More Ospreys, great videos and a rescued Painted Turtle

I took the Parental Unit out for a drive, today.

This time I had the foresight to bring along my REAL video camera, my Sony Handi-Cam. I wanted to see if I could get better video of the Ospreys than I have been getting on my little Canon digital. AND HOW! I can’t get as close up as I would like with the camera before it gets blurry but I am very pleased with the resolution.

I can’t get any closer to the nests without risking a poo shower (you’ll see why from one of the videos!)

The young are getting much bigger and are really stretching their wings. It won’t be long before they start practicing and exercising their wings for the day when they leave the nests for the first time.

We were adding up the nests that we know of and have figured that we know of 8 nests. Each nest has two adults and two young, which means that there are 32 Ospreys that we visit each time. And every time we go out, we discover another nest (or two, even!).

What I can tell you about Ospreys is that:

  • The female is generally larger than the male
  • It is difficult to tell the sex of an adult unless you see them together
  • They eat mostly fish, caught live.
  • The Osprey has four toes, unlike other raptors
  • They both sit on the nest, the female doing most of the sitting and the male taking over when the female wants to go off and feed
  • When the young come along, they take turns on the nest. When the young get bigger, one sits nearby and watches the nest while the other is off feeding or hunting.

I filmed 5(?) of the nests today. One is too far off the road to see much even with binoculars. You can just barely distinguish the young in that nest. In the other nests, the young are very visible and active. The only problem in seeing much is that the poles on which the nests sit are so tall. If you are too close, you can’t see the action and too far way… well, the action is too small to see.





As mentioned, the trip also involved the rescue of a Painted Turtle.

Unlike last week, I managed to avoid killing any wildlife and it more or less made up for killing the woodpecker that we were able to rescue a Painted Turtle from the middle of the highway. He was pretty fortunate because he was right in the middle of the oncoming lane when I spotted him and he narrowly missed getting crushed by one car. I managed to get a (very) short video and a couple of photos of him before I took him down to the swampy area near Nicholson’s Locks to release him.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

Two years ago, we “sort of” rescued a HUGE Snapping Turtle from the middle of another highway. “Sort of” because all we could do was force it off the road by bulldozing it with a large piece of plywood. It was two feet long and about a foot high and by extending it’s neck, it could reach out almost another foot. Snappers have formidable beaks that can sever fingers and even a hand.

Without losing any appendages, we got it into the ditch but there wasn’t any real water about for it to head to on either side of the road. If it went back on the road, it wasn’t as much a danger to itself as any car coming along could have been badly damaged hitting a turtle of that size. It probably wasn’t going to do the turtle any good getting hit but it could also have killed or severely injured an unwary motorist hitting it.

Had I had anyone with me strong enough, I might have tried the old method the Indians used for capturing Snapping Turtles. They would take a sturdy tree branch or axe handle and make it bite it. Once it has it’s jaws clamped shut, it won’t generally let go and they would carry it hanging from the branch. At least that it the theory. It would have been worth a try. Of course, as I say, there wasn’t anyplace nearby to properly release it, I had no one with me to help me carry it, and I had no tree branch or axe handle….

Advertisements

I hate Canada Day…

Flags

Flags

Okay… I don’t hate Canada Day…. What I hate is having to drag my ass down town on the bus and wade through 1/2 a million people hoping to actually enjoy myself…. which I invariably don’t.

Yesterday, my mother wanted to go to see the festivities. I had been hoping to go and meet up with my sister, wander about, have a meal, and come home. I didn’t want to leave Mom at home but I knew Mom wouldn’t be up to the amount of walking required. So we decided on a modified plan. Shirin and Gabby were going to eat and meet us and just sit at the War Memorial and watch the crowds walk by.

You can’t park anywhere even remotely close to the activity so it required taking the bus at least part of the way.

My niece, Ange, had asked if she could borrow some camping chairs for the day so I decided that we would go to her place, drop off the chairs and park near there and take the bus. We left for Ange’s. Ange wasn’t home… Luckily, when we left home, the bus was just leaving so I anticipated that we would be able to park along the route it takes, get the bus, and then pick up the car on the way home.

While we were waiting for the bus, I discover that Mom has removed the bus tickets that she keeps in her wallet and we have no tickets. Since I hadn’t been to the back, planning on going to the bank machine right near the bus stop right down town, I had a $5 bill and no change on me.

Right. The bus comes and we have to let it pass. Just as well, because Mom also took her pain pills out of her fanny pack and put them in the glove compartment of the car…. Why? I don’t know…

So…. we head back home, get the bus tickets and the pain pills and take the bus from near the house.

The bus we had planned to take was nearly empty. The one we ended up taking was jam-packed and I gave my seat up for an elderly woman who spent the entire ride glaring at me. My arm was aching from hanging on for dear life on the twisting route. We arrive down town and I mistakenly got off one stop too early which put an extra 4 blocks on our walk to the War Memorial which is where I normally meet my sister. This means an extra several stops for my Mom to sit for her hip to stop hurting.

While my Mom took a breather across from my bank, I went in to go to the cash machine. Long line, of course.

My sister called and said that she and Gabby would walk over to where we were sitting and I knew that would give Mom a little extra recovery time.

Shirin and Gabby arrived and moments later, Mom said…. “I’m feeling dizzy”… which is ALWAYS a sign that she is about to pass out.

With the help of a very nice young man selling t-shirts, we got her lying down with her feet up, gave her some water and, thank GOD, she did not actually pass out because that would have meant a trip to the hospital. Finally, after about 10 minutes, she was feeling back to normal and I decided that we should go back home.

Luckily, it is just two short blocks to the bus stop and we were able to walk down there without incident.

Shirin and Gabby left and I took Mom in to the bus shelter where there was a single seat left on a bench but just as we get there, another woman took the seat. Both were seniors but both were much more able than my Mom and I asked “Would it be possible for my Mom to sit?”. The woman who had grabbed the seat before we got there ignored us and the woman who was already sitting glared at us, looked my mother up and down and said “I’m probably as old as your mother is…”. She did get up but she was loudly remarking about “what nerve” I had in “expecting” her to give up her seat to someone.

I said “Oh Heavens! I wouldn’t want to deprive you of your seat!” and we turned away. Meanwhile, she was loudly informing all her friends about how rude I was and how my mother shouldn’t expect to get “special treatment” (what “special treatment” this was, I don’t know. I simply asked if she could sit in one of the only four available seats).

When we turned away, two ladies on the other bench gave up their seats quite cheerfully. I sat Mom down and went back to the woman who was still ranting on to her friends and said “My mother is 85 and recovering from a broken hip. But thank you so very much for feeling it necessary to be so rude”. She was still standing and you could see that she was perfectly fit. She had runners calves for Pete’s sake! She was surrounded by a group of women and it appeared that she was obviously the “leader of the pack”.

How is it that someone who is a senior, herself, could not understand when another senior isn’t as well as herself? She should thank her lucky stars that she has her health and has the luxury of being fit at whatever age she is. Many seniors aren’t so lucky. I could have pointed out that Mom had nearly passed out barely 15 minutes before… I could have pointed out that she has dementia… I could have pointed out that she was just lucky that she wasn’t in my mother’s shoes. Instead, I waited until our bus came and went over to her and said “Thanks for being so fucking rude!”

Not my finest hour but it was better than punching her which was what I felt like doing. She must be some prize at the seniors home.

We are buying a wheelchair.

When we got home, I was still seething so we took the car, Mom, and Mom’s friend, Selene out for a drive to Kemptville.

We had a terrific time.

We stopped for hot dogs at the chip truck/ice cream place we love, and then stopped to see how some of the Osprey nests were doing.

The first one, the adult was out of the nest preening on a nearby pole, allowing me to get a number of really good photos.

Adult Osprey at Nicholson's Locks

Adult Osprey at Nicholson's Locks

Then, instead of going back along the main highway to Kemptville, we took the River Road and found another Osprey nest that I didn’t know about. An adult and two babies on the nest!

New Osprey nest, River Road

New Osprey nest, River Road

We stopped in Kemptville to get gas before heading home and I spotted a large moth lying on the cement at the pumps. I thought it was dead but it was barely hanging on to life. I put it over in the brush on the toher side of the parking lot. It is a Pachysphinx modesta or Modest Sphinx or Modest Sphinx moth. So beautiful!

Modest Sphinx moth (Pachysphinx modesta)

Modest Sphinx moth (Pachysphinx modesta)

Then we headed home, after stopping to check on the Osprey nest on the East shore of the Rideau River. Parent, and two young actively bobbing about the nest.

We went out to the Rideau Falls to watch the fireworks and it was a terrific show. I managed to get the entire thing in photos, as well as one short video. 500 or so photos!

Fireworks By Moonlight

And that fricking bird is out there AGAIN today chip, chip, chipping!

Ospreys

For the last few years, I have been watching the annual nesting activities of a pair (at least I THINK it is the same pair) of Ospreys. The nest is at Nicholson’s Locks, along the historic Rideau Canal system.

The Rideau Canal waterway

The Rideau Canal waterway

There are also a couple of other nests (one outside Merrickville, and one along Donnelly Drive, east of Burritt’s Rapids) the  but this has, so far, been the one that is the easiest to watch.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I located a new nest that I must have passed a number of times and not seen. It is along County Road 19 (River Road), on the east side of the Rideau River, and is about 2/3 of the way between Kemptville and Manotick (closer to Manotick).

The nest is close enough to get a really good look at the male sitting out on a nearby branch and to see the head of the female popping her head up over the edge of the nest. There is also no powerline in the middle of your photos and the view across the river is trees rather than buildings or hydro pylons and things.

The first time we noticed the nest, the pair were actively mating. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me so wasn’t able to get photos. Now, they are actively nest-sitting.

I went down last Sunday and tooks some great photos of the nest against the sunset. Unfortunately, my littl digital camera doesn’t have a telephoto lens so I can’t take any real close-ups. I took a couple of sharp but very shaky videos using my binoculars as a make-shift telephoto but it didn’t work at all well for the still shots.

This weekend we found 4 active nests, including this one.

So here are the shots from last weekend.

The nest at sunset with the male in the tree to the right.

The nest at sunset with the male in the tree to the right.

The male in the tree. The "moon" is just from using the binoculars.

The male in the tree. The "moon" is just from using the binoculars as a telephoto.

The male taking over nesting duties.

The male taking over nesting duties.

Sunset

Sunset

%d bloggers like this: