The warm clear calm sunny days of Winter are wonderful times to be out walking and enjoying the beautiful world we live in. For us here in Sydney it is whale migration time, where the Humpback Whales travel up the east coast for warmer weather, to both mate and also give birth to their young, in and near Hervey Bay in Queensland. Here in Sydney, hundreds of city dwellers are gathering daily on the tall sandstone cliffs of Botany Bay National Park to view the passing giants, and hopefully view a breaching whale or two, as was my plan.

 

As I watched several whale pods pass by and chatted with the whale counters, we were treated initially to a lone Eastern Osprey fishing right in front of our viewing station. As you can see above she caught the fish and then landed to proceed to eat it, but made sure she was a fair way from us. The Osprey unlike any other bird have dual opposed claws, which are not so good for landing on a hard flat surface, but are Intelligently Designed for catching, gripping and carrying slimy fish.

Some time after she left with her fish, having been scared off by an over keen photographer (not me, by the way). As the afternoon Winter sun started falling lower in the sky, we were all excitedly delighted to behold a pair of adult White-bellied Sea-Eagles circling over the ocean cliffs right in front of us, in a similar fashion to the Eastern Osprey previously. The White-bellied Sea-Eagle is our second largest raptor in Australia, and the most commonly seen, especially along the east coast, though it is found inland along most rivers.

I am always reminded when I see an eagle soaring on the thermals of the need for us to get renewed perspective in our difficult life situations, to see the bigger picture rather than be sunk by the short-lived circumstantial moment.

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The Bible often uses the eagle to describe deliverance and renewal of strength and perspective in life.  Eventually, the male Sea-Eagle caught a fish and circled with it, landing briefly out of sight to remove and eat its head, as they do,

During the cause of the circling, the body of fish is given to the female. This practice is usually done to feed their young and also as a courting gesture, which is what we all excitedly hoped was the case. We were hoping that they would grip claws and fall in their aerial marriage dance,but this did not occur while I was there, as I had to leave to drive home before dark to get the washing off the line and cook dinner for 5 people.

This bird is highlighted in my book ‘What Birds Teach Us” for the quality of Trust, where my rare photos depict the stages of how the parent eagle under-girds the fledgling till it can fly. It catches the youngster on its back and carries it back to the nest if fails to fly, and then nudges it out of the nest again till it gets over its fear and flies freely.

From my book “What Birds Teach Us”

The eagle depicted on the left hand page (above) actually knew me as a friend and would often soar motionless above my head and look at me when I was out on the beach. Friends would call out when they saw it and say “Ashley, your eagle is here !” It would remain there even in strong wind, but as soon as I pulled out my camera, would, without seeming to move a muscle drift off. I remember telling my son when he visited on one occasion, as we stood on the beach: “Wait, and you will meet my eagle.” and sure enough he visited us only minutes later, looking down from above my head but did not stay long. 

The very next day while travelling south my wife and I sighted Australia’s largest raptor, the Wedge-tailed Eagle soaring, again as a pair. The clear calm blue sky enabled the photographing of its underside clearly. I have often said, if it is a bright cloudy sky full of diffused light, a raptor in flight will be but a silhouette. Winter is a great time to see and photograph raptors here on the east coast. The Wedgie (as we nickname them) is mainly an inland bird found west of the ranges. It has suffered a history of being the most hunted and killed bird for over a hundred years, having a bounty on its head, as graziers blamed it for taking their lambs. Thankfully it is now protected, but any farmers continue to shoot it, out of the sight of the law. This huge bird has a wingspan of 2.3 metres, and has been seen carrying lambs and wallabies in its talons.

This bird also features in my book, where it addresses the importance of being empowered in our life as these birds are. Raptors, like the Wedge have the ability to telescope their eye socket and see 5 to 10 times better than we can. The Wedgie can see a mouse, from the air, one kilometre away.

It is amazing how close I got to the eagle on the left hand page above. Most Wedgies would not have allowed me to photograph them. I was driving past on a bush road and there it was just standing on the stump, looking at me. It did not seem afraid or threatened, but was empowered and in control of the situation.

In two days I had seen three of our largest raptors, what a wonderful find ! and they were against a clear blue Winter sky.


If this is your first visit to my blog, take a moment and check my website for more interesting birding tips and info,as well as my recent book release here.


Several of my friends, including two of my blog followers, coincidentally shared posts and recent experiences of hearing and delighting in birdsong. Birders call the early morning birdsong the Morning Chorus. This is when all the birds awaken from sleep and excitedly feed and locate their family by calling. Many also constantly declare their territorial possession, but many more sing purely for the delight and pleasure of it, as it releases the feel good endorphins in their brain, the same way it does for us humans when we sing. I believe that the birds in their morning song, are also singing with an attitude of gratitude, as they freely feed, and food is readily made available for them. Jesus mentions how the birds do not have to work, labour or worry about their food, but just like in the moment, trusting God to faithfully provide for them, and he does. I also was greeted by these caroling Australian Magpies early in the morning last Sunday, where four families of Magpie sat on lamp posts, trees and aerials calling in response to each other, declaring their territory and acknowledging the presence of their neighboring families.

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Have a wonderful week, and stay safe.


W. A. Hewson (Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy).

NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed  by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

 

17 Comments »

  1. A post full of great photos Ashley. I especially love the ones of the wedge tailed eagle. I’ve just come back from 3 days at Cradle Mountain and saw 2 wedgies riding the thermals up high one afternoon on one of my walks. So beautiful to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, yes it is a real buzz to watch wedgies ride the thermals, especially against a blue Winter sky, which is the best light to get full plumage undercarriage colouration. Lovely that you got to have a few days at Cradle, especially in winter when most never holiday there.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jewels, yes it is a blessing that we live near where the whales pass. The good thing also is they come past twice a year, north to mate and have babies and back south bringing their new calves with them when they travel slower, that’s when we mostly go out to see them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Birds AND whales? Now I’m jealous! Thank you brother, for speaking of the “morning chorus”. I hadn’t heard it before and, during a restless night, this “chorus” seemed conducted from heaven, echoing on this mountain into my heart. Thank you Ashley, for once again delivering the truths of God through His glorious creation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks you Lisa Beth for sharing your love of our Lord’s Creation. So glad you and Bob have a lovely time away, and experienced the wonder of Creation worshiping. Last Sunday morning it was like a symphony of the families each adding their chorus to a song of thanksgiving. Blessings dear sister for a wonderful week.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. With my love for Osprey, first, I’ve got to say that a big smile crossed my face when I saw your first photo was an Osprey, Ashley. 😊 And then more of her, a whale breaching, and all those awesome captures of the White-bellied and Wedge-tailed Eagles completed a much enjoyed post (with me loving Eagles so much too!). I’ve been back and forth enjoying your photos of these three magnificent raptors, in WOW just two days, what a wonderful gift and keen eye!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Donna, Osprey is your middle name 🙂 Our Eastern Osprey probably looks very similar to your Western Osprey, though your photos so surpass my own, for clarity and interest. It was such a blessing for you to live next to the nest. The Sea Eagle is our most seen raptor from where I live, the Wedgie is in fewer numbers due to the horrible bounty of the last hundred years. I am delighted you enjoyed our soaring giants. Have a wonderful week my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lee, it is so nice to have cold weather after our extreme Summer, and even a greater blessing to get regular rain again, for these we are truly thankful, and so are the birds which are slowly returning to normal, what is left of them. I noticed a massive dust storm sweeping your nation, hope it clears soon. There is always something challenging happening in our lands, as we move through these last days.

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  4. What a fine day out you were able to enjoy. Super looks at some fine raptors at work.
    Particularly enjoyed the shot of the woodswallow feeding the young.
    Do you get Brahminy Kites in that area? A bird I would love to photograph.

    Seems every post around at moment has a magpie in residence, which is good as they had been quiet or absent recently

    Thanks for the interesting details.
    Remain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, yes we get Brahminy Kites only occasionally this far south, but more northward. The further north the more you see them. I use to see them often cruising with the Sea Eagle over the Mid North and North Coasts of NSW and northern Queensland. They are so brilliant on a clear day contrasting against the blue sky in the sunlight, a beautiful bird to photograph.I was amazed while at Wagga how many small Magpie families resided in a 200 metre radius beside Lake Albert, and to hear each family caroling in the morning chorus was magical, male and female. I noticed that they only existed in small family groups here, raising one or two young, unlike some of the suburbs of Sydney where there are very large clans, which Gisela speaks about, Likewise, we see more magpies since the rain, mainly territorial family groups.

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