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 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 2 October 2016

Wednesday 5 October 2016

As I walked towards the eagle nest, I saw a whistling kite flying, then the black kite in its nest. I can be 100 m away, hidden in a strip of remnant bushland full of lantana and she does not see me. I explored a different way of getting to the eagle nest, skirting along the bush then walking through it, staying inside and trying not to make the leaves crackle. I thought I had done it; I arrived under cover to a position 150 m away without being seen. However, an eagle suddenly appeared from behind me and obviously saw me (coincidence because it was going back to the nest?). Its belly looked a little grubby, I think from the nest. I left straight away and went back to look at the black kite nest. I saw both black kites flying around. One eagle flew over and there were some aerial battles with the eagle flipping upside down momentarily.

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While they were engaged, I slipped back to have a look at the eagle nest from a different place. I saw a bit of white. I was so far away – and my camera was doing its best – that while I think it looks like an eaglet, I can’t be sure.

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When I left, I went past the black kite nest again. As soon as I was back to my hiding spot 100 m away, the female got back on the nest.

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Thursday 6 October 2016

Today I just decided to have a look at the black kite nest. She was just sitting there, so I decided to try going deeper under cover to the eagle nest. I managed to arrive undetected and was thrilled when I saw an eagle land on the nest.

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It seemed to be checking or rearranging something.

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I risked a few photos while sulphur-crested cockatoos were screeching and kookaburras were laughing.

I went back to the black kite nest and watched for about an hour. I saw a swamp harrier, nankeen kestrel and 2 whistling kites sat in the tree 10 m in front of the black kite nest tree.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Today, I crept through the bushes so carefully that I managed to get to a spot where I could see the nest (about 200  m away) without being seen. I arrived just after 4:00 pm and at 4:38 pm I suddenly noticed an eagle flying towards the nest at high speed, wings pulled in almost like a dive. It was carrying something large, which looks like a purple swamphen or similar but I cannot say for sure because my photo is not in focus.

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It landed in the nest and stood there – unfortunately mostly behind a branch – for more than 30 mins with its tail bobbing regularly. It could definitely have been feeding young.

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It went out of sight by 5:18 pm (40 mins after landing), and I didn’t see it leave, so it must have settled down into the nest. I left through the bush without attracting attention too!

Tuesday 18 October 2016

By very slow and careful walking through bush, I made it to a vantage point about 200 m from the nest without being seen. I was wedged in a lantana bush against a tree trunk. One sea-eagle was circling, but did not see me. I had been there for nearly an hour when I thought I saw a peregrine falcon. It is so far away, but looks more like a peregrine than a hobby to me.

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As I took a couple of photos, I suddenly noticed one of the sea-eagles and it noticed me. It flew straight towards me. I had been hidden for nearly an hour (first photo 3:57 pm, seen at 4:48 pm)!!! It circled my hiding spot and made a ‘cluck cluck cluck’ sound. I immediately showed myself and both sea-eagles circled me. I’m sure they are guarding an active nest. I walked away in full view so they could watch me go. My photos of the nest do not reveal any babies.

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One sea-eagle had a brush with a black kite.

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Thursday 20 October 2016

Today I sneaked down from the top access through the bushes. It’s very hard to walk quietly because of all the fallen leaves and twigs. Still, I was shocked to look up and see an eagle circling above the trees. They must have extremely good hearing. It kept above until I stopped at a tree then went to the guard tree for about 10 mins.

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I moved to under a better tree. After that I saw both flying around the general nest area but they didn’t seem to care about me. They went off then one came back and was being chased by a raven. I decided to let them see me leave and not wait for them to go back to the nest. btw I haven’t seen any chicks yet!

White-bellied Sea-Eagle nest 2 September 2016

Thursday 1 September 2016

As I walked towards the nest, the birds seemed to fly from the nest area. I don’t think they could have seen me, because I was still quite a distance away, and I couldn’t see their nest at that point. I moved under the cover of a tree, put on all my camouflage gear and stayed very still. There’s no way I want to disturb them.

There were 2 black kites flying around and at least one of them went after one of the eagles.

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I waited for nearly an hour and a half and saw an eagle circling every so often. Some times it passed over my hiding place but other times it circled over a nearby stand of trees. It finally landed in the nest tree, but then flew out.

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A while later it landed in the nest tree again. I was hoping to see it go down to the nest, but it flew away.

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I had to go, and didn’t see them at all when I left.

Monday 5 September 2016

When I walked towards the nest I saw a single eagle flying around. I settled under a bush 150 m away (I find it very hard to judge distances, but have checked on Google Maps. Don’t be fooled by the photos – they are heavily cropped.). Over the time I was there the eagle would fly a bit then settle in the nest tree 4-5 m above the nest, or in another tree and just sit and look around.

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At about 5:15 pm I decided to go while it was not there and took off my camo pants and collar. Just then, the eagle returned. It landed above the nest, then after a few minutes descended into the nest!. I watched it completely disappear from sight. When it had been out of sight for a while, I quietly and quickly left, and it stayed in the nest.

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Thursday 15 September 2016

As I walked to the nest from the direction that usually allows an unnoticed approach, I was spotted by one of the eagles. I was still about 300 m or farther away and could not see the nest. The eagle seemed to float above me, riding the wind without the need to flap its wings.

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I walked to my usual bush and scurried under it. I quickly donned camo shirt, gloves, collar and scarf then covered myself with a 3 m piece of camo fabric. The eagle flew in large circles over the whole nest area, including sometimes over my hiding place. I heard  it make a few soft noises then saw the other one.

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They flew together for a long time, sometimes low, sometimes high. I didn’t know if they knew where I was or if they were checking to see if I’d gone. I stayed totally still, leaning against the trunk of the tree.

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One landed in the tree above the nest. I worried about both being off the nest so decided to go as soon as they flew out of sight. One soon saw me and flew around until I was more than 500 m away. They gave the appearance of watching what I was doing rather than defending their nest. Still, I may not be able to there any more, because I can’t risk having them leave the eggs or chicks for too long. I guess as soon as they see me, I’ll just turn around and go home.

Monday 19 September 2016

I decided to go towards the nest the first way I found, but stay completely under trees (and walk quietly). I think I got to the end tree, where I could just see the nest, without the eagles seeing me. I saw one fairly soon, flying over, so I donned my camo and clung to the tree trunk. I realised it was carrying something: a dusky moorhen. I had been wondering what this pair ate.

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I watched one, then the two for a long time. Sometimes one flew over and made a ‘cluck cluck’ sound. I didn’t know if it saw me (other birds had flown right past me at ground level without seeing me) or was just patrolling the nest area. If it saw me, I know where the saying ‘eagle eyes’ comes from because I was so still and under a leafy tree.

I saw a fast bird of prey that I thought was a falcon go past and a short time later I saw a light morph little eagle. It seemed to circle with them and they didn’t seem to mind it.

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I couldn’t get good photos because I stayed hidden. I could sometimes only see one eagle but didn’t know where the other one was. I didn’t see them go to the nest but loved seeing them fly together. I decided to leave early and came out of hiding so they would see me go. I got a few photos  – they are very lovely.

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Monday 26 September 2016

I walked towards the nest completely under the trees but as soon as I got to the end tree, which is the first place I can see the nest from, an eagle flew from the nest tree towards me. I don’t know if it was in the nest because when they get into the nest they are out of sight. I still can’t see if there are any babies in the nest.

The eagle started to circle over my tree so I moved farther away. When I couldn’t see it, I stopped against a tree (150 m away) and covered myself with my camo fabric. The eagle didn’t seem to know I was there and soon settled on a branch above the nest. All of a sudden the other eagle dived towards the nest, fast with wings pulled in, and landed on it.

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It flew off the nest again. I noticed it was carrying something.

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It looked like a little water bird, maybe an Australasian grebe.

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Both eagles started circling the nest area and I thought they knew I was still around. I decided to walk out into full view so they could see me leave and know I had gone. The eagle kept hold of its prey the whole time. It’s important that if there are babies, they eat all prey provided so they grow properly.

Friday 30 September 2016

Today I visited in the morning and I had some very exciting discoveries! As I began my walk across to the eagle nest, I noticed a dark bird leave a nest in a tall eucalypt. I wondered if it was a black kite, although I think there is only one official record of them nesting in our area. It came back and I saw that it was an Australian raven. I thought I heard a whistling kite, and about 200 m from the raven, I saw a whistling kite in a tree.

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I thought I saw a second whistling kite, but when I looked up, the bird that was flying was a black kite. I looked at the group of 6 mature eucalypts and there was a nest made of stout sticks with a black kite in it!!!!

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There may have been 2 whistling kites and 2 black kites: I’m not sure. The black kite nest was 4-5 m from the top of a tree that was about 35 m tall. The tree was on the edge of an open grassland.

I walked towards the eagle nest and saw an eagle start to fly towards me from the nest tree or an adjacent tree when I was about 230 m away (I’ve had a look on some maps so I can be more accurate with distance). I then saw the other eagle flying along the tree line where the nest tree is, carrying something in its talons. The prey was round and dark; I believe it was another dusky moorhen or similar.

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I also saw a nankeen kestrel! Looking on the map, I think I may have stopped at a tree about 150 m away. A magpie chased the eagle with the prey (smaller eagle, so male). A black kite and the female eagle came over every so often to look at me and flew around each other.

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There was some work going on in the new development, which I can see from the map is 300 m from the nest tree. It wasn’t very noisy, but 2 helicopters flew over while I was there. One of the eagles landed in the nest tree (top left corner) at one point. I hoped that it had accepted that I was no threat, sitting completely still against a large tree trunk. However, it flew out again, so I left, and checked out the black kite nest again.

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White-bellied Sea-Eagle Nest 2 August 2016

1 August 2016

Today I  approached the nest from a different direction. I could tell there was an eagle standing on the nest, so I only crept as far as the nearest cover I could get to without being seen (a clump of spindly bushes 150 m from the nest tree. What a thrill: my first sighting of an eagle on the nest.

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After about 10 mins, the eagle flew away, strongly, and in a straight line. It was over open country and I could still see it when it would have been several kilometres away.

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I decided to leave while the nest was unattended, so I would not be seen. When I had walked halfway back to my car, an eagle flew past me travelling towards the nest tree. It came from a different direction, so I assume it was the partner!

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15 August 2016

I haven’t been able to visit the nest for a while, but today was a beautiful day so I called in after work. One eagle – or maybe two but never together – circled then landed in the nest tree at regular intervals.

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It usually landed near the top of the tree, well above the nest, and was harassed and chased by a pair of currawongs.

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I waited until after the sun set, but did not see it go into the nest. So I still don’t know if the nest is in use. I think I only saw one eagle, but maybe the other is incubating, right down in the middle of the nest.

Monday 29 August 2016

Last week was rainy so I didn’t visit the nest. Today, as I made my way towards the nest, an eagle flew overhead.

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I hid under/in a tree about 150 m away. As I looked through my camera, I realised that a second eagle was in the nest!! It’s not immediately obvious, against the left bough.

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After some time, this eagle flew out and went to a branch higher in the nest tree.

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The first eagle sat in a tree about 100 m from the nest tree. They both just stayed in these positions for more than an hour.

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Eventually, the first eagle flew around a few times then landed near the second one in the nest tree.

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They stayed there for about 10 mins, then flew off together. Once they had been gone for a while, I walked back to my car (more than 0.5 km away). I was far away from the nest, nearly back to my car, when one eagle flew over me!

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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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