Dec 272012

 January 31, 2012 *      While lurking around the lower Whatcom Creek tidal basin, I discovered a Red-throated Loon in distress on the tiny beach. Without the proper tools to free it from the crab bait box that had snared it, I left it there and quickly returned with a blanket and knife. I also called my friend Joe Meche for backup. 













 I covered the bird with a blanket and carefully determined where it was bound. It was quite calm and allowed me to cut the noose {around its body} loose and examine it for injury. I could find no injury to its legs or wings, but it was shaking, either from shock or cold. I covered it so it could rest and be warm.

When Joe arrived we uncovered it and examined it again. It seemed unwilling to enter the water, so we helped it to the shoreline. Once there, it quickly escaped and made its way down stream towards Bellingham Bay. It drank, stretched its wings, and dove a few times … looking quite well.

















February 2, 2012 * Two days later I got a call from Joe. He had found another ensnared Red-throated Loon. This time it was on a beach at the Padden Lagoon, Fairhaven, some 4 miles from the previous incident. When I arrived, Joe was donning his rubber boots. We relocated the bird on a different beach. As we approached it appeared as though it would escape into the water where rescue would be impossible. We hailed a couple of folks in kayaks to cut off that escape route. The loon was tangled in some gill net that had been carelessly discarded by a commercial fisher.













We captured the bird. Joe held it while I cut it free. It was thoroughly entangled and would not have survived. Once free of the netting, it was anxious to be released. We determined that it was uninjured, and set it free. It quickly swam away from us, putting up a rooster tail. When it felt safe, away from us, it hauled out on a mud island and had a snooze, exhausted from its ordeal.



 Posted by at 1:38 pm

Osprey Nest 2012

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Dec 102012

In late March of 2012, the male returned and started repairing the nest and establishing their territory.

Nest building


A few days later, the female returns from her winter vacation.

They spend the next weeks pair bonding, mating, and nest building. Pa takes on the role of provider and supplies Ma with many fish.

In these photos, note that Ma has a fish that Pa brought her.


On April 21, 2012, Ma gathers some moss from a maple branch and delivers it to the nest.




I first saw the young chicks on June 15, 2012. Eventually, I learned that there were 4 babies.

Here we have Pa delivering a fish to Ma and the youngsters on the nest. Pa does not linger on the nest. He usually drops off the fish and flies to a nearby perch for preening and rest before his next hunting trip. In the following photo, Ma feeds the kids.

On June 27, 2012, while Pa was away fishing, an intruder Osprey buzzed the nest and eventually provoked Ma to take off after it. Intruders often came around, but usually Ma would hold her ground on the nest and just scream a lot. I was surprised that she left the kids unattended to chase away the intruder.

Ma screams at the intruder and defends the nest.

Ma chases the intruder out of the area.


Pa with fish

Pa will often eat the heads of the fish before delivering them to the nest.

As the kids grow up, Ma spends more time off of the nest.

Pa is very busy with so many mouths to feed.

July 25, 2012, The four young birds are getting big, stretching their wings, and preparing for flight.

This one gets some air and impresses its siblings.  On July 26, 2012, the first one leaves the nest. Before long, all four have fledged and are flying all about the area. They are also quite vocal.

Pa brings fish to the nest and they all fly back to the nest and fight over the prize. The winner hauls the fish to a perch where they can consume it in peace.







Ma leaves and Pa is left to look after the four fledglings.

 Posted by at 4:43 pm