birding-aus Sea eagle habitually raids Shearwater rookery

Subject: birding-aus Sea eagle habitually raids Shearwater rookery
From: "stuart collins" <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 12:55:50 PST

Fingal Head Lighthouse
near Tweed Heads NSW

Locals had tipped me off with an observation that I was fortunate to 

After sunset one evening I had placed myself on a headland near Fingal 
lighthouse, which affords a view across  to Cook Island, about one 
kilometre off shore.  The  island is said to be a breeding ground for 
the Short Tailed Shearwater. This fit with the presence of thousands of 
birds soaring above the island. From my eye at a thousand metres they 
might well have been crested terns.

Then I saw it. A White Bellied Sea Eagle flew directly out from the 
mainland to the island, plunged out of sight into the rookery, and 
reemerged in a flurry of bird activity. It seemed to be carrying a dark 
object which I presumed to be a chick. A small flock of crested terns 
followed the eagle half way back to the mainland, mobbing it to no 

Half way back the eagle was passed by another eagle on its way out to 
the island. This eagle, slightly smaller and presumable the male of a 
pair, performed a similar feat. Shortly another eagle, which may have 
been the original, reappeared for another trip. 

Altogether we observed a total of  four sorties to the island. As we 
arrived during the first sortie there may have been  more before we got 

Locals had told me that this is a reliable show, occuring every evening 
at Fingal Lighthouse

Yours in Birding

Stuart Collins at Palm Beach Qld

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