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Author Topic: Nest 6-7 - Savoie Farm - 2015-16 season  (Read 5919 times)
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winterwren
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« on: October 31, 2015, 09:28:00 AM »

This topic is for photos and discussions about Nest 6-7.

This nest is very near Collishaw Point, which uncovers to a mile-long intertidal zone at low tide. That area is always full of birds. I believe it is one of the points on the island where currents from both sides converge, bringing in more nutrients and a very rich sea life. (The other areas where this happens are Flora Islet and Norris Rocks.)

Here's the map of the eagle nests of the island. Nest 6-7 is at the top of the map.  There used to be a small remnant of a previous nest in a neighbouring tree, so this is why this nest came to have two numbers! Two years ago the old nest, #6, finally vanished completely but the double number stayed. (More and more I tend to drop the number 6.)



Last year this nest hatched two eaglets; I spotted them on June 16; my next visit wasn't until after fledge time. The nest seemed smaller, and only one eaglet was flying around nearby.
Booni found the sad answer to this mystery in the fall: part of the nest had indeed fallen down, and the remnants of an eaglet were in that pile of branches.

Click here to read last year's postings on this nest and territory, and to find links to the previous year.


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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #1 on: October 31, 2015, 09:47:41 AM »

Last week I visited this territory and found one adult eagle perched atop the nest tree. This was my second visit this season; on the previous one two adults were perched on that same branch, but the light wasn't working out for clear photos.

The nest still looks small to me. Will the eagles rebuild, or will they find a new tree? It's still unclear. What's clear is that the branch above the nest is still a favourite perch.
October 23, 5:06 pm



I paddled way offshore along Collishaw Point because I could see huge splashes way out there. Turns out there were orcas along the shore of Denman Island, and they must have been breaching right out of the water to make such big splashes.

On the way over, I checked the ever-changing cast of shore birds. We are still seeing Black-bellied Plovers in flocks, and I think this means they are either freshly arrived or passing through. Here is one taking a nap on a rock. The dark birds on the left are Black Turnstones. Taking photos on the water is an ever-changing process. Sometimes the water reflects dark parts of the shoreline and gives the whole photo a mysterious quality. I love it when that happens.



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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #2 on: February 28, 2016, 07:55:53 PM »

I walked the beach from the west side of Collishaw the other day.
From afar I could see these two eagles just standing in the water, one partially submerged.
That seemed really strange.

February 24, 2:33 pm


I tried to sneak closer but unfortunately they took off. It's only when I arrived at the spot where they had been standing that I figured it out: there was a seasonal creek joining the ocean right there. So that was mostly fresh water the eagle was standing in. Rinsing off.

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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #3 on: February 28, 2016, 08:21:34 PM »

A little further down the beach, a Black Oystercatcher was probing the soft silt. That caught my attention because I've mostly seen them foraging on rocky ground.

It didn't take long for that bird to come up with lunch.
Looks like some type of clam. I'm thinking it might be a Purple Mahogany-clam, introduced from Korea and Japan and very numerous on our beaches now.
He caught a few like that in the space of a couple of minutes.
February 24, 2:43 pm










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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #4 on: July 10, 2016, 07:05:47 PM »

All I was hoping for yesterday was a quiet evening paddle around Collishaw Point. Check the eagle nest, go scout for kelp beds, check if any shore birds have returned from the nesting grounds yet.

It all turned differently.
It was still a bit breezy but I had a good look at the nest with binoculars while the rising tide and wind zoomed me past. Two adult eagles were perched nearby. No eaglets visible at that time.

I'm not sure what made me take a second look at what seemed like just another boulder on the point ahead of me.
But it wasn't a boulder.
A young eagle.
Uh-oh, a very young eagle. Dark beak.

Then that eagle screeped, and then moved. A very clumsy fleap, then another. Beginner stuff. This nest usually fledges its eaglets early, but this seemed too early.
Collishaw Point, July 9, 6:45 pm


I let the wind push me against some rocks and just waited for the tide to lift me past, drifting closer to the eaglet.
6:53


You can see the belly feathers and wingtips are wet. There is a lot of shallow standing water between the boulders and he or she wasn't competent to just fleap across it. Also the wings are hanging low.

6:57


This didn't look too good. I decided to head back and at least get in touch with Booni that evening, and contact MARS.
The intern at MARS looked at the photos and decided that since this eaglet was fully feathered and capable of staying warm, and given the remoteness of that beach, it would be okay to leave things be until morning.
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #5 on: July 10, 2016, 08:03:46 PM »

This morning I returned with Booni, by land.
Booni had talked to Reg from MARS. He had recommended that we bring our capture gear just in case, and reassess how that eaglet was doing.
The tide was high and the easiest path down took us east of the nest, where there was a fair deal of clambering over rocks to get to where the eaglet was. This I could do, but I wasn't keen on returning with an eaglet in my arms. Booni is not as much at ease with acrobatics and this was a bit beyond the beyond.

So I decided to leave the capture kit behind, just clamber over with my camera and go have a look at that eaglet. The tide was starting to ebb; we'd figure out something by and by.
I passed under the nest and was looking for any sign of a second eaglet. This nest usually has two.
I had not heard or seen any sign of a second one.
I came around the corner and started scanning the distance with my binoculars. Then lowered them and noticed what was at the foot of the bank almost right beside me...
Collishaw Point, July 10, 10:28 am



She got moving...
Tried to fleap from one rock to the next, missed, fell in between the two rocks.
10:31


Scrambled in between... Emerged past them. Really not a lot of strength or coordination here.



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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #6 on: July 10, 2016, 08:31:58 PM »

I retreated towards the water but once she'd started moving, she kept going. Here, she's trying to climb on a large log and it's taking her everything she has.
July 10, 10:38



Meanwhile the adults are flying over from time to time. One, who was perch nearby, took off when I approached too near. Booni could see them well from above and got buzzed a couple of times.

The eaglet is again trying to get above the beach. She's still on the same log as on the previous picture; she's just to the right of where she was.
She's got an eye on the log above, but just moving among the small branches takes a while.
Meanwhile, I've finally caught on to the fact that my camera was on some weird setting by accident, so we're now getting some clearer pictures even if I've backed up further away. We can see the beautiful pale tips on the eaglets' head feathers.
10:40



10:41. Trying to move up, changing her mind, ending up just facing the other way and not appreciably higher.














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Tigerlady105
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« Post / Reply #7 on: July 10, 2016, 08:58:13 PM »

Whew...quite a story developing!  Thank you wren and booni, for working so hard under difficult conditions, to help this eaglet in such a precarious place.

 group hug
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #8 on: July 10, 2016, 09:23:05 PM »

After that, I went back up the bank and found Booni on the far side of a fence I thought we couldn't cross. New possibilities!
Near where she was, there was a recess in the high bank and I was pretty sure that was where the eaglet had ended up.
Lo and behold... I found a path leading down! It looked kind of reasonable.
The eaglet had actually climbed higher and seemed almost within reach. Maybe I could just nab him and back up here, avoiding the long walk past the boulders on the beach...

While we relocated the capture gear, in the nick of time, the landowner and a friend showed up!

We conferred... They volunteered to go down the beach the long way and discourage the eaglet from getting out of the recessed area she was in.

Meanwhile Booni had been standing watch and had seen the eaglet climb up higher... Good news for me!

So down I went. The good path disappeared under a tangle of fallen trees at the bottom. Easy enough to clamber over, but coming back up, with my hands full of a beautiful bird with sharp claws? Maybe not. But the landowner knew the ground well, and meanwhile the tide was ebbing. Walking out through the boulders, the long way, now seemed feasible.

There was just one problem: by the time I got to the bottom, the eaglet had disappeared.

We looked all around. Nothing. The place was a real tangle, boulders, driftwood, branches, fallen trees, seaweed. But with three of us so close, how could that eaglet not flush out?
Finally I decided to climb back up the way I'd come, to try to see the area Booni had watched from above. She had lost the eaglet from sight also. But halfway up the bank, a little further on, stock still... There stood our bird, higher than I'd thought she might get.
She spotted me when I spotted her, and she started dropping down into a real mess of branches.
That's when I had to do that lovely climb down the steep trunk of a fallen cedar, wearing falconry gloves and carrying a towel. Lots of fun! Good thing I had elected to leave my capture net with one of the helpers.
It was definitely not a clean catch. I was worried about stressing that poor eagle and I'm sure she got stressed. I couldn't even get a towel on her between all that brush. Just grabbed one foot, and the other, and hoped to stay out of reach of that beak. Helpers soon got to me and draped a merciful towel over the eaglet's head. On the beach we wrapped her properly in another towel and started the long walk back. Such a light bird! It took little effort.

Then the usual: calling MARS, and calling Dawn to help us with transport from Buckley Bay to MARS, and going down to the ferry to find someone willing to take the eaglet, in her carrier, across on the ferry and to Buckley Bay.

Dawn soon reported back to Booni (thanks Dawn!!!!)
The eaglet made it to MARS alive - we were so worried, she seemed so weak! Reg guessed her to be female, based on the size of her feet. She had a huge parasite load and got a treatment for that right away. She seemed uninjured; but she was only half of the expected weight for a fledgling female; she was really, really thin. She got tube-fed soon after her arrival and this will continue until she's able to handle solid food.

There is a bit more to the story but this will have to wait till tomorrow.

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jeavverhey
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« Post / Reply #9 on: July 11, 2016, 04:30:28 AM »

  love  Thank you thank you thank you dear Wrennie! Such dedication! The world needs more like you and Booni too love
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sparkie
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« Post / Reply #10 on: July 11, 2016, 05:52:38 AM »

Well done Booni Wren and Dawn . Yet another youngster given  Hope .
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« Post / Reply #11 on: July 11, 2016, 08:59:27 AM »

Heroic!  Thank you for the effort made to save this eaglet!  What an inspiration you are Wren!  And Booni!  and Dawn!  and HEGPS!!!  love
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« Post / Reply #12 on: July 11, 2016, 12:57:10 PM »

Wow!!!  Thank you Booni and Wren, I was holding my breath there, as I'm sure all of you were doing! Van't wait to hear more. Hoping she's OK.
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« Post / Reply #13 on: July 11, 2016, 02:24:14 PM »

Thanks Booni and Wren.  heart
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winterwren
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« Post / Reply #14 on: July 11, 2016, 07:53:14 PM »

One question was with us through this whole adventure: was there another eaglet? This nest usually produces two.

We listened for another set of screeps, and kept an eye on the nest, right through. In the afternoon one of the neighbours saw an adult eagle land on the nest but there were no sounds accompanying this visit. An eaglet would have given excited screeps, expecting food.

There is a steep old path that passes in a sort of tunnel of greenery, hugging the steep bank below the nest.
The owner of the farm told me that she had found some feathers and what looked like an eagle's foot scattered around that path. With her permission I went to have a look.

She and Booni found a dead eaglet near there last year. The story and photos are worth revisiting at this time. Click here to see Booni's post from last summer.

Here are some of the feathers I found.
Like those of the eaglet of last year, some have visible hunger bars but most do not.
These feathers did not emerge fully from their sheaths. Some bits of sheath still cling to their base.
What's weird is the bottom part. The shafts of the feathers look as if they were thinned out by very severe malnutrition and then broken off.
Or is it what a normal winter of wear would have done to a feather?

Certainly these feathers do not belong to the eaglet we sent to MARS. She had all her feathers. From what I understand, broken feathers would not regrow until the first normal moult, starting in the eagle's second year.
So, are they leftovers from last year's fatality, with a winter of decay, or do they belong to a second eaglet of this year, another one who would not have made it? I do not know the answer to that question.




This photo shows the reverse side of the same feathers. From that side the hunger bars are not visible. The occasional light mottling and the tassels at the end clearly identify the feathers as belonging to an eaglet.



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