White-bellied Sea-Eagle nest 1 July 2016

Saturday 9 July 2016

When I arrived, I saw the Wedge-tailed Eagles. I think they had been upsetting the White-bellied Sea-Eagles, who were honking.

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As I crept towards the nest, I suddenly realised that the White-bellied Sea-Eagles were sitting on a branch not far away. I sank down behind a post and watched them. They sat there for a good 20 minutes, just calmly looking around.

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Eventually they flew off over the swamp, which is in the opposite direction to the nest.

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Wednesday 13 July 2016

I was horrified when I went to check the nest and saw how fast things are being dug up and built near the nest. The eagles weren’t there.

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Monday 18 July 2016

I checked on the nest today and things had gotten much, much worse. My usual parking spot and route to my hiding place was fenced off and a tree had been cut down. One of the eagles was at the nest but was scared off by the continual driving back and forth of two large dump trucks on a dirt track only 60 m – at the closest point – from the nest tree.

The nest is in a tree on private land, but it is only 60 m from the fence and dirt track. On the other side of the dirt track is a large sloping area of vacant land. The nearest road – on which I sometimes park to watch the nest – is 330 m away. On the other side of it, houses are being built. The nearest road on the top side is  about 260 m away and the nearest road on the bottom side is about 400 m away.

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After having a bit of a tussle with two magpie larks, the eagle settled back in the nest.

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But when a grader drove down the vacant land, it flew away and didn’t come back while I was there.

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Saturday 23 July 2016

This morning I dropped in briefly and was thrilled to see one White-bellied Sea-Eagle fly in to the nest. It stood there for a while, poked around a bit then flew away. I’m almost certain there was no change of parents.

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I went back in the afternoon to try and get photos in the lovely light, but the eagles weren’t there.

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Saturday 30 July 2016

The developers are there all the time now. I haven’t visited all week because the last few times I went, the construction vehicles were there in the early morning and didn’t stop until sunset. Today is Saturday and I visited the nest at about 8:45 am. I couldn’t believe it when I saw a bulldozer pushing soil and rocks around what used to be a grassy slope adjoining the land the nest tree is on. It was making an engine noise, a clattering sound like a jackhammer and an occasional beeping sound. It was persistent and intrusive.

I’m afraid human disturbance has caused the eagles to abandon the nest. I was there for about 1 1/4 h and watched the nest for the entire time. I did not see or hear the eagles. I feel particularly sad this week, because it is 47 days since I saw the adults mate. White-bellied Sea-Eagle eggs take 40-42 days to hatch. If things had gone well, baby eagles could be hatching right now in this nest, as they are in the Sydney nest.

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This story has a sad ending because developers want to make money and people want to build their dream homes. Years ago, two Sea-Eagles built their dream home in a strong tree on open land. Now, they are being driven out by the noise and movement of people who are taking, taking, taking the land. The new homes are relentlessly moving forwards, like a glacier. Only the swamp will stop them.

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