UPDATE ON OSPREY NESTING and MORE…

The ospreys have fledged and it is time to update our neighbours on the nesting success of the couples that build their “homes” along Colonel By Lake and the River Styx. Here are the locations from 2002 to the last update of 2013, three years ago. What has changed in the last three years? This is the latest for 2016.

osprey map 2013

The “big star” in this map is the couple that started their nest in 2002, the first osprey settlement on Colonel By Lake since we monitored them. Jack Colden had erected a telephone pole with a 6×6 nest box on top two years  before and in 2012 the couple started to make their home. For more click here.

The nest toppled over in the spring of 2014 just before the arrival of the birds from their wintering grounds in Florida. The pair moved to another empty platform about 200 meter to the east, also set up by the Coldens just as an extra site , in this case a good backup. There, the ospreys successfully hatched two young each year from 2014 to 2016. This couple produced over the years more than thirty offspring. Survival rate in the first year is about fifty percent, so probably fifteen or more of their young have families now and some of these are around our area on Colonel By Lake and the River Styx.

osprey dickinson july 19 2016 This is the original nesting area on Colonel By Lake. The parents might be the 2002 originals.  Here one parent and a young is shown, the other young is inside the deep nest and the second parent is hunting for food. Photos by Henk Wevers.

osprey dickinson july 19 2016 b

At the end of June and early July the first chick is almost the 2/3 the size of an adult and they start to flex their wings. First one, then the other wing can be seen  spreading awkwardly over the edge of the nest. This young is almost ready to fledge and leave the nest which happened a few days later on July 21. The family does gather around 6 pm for supper and one can see the two adults and two young on the nest, eating and hanging around…

On the River Styx …

osprey river styx july 2016 hwA couple have built their nest since 2011 on this large dead tree stump dating from the time that the Rideau Canal was built. It sits in a large bay a the north-west end of the river. In this photo one parent is hunting while the other watches over two young.  The young sit side by side their bodies seemingly one with the youngest in front of the older sibling. in front of that pair it looks like there is a third young a body with dark juvenile feathers is crouching low in the nest. Anyway this couple has been very successful in producing young during the last five years. Note the difference in size between the oldest and younger siblings.

Other nests on the map have disappeared over time some because the natural trees they had used to build their nests toppled over in mid-season, or might have been raided by raccoons. These nesting sites  were abandoned the following year. One nest at the end of Aragon Road that the Keirsteads erected on the side of the canal was abandoned in the early breeding season in 2015 and 2016. Two years before that the couple produced two young each year for three years in a row.

Lately we see them huddling together on  a tree stump enjoying the fruits of their work building a robust nest. Hopefully this will be their next year’s domicile at the entrance to the canal between Colonel By Lake and the River Styx.

osprey harriet point july july 31 2016

osprey harriet point july july 31 2016 b

It is amazing how they have woven the branches together to make a nest that can withstand the winter. One would think that a couple that can built such a nest would be successful in hatching two or three chicks and bringing them up to young adults that can migrate this coming September to winter ultimately in Florida or somewhere along the Atlantic coast or other open water, during our winter.

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New to our area is a Bald Eagle couple that was discovered by Mark Fleming in the early spring of this year. Its nest is located in a large mature white pine tree near the marsh at the north-west corner of the River Styx. That is also the location of a couple of Mute Swans who swam around that corner of the Rideau with three young and then later only two. There are many more breeding Mute Swans along the river going towards Lower Brewer Mills Locks. Bald Eagles are also observed along the Rideau Canal in the quiet wetland areas of the large lakes farther east, according to Parks Canada staff.

bald eagle young fleming jyly 2016

A young bald eagle photographed by Mark Fleming one of our neighbours on the Aragon Road who is a serious nature photographer who takes his kayak out on the water to scout for wildlife in the marshes and shallow water of Esther March Bay and the River Styx and parts of Colonel By Lake. For more photos of the bald Eagles click here.

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To go to the INDEX, click on the icon  below another photo of the Bald Eagle by Mark Fleming.

mark fleming bald eagle a

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WELCOME TO OUR CANADA GEESE…

Do we really want a flock of Canada Geese on our lawn?

It’s that time of the year that the parents and their young come together and invite themselves on our manicured lawns. From east to west, have a look…

geese in rocky-point-park

Canada geese at a city park in Port Moody, BC. Snoozing after a stressful lunch on the well manicured lawn of this waterfront city park. Source: CBC news article.  And if they get thirsty, the parks and recreation department is there for them…

canada geese in city park Port Moody BC

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Canada Geese are wonderful birds, especially in flight when they come in low overhead, to land on Colonel By Lake.

Most Canadians can enjoy a majestic V-shaped flock winging their way to and from their breeding grounds.

They love short cut grass and gobble at least a pound and half a day of this diet, complemented with weeds and silt from the bottom of our shallow waters. Grain and corn in the fields along Battersea Road will complement their diet. They need also about half a litre of water.

A bit less than half of their total intake comes out at the other end each day to fertilise your lawn.

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Along the Aragon Road some of us offer as many amenities as Port Moody. Have a look.

edenwood house geese eJust under a hundred visitors. That’s a bit less than a hundred pounds of fertilizer aka “CGP”. The photo was taken after the owners of this house opened up their view of the lake by uprooting the shrubs along their shore line. Then they improved the lawn to reflect a city park and presto, the Canada Geese moved in. Notice the inviting  shoreline with its low slope up to the short cropped grass: the geese’s salad bar. 

Other favourite sites for Canada Geese are at the end of Aragon Road.

 While several lots have left the shrubs and trees along the shore to protect the clay bank and absorb runoff, in other areas the lawn stretches up to the water’s edge. It is there that the geese enter the lawns in very large numbers.

 The City of Oakville says this: “Geese are attracted to mown lawns that stretch down to the water. To deter them allow native vegetation, including longer grasses, to grow at the water’s edge.” Click here for full article. 

alan point drive google earth cropped

 Once they have easy access areas to short cropped lawns, they will come back year after year. We posted a re-print from Ontario Nature Magazine in making shorelines more geese proof, you can access it by clicking : “Bringing Nature Back to the Cottage.” 

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For the INDEX and its list of all posts and stories, click the photo below. It was taken just at the entrance of the canal to the River Styx.

We hope you like our website, the feedback we receive is kind and informative.

geese family aug 2015 b

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE; the Rideau Canal

Boating on the Rideau offers a unique perspective of the beautiful undisturbed shoreline harbouring much wildlife among the varied natural shoreline: Blue Herons, Osprey, even Bald Eagles, and the ever graceful white Mute Swans floating serenely on the water. This is a shy wading bird the Green Heron, one of the smallest of herons. Photo: Henk Wevers.

bl green or least bittern heron draper bay june 19 2016 a

That is one of the reasons the historic waterway between Kingston and Ottawa received its world heritage designation in 2007. Here is what the UNESCO website calls it: The Rideau Canal, a monumental early 19th-century construction covering 202 km of the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers from Ottawa south to Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario…

But there is a lot of pressure from developers to sell estate lots along the same waterway, see the latest a twelve lot subdivision bordering on the canal between the River Styx and Colonel By Lake.

isl of man real estate lots cropped

Waterfront is attractive but with restrictions written into the approval document make access to the water impossible. The Council of the City of Kingston approved the development reluctantly after the developers had taken their 2012 plan to the Municipal Board of Ontario, and won. The latest planning report dated 2016 includes minimal setbacks from the high water level of 40 metres, with no disturbance to soil or vegetation. Prospective purchasers to be advised that these are not water access lots. We can only hope that the purchasers of these lots will follow these guidelines and that there is no creeping deterioration of the natural environment at the fringes of this development.

Bobolinks are nesting here and are impacted by lots 2 and 3 and the developer has to take measures to mitigate this.  Will that prevent the disappearance of habitat for this protected bird? Will there be follow-up by field naturalists or biologists?
bobo_jimmccree

Bobolink male with his characteristic white back, “a tuxedo worn backwards”. By clicking the photo you will be taken to the source of this photo where you can read more about birding.

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This is the aerial view from Google Earth.

isl of man july 2016 google earth

The parcel of land, sixteen hectare will have thirteen estate lots. It is just opposite the Allen Point development, seen on the left bottom.. The new development is bordered on three sides by the Rideau, with sensitive wetland just below the middle of the photo. The shoreline is protected by existing vegetation such as trees and shrubs. But will the City be vigilant to check that the forty meter setback from the shore will remain as is? Or will the owners of houses bordering the canal be tempted to cut “here and there”, so that over time the natural shoreline gets denuded?

There is a tree inventory of the site with 180 trees located along the shore line and in clusters on the property.  A tree conservation plan will be required as a draft plan condition which includes the 40 meter setback from the high water mark as said before.

isl of man july 2016 list re conditions

This is a copy of the most salient issues and conditions. (Page 117 of Report PC-16-017). Note point 3 where it states that the shoreline will be stabilised. How will that be done? Currently it is a natural clay embankment that resulted from the digging by hand to enlarge the Cataraqui Creek in 1830-s. It also shows the thick layer of clay that overlays the limestone in the fields north of the Aragon Road that have been declared Prime Agricultural land because of that fertile clay based soil.

By the way: The development will have a publicly owned park.

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To go to the INDEX for a listing of all topics on this website click the icon below.

isle of man Bobolink,_Mer_Bleue