White-bellied Sea-Eagle nest 1 September 2016

Sunday 4 September 2016

I thought I wouldn’t get to see the eagles this weekend because of family commitments, and I can’t go during the week because of the people working on the site. I only had 30 mins, so I sat in my car, hoping to see something. After about 20 mins, I heard loud honking coming from the swamp. Soon I caught sight of one eagle flying towards the nest. It landed and the other eagle popped up. The first eagle (male by smaller size) had a fish in its right foot! This is the first time I’ve seen an eagle bring food to a nest.

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They stayed in the nest together for a little while. I could see them tugging at the fish but I couldn’t tell if they were feeding any young ones. The male soon moved to a branch and let the female eat alone.

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Saturday 10 September 2016

I arrived at around 4:00 pm and had to sit in the car for ages because there was a big increase in the number of people around: learners driving, people walking dogs, work cars driving down the construction site and families inspecting their slabs and the steel skeletons of their future homes.

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I was finally able to get to my hiding place in a ditch. I lay on my belly in the long grass – hoping no red-bellied black snakes would come by – and covered myself with a 3 m piece of camouflage fabric I bought online. I was so well camouflaged that many different birds flew as close as 1 m over me without responding to me.

The sun set and I began to fear that people had finally caused the eagles to abandon their nest. It was nearly 6 pm when I finally saw an eagle flying towards the nest. The one in the nest flew out, I heard some honking then an eagle flew back and settled in. You can just see its little head.

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Sunday 11 September 2016

I decided to go along again today, but just stay in the car. I took some photos of all the new temporary fences, dug up blocks, concrete slabs and steel frames. I’m so afraid that if there are babies, they’ll be scared out of the nest prematurely by the constant activity and racket.

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Soon after I parked, an eagle flew out of the nest then got back in in about 2 mins. So they’re holding on.

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Saturday 17 September 2016

I decided to just look from the car today, so as not to risk disturbing the eagles. People were really annoying, wandering around looking at all the slabs and frames of rapidly growing houses.

After about 40 minutes, an eagle suddenly flew out of the nest, went about 200 m and settled in a tree which I could not see. I heard loud honking, which sounded like it came from 2 distinct voices. 4 people came and stood no more than 3 m from my car while I was waiting to photograph the eagle returning to the nest. Why there? Grrrr!

One eagle flew around the nest tree several times and eventually settled in the nest. I’m sure it had something in its talons but I cannot see anything in the photos. I’m too far away. The eagle disappeared into the nest very quickly.

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Sunday 25 September 2016

I went out today after a heavy storm with hail. I arrived at about 4:45 pm and stayed in the car (there was a lot of lightning around and some more rain). A couple of times I thought I heard faint honking, but didn’t see an eagle. At about 5:50 pm, I finally saw an eagle fly into a tree about 250 m from the nest. There was a lot of honking – it sounded like two to me but I could only see one in the dim light. It stayed in the tree, so I don’t know how the nesting is going.

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The development is going full speed ahead. There are now seven partly-built houses on the eagle side of the nearest street to the nest, and many more houses on the other side of the street and on adjoining streets.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

I decided to drive by the nest this morning, although I mostly avoid it during the week. I didn’t see the Sea-Eagles, but saw several vehicles driving up and down 60-150 m from the nest.

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I saw the Wedge-tailed eagle pair circling up high for the first time since early July. I wonder if they are nesting, or if their nesting territory is being destroyed too?

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I saw lots of tradies working on the various houses – including on the roofs, where the eagles would clearly see them – and heard chainsaws and other loud tools.

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Another thing: I realised last week that a new road is being made and it looks as if it leads towards the nest. I thought the nest was just inside private land on one side but I don’t know all the boundaries. The poor, poor Sea-Eagles; it will be a miracle if the nesting attempt is successful. I’m so afraid there is a baby -or two- and it will be frightened out of the nest prematurely and die.

Friday 30 September 2016

I’ve been looking at a map and I’ve worked out that where I park is about 330 m from the nest tree. The nest tree is about 50 m inside a fence on the boundary of private land. The closest houses being built are about 250 m from the nest tree and heavy machinery is driving up and down the land all daylight hours 5 days a week between about 60 and 300 m from the nest. The eagles used to have it really good: they are only about 400 m from the start of a body of water and there were extensive grasslands, farmlands and swamps that were probably relatively undisturbed.

The Sydney Sea-Eaglet SE17 is 9 weeks old today. I think if there are babies in my nests they will be a similar age.

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