White-bellied Sea-Eagle nest 2 2017

Monday 24 April 2017

I went to visit nest 2 for the first time in 2017. When I crossed onto the grassland adjacent to the nest tree, I was met with a most horrific sight. There were white markers all over the land, with lot numbers written on them. I paced the distance from the nearest one to the nest tree: it was a mere 30 m.

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I looked towards the grassy slope that was my other access to the nest tree. A smooth graded road is now there.

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I thought this nest was safe. What are people thinking? They will drive another pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagles  – a Vulnerable species in NSW – away from their nest, right before/at nesting time. If this degree of development is being carried out all over the state, I can’t see the species lasting for very long. Needless to say, I didn’t see the eagles.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle nest 1 2017

Tuesday 10 January 2017

I haven’t been to Nest 1 for a long time but decided today to see how the development is progressing. The sloping land now has kerbed bitumen roads that I can drive along. It even has street lights and trees on the nature strips. There are two roads approximately evenly spaced between the dirt track 60 m from the nest and the road that I used to park on 330 m from the nest. I drove up to the place I used to walk to and hide.

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There are numbered lots all over the land. I think my hiding places will be people’s backyards. From what I can see, the back fences will be almost at the dirt track, only 60 m from the nest. I don’t see how Sea-Eagles could ever nest there again.

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Friday 28 April 2017

I went for a walk near sunset to see if the eagles were roosting. I didn’t see any sign of them. A new fence has been put up. More houses are being constructed in the same street – at the same distance from the nest – as last year. There are none closer yet. The roads are complete and the heavy machinery has all been moved to a site a few hundred metres away. I hope the lull in the noise and disturbance doesn’t cause the eagles to try to nest again, because they will be driven out when the house building  starts. I’m worried because it’s almost May and I saw them mating in June last year. I just hope they have another nest somewhere.

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Saturday 13 May 2017

On a whim, I drove to the nest after the sun had set today. I felt sad to see the nest and started to walk down the hill. I looked back and got a huge shock: in the dim light I was almost certain I could see the two Sea-Eagles roosting beside the nest! I didn’t have my camera, so used my phone, which makes things appear smaller than in real life. The photo is dismal, but I’m sure at least one was there.

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The developers have now completely fenced off my access from two streets at the top. The ground is being prepared for more damn houses.

I was so happy to see the Sea-Eagles, but I hope they don’t put their effort into nesting there, because they’ll only be driven away again when the house building gets going.

Friday 2 June 2017

I arrived at 4:30 pm and saw one adult Sea-Eagle roosting to the left of the nest. Although houses haven’t been built any closer to the nest than last year, the foundations for one are being made, and it’s as close to the nest as it’s possible to be (about 30 m).

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Diggers were working just uphill of this site.

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The Sea-Eagle flew away at 5:13 pm – 18 mins after sunset – and landed in a guard tree closer to the water. Either it or the other adult flew back at 5:15 pm and went right into the nest, out of sight.

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A car drove past me and the eagle flew out again, so I left. I only saw one adult at a time, so I don’t know if the pair is there.

Monday 12 June 2017

I accidentally deleted some photos I took about a week ago. I saw the pair at the nest, then flying to the guard tree, honking and mating in the late afternoon.

Today I arrived about 4:00 pm and couldn’t see the eagles. At 4:26 pm the pair flew in together and it looked as if the first one had something in its talons. I got a couple of photos of the second one landing.

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They both sat in the nest and appeared to be eating.

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One of the eagles flew up onto a higher branch and wiped its beak on the branch.

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Some people walked past my car, looked at the nest then walked towards it. One of the eagles flew out with the prey, which looks like a fish (tail towards me).

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The other sea-eagle stayed on the branch for 15 minutes, flew down into the nest – disappearing from sight for a minute – then perched on a lower branch on the other side of the nest.

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24 June 2017

I arrived at 4:37 pm and saw one eagle on a branch to the left of the nest. After a while it flew into a tree to the right of the nest.

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A little more had been done on the house site.

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I heard alarm calls and saw the other eagle flying towards the nest. It had plant material in its talons.

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The first eagle flew into the nest. They sat there looking out for a while then both disappeared into it entirely out of sight.

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One flew up to the high branch on the right and after it had been there for a while, I drove off. I glanced back and thought I saw the other pop its head up. Such big birds are surprisingly difficult to see without the camera.

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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.

 

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

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.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle Nest 2 July 2016

5 July 2016

Today, acting on a tip from a bird friend, I found a large nest. It is not as large as the one I found last month, but impressive nonetheless.

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I wondered if it was in use, and by whom. Before long, a White-bellied Sea-Eagle flew overhead. I crouched in the bushes, hoping that I was not visible from the air.

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I stayed until the sun set, hoping to see the bird visit the nest, but did not see it again.

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19 July 2016

After work, I went to visit the nest for a second time. Soon after I arrived, I saw a single adult Sea-Eagle circling high in the sky.

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It disappeared for half an hour, then suddenly appeared. It appeared to circle the nest tree but did not land. I could not see a partner, either in the nest or in the air.

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I stayed until the sun set. All the while, I could hear the continuous drone of construction vehicles ripping up land for housing. The new roads and house lots are very close, but I don’t think they will get any closer. If this Sea-Eagle does have a partner, maybe they won’t be rudely pushed out of their home by human disturbance.

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As  I left, I saw the Sea-Eagle perched in the bare branches at the top of a tall eucalypt. I couldn’t help wondering if it was watching the construction vehicles eat into its habitat, and feeling as devastated as I was.

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26 July 2016

After work, I headed to the nest, equipped with full camo gear (I picked up a great pair of polar fleece camo pyjama pants last weekend). While still a reasonable distance away, I saw one, then two, Sea-Eagles! I also saw at least 4 black kites. They were all circling fairly high. I snuck over to the nest after they moved out of sight. I did not see them for nearly an hour, then one started flying in large circles around the area of the nest tree. While hidden in camo gear and under heavy foliage, I took a few photos in the late afternoon light.

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I thought it had gone then suddenly realised one of them was perched on a branch of the nest tree!

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I waited until I thought it had gone then left by walking under trees as far as I could from the nest tree before appearing in the open. The Sea-Eagle did see me and cruised around me, moving forwards very slowly. It is so much easier to photograph them without sun on the white feathers. This photo was taken after the sun had set.

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White-bellied Sea-Eagle nest 1 June 2016

Monday 13 June 2016

Today I found a spectacular White-bellied Sea-Eagle nest. It is very large, and conspicuously situated in a tall eucalypt.

I found the nest totally by accident. As I was driving through a new development, I saw a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles circling. Although they were quite high, I stopped to take a few photos.

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As I was watching them, I heard the unmistakable honking of White-bellied Sea-Eagles. I walked towards the sound and saw the huge nest. Then I saw the Sea-Eagles in a nearby tree.
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I will never forget my shock and delight at finding a nest. I have seen many Sea-Eagles over the years, including juveniles, but never a nest. I couldn’t believe my luck!

After spending some time in the nest, the Sea-Eagles flew to a nearby tree and started honking again.

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Then they mated. It was brief but I was stunned to have such luck.

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Thursday 16 June 2016

I went to visit the nest late this afternoon. No birds, but nice light!

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Friday 24 June 2016

Another visit and no birds. I’m wondering if they have another nest.

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Saturday 25 June 2016

No birds in the nest, but I did see one flying over a nearby swamp. I heard them calling from the other side of it a bit later.

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Book review – Australian daytime birds of prey (Birds are awesome! series)

5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, informative book August 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
 
If you have ever heard a Buzzards mew or watched a hawk drop to catch its prey you will love this book.
 
The incredible knowledge of this author is evident in the wealth of information it contains about birds of prey, their flight, behaviour and feeding.
 
Although it is recommended for children aged 6 to 12 I have to admit, having been an ornithologist for a very long time I found it very interesting and full of beautiful photographs taken by the author herself.
 

BOOK REVIEW – Birds of prey (First animals series)

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction to birds of prey August 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
 
This book is a one of the First animal series of books, written by Kimberley, for very young children aged 0-3 years.
 
Mothers (and fathers) have, in this beautifully colourful ebook, the opportunity to introduce their very young children to birds of prey, one of the wonders of the natural world.
 

Each of its twelve pages contains a beautiful photograph, some taken by the author, of a bird of prey, and its name is written underneath.

Another colourful and informative book by this very knowledgeable author.

Bird of prey

Birds of prey 

In this simple ebook, babies and toddlers will be able to look at 12 awesome birds of prey.

Each page has a photograph of one bird of prey. The name of the bird of prey is underneath the photograph.

The birds of prey featured are: hawk, eagle, buzzard, harrier, kite, vulture, osprey, secretary bird, falcon, caracara, condor and owl.

Birds of prey is part of the First animals series. The First animals series is ideal for babies to 3 year olds who are just discovering the wonderful animals that share our world.

Birds of prey 

 red-shouldered hawk

 

bald eagle

 

common buzzard

 

 swamp harrier

Do you want to see some more birds of prey?

Birds of prey