08 June 2022

Soaring with the Eagles

28 May 2022 - Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

After Northcliff Ridge, it was a 30-minute drive to Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens where I wanted to spend some time with the resident Black (Verreaux's) Eagles. I still prefer the old name.

It was a gorgeous morning, as I walked through the gardens to the Waterfall

Waterfall at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens


Since the birds have nested and laid eggs, there is always a monitor present to ensure there is no unnecessary disturbance to these majestic Eagles. I was told that the first chick had hatched only 3-days ago, so there was a slim chance of seeing the adults bring in some prey.

We assumed it was the female sitting on the nest

Female Verreaux's Eagle (Aquila verreauxii) on the nest


But not too long after I arrived, she flew off to perhaps stretch her wings and to dispose of some nest material

Off the nest with some unwanted nesting material








After she landed back on the nest, the male returned but without any offerings and the two birds spent a short time on the nest, before the male departed

Male Verreaux's Eagle (Aquila verreauxii) departing the nest


He then went on to put on an aerial display which was just awesome and later brought in some new nesting material

The start of his display flight





Gathering some new nesting material

Returning to the nest


Not too long after a couple of Pied Crow's flew by too close and then the action heated up and the crowd below was treated to some impressive aerial action, as they each took turns chasing each other - Top Gun 2.1. I'm sure if the Crow's were a real threat, the Eagle could have easily taken them out.

Male Verreaux's Eagle (Aquila verreauxii) and Pied Crow (Corvus albus) interaction









Magnificent





It was a totally enjoyable morning spent with these two celebrities, so close to Johannesburg. During the time at the Waterfall, I noticed large numbers of green locusts/grasshoppers on the move. They must be toxic, as no birds tried to catch or eat them

Locust sp.


On the way out, I Southern Fiscal was mimicking a variety of calls, trying to encourage some easy prey to take an interest - no such luck!

Southern Fiscal (Lanius collaris)






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