“Tis a Sea-eagle,” EE cried.
Her response to the question “Where?” was, “Down there along the beach”.
Now truth be told, I reckoned the beach to be at near enough to one kilometre to the south of us.
Don’t ask how EE can see that far, its inherit in her name.
About 1/10th of a second later, a brown shadow rushed past us just overhead. Cassia, who’d been sitting on a branch behind us, too, had spotted said Sea-eagle.
Now you know. EE is faster on the eyeball than a Brown Falcon. By at least 1/10th of a second. Explains it all really.
Cassia hauled across the paddock not gaining height, just rocketing along toward the beach. Her mate was on a diagonal line from further down the paddock bent on the same target. I don’t know how this works in Falcon speak, but there was no cackling, just pure energy converted to motion.
The line they were on would get them both to the same tall tree on the beach line at roughly the same time. Without any foto-finish cameras and the like, I be putting my money on Cassia arriving just a wing flap ahead of the male.
Brown Falcon surveillance time. Both sat watching.
The Sea Eagle had slipped behind a line of trees on the beach, and had no doubt gone to invite some duck or gull home for lunch. A plethora of ducks, coots, gulls, cormorants and several white-faced herons darkened the sky as they rose in one squawking mass.
“We need to be down there”, she said. Fleet of foot we’re not, so it was going to a few minutes before we appeared on the scene.
In the meantime both falcons had made a noisy run down along the beach and back.
Then as we approached, they both made another swing along the beach, but the trees blocked our view.
We made it to the scrub along the beach and now had to work out, was the action to the left or right. The bird groups on our left seem quite settled so the guess would be “To the Right”. Good guess.
But look along the beach, and our view (and coincidentally of course for anything further along the beach—think big white-bellied…. ) the beach curved around and our view was blocked by the saltbush and other scrub.
Not to worry, Cassia and the male had made another screeching run down to the beach, and in response, all the ducks, swans, coots, gulls and two white-faced herons, took to the air.
“That was impressive for two falcons,” I thought.
Then with long slow deliberate wing flaps, the juvenile White-bellied Sea-eagle pulled up over the scrub, followed by two very vocal Brown Falcons.
I’d not be able to get any pictures of the falcon/sea eagle confrontation, because there really wasn’t one.The falcons kept a safe distance, and the eagle just stuck to its job of getting some height and then sailed away up the beach.
The male falcon went back to hunting, Cassia went to check on the kids.
And here is what all the fuss is about.
Number One child, all fledged and learning of Brown Falcon ways.