5 July 2016
Today, acting on a tip from a bird friend, I found a large nest. It is not as large as the one I found last month, but impressive nonetheless.
I wondered if it was in use, and by whom. Before long, a White-bellied Sea-Eagle flew overhead. I crouched in the bushes, hoping that I was not visible from the air.
I stayed until the sun set, hoping to see the bird visit the nest, but did not see it again.
19 July 2016
After work, I went to visit the nest for a second time. Soon after I arrived, I saw a single adult Sea-Eagle circling high in the sky.
It disappeared for half an hour, then suddenly appeared. It appeared to circle the nest tree but did not land. I could not see a partner, either in the nest or in the air.
I stayed until the sun set. All the while, I could hear the continuous drone of construction vehicles ripping up land for housing. The new roads and house lots are very close, but I don’t think they will get any closer. If this Sea-Eagle does have a partner, maybe they won’t be rudely pushed out of their home by human disturbance.
As I left, I saw the Sea-Eagle perched in the bare branches at the top of a tall eucalypt. I couldn’t help wondering if it was watching the construction vehicles eat into its habitat, and feeling as devastated as I was.
26 July 2016
After work, I headed to the nest, equipped with full camo gear (I picked up a great pair of polar fleece camo pyjama pants last weekend). While still a reasonable distance away, I saw one, then two, Sea-Eagles! I also saw at least 4 black kites. They were all circling fairly high. I snuck over to the nest after they moved out of sight. I did not see them for nearly an hour, then one started flying in large circles around the area of the nest tree. While hidden in camo gear and under heavy foliage, I took a few photos in the late afternoon light.
I thought it had gone then suddenly realised one of them was perched on a branch of the nest tree!
I waited until I thought it had gone then left by walking under trees as far as I could from the nest tree before appearing in the open. The Sea-Eagle did see me and cruised around me, moving forwards very slowly. It is so much easier to photograph them without sun on the white feathers. This photo was taken after the sun had set.
1 August 2016
Today I approached the nest from a different direction. I could tell there was an eagle standing on the nest, so I only crept as far as the nearest cover I could get to without being seen (a clump of spindly bushes 200-300 m from the nest tree. What a thrill: my first sighting of an eagle on the nest.
After about 10 mins, the eagle flew away, strongly, and in a straight line. It was over open country and I could still see it when it would have been several kilometres away.
I decided to leave while the nest was unattended, so I would not be seen. When I had walked halfway back to my car, an eagle flew past me travelling towards the nest tree. It came from a different direction, so I assume it was the partner!
15 August 2016
I haven’t been able to visit the nest for a while, but today was a beautiful day so I called in after work. One eagle – or maybe two but never together – circled then landed in the nest tree at regular intervals.
It usually landed near the top of the tree, well above the nest, and was harassed and chased by a pair of currawongs.
I waited until after the sun set, but did not see it go into the nest. So I still don’t know if the nest is in use. I think I only saw one eagle, but maybe the other is incubating, right down in the middle of the nest.
Monday 29 August 2016
Last week was rainy so I didn’t visit the nest. Today, as I made my way towards the nest, an eagle flew overhead.
I hid under/in a tree about 200 m away. As I looked through my camera, I realised that a second eagle was in the nest!! It’s not immediately obvious, against the left bough.
After some time, this eagle flew out and went to a branch higher in the nest tree.
The first eagle sat in a tree about 100 m from the nest tree. They both just stayed in these positions for more than an hour.
Eventually, the first eagle flew around a few times then landed near the second one in the nest tree.
They stayed there for about 10 mins, then flew off together. Once they had been gone for a while, I walked back to my car (more than 0.5 km away). I was far away from the nest, nearly back to my car, when one eagle flew over me!
Thursday 1 September 2016
As I walked towards the nest, the birds seemed to fly from the nest area. I don’t think they could have seen me, because I was still quite a distance away, and I couldn’t see their nest at that point. I moved under the cover of a tree, put on all my camouflage gear and stayed very still. There’s no way I want to disturb them.
There were 2 black kites flying around and at least one of them went after one of the eagles.
I waited for nearly an hour and a half and saw an eagle circling every so often. Some times it passed over my hiding place but other times it circled over a nearby stand of trees. It finally landed in the nest tree, but then flew out.
A while later it landed in the nest tree again. I was hoping to see it go down to the nest, but it flew away.
I had to go, and didn’t see them at all when I left.
Monday 5 September 2016
When I walked towards the nest I saw a single eagle flying around. I settled under a bush 200-300 m away (I find it very hard to judge distances, but I was a long way away; at least 200 m. Don’t be fooled by the photos – they are heavily cropped.). Over the time I was there the eagle would fly a bit then settle in the nest tree 4-5 m above the nest, or in another tree and just sit and look around.
At about 5:15 pm I decided to go while it was not there and took off my camo pants and collar. Just then, the eagle returned. It landed above the nest, then after a few minutes descended into the nest!. I watched it completely disappear from sight. When it had been out of sight for a while, I quietly and quickly left, and it stayed in the nest.
Thursday 15 September 2016
As I walked to the nest from the direction that usually allows an unnoticed approach, I was spotted by one of the eagles. I was still about 500 m or farther away and could not see the nest. The eagle seemed to float above me, riding the wind without the need to flap its wings.
I walked to my usual bush and scurried under it. I quickly donned camo shirt, gloves, collar and scarf then covered myself with a 3 m piece of camo fabric. The eagle flew in large circles over the whole nest area, including sometimes over my hiding place. I heard it make a few soft noises then saw the other one.
They flew together for a long time, sometimes low, sometimes high. I didn’t know if they knew where I was or if they were checking to see if I’d gone. I stayed totally still, leaning against the trunk of the tree.
One landed in the tree above the nest. I worried about both being off the nest so decided to go as soon as they flew out of sight. One soon saw me and flew around until I was more than 500 m away. They gave the appearance of watching what I was doing rather than defending their nest. Still, I may not be able to there any more, because I can’t risk having them leave the eggs or chicks for too long. I guess as soon as they see me, I’ll just turn around and go home.
Monday 19 September 2016
I decided to go towards the nest the first way I found, but stay completely under trees (and walk quietly). I think I got to the end tree, where I could just see the nest, without the eagles seeing me. I saw one fairly soon, flying over, so I donned my camo and clung to the tree trunk. I realised it was carrying something: a dusky moorhen. I had been wondering what this pair ate.
I watched one, then the two for a long time. Sometimes one flew over and made a ‘cluck cluck’ sound. I didn’t know if it saw me (other birds had flown right past me at ground level without seeing me) or was just patrolling the nest area. If it saw me, I know where the saying ‘eagle eyes’ comes from because I was so still and under a leafy tree.
I saw a fast bird of prey that I thought was a falcon go past and a short time later I saw a light morph little eagle. It seemed to circle with them and they didn’t seem to mind it.
I couldn’t get good photos because I stayed hidden. I could sometimes only see one eagle but didn’t know where the other one was. I didn’t see them go to the nest but loved seeing them fly together. I decided to leave early and came out of hiding so they would see me go. I got a few photos – they are very lovely.
Monday 26 September 2016
I walked towards the nest completely under the trees but as soon as I got to the end tree, which is the first place I can see the nest from, an eagle flew from the nest tree towards me. I don’t know if it was in the nest because when they get into the nest they are out of sight. I still can’t see if there are any babies in the nest.
The eagle started to circle over my tree so I moved farther away. When I couldn’t see it, I stopped against a tree (300 m away?) and covered myself with my camo fabric. The eagle didn’t seem to know I was there and soon settled on a branch above the nest. All of a sudden the other eagle dived towards the nest, fast with wings pulled in, and landed on it.
It flew off the nest again. I noticed it was carrying something.
It looked like a little water bird, maybe a grebe.
Both eagles started circling the nest area and I thought they knew I was still around. I decided to walk out into full view so they could see me leave and know I had gone. The eagle kept hold of its prey the whole time. It’s important that if there are babies, they eat all prey provided so they grow properly.
Friday 30 September 2016
Today I visited in the morning and I had some very exciting discoveries! As I began my walk across to the eagle nest, I noticed a dark bird leave a nest in a tall eucalypt. I wondered if it was a black kite, although I think there is only one official record of them nesting in our area. It came back and I saw that it was an Australian raven. I thought I heard a whistling kite, and about 200 m from the raven, I saw a whistling kite in a tree.
I thought I saw a second whistling kite, but when I looked up, the bird that was flying was a black kite. I looked at the group of 6 mature eucalypts and there was a nest made of stout sticks with a black kite in it!!!!
There may have been 2 whistling kites and 2 black kites: I’m not sure. The black kite nest was 4-5 m from the top of a tree that was about 35 m tall. The tree was on the edge of an open grassland.
I walked towards the eagle nest and saw an eagle start to fly towards me from the nest tree or an adjacent tree when I was about 230 m away (I’ve had a look on some maps so I can be more accurate with distance). I then saw the other eagle flying along the tree line where the nest tree is, carrying something in its talons. The prey was round and dark; I believe it was another dusky moorhen or similar.
I also saw a nankeen kestrel! Looking on the map, I think I may have stopped at a tree about 150 m away. A magpie chased the eagle with the prey (smaller eagle, so male). A black kite and the female eagle came over every so often to look at me and flew around each other.
There was some work going on in the new development, which I can see from the map is 300 m from the nest tree. It wasn’t very noisy, but 2 helicopters flew over while I was there. One of the eagles landed in the nest tree (top left corner) at one point. I hoped that it had accepted that I was no threat, sitting completely still against a large tree trunk. However, it flew out again, so I left, and checked out the black kite nest again.