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Christmas gift from Mother Nature.

December 30th, 2010

Christmases are usually fairly uneventful for me. Unfortunately, or perhaps very fortunately, my family is very small with only my lovely wife and my dad being around. Therefore, I spend time outdoors walking the doggies, being around our horse and observing wildlife. This Christmas was no different to most others of the past 25 years so while I sometimes long to have a big family, I also feel blessed to have some freedom to do what I like best; that is to be at one with nature. So I grabbed the binoculars and placed them beside me on the floor once I finished doggie walks and runs in case I come across something special this day.

I traverse up and down a newly built road nearby that runs past the Penrith quarries. It is here where I have regularly seen Wedge-tailed Eagles. Funny that I observed the pair about two months ago last time and had some excellent views as well. As I drove south back towards where I turn up the road to see and feed the horse breakfast, I drove past the spot where I last photographed them, albeit from some distance. I was thinking, what a great gift it would be if I could see them again. Well, little did I know that a kilometre further down the road, I would come across them in a spot where I would have expected them perhaps, but not necessarily on Christmas Day. I remember when they landscaped the areas around these new lakes and they placed dead tree trunks in as a form of natural art, I thought weird, but great look out perches for raptors. In October, when I was officially conducting a survey for Painted Snipe with Justin Russell, the Environment Manager at the lakes quarry, he said at first he didn’t like the “art”. I kind of felt the same, as it looks a little too man-made, but this is where I spotted two very large, dark raptors this morning of December 25th 2010.
From a distance, I knew straight away what they were; “my” beloved Wedge-tailed Eagles and on the outskirts of Sydney. How fortunate am I to live in an area that is so full of wildlife, including the largest bird of prey in Australia? Talking to my friend Stephen Davey (www.avkomp.com) who is also a fine nature photographer, he made the same comment to me just yesterday! He has to drive an hour to get anywhere “decent” yet for me it’s less than five minutes from home! What a stroke of luck.
The eagles were in fact sitting still – though the female moved to another trunk – for over two hours! What a beautiful gift indeed for me, especially that raptors and owls are the birds I adore the most of all the species.
Enjoy the great outdoors!

Nature Photography

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