Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

June 2, 2009

White-bellied Sea-eagle 090602

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 5:20 am

White-Bellied Sea-eagle(Haliaeetus leucogaster)

This morning I went to the Stockton Channel looking for the Osprey and the Brahminy Kite, but I saw neither. There were four Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike right next to the fertiliser factory over at Kooragang Island but not much else. I walked around the Stockton Sandspit and seen some Superb Fairy-wrens and a few water birds. I then walked to the headland that sticks out into the Stockton Channel on the other side of the bridge. That was when I saw the White-bellied Sea-eagle sitting on this pole out in the middle of the channel.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

After a while he flew off and then came back and flew past me to the north.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

After a little while, another sea-eagle flew over towards the pole and landed on it.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

And here he is settling down to have a rest – or a roost as they say in Scotland. ha ha.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

The White-bellied Sea-eagle is the second largest raptor in Australia behind the Wedge-tailed Eagle. They can be similar in body weight to the Wedgy, but their wingspan is generally not as wide. Juvenile Sea eagles have a brownish plumage, growing a snowy white head and belly when they mature in their 3rd or 4th year. They are commonly found in coastal areas of Australia and can be found in inland waters. They have been sighted in the Macquarie Marshes, which are in the far west of New South Wales, near Warren. White-bellied Sea-eagles can be also found in India and China, and south Asia. Birds mate for life and have a stable territory. They build their nests in tall trees or on remote coastal cliffs.

The White-bellied Sea-eagle is of the Order: Falconiformes and Family: Accipitridae. They belong to the same genus(Haliaeetus) as the American Bald Eagle.

Bird Species List, Stockton Channel, 2/6/09

Australian Pelican
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Superb Fairy-wren
Masked Lapwing
Bar-tailed Godwit
Black-winged Stilt
Australian White Ibis
Sacred Kingfisher
White-bellied Sea-eagle

Sources: amonline.net.au, dse.vic.gov.au, raptor.org.au

May 20, 2009

Hunter Wetlands Centre Bird Photography 090520

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , — admin @ 4:45 am

Hunter Wetlands Centre = Raptor Heaven.

Once again the Hunter Wetlands Centre comes good with a lovely display of raptors today(20th May, 2009). There must have been more than half a dozen raptors there today. Three or four Whistling Kites, a pair of Swamp Harriers and a magnificent White-bellied Sea-eagle. The Hunter Wetlands Centre is at Shortland in Newcastle and you can be guaranteed at least a Whistling Kite or two every time you go there. Here is one sitting on a tree.

Whistling Kite
Whistling Kite(Haliastur sphenurus)

The Whistling Kites were flying really low today over the swamps and even hiding out in the trees, perching on some very low trees. Maybe it was because there was a pretty strong wind blowing. This one has his frontal feathers flying in the wind.

Whistling Kite

I got the shock of my life when a White-bellied Sea-eagle came flying over the trees right at me. You do not usually see them at the Wetlands Centre. Anyway, I was very happy to see him or her.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle
White-bellied Sea-eagle(Haliaeetus leucogaster)

And here he is again on his second whirl.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

It started raining shortly after and it was lucky that I was in the Egret hide. There were a few Whistling Kites in the Egret breeding ponds that were stuck out in the rain, roosting in trees. One of them was actually roosting on an old egret nest. I have no idea what he was doing. Bizarre. When the rain stopped I headed home and on the way saw a Royal Spoonbill on the land sitting or kneeling on his knees. I have no idea what was going on.

Royal Spoonbill
Royal Spoonbill(Platalea regia)

Bird Species List, Hunter Wetlands Centre, 20/5/09

Whistling Kite
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Swamp Harrier
Australian White Ibis
Royal Spoonbill
Australasian Grebe

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