White-bellied Sea-Eagle nest 1 October 2016

Saturday 1 October 2016

I got to the nearest street at 6:50 am and stayed there in my car until 9:20 am (2 h 30 min). I just wanted to see if the eagles were still there. I didn’t see or hear the eagles all that time. Even more worrying, I saw a raven land in the nest for a minute or two.

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I saw a bird of prey flying above the nest and thought it must have been the Nankeen kestrel I’ve seen several times. When I checked the photo, I realised it was an Australian hobby.

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I went home thinking that the nesting had surely failed. I read some papers and watched some videos and learned that the parents may only visit a few times a day and only for a few minutes at a time when the babies are older and that some Sea-Eagles manage to nest successfully despite human disturbance and only small buffer zones around the nest tree eg only 50 m on one side.

I went back at 4:50 pm and set up a hide about 70 m from the nest. At about 5:30 pm  I saw one eagle fly over the nearest swamp and  land in a tree – where I could not see it – and honked. After a while it flew around the nest tree but did not land. It did not see me. It flew back over the swamp with a magpie right on it.

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I was wondering if something had happened to the other eagle. Suddenly, at about 5:50 pm, the other eagle flew past me from behind (without seeing me), at high speed and was also set upon by a magpie.

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This eagle was bigger – the female – and appeared to be well fed. The eagles flew around a bit together but neither was carrying food and neither went to the nest. I think they landed in a  tree closer to the water, about 100 m from the nest, but I couldn’t see them. So they are still around, but I don’t know if the nest is active.

Sunday 2 October 2016 (we have now started ADST Australian daylight saving time)

I went back again this afternoon and set up my hide again. The light was lovely and rainbow lorikeets were landing around the nest.

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As the sun was setting, one eagle flew to a tree about another 25 m further into the private land than the nest tree is. It had something in its talons, which looked like a bunch of leaves. Birds started harassing it, especially a magpie.

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It flew into a bushier part of the same tree and a short time later the second eagle flew in, also from the direction of the swamp, also landing on the same branch, also getting harassed by the magpie.

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I think they moved into the tree together. I could not see them but heard plenty of alarm calls, even from a sulphur-crested cockatoo. Then something odd happened: a large flock of magpie larks – probably at least 30 – flew over, alarm calling. Some landed on the nest tree. I’ve only ever seen them in pairs before.

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Noisy miners were also alarm calling and landed on the nest tree. There are 9 in this photo.

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Monday 3 October 2016

It was a long weekend, so I went again today from 3:20 pm to 4:30 pm. I hoped that if I went at a different time I might see the adults go to the nest. I didn’t. A raven landed on the nest for a minute or two.

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There were few human disturbances: about 4 groups of 2 people walking or cycling on the road 330 m from the nest (at different times while I was there) and about 6 single cars. When I left, I saw an eagle high over the main road, about 1.4 km from the nest (being chased of course).

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Wednesday 5 October 2016

I dropped in for 30 mins, between 5:30 pm and 6:00 pm ADST but did not see or hear the adults, or see any sign of babies on the nest.

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Friday 7 October 2016

Sydney White-bellied Sea-Eagle juvenile SE17 is 10 weeks old today.

Saturday 8 October 2016

I dropped in for 1 h, between 4:40 pm and 5:40 pm ADST but did not see or hear the adults, or see any sign of babies on the nest. There were few disturbances: a few cars, one lot of people inspecting their new house, 4 kids on bikes 100 m from the nest.

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Sunday 9 October 2016

I dropped in for 1 h, between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm ADST. I thought I heard some brief honking twice from near the swamp and once I thought I saw one or two eagles flying between trees for just a second. The sunset (7:00 pm) turned the trees an amazing raspberry pink.

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Finally, I saw an eagle fly in. It looked like it was carrying something. A magpie was chasing it as usual.

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I think it settled in a tree about 25 m from the nest. I don’t know if both were there. I saw the beginnings of another new road: this one will be less than 100 m from the nest.

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Wednesday 12 October 2016

I dropped in for 45 mins, between 4:40 pm and 5:25 pm ADST but did not see or hear the adults, or see any sign of babies on the nest. As it was a weekday, there were several heavy vehicles – water tanker, excavators, grader, utes – working 100 m from the nest. They finished at 5 pm.

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Saturday 15 October 2016

Yesterday the Sydney Sea-Eaglet SE17 was 11 weeks old!

Today I stayed for 2 h, between 5:10 and 7:10 pm. It was a beautiful day, but there was no sign of activity in the nest. An Australian hobby flew over, then landed on a branch above the nest (top right), where it sat for 5-10 mins.

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Noisy miners and Common mynas flew around the nest. Indian mynas landed in it.

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I heard alarm calls then saw a brown goshawk fly over the nest.

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A man in a 4 x 4 parked on the grassy slope and drank a can of something while he played with his 2 dogs. I think he saw me but didn’t come over and left in about 15 minutes. At 6:30 pm, 2 people on horses rode past with their dog. At 6:45 pm, I noticed that the moon was rising behind the nest.

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Four rainbow lorikeets were sitting at the base of the nest. I didn’t hear or see the adult Sea-Eagles.

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Sunday 16 October 2016

I dropped in for 60 mins, between 8:00 am and 9:00 am ADST but did not see or hear the adults, or see any sign of babies on the nest. I saw a whistling kite fly over, and it was attacked by the magpie.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

I dropped in for 30 min, between 5:55 pm and 6:25 pm ADST but did not see or hear the adults, or see any sign of babies on the nest. A couple came to my car window and asked if I was buying a house in the area. They went on to say that they had noticed my car parked there and had taken down the number plate because goods had been stolen from some of the new houses!!! They commented on my camera. I mentioned the nest but they vaguely repeated “the nest” and obviously had not even noticed a massive nest right in front of them.

Saturday 29 October 2016

I arrived at about 5:45 pm and stayed until after sunset (7:16 pm). I decided to walk out in full view as I saw no sign of the sea-eagles. I haven’t visited for 11  days, so I saw big changes. There are roads with kerbs laid our ready for bitumen. I think this one is less than 80 m from the nest and I’m guessing that houses will be built with their back fences on the boundary to the private land the nest is on, only about 60 m from the nest.

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I had absolutely no expectation of seeing the sea-eagles but at 7:01 pm; 15 mins before sunset, I saw one fly in and land in a tree about 200 m from the nest tree on the water side. It bowed its head several times as if it was eating and was swooped by two magpies.

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I walked out in full view and it did not respond, even though I walked past the nest tree (60 m). At nest 2, the sea-eagles circle me and follow me until I am at least 400 m away if they see me. The other sea-eagle was not in that tree and I do not know if it was in another tree.

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