well preoccupied watching the Willie Wagtail tormenting both Ospreys in turn today. At one stage there were two Willie Wagtails at the poor male Osprey. Those magnificent birds have the most incredible tolerance levels.
This shot is marginally better than the previous ones of the babies. They moved away from the frayed rope and have also grown a wee bit.
I have been working alot lately and haven't had the time to spend here as much as I like. Hate to miss great threads like this one.
More great pictures! It is amazing to me to see these big birds and see the smaller birds constantly harassing them. You would think when you are at the top of the bird chain, life would be easy, not so. We think we have it bad with pesky bugs bugging us!
You're doing great getting those chicks, how's the soulders, lol! I can imagne how heavy the lens would be, I don't think it would be cheap to hire one here, but very expensive to buy one. A 600mm Nikor lens is around £6,000!
In a few days they will grow a lot, they look so tiny for such a big bird!
Fantastic shots of the WW, it must think it's big, lol, what courage to attack those birds.
Thanks. It is an amazing spot, perched above the beautiful Swan River. There's always something going on there, even if the Ospreys are inactive. Just after I took that photo, the male flew off and the female positioned herself to protect the chicks from the early afternoon sun.
Well, I start with the sad news that there is only one baby. I bumped into a fellow birder at the outlook this afternoon and before we had confirmed this, he was telling me of a friend of his who studies Ospreys who had told him that usually (emphasise usually as there are exceptions to every rule) only one chick survives.
The male flew in with a fish not long after I arrived there. It's a bit too dark, but you'll get an idea
The sun started to go down behind the trees to the west (duh, of course it went down to the west) and put the protagonist and his target in heavy shadow. I love this shot.
Well, that's all from the Osprey's nest for the next couple of days as I have to go to work so I can afford to keep buying CF cards because I can't stand deleting things. (You all should see my pantry and fridge).
Margaret...I will have to repeat myself and say again how much I am enjoying this thread! Those pics of the female feeding the little one is too sweet and those shots with the Willy Wagtail are awesome. I think my favorites are the Willy Wagtail taking a rest and the last shot but I really love them all. Thanks for your hard work in bringing this to us!
Sad news about the 2nd baby. I remember on "The Life of Birds" a sad portion concerning nesting Pelicans and how the largest baby knocks the others out of the nest on purpose. The Osprey looks a little annoyed on that one pic!
Oh, Pelle, nature is so harsh. We know that awful things happen and can accept it, but when the reality strikes close to home, it is more difficult to accept. You're observing a new little life and suddenly that life is no more. Sad
Iris, I'm so glad you're enjoying it. I get a real buzz out of sharing with everyone.
So sad about the other chick, but yes the strongest does push out the weakest to ensure survival of the fittest. As always, a very entertaining series of pics. Love the WW, and the patience of the Osprey, but coming in for attack from the front is too much, lol!
It's always amazing to see your pic Margaret. Oh too bad for the other chick, I wouldn't have mind adopting it. That little Wagtail make me laugh. No enough to harass the big guy, but use it as a resting place awesome.
[quote]a friend of his who studies Ospreys who had told him that usually (emphasise usually as there are exceptions to every rule) only one chick survives[/quote]
A lot depends on the situation - food availability, feeding time, etc. In Scotland, they regularly fledge 3, sometimes even 4 chicks, but they do have the big advantage of an 18-19 hour day in the summer. The converse up there is that they have to leave in the winter on a very long migration down to Africa, which adds many hazards. So what they gain on the swings (more young), they lose on the roundabouts (higher mortality on migration).
linth, I'm glad you're enjoying it. I feel as if I've been dropped into heaven. I can't believe I am in such a privileged position. I won't be able to get down there tomorrow but may be able to on my way to work on Tuesday. I'm longing to see what the little chick looks like now.
Nanny, sorry this response is a bit late. The incredible gentleness of this big bird with the over sized talons picking her way gently towards the chick and then feeding it tiny bits of fish with that great big beak over a period of about half an hour is an honour to watch.
This shot is from a week ago, but in the absence of anything really new, thought another one of the Willie Wagtail driving poor Dad crazy might be amusing.
As linth says, what a rare opportunity to take pics from above! Love the chick imitating the parent, have you noticed how a new cat accepted into the area will 'copy cat' a top cat in the way they copy their sitting position?
Thanks for that last pic of the WW. I needed a good laugh!
Well I finally got back to the Osprey's nest today. It was a cold, wet day in Perth. When I first arrived, the female was on the nest. After a while she got up and moved out onto a branch and took her sweet time, having a luxurious stretch. I wasn't sure if I was seeing the chick, but there was this wet looking shape where she had just got up from. I watched and waited and I began to feel really apprehensive as this shape wasn't moving and it was drizzling and I thought if it is the chick and it's already wet, then being in the cold drizzle won't help things.
Finally the little one came into view. It's bigger and so much darker than when I saw it last. It seems as if the Ospreys are fair game for anything. Pity I didn't get a shot of it, but the male was being hounded by a falcon when he was bring the fish in.
The Willie Wagtails left the Ospreys alone because these two Kookaburras were close by, and unlike the Ospreys, they will take chicks. I saw at least four Willie Wagtail babies on the track under my observation area. The two adults would fly up to me and land about 2' from me, not chattering aggressively as would normally be expected. I put my hand out on a few occasions and got within an inch of one of them hopping onto my hand.
Thanks knip, it would be a sad thing if I kept this to myself. It's bucketing down today, so doubt that I'll get there. Then work the next two days, although I should be able to stop off on my way to or from work, when it will hopefully be brighter than yesterday.
linth, coming from you, with your current shots of the magnificent Bald Eagles and previous posts on Ospreys, that's high praise indeed. Thanks. I'll think of hiring a ?DVD recorder.
Yes, Nanny, that's what surprised me as well. Shame the two of them didn't survive.
Pelle, thank you.
I don't think I've posted this before. It was taken a week ago.
[quote]Someone asked if the parents ever left the nest unattended. Well, now I can say, yes they do. Both adult birds were away for about twenty minutes this afternoon.[/quote]
The older the chick gets, the more they'll do so - it is large enough to get by on its own for a while now, and needs more feeding. But the first 2 weeks, the mother guards it constantly, as it would otherwise be at risk from crows, etc., while still very small.
I went to the nest site again today. The chick is certainly growing and could be heard very clearly. The male had just brought a fish in and the female commenced the usual half hour or so of feeding it, ever so gently.
Sorry, I lied. Couldn't resist this one of the female. After she'd finished feeding the chick she took off, leaving Pop to keep an eye on things. She reappeared on a low branch, obviously having had a bath. Gorgeous girl
Marvellous shots as usual Margaret! It's interesting that the male is building up the sides of the nest as the baby becomes more active, rather like using a safely gate at the top of the stairs for a toddler.
[quote]It's interesting that the male is building up the sides of the nest as the baby becomes more active[/quote]
Also so that all the nest debris (fish bones, etc) gets buried and the chick has something nicer to sit on!
There's some evidence too that at least some birds seek out and bring in fresh foliage selected for insecticidal properties, to keep down numbers of fleas and lice in the nest.
Thank you for your comments, Pelle, Lee, Nanny and Wallaby. It remains such a wonderful experience and is getting more enthralling as the chick grows and starts to explore its environment. I definitely need a longer lens.
Good analogy about the safety gate, Wallaby.
Resin, I have seen the male bring in twigs with fresh eucalyptus (gum) leaves attached. Makes sense now, as eucalyptus is know for its cleansing, anti-bacterial properties.
Margaret that chick is growing so fast and changing colors too! I am truly enjoying seeing this family and thanks so much for your updates! It is wonderful to see up close the habits of these gorgeous birds! Thanks again!
Hi Margaret, can't tell you all how fascinated I am by this site and all the Best info and pics . Finally I can SEE all those beauties in other countries. Thanks sooo much for your efforts and sharing! Very much appreciated.