Wedge-tailed Eagle

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

 

Wedge-tailed eagle – wow.  They’re huge. And very impressive.

I have to start with an apology for the photos. 2 problems. Firstly, I’m not a professional photographer so my photos are always going to be amateur.  Secondly, their ‘comfort zone’ is about 5m longer than the range of my ‘zoomiest’ lense, so they fly off just before I can get a really sharp picture of them.

Wedge-Tail Fly

Wedge-Tail Fly

 

Last week I went on a trip to North-West WA.  The best thing about the really long journey was seeing so many wedge-tailed eagles.  I managed to see one or two of them very close up (not in time to get a picture though).  I’ve seen a couple before, but only circling high above.

 

Wedge-tail

Wedge-tail

 

 

You can see from this where their name comes from, and also just how big they are.  Their wing span is about 2m and they’re about 1m long.

 

 

Older wedge-tail

Older wedge-tail

 

The young birds are pale to mid brown.  They get darker as they get older until they look almost black.  This one was very dark.  Like many birds of prey the female is larger than the male.

 

 

Wedge-tail Soaring

Wedge-tail Soaring

 

My favourite fact about the wedge-tailed eagle (thank you wiki) is that they can see a greater range of the light spectrum than us, into infra-red and ultra-violet, which allows them to see thermals to climb on.

 

Termite Mound

Termite Mound

 

Although they’re good hunters, it’s much easier to eat road kill for breakfast.  So they cruise along the highway in the morning to see if a kangaroo or a goat has been hit overnight.  You can see them either feeding on the carcass, or sitting in a nearby bush keeping an eye on it for another feed once breakfast has gone down.  This one found an alternative perch.

Perching

Perching

Wedge-tail

Wedge-tail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dad and Chick

Dad and Chick

 

 

 

This family was definately my favourite wedge-tail sighting during the trip. This is the Dad (I think) and this year’s chick on the termite mound.

 

 

Chick

Chick

 

 

This is the chick once Dad flew up to join Mum.

 

 

 

 

And below are the parents perched above the rocks.

Wedge-Tailed Eagle Parents

Wedge-Tailed Eagle Parents

 

So, if ever you want to see a wedge-tailed eagle, I suggest you head out into the middle of no-where on one of those very straight, very long, very empty roads with plenty of supplies and just keep your fingers crossed.

Road to No-where

Road to No-where

 

Now Football Celebrities at the Mall

My last post was about the surprise appearance of Birds of Prey at the local shops.  When I went yesterday, I got to meet  a local football star – and even stroke him!

Auzzie - The Wedge-Tailed Eagle

Auzzie – West Coast Eagles Mascot

 

Meet Auzzie, the Wedge-Tailed Eagle.  Auzzie is a mascot for the Weat Coast Eagles.  (For international readers, it’s the AFL equivalent to Manchester United.)  Auzzie even has his own facebook page.  I stood in line to stroke Auzzie  (- average age of those in queue, roughly 10 I’d say).  It was mainly to get a close up photo though.  That was difficult as he wasn’t keen to keep his head still as he was turning to look all around him.  However the photo much better than my previous best attempt.  This eagle was flying over woodland about an hour’s drive away.  Not a very sharp picture, but great to identify him.  You can easily see his tail shape.

Wedge Tailed Eagle - Australian Bird of Prey

Wedge Tailed Eagle – Australian Bird of Prey

This time I spoke to the keepers of these lovely birds who are very helpful and extremely knowledgable.  They are from the Western Australian Birds of Prey Centre, wabirdsofprey.com, and they give these talks to all sorts of groups (schools, guides and scouts etc).

Sooty Owl - Australian Bird of Prey

Sooty Owl – Australian Bird of Prey

Barking Owl - Australian Bird of Prey

Barking Owl – Australian Bird of Prey

 

This time I also got to see a Barking Owl and a Sooty Owl which was great as I haven’t seen either before.

 

 

 

The picture quality isn’t too bad given that they were taken on a very old mobile phone.  The biggest lesson for me from this week is ‘Always take a camera to the supermarket’.

Sooty Owl - Australian Bird of Prey

Sooty Owl – Australian Bird of Prey