We’ve been housebound because of the weather, and in the early afternoon, the sun shone, blue sky, and we decided to head to Twenty Nine Mile Road. Just for a look, and then a coffee on the way home. The Plant is Locked Out to mere mortals at the moment as the roads are a quagmire from the rains, the constant 4WD traffic, and that one of the number of bird watchers managed to put their ‘fourbee’ off the road and into a bog, requiring work by the management to get it out. So.
The weather forecast was loaded with gloom and doom, but we thought it was worth the risk just for the time out.
And we managed some good sunshine for about 30 minutes. And then a great big black cloud with a distinct grey sheet falling from it, headed in our direction. It was, as they say. All over.
And in the same direction a large raptor, which as it came closer was definitely a White-bellied Sea-eagle. It swung in on the wind, which even optimistically could be measured somewhere between 50-60kph. The rain was ripping in behind it. The bird landed, without a care on a roadway bund between two ponds. And with the rain pelting down it just sat and watched. A lone Samp Harrier had clued on that something was going to happen and was making various treks back and forth behind the eagle. We were stuck sitting in the car with the window open, and rain pouring in. Close window at least.
And it waited. It seemed to me the wind and the rain were increasing, but still it sat. And looked.
Then at what can only be described as ‘The height of the storm”. — or as poor old much maligned Edward Bulwer-Lytton “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” might have said.
The bird casually turned its body into the wind, raised the wings and lifted off. And to my real surprise, headed “into” the wind. Long deliberate beats that took it just over the water out along the pond.
Then it became clear through the rain.
A lone Eurasian Coot had taken that moment to make its run across the lake. Wrong move!
With the rain hammering at me as I swung open the door, and raced back along the road to get a clear look at the event, the eagle made several passes at the hapless coot, and then I lost it behind a clump of grass in between, and to be honest, the sting of the rain, the lack of wet protection for body and camera, and it was time to go back to the ‘safety’ of the car. EE had managed to get a better look of the eagle as it brought the coot to land.
But. Let’s face it. A long way away, drenching rain, no light, and buckets of contrast and colour and sharpening and noise reduction, and this a about as good as it gets.
I guess I make no apology for the images. At least we were there.
The power of the eagle is still haunting my thoughts. I was having trouble walking in that wind.
Thanks to EE for supplying the last moments of the action.