The days are getting colder and the eagles are well into nest renovation. The nest bowl is deeper, and lined with fresh green leaves. Our male is briinging fish gifts for his mate and mating is often expected afterwards.
Renovation continues. Both are bringing sticks and leaves to build up the nest. The male brings the occasional fish in to tempt his mate.
The eagles are not remaining isolated and are full into nest renovation, bonding, mating (no social distancing) and preparations for the breeding season.
Routine maintenance, cleaning and replacement of one camera. Both eagles were watching while the team worked, on trees nearby but not too close. We were relieved when they returned later and returned to the usual nest routine.
Renovation continues and both eagles are roosting at night near the nest. You might notice that the nest camera has a strange hue - not an artistic effort but a glitch. We shall be cleaning and replacing equipment next week. Hopefully all will be restored.
Renovation starts: It is time to resume our Diary as the eagles are already busy, bringing sticks to the nest. They both spend most of the day on their favourite river roost. They have been seen many times though on Goat Island, further up the river towards the city. At this stage they are frequently roosting at night on the nest tree or nearby.
A quiet time for EagleCAM. Our nest is empty other than occasional visitors: Brush-tail and Ring-tailed Possums, lorikeets and other birds. The Boobook has brought her youngster - a first we have recorded. SE24 has settled on the mangroves down on the river roost area. Our watchers report the adults bringing food to the still demanding youngster.
Sad news, Life is hard for young eagles. In spite of our hopes, SE23 was found dead in the forest near her nest area on Tuesday. Though first hatched, she fledged second and after the stronger SE24 left the nest, 23 was very hard to track. We felt confident she was seen on the river roost with the adults and SE24 on Sunday. However we found her body on the disused railway track in the forest. Necropsy has revealed she was very thin, with little or no food in her stomach. It appears she has not been fed recently by the adults. We can only speculate why. SE24 continues to thrive and fly free and wild with the parents.
Good news. Our 2 eaglets have fledged. SE 24 has been seen on the Parramatta River, flying around and being fed by the parents. SE23 we believe is still in the forest area and nearby saltmarsh wetlands. We believe they are both being fed by the parents.
How stunning. Just found in the Casuarina forest near the wetlands. Given away by the shrieks of ravens and currawongs. I ushered him across the ground to a higher safety branch.
Good news. SE23 and SE24 are 12 weeks old and have been doing well. They have both fledged and have been seen by ground observers. SE24 is at the River Roost! We have seen the parents bringing him food. Eaglewatchers are keeping a look out around the area for any sightings of the young birds, as we can no longer see them on EagleCAM. But they might return home.
More action. After relentless swooping by the magpie and now Pied Currawongs, SE 23 has also fledged, taking off from the nest into the forest.
Searching. Several teams were in the forest today, doing the Annual SOPA Bird surveys as well as looking for SE24. No sign of him, so he is well hidden. No doubt the adults, being eagle-eyes, know where he is. SE23 remains safe at home, though he has branched.
SE24 safe above fox reach in a melaleuca bush. Cathy spent some time watching him. Later he flew to a higher position out of sight. Meanwhile the older eaglet SE23 remained on the nest, branching and taking food on the nest.
Nest drama. After several days of practising and branching, SE24 took a short flight from the nest, returning to the nest after a while. However after being swooped aggressively by a magpie, SE24 fell and landed on the ground. We were horrified to see a large fox circling the young eagle. The eagle reacted by lunging at the fox and spreading its wings wide. A quick-thinking volunteer who was in the area jumped the fence and was able to frighten off the fox. At night fall, the young eagle was a couple of metres above the ground, in the nest area. SE23 was safe at home, with an end-of-day feed.
Magpie alert - even for Sea-Eagles. We have not seen this relentless magpie swooping at the nest before. There must be an active nest very close. Both eaglets squawk at the magpie and show how they are growing, with wings spread wide.
A night visitor. From time to time a Grey-headed Flying fox calls by. The eaglets and adult didn't even stir when this fellow visited.
Still wet. Thankfully our female seems to be ok and has been seen feeding the young on the nest. All are very wet and bedraggled though.
Raining, raining, and windy. The family are all looking very wet and miserable. In the evening, there was drama when the female slipped and fell below the nest in the dark. Later, the eaglets, now alone mostly at night, were watching a ringtail possum and her baby nearby.
Both eaglets are growing bigger, with plenty of new feathers. There is a little rivalry from the bigger SE23, but both seem to be fine.
WET. Well we need the rain, but they are really to big to fit under the female now.
Growing as we watch. Both eagle chicks are now thriving and this morning the male brought in a large whiting. Pin feathers are showing, the chicks are showing a slight brownish tinge and they are moving around the nest. There is still a little sibling aggression - practice for life?
Growing fast. Both chicks are growing, exercising those little wings, moving around the nest. Pin feathers showing too.
A family feeding. Usually only one parent feeds at a time. Today both were feeding the chicks, and themselves. Both brought in separate fish very close together.
Some sibling aggression this week, with SE23 pecking and pulling at SE24. Both chicks however are being fed.
Going well. Both chicks are growing and developing nest skills - moving around the bowl, picking up scraps, moving sticks. there is a little aggression between the two still, but both seem to be thriving, with often bulging crops.
SE21 has been photographed at Broken Bay. This is the juvenile recently released after care for her injured wing and rehabilitation. She can be identified by her missing wing feathers. Out there wild and free.
Growing fast. Both chicks seem to be getting stronger and are feeding well. There is a little sibling "pecking" but there is ample food. The chicks are receiving 11 or 12 feeds a day, mostly by the female. Fish of several varieties so far.
Both were fed early and appear strong.
SE24 was first seen early in the morning, on the 39th day Earlier hatching progress overnight was hidden, as the female brooded in the cold. The two eggs were laid around 73 hours apart and hatched about 33 hours apart, after delayed incubation of the first egg. This second chick now has a better chance having "caught up" a little with its sibling. The first chick hatched will always be bigger and stronger than the second, giving it a "headstart" in life. Both chicks were fed during the day.
Waiting for SE24. The first chick has been fed, taking small morsels of whiting, gently offered by the female. Note her talons tucked in.
Welcome SE23. The chick was first seen at around 8:40 in the night, at 40 days from lay.
Pip progress this morning. We noticed a crack a few days ago, but it has been hard to get a clear view of progress. Background noise makes it hard to hear if the chick is cheeping from the egg, as we have observed in the past. Although the eggs were laid some 73 hours apart, we expect the second to catch up and hatch closer to the first.
Hatch is about 11 days away. Both eggs are quite stained from leaves in the nest. We assume the older egg is more stained and will be the first to Hatch. The little Boobook continues to visit at night.
Incubation continues with a very cold night last night. The little Boobook continues to call and fly past, startling the eagles. Neither however has been seen responding with aggression.
Second egg is here. Laid last evening at 6:43, some 73 hours after the first egg. The first egg was uncovered for over 20 hours total, delaying incubation as have seen in the past. It's cold at the nest, though as there are 2 eggs now, both adults are incubating almost continually.
Waiting for the second egg. Both eagles are incubating - and the male bringing a good-sized fish.
An egg. Last evening, at 5:37, the first egg was laid. First glimpse was just after 6pm. As we have seen in the past, she spent time during the night standing on the nest or a nearby branch, leaving the egg uncovered for periods. The male is helping with the daytime shift.
Unusual behaviour with our female seen with her head right in a large nest hollow. It may hide a Brushtail Possum or even the Boobook that has been heard calling each night.
The nest bowl is deep, lined with leaves and ready for the first egg any day. We anticipate seeing delayed incubation of this first egg again.
The eagles are getting the previous nest ready for eggs, which we are anticipating will be soon. We see them duetting and mating, as well as renovating the nest with sticks and fresh leaves.
Nest renovation is well under way. Our male is bringing lots of food offerings for his mate, mainly fish.
Nest renovation continues. The nest is getting bigger, with the eagles bringing in sticks to build up the rails, or edges of the nest, and leaves for lining. Lots of fish offerings as well. We have not seen our juvenile SE21 for some time.
Nest renovations are starting, with the eagle pair seen on the old nest, arranging sticks and leaves. One bad landing though as the male stumbled while bringing a large stick.
Live streaming has now resumed.
Home at last: SE21 was released back home in her natal territory on Thursday 21. After a long car trip in a padded box from her rehabilitation home, she flew strongly out of the box when it was carefully opened. She then flew straight to a tree in the Nature Reserve, not far from her nest. As the release team left, to leave her in peace, she was sitting on a high branch, recovering from her trip.
The cameras are disconnected and the team are very busy with much tidying of cables, redirecting cable lines, buying new equipment. Escorted in the forest by many mosquitoes. We expect the cameras to be reinstalled in another week or so.
Our eagles are still hanging around the nest, but live action will be off for some time as we conduct much needed maintenance on the cameras. Tree climbers are coming today to lower the cameras and then our team will clean, replace and restore everything. All cables will be pulled back to the Discovery Centre fence and improvements made. We shall be watching from the ground though and everything will be restored as soon as possible.
a visitor to the nest. Over the past weeks, a young sub-adult has visited the nest several times, though we have not seen any interaction with the breeding pair. The adults are still in the area and even brought sticks to the nest yesterday
SE21 is thriving in rehabilitation care at Higher Grounds Raptor Centre. A few of our team visited the facility and were thrilled to see her flying around the large Flight Aviary. We are hopeful that she may even be released back home soon, when the scab on her wing has completely healed.. We are also investigating attaching a satellite tracker to her tail feathers, in order to track her progress post release.
News update. Our young fledgling Sea-eagle SE 21 is now at Higher Grounds Raptor Centre, for continuing rehabilitation. Healing of her severely injured wing is progressing, but this will take a long time it seems. We all hope for ultimate release to the wild, if her wings are strong enough and healing complete. Her initial rescue and care would not have been possible without the wonderful team from Feathered Friends. She was rescued in late November by Cassandra, Renee and Kane from FF, escorted by Judy from EagleCAM (with local knowledge and for approved access to the Nature Reserve forest). SE21 received several weeks of intensive support and care at the Feathered Friends Sanctuary. The Trichomonas infection and injuries are being treated under veterinary supervision.
Survival of our fledgling is due to the care and support of a wonderful team of raptor enthusiasts and friends. Thank you Ravi and Peggy and your teams.
The adult Sea-Eagles remain in the area, returning to the nest frequently.
GOOD NEWS - from the vet yesterday, despite her wing still drooping, SE21 has had some small test flights and is learning to fly again.
The soft tissue injury and skin are healing well and will need at least another 2-4 weeks for the wounds to heal.
The Trichomonas infection affecting her mouth, tongue and pharynx also appears to be healing with the mouth and tongue clear of lesions.
The vet is quietly optimistic that SE21 should be suitable for release into the wild
We were relieved to hear that the wing was not broken, but there was considerable tissue damage. 21 is now in care, for rehabilitation. Hopefully 21 will be able to be returned to "home".
A really windy day and more drama at our nest. After a short feed, our eaglet was heard calling below the nest. We finally spotted it, stuck in a fork of the tree. After gaining approval and finding available help, we entered in the dark, to see what had happened. 21 was hanging from the tree and unable to get free. The arborist managed to get his ropes in place and climb close. Fortunately it was well below the nest, which was much safer for the climber. 21 was freed and carefully lowered to the ground. Our helpers then transported it for veterinary care.
Off on adventures. We are having troubles with the live stream, but 21 has been seen flying out over the river, before returning "home" to the forest again. The eaglet seemed to manage in spite of the escorting currawongs, ravens or magpies. Thanks Cathy for the pictures.
SE 21 is still flying about the nest area, but not venturing too far - which is wise. The adults are bringing food to the nest and the eaglet has learned to pluck feathers from the prey. Food is guarded fiercely - :Mine". Currawongs and a magpie are still swooping relentlessly.
SE21 is thriving. Fortunately sticking close to the nest area and gaining experience. 2 fish were delivered today - bream and leather jacket. 21 grabbed the prey and fed for a long time, but is still willing to be fed by the female.
21 is sticking close to the area, flying on and off the nest and returning for food. Both parents bring food and 21 is learning to attack large fish and pluck gulls, with feathers flying in all directions. She still allows the parents to feed her as well though. Channel-billed Cuckoos are very vocal in the area now.
Learning about the world off-nest. Our eaglet has experienced heavy rain, wind and swoops by the neighbours, especially Currawongs. She roosted off the nest, but is returning for food. Finding her way?
Off and away in the forest. SE21 has flown the nest, but hopefully will return for feeding. We looked for quite a while and finally found 21, sitting high in an ironbark. Currawong calls helped us find her.
We have lift-off, finally! Well done SE21! Fledge time 12:08pm A short flight to the adjacent camera tree.
What a wingspan and nearly fledging.
Branching. Today SE21 took the plunge or jump and reached a branch above the nest. Fortunately she returned safely again. 77 days after hatching.
Self feeding. When food is delivered, SE21 grabs and mantles over the offering - mine. However she is still willing to be fed by either parent.
Nearly lift off. SE21 is 10 weeks old and vigorously exercising her wings, jumping up and down in the nest, feeling the wind under her wings. Her? not sure.
Prey brought varies from whopper fish like this offering, to small fish which SE22 can manage for self-feeding - just. She is exercising her wings vigorously, jumping up and down and even starting to "lift off".
SE 21 is growing, exercising and showing beautiful new feathers
SE21 is thriving. This is week 7 - feathers are growing, practising with those wings, attempting self-feeding. Plenty of food is coming in now. The recent rain has refreshed the forest and there is finally some regrowth after the environmental burn.
SE21 is thriving. Week 7 and she (?) is practising with those little wings. Plenty of food is coming in now.
I have received a draft report from the Taronga WIldlife Hospital. In summary, the bird was very thin and poorly hydrated with no crop or gastrointestinal ingesta. The cranial lesions are consistent with the chick having its head grabbed by the talons of a conspecific.
The emaciation is as we would expect, after many days with no food. After looking at videos of that time, I believe the head injury was caused when the female carried the dead chick from the nest. Some other injuries, to SE22's feet for example, were caused by SE21 pecking and pulling at them.
There were no signs of Trichomoniasis or Beak and Feather Disease. This is normal behaviour for some raptors, as happens with many species in the Wild.
The body of the dead eaglet has been taken to Taronga Wildlife Hospital for examination - hopefully discovering cause of death and taking samples for analysis for Persistent Organic Pesticides and the possible presence of trichomoniasis. The eaglet weighed 781gm.
In mid morning, Lady removed 22's body from the nest and flew off with it. We were able to find the body on the ground, under the ironbark roost. This is where we find prey remains, particularly gull feathers plucked before feeding to the eaglet in the nest.
SE22 our smaller eagle died on the nest last evening. The female continued to brood them both at night. Our male Dad has improved in health it seems and has brought prey in, including a gull. SE21 is eating well and growing fast. Life goes on.
The drama continues. It is in fact rather like federal politics. The small chick 22 is still surviving, though badly injured by the larger sibling. It has still received no food at all. The female makes no attempt to feed it or stop the older eaglet from attacking it. A reminder that we are unable to "rescue" the injured eaglet. We have stopped live streaming of a close-up view as many are becoming distressed at watching. The male has been seen at the nest and on the river roost. Close photography has revealed he seems to have an issue with his eyes, but we are unsure. He appears to have brought a fish to the nest today. The older eaglet is thriving, receiving food and even picking at prey herself. We are guessing from its size it may be a female.
A sad message update Thursday 23. We have turned off live streaming for the moment on the main nest view. A big fish was brought in by Lady and SE 21 has fed well. SE 22 has been conditioned to drop straight into a submissive posture. Although SE 21 received a massive feed, with no competition from the smaller SE 22, 21 proceeded to attack 22, grabbing its head and shaking vigorously. We feel this is very confronting to watch live. This behaviour has not been observed before and is being recorded for observation later. It appears that 21 has in fact killed or seriously wounded 22.
The female has made no effort to intervene and is attempting to brood both now.
Our male is still not bringing any food though has been seen several times.
SE 21 is thriving though now, with a good feed today.
So distressing - Life in the Raw
Worrying news from the nest. Our male Dad has not brought food since Sunday evening. He has been seen on river roost and in the forest, but just sitting. A sub-adult Sea-Eagle was seen in the area today - we re not sure if there was any interaction between it and our eagles. SE22 the smaller eaglet has not been fed since Sunday evening. The female has brought in fish and a gull, but only fed the persistent stronger and bigger eaglet.
The female has brought a little food yesterday and today, but only SE21 the bigger chick begged for food and was fed. 22 has been calling, but when food arrives, only adopted a submissive posture and was not fed. As well we have not seen the male at the nest.
More food. Both chicks have been fed, with crops full.
The adults have been bringing in a few birds, including young gulls as in past years.
Growing so fast.
Sometimes unusual food is brought in. This is possibly a Banjo or Fiddler ray? Pin feathers are showing on SE 21 and the chicks are making little attempts at self-feeding, picking at scraps.
Eaglets are stretching their little wings. There are still lots of fish coming in - plenty of food for both.
SE 21 hatched 22 days ago and the smaller SE22 20 days ago. For the first time, the smaller chick was fed "the lion's share". Both are moving around the nest, if a little wobbly, and grooming. Pin feathers are just showing. Look at those feet.
After a lot of concern from our live stream watchers, it seems that the smaller chick is growing stronger and getting plenty of feeds. Aggression or pecking from the larger chick SE21, is becoming less. Look at those crops. Both are grooming and picking up twigs and leaves in the nest bowl.
SE 21 has picked up a scrap from the nest. Today the adults brought in a pigeon as well as more fish.
Plenty of food. Look at that crop. That down must be itchy as they have begun grooming.
There are lots of fish coming in to the nest. This was a whopper and fed the whole family. The chicks are beginning to move around the nest bowl. The parents are still bringing in leaves to line the nest and the occasional stick.
Both chicks are growing and competition from the older and bigger chick is becoming less. Both the male and female are feeding the chicks.
SE22 is still smaller and weaker than the first hatched, SE21, though 22 is taking food and getting stronger. The bigger chick often pecks at its sibling, causing the smaller to lie low in the nest. During one feeding session today, of about 10 minutes, 21 took 24 offerings, compared with 12 for the smaller. It was usually when 22 was too full and refused food.
Plenty of fish coming in. Prey is mostly brought in by the male, often eating the head first. Both parents feed the young, so gently.
Both chicks seem to be doing fine, stronger and feeding well. Fish morsels are on the menu. WIth only white fluff, the chicks rely on their parents to keep them warm. At this stage there is no sign of sibllng rivalry.
Second hatch: SE22 hatched in the early evening, after some 23 hours from pip. The 2 eggs were laid around 73 hours apart and hatched around 36.5 hours apart. A catch-up after the initial delayed incubation. By the end of the day, the second little chick was also taking food.
Pip of second egg: The second egg is hatching and SE 21 has a first feed. The adults are so gentle, passing tiny morsels of fish to the tiny chick.
Hatch. SE 21 hatched today at around 3:00pm. Weak and wobbly at first, drying out gradually. From pip to hatch took about 26 hours, during cold weather. Funny little pink feet.
The cameras reveal surprising visitors to the nest. This little Boobook, christened "Boo" by our viewers, has turned up close to the nest at night several times. This causes the eagles to wake and protest loudly.
Lots of rain, and both eagles shelter the eggs. When ravens flew too close, our female went into defense position, spreading her wings wide over the nest. Ravens often escort the eagles back to the nest, their calls giving us notice of eagles returning.
Both eagles continue to incubate the eggs during the day. Still adding sticks and leaves as well.
The 2 eggs are becoming quite stained from leaves and sticks in the nest, as well as the parents probably.
Another egg: the second egg was laid at 6:15 in the evening. Laid with little fuss and very quickly. She then incubated both eggs all night - as we predicted. Our pair of eagles have again shown delayed incubation. In the morning the male turned up for his shift of incubation - again as expected.
Now the male is helping as well. As in past years, both eagles incubate during the day. We are waiting for the second egg to be laid.
First egg laid. At 5:33 in the evening, the first egg was laid. Although the nights are cold, the female is showing delayed incubation again, leaving the egg uncovered for long periods.
Our male is bringing in lots of fish for his mate. So far in May, we have observed 20 different prey items brought to the nest, all fish except for one pigeon. Size ranges from this whopper to small bream. Mostly he eats the head of the fish first.The female is also possibly catching prey herself. Both are bringing sticks and leaves still, with the male bringing more.
Prey gifts.Our male continues to bring fish prey for his mate - a generous whiting and a leatherjacket. Look at those talons.
Side by Side. We were surprised to see the a young Brown Goshawk sitting for some time near the female, on one of their favourite roosts, away from the nest.
Renovation time. The eagles are both bringing sticks and fresh leaves to their old nest. The male has begun to bring fish "gifts" to his mate, usually having eaten the head himself first. She is also catching prey herself.
Both eagles are active on the nest, bringing leaves. It's starting again
Restoring the cables at last. The planned Environmental Burn in a section of the Nature Reserve forest was successful. A team of volunteers worked hard on a very hot day, dragging the cables through the fence and across the burnt area. Fortunately the cameras are working, though live streaming is yet to be restored. It was thrilling, and a relief, to see that the cameras were working. Live streaming will take a little longer.