Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A fly-by Sea Eagle, chased by Magpies.

Duncan, down at Ben Cruachan has a lovely story today about a nest of the White-breasted Sea Eagle, in Gippsland, Victoria. Lucky him.
I was outside this morning when the local Magpie gang started up their distinctive calls they make when there is an eagle about. I looked, and the leading Magpie was flying straight towards a large bird flying fast, just over the local horizon of Pine Trees.
The bird flew straight towards, and then past, the Magpie(s) - for two more had arrived by now.
I though for a moment that it might be a Pelican, for I saw one of them over the village a week ago. But very soon it flew directly over me, and I could make out its head and beak, its very deep wings, and relatively short tail.
It was an immature bird, on the turn, being half-white underneath, but with dark blotches under the wings. It was not the clear grey and white of an adult Sea Eagle.
Its wings were much deeper than a Little Eagle (which is a relatively common visitor). Nor did the wing shape match an Osprey (which has thinner wings, and distinctive notches at the joints in the wings).
I had barely time to make my mind up as to its identity than it had passed out of view. Unlike the Little Eagle, which visits me when a southerly is blowing, and it will circle and then hover on the breeze, allowing plenty of chances for photography - this bird was on a mission.
The local Maggies gave up the chase (successful - in their minds, no doubt). But I could hear the next tribe take up the challenge.
Where I am, the coast is 25 Km east, (below an escarpment some 700 metres high) and the Wingecarribee Reservoir is 5 Km west. This bird was making a direct line for the Reservoir. But it still had 2 more valleys to cross over, then a further high hill, before it would sight the water. But it was flying very strongly, (even into a head wind) and would have made its likely destination within a few minutes.


Mosura said...

Great bird for your "from the garden" list.

I followed one along the coast for 9 km back in August and estimated it was doing at least 50 kmph (when not being mobbed). There was an constant supply of ravens and lapwings to mob it.

mick said...

A very nice sighting. They are magnificent birds.

Duncan said...

What species of fish would it feed on in the resrvoir Denis, down here euro carp are a staple.

roentarre said...

Amazing shot. Green fern is soo beautiful

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Folks
Everyone seems to love these birds. I got a wonderful shot of one the very first week I had my "new" camera (3 years ago). I thought taking great photos was going to be soooo easy!
Years later, I am still waiting for a repeat performance. This time I had 15 seconds to see it fly over, and the camera was in the house - 20 seconds each way, plus unzipping the bag time, plus focus time. No chance. I just stood there, and enjoyed the view.

Duncan, I do not know what they would eat, but Carp certainly have been in plague proportion in the Wingecarribee Reservoir in the past. Indeed, so much so that Sydney Water is said to have poisoned them all off, and the resultant fish kill is said to have resulted in the Cryptosporidium outbreak in Sydney (10 years ago, or thereabouts)... Just a rumour, you understand.

Mosura, You did well to follow the eagle for 9 Kms. Certainly, other birds love to harrass them.

Roentarre. Thanks. I realise you are talking about the vertical view of the Tree Fern on my Blogger "masthead". Taken looking directly down from the "Illawarra Fly" - a treetop walk. It gives one a totally different perspective on things, from 40 metres up in a rainforest. It is probably about 8 metres tall, and 10 metres across. They grow huge on the Illawarra Escarpment.