The astute amongst the webcam-watchers out there may have noticed that the three Manton Bay chicks now sport leg rings! The chicks were ringed this morning, and what a beautiful morning it was! The sun was just beginning to rise over the horizon, and there was not a breath of wind as we launched the boat from the shore behind the Osprey nest. The surface of the crystal-clear water was marred only by the ripples from our boat’s wake, as we sailed serenely to the nest.
Maya protested a bit, but she was not overly concerned. She flew around above the bay and intermittently alarm-called, until the deed was done and her chicks were returned to her, safe and sound. The whole process took less than an hour to complete. The equipment was prepared, the boat launched, and a ladder was extended up to the nest, which Tim climbed and brought the chicks down to the boat.
The chicks are absolutely gorgeous! To be so close to them was an indisputable privilege. They have such beautiful feathers, and enchanting deep amber eyes. All three chicks are in perfect health and look fantastic. They were placed in a comfortable tray for a minute or two to settle, then were ringed and weighed one by one. Their ring numbers are S1, S2 and S3. Based on weight and bill size, it has been determined that S1 and S3 are female, and S2 is male.
Whilst we were there, Tim took the opportunity to clean the smudge from the wide angle camera! It turned out to be spider-webs. In the picture you can see Maya high above.
Once the chicks had been returned to the nest and we had left, Maya and 33 returned to their respective positions and life went on as normal. A fish came in at around 9 o’clock – a great big roach. 33 took it to the T-perch first, and in the video below you can see him fly past the nest, before alighting on the perch with the still-kicking roach!
About fifteen minutes later, 33 delivered the fish to the nest, and Maya fed the enormous chicks.
A couple of Osprey intrusions occurred today, but nothing substantial in terms of disruption. A bit of mantling, that was all!
There is a certain stick that has been bothering Maya for a while now. It sticks up a bit, but is wedged tightly by others, and Maya keeps trying but cannot move it!
Due to the hot temperature, the chicks have been lying in the nest panting a lot today. Maya cannot shade them with her body anymore, as they are too big, but there is no need for her to do so now. The chicks are of an age where they can regulate their own temperature, so they do not require Maya to brood them or shade them. Soon they will no longer need her to feed them. Her job is almost done, and she can relax, knowing her chicks are healthy and she and 33 have done an unquestionably excellent job of raising them!
The chicks stood up long enough for us to get some shots of their new rings! And S1 did get a bit energetic and did a bit of flapping!
Another fish was delivered at around 15:30, which Maya grabbed and fed to the chicks. Well, the two that were interested!
And it didn’t end there! An hour later 33 landed on the T-perch with another one! And it was a monster! It took him almost an hour to eventually bring it to the nest, after having his fill.
Here are a couple of adorable close ups from yesterday evening, as the chicks were all tucked up together for the night!
And here’s a middle of the night shot!
The next big milestone in the chicks’ lives will be fledging. It won’t be long now, only a couple of weeks! In the interim, they will be doing a lot more wing flapping and will start helicoptering above the nest, getting those wing muscles ready for the day they take to the air… but for now, they can sleep, and enjoy nest-bound life whilst they can!