White-breasted Sea Eagle
Late this afternoon, I was surprised to see a White-breasted Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) over Butler's Swamp. It did not stay there long (not surprisingly). But still, it makes an interesting observation record.
Of course, to a mighty bird like the Sea Eagle, Butler's Swamp is just a few minutes soaring time away from the edge of the escarpment.
Bird's Eye view
from Butler's Swamp
to the Ocean.
Check out these Google Earth images. The first is a "bird's eye view", angled to show Butler's Swamp in the immediate foreground, looking towards the ocean, on the horizon.
(red marker at west)
to Lake Illawarra and Ocean
As you can see from this traditional view, (a Google Earth image), it would be only a few minutes flying time from Butler's Swamp (see red marker on west of the image) to Lake Illawarra, or the coast.
The Wingecarribee Reservoir is only a few minutes flying time, further to the west. While I have not seen the Sea Eagle there, I expect that it is at least an occasional visitor. It might even be a regular (I do not know). I shall ask Jane Lemann.
This afternoon, the bird was flying into a strong southerly wind, so it probably floated high over the escarpment, tacking into, and across the face of the wind. These birds are wonderful fliers, and are total masters of their aerial environment. This particular bird suffered the indignity of being challenged by several Magpies, which is what drew my attention to its presence. Anyway, having been harassed, it quickly departed the scene, by turning and flying strongly with the wind, rapidly outpacing its minor tormentors. It flew to the north-east, with the prevailing wind, and back towards the escarpment, and its more normal environment.
The particular bird here was photographed at Montague Island, in April last year. This is my favourite bird photo (of all that I have yet managed to take).