WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE NEST 2 NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2016

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Today I entered the nest area the bottom way at about 4:30 pm AEDT. One adult flushed from the nest or nest tree. It flew around me but did not cluck. It went, so I briefly went close to the nest tree to take some photos. I thought there may have been something in the top right of the nest, but I think it was just a wide strip of bark because it did not move.

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Thursday 10 November 2016

Today I arrived at the nest area at 5:00 pm AEDT. I was tired, so I decided just to walk towards the nest in full view and have a quick look for a juvenile. I was shocked that no sea-eagle saw me and flew over to me. This is the first time since I found the nest that I haven’t seen them or they haven’t seen me. I’m afraid they’ve gone and their nest has failed like nest 1. I could not see anything in the nest.

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Friday 11 November 2016

Today I entered the nest area the top way at 1:00 pm AEDT, walking in the open as I expected to confirm that the sea-eagles were no longer there. I was looking down for snakes when I saw a shadow. I looked up and saw a beautiful sea-eagle!

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I walked towards the nest tree. The adult circled me a couple of times fairly low but without clucking then left. I photographed the nest from about 100 m, then suddenly realised that there was a bump that may not have been a bough. I zoomed in and was ecstatic to see a juvenile white-bellied sea-eagle!

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I got several photos from behind a bush so as not to scare it, then moved further away to behind the trunk of a large gum tree. It stood up!

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It stayed so still I’m not sure that people looking at the nest would even notice it, even though it was so big. Its colour blended in with the branches and nest.

I walked over to check out the black kite nest and whistling kite nest, keeping a tree between me and the nest tree. Just as I decided to go home, I saw one of the parents up very high. It came over towards where I was and slowly got lower. It was carrying something long, but I couldn’t identify it – it may have been an eel or a stick.

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It landed on a bare branch and I think it pulled the thing up to eat it. Look at the talons!

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As I left, I saw the juvenile again (there appears to be one only). One parent flew around me fairly low and the other stayed very high.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

I visited at about 4:00 pm AEDT. The juvenile was standing on the nest. I took a quick look and left.

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Thursday 17 November 2016

I visited at about 3:30 pm AEDT. The juvenile was standing still on the nest. I took some photos and left. I saw one adult on a guard roost.

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Monday 21 November 2016

I crept down through the bushes (it’s so hard when the fallen leaves crackle so loudly) and saw an awesome sight: an adult on the nest with the juvenile!

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It flew away quite soon after this, but didn’t acknowledge me, so I don’t think it saw me.

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Thursday 24 November 2016

I arrived via the bottom way and noticed a thickened part of the tree. I suddenly had a feeling the juvenile had branched … and it had!! It was a couple of metres to the left of the nest.

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Friday 25 November 2016

I went back again to check that the juvenile was still okay. It was in the tree, but lower; about 3-4 m below the nest.

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The parents weren’t there, so I managed to get under a small tree and lie belly down. After about 10 minutes an adult flew in and landed near the top of the nest tree.

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Although I knew where the adult and juvenile were, I still thought they were incredibly hard to see. A person could easily miss seeing them although they are such big birds.

The juvenile did a poo, although it can’t be seen in the photo.

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It also had a stretch.

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I took some photos while the sulphur-crested cockatoos were screeching. I must have tilted the camera up and it reflected the sun or something because the adult suddenly flew over to me (after more than an hour of not noticing me). I left immediately.

Monday 28 November 2016

I didn’t visit in the weekend, although I thought that the juvenile may leave and I wouldn’t know where he was (I’m going to say he, although I don’t know the gender). I couldn’t see him on the nest or in the nest tree, but saw him on a tree that was about 50 m from the nest tree, about 10 m up.

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I hid behind a tree and watched a while. I saw him do a poo, then fly!!!!!!

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He flew in a slow semi circle behind the nest tree then landed in a taller eucalypt in denser bush.

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He was swooped by a couple of magpies.

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He flew again, down behind the bush behind the nest tree. I don’t know where he landed.

I drove around to the development on that side. I couldn’t see the nest tree and there looked like there was enough bush for an eagle to hide in. I don’t think people would walk from that side over to the nest tree. I saw one adult flying over the trees. I hope the juvenile is okay. He looked like a strong flyer, for a beginner.

Thursday 1 December 2016

I didn’t dare go for a walk because storms were threatening. Instead, I drove to the new development on the other side and saw an adult sea-eagle fly over the trees, maybe towards a place I used to go to see sea-eagles. I realised people can see the nest from there.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

I walked in the bottom way in full view. I didn’t see any sea-eagles so turned to leave. I thought I may have seen a glimpse of a sea-eagle (the juvenile?) flying from a tree about 30 m from the nest tree into the trees behind. I couldn’t be sure. About 5 mins later an adult sea-eagle flew straight towards the nest tree without acknowledging me.

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It landed in the top of the nest tree and was still there when I left.

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Friday 9 December 2016

I walked in the top way in full view, at about 3:20 pm AEDT. I saw one adult sea-eagle straight away. There may have been 2 but I only saw one at any given time. I didn’t see the juvenile. I thought I saw it, then realised I was looking at  a wedge-tailed eagle! I thought I saw it again, then realised I was looking at a second wedge-tailed eagle. The adult sea-eagle was not impressed, and dived at them, defending the nest tree area.

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I also saw the carapace of an eastern long-necked turtle under the tree the juvenile was in when I first saw it out of the nest tree.

 

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WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE NEST 1 NOVEMBER 2016

Saturday 12 November 2016

Today at about 6:40 pm AEDT, I visited the nest, even though I have not seen the adults visit it for many weeks. There were diggings for roads/houses right up to the fence, about 60 m from the nest tree.

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I wandered down towards the swamp, and as I turned back I saw one sea-eagle in a tall gum tree (top right just after it forks on the bottom fork). I had not seen it fly in and did not see the other. However, for such a big bird it was hard to see in the foliage, so the other may have been in another tree.

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As I left, I looked back and saw this gorgeous sight.

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Sunday 13 November 2016

I had a brief look at about 1:00 pm AEDT but there were no birds in the nest or surrounds.

Thursday 24 November 2016

I stopped in at about 6:30 pm but there were no birds. A whistling kite was flying near the nest.

 

Comment

The White-bellied Sea-Eagle has recently been listed as a vulnerable species in NSW. This is why, this is why …

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/threatenedspecies/determinations/PDWhitebelliSeaeagleVS.pdf

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/profile.aspx?id=20322

Dull day, spectacular birds

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)

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WBSE 2 – juvenile (tail has brown tip)

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WBSE 3 – immature (white tail)

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WBSE 4 – juvenile (tail has brown tip)

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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!

Black Kite

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Whistling Kite

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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.

Taking good things for granted

I got so used to seeing wonderful birds of prey every time I went out, that one day I decided to take blurry photos of them, just to see what effects I could get.

Here is a White-bellied Sea-Eagle,

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a brown falcon,

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a swamp harrier

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and a whistling kite.

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I even took some photos of other birds that flew past, including a sulphur-crested cockatoo,

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an Australian raven

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and cattle egrets.

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That morning two months ago was perfect, the birds were abundant and some flew right over me. I could have taken some amazing photos, some of my best ever.

Since that day, I haven’t had a single opportunity as good. I hope the birds come back, because I’m ready and waiting, with all the right settings.

Looking for the light

I’ve come to really love the first light and last light of the day. Even though I want to stay in bed in winter, I get up so I can see the sun rise at least once a week. I’m always glad I did.

I took this photo of a Black Falcon before the sun rose.

 

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Look at the difference the sunrise made! That rich brown came to life.

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The afternoon light is just as beautiful. I love seeing the trees turn yellow, then reddish.This Australian White Ibis is normally white. But with a bit of late afternoon light, it becomes a glorious gold and pink.

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