Saturday Evening Post #128 : White-bellied Sea-Eagle

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. 


8 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #128 : White-bellied Sea-Eagle

  1. Great to see the Sea-eagle, especially this close, David! They are a bird that continues to elude me – a handful of images where they are so far away I am not sure why I clicked!
    T’was nice to be out in the sunshine today, but few birds around Sneydes. One Peregrine did pass through, an image for ID only.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They range right along the coast down to Geelong at least. Rumour hath it, that they have nested in the Lime-burners Bay area, but I’ve never had any confirmation.
      Not a bird that I’ve had much success with, but I suppose we only see it on ad-hoc


  2. Congratulations David! The Best has come to you again. Amazing light and really amazing shot of this magnificent eagle. Happiness is a White-bellied Sea-eagle flying into the lens.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on your sighting David, and also for your lovely close capture. It is always a buzz when you go out birding saying I wonder if we will see, and it turns up for you. I love it when I am talking about a bird to new birders and the bird just happens to appear in the tree nearby. Your wife is a good spotter, like mine, and those binocs and keen eyes certainly come in handy. Interesting detail in the photo David which I never pick up. Love how you caught the eye in the sun, superb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ashley, it’s tough keeping up with a really good spotter, our friend Lynzwee from Singapore named her EE (Eagle Eyed) for the numbers of birds she called for him on a day visit to the Plant. Rumour hath it she can see birds in Argentina without binos. 🙂

      That the bird ran along the edge of the lake toward my position is one of those super moments when the universe, the light, and the subject all intersect.
      Ansel Adams is reported to have said, “Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.”

      Liked by 1 person

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