Having missed yesterday’s dawn due to family commitments, I was keen to get out this morning. The forecast was good – sunny and 33oC. I set my alarm for 6:15 am and was at my favourite spot before the sun rose.
The sky did not look the way I had hoped. It was streaked with cloud, which became thicker and thicker. Soon the entire sky was white, but dull.
The poor conditions did not stop the birds. I saw several White-bellied Sea-Eagles, some Whistling Kites and a Swamp Harrier in the first half hour. I saw a falcon, which I could not identify, then later an Australian Hobby (a Little Falcon), which I could. I added to my list two Black Kites, all in all 5 species of BOP (possibly 6).
I had resigned myself to getting no good photos and was thinking about leaving when the most amazing thing happened – 5 juvenile and immature White-bellied Sea-Eagles flew right past me! I thought I got photos of each, but I can only tell 4 distinct birds. Here they are in the order I took the photos:
WBSE 1 – immature (white tail)
WBSE 2 – juvenile (tail has brown tip)
WBSE 3 – immature (white tail)
WBSE 4 – juvenile (tail has brown tip)
They were just magnificent in a group. Shortly after that, two Black Kites and a Whistling Kite flew in circles around me. All these photos have only a small amount of cropping – the birds were really that close!
Although my photos were taken at ISO 3200, and are lacking in detail, like pencil drawings that have been smudged, the experience was incredible. I’ll still be watching birds of prey when I’m too old and frail to lift my camera.