From our recent early morning trip to the Western Treatment Plant.
The Plant holds many great photo opportunities for such a wide range of birds, but probably the highlight for us, other than a rare species, is the White-bellied Sea-Eagle.
They don’t seem to claim the area for roosting or breeding, but rather it’s an opportune smorgasbord for the picking.
It is not highly unusual to see them, but most times they are just too far away for great photography. And give up on the idea of ‘sneaking’ up on one.
So a conversation starter for the day, as we head into the plant, is, ‘I wonder if we’ll see a Sea-Eagle today?”
As we ventured further into the Plant, at Lake Borrie, one of the busiest ponds, we saw several White-winged Black Terns fly past, and I parked the IamGrey a little further along the track, with good views across the lake, and #kneetoo called, “A Sea-Eagle out on the tree.”
And there was.
How could anyone doubt! It might be a knee, but that doesn’t affect the eyesight it seems. 🙂
The Sea-Eagle was way too far on the other side of the lake for good images, so I decided to walk back up the roadway to where the Terns had been working. However after a few minutes it was obvious that they had moved on.
A Little Grassbird caught my attention in the reeds, when all of a sudden the high pitched call of startled Pink-eared Ducks rolled across the lake.
Conclusion? The Sea-Eagle had taken to wing, and knowing its predisposition for duck-dinner, the Pinkies were not hanging around waiting for an invitation to share a meal.
But, where, I kept peering was the Sea-Eagle? With the sky covered in Pinkies, it took a few moments to pickup the slowly climbing white shape above the alarmed ducks.
I’m often a bit jealous of my seaborne photographers and their work with Sea-Eagles. At least it’s certain where they will be travelling—along the shoreline. Inland birds have all points of the compass to choose from when they fly, and it is almost always away from any photographer.
This bird had a purpose, and I pretty much held my breath as the shape grew larger and larger in the viewfinder, and I realised I was on its flight path and it would run by me on the left. Time to fill up a memory card, so I switched to multi-frame and began to shoot small 3-4 frame bursts.
Still it kept coming.
The early morning light—astute readers will remember form a recent post, “Front Light” —was coming over my shoulder, and all I had to do was keep the bird in the viewfinder and follow along.
Eventually, it was too close, and too large in frame, and went by me on its way to its next appointment.