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Fish eagles busted on camera!

The fish eagles of the Umzimkulu: Love in the air on the Umzimkulu Estuary

Fish eagles busted on camera!

Fish eagles busted on camera: How do you get really up close and personal with a juvenile fish eagle?

Use a camera trap! We have a bunch of GoFish Cams that we use for fishing non-stop. On this day, when we returned from sea – we left a bonito carcass, and a bunch of sardines – plus two of our cameras, for the fish eagles rather.
Not knowing what to expect, when we retrieved the cameras – we were blown clean away! The interactions between the three featured fish eagles from the Umzimkulu Estuary valley – the two parents, and one of their triplet offspring, was downright animal crazy.

The movie

Enjoy the picture show…

Well, that juvenile fish eagle ain’t interested in sharing a thing. Especially after the first featured adult completely blew his landing and wasted nearly all the sardines into the drink. And that mid-air collision – well what a dogfight, when it’s slowed right down! My 60 frames per second cameras could hardly keep up with the lightning-quick action, and reaction, of these majestic birds.

The triplets

As it turned out, the juvenile fish eagle took over the whole scene and just kept eating and eating all the fish. Even going so far as to grab some guts right from out of the second featured parent eagle’s mouth! The parents hardly got scraps compared to the voracious serving that the young fish eagle swiftly devoured.

The triplets never took very long to reach the enormous size of their folks. But their mottled brown colours stayed like that for ages. And then when the triplets grew into maturity, their fish eagle feather coating stood out brightly in the sun. Tints of red in the dark brown against the bright white of his head and the crisp yellow of his face and beak.

This is when they are kind of booted out of the valley, and they have to go and find their own stretch of river, or a damn, to set up home at. Meet a mate. And repeat the process so that we can always be wakened by the magical sound of a cheerful fish eagle.

The adults

Sean Prytz took these smashing shots of the adult fish eagles’ pre-mating cleaning and pruning session…that resulted in the triplets. These guys have mated for life. We have been living with them down here on the river, for two decades and more. They have given birth to many babies here, over the years.

Umzimkulu Adrenalin

Come and join us here at Umzimkulu Adrenalin. For the day. Or for a few days. Immerse yourself in nature. Learn all about the Umzimkulu River and its vital role in the ecology of the marine systems here on the lush KZN South Coast.

And you can dine in style at The Port Captain. Featuring Garlic n Naan Egyptian cuisine, right here on the bank of the river.

Check back with The Sardine News as we move closer and closer to sardine season. And winter perfection.

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