Monday, 30 July 2012

Spring Sandveld



I got home last night, thoroughly exhausted but extremely gratified, after a week in the Sandveld. Patrick and I traveled around the area to check on 15 eagle nest sites and in the meantime be treated to some of natures best, including the first of the spring flowers, porcupine encounters, cape foxes playing in the fields and a sighting of the rare and beautiful Martial eagle.
We spent long hours observing the three sites where cameras are installed and I am very happy to let you know that they all now have chicks. At one of them we could see the chick, while they other two a young chick was indicated by the attentive parents.

Unfortunately we confirmed that one pair have failed. The reason for this is unknown but we managed to get a sad view into the empty nest…









One evening session was spent waiting for a pair to return to roost. Unfortunately the pair didn’t come, however a juvenile Verreaux’s did come in to roost. On our way home we stopped to watch an owl on an old wind mill… The story unfolds best in the photos below :) 
This nest is surrounded by at least 10 Cape weaver nests. Dieter Oschadleus has let us know that there are many records of weavers building nests in the same tree as a raptor, but this is the first record which he has come across where the raptor is a Black eagle. 
After watching the incubating eagle and the surrounding colony of Cape weavers for some time from below we decided to see if it was possible to check the eggs from above.

We found a route above the nest and slowly and quietly crept to the edge… The eagle took note of us but did not move. Incubation continued for nearly 3 hours while we watched on silently.  
And then finally the other adult flew in and we got to see what lay beneath. I feel very honored to have witnessed this.

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