aerial display by Wedge-tailed Eagles

To: <>
Subject: aerial display by Wedge-tailed Eagles
From: "Neil Kirby" <>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 19:34:00 +1100

Late yesterday 27/12/04 at the northern end of Blue Gum Swamp, Winmalee ( 80 km west of Sydney in lower Blue Mountains) I witnessed a spectacular display for 35 minutes by a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles. They were riding the gale force westerly winds on top of Gross Head South. The birds were several hundred meters apart with wings half folded, legs fully extended and tails drooping. They may have been attracted into the valley by the presence of a Swamp Wallaby carcass at the southern end of Blue Gum. The birds moved slowly back and forth at tree-top level over the mountain resembling Harrier Jump Jets the way they sometimes remained stationary above the trees. At times they moved at right angles to the wind and then they would move swiftly upwind only to allow themselves to be carried downwind for hundreds of meters. At all times they kept their wings half folded and legs hanging down. They appeared to be playing rather than seriously hunting for prey. The only bird sound in the valley was that of a lone Lewin’s Honeyeater calling from deep in the foliage of a Turpentine tree. Even the Sulpur-crested Cockatoos were silent. One of the eagles landed on a dead limb of a tree high up on the mountain and perched for several minutes before throwing itself back into the gale again with wings half folded and legs hanging. The pair eventually disappeared over the top of the mountain and into the Gross Valley.

Neil Kirby




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