Friday, July 31, 2009

Feathered Kings and Queens

I dislike beginning posts with 'I' but occasionally it must be done, as I just have! I've decided, after reading my last Whingeing Spray, that I will no longer swear, vent or be a totally self indulgent princess.
Except the occasion being
a) said swearing or whingeing can be craftily channelled into dialogue or seriously earnest narrative.
b) I am wearing my tiara.

Consequently I'm bereft of words.

White Breasted Sea Eagles.

This morning on the Kalgan, the temperature was said to be three degrees. That gets interesting when adding the wind chill factor of a 50 horsepower outboard. It was so cold that Old Salt was reminiscing the days of olde on the Pallinup, when he'd have a kerosene tin full of glowing mallee roots on board, so as to unmesh fish with workable fingers.

The black bream we pulled up actually felt warmer than the water or air. It was tempting to dive our hands into the red bin to keep them company, were it not for their spikes!
Sightings of snow and the Yeti have been reported along the shores of Emu Point.
Yes! Yetis at sea level! Though that report could be some wishful thinking from Emu Point housewives looking for some rough trade. Either that or bikies dealing with the latest Brazilian sea container arrivals. It's a strange town. It's the granite, man.
Mmmm ... anyway, where was I?

White Breasted Sea Eagles.

At Pallinup, they watch the nets, waiting for that flapping tail of a mullet, from their paperbark eyries. White breasts and white paperbarks - they can be difficult to see. Old Salt pulls fish from the nets and waves them in the air at their impassive stance. He used to know one out there that would swoop down and grab fish from his hands.
Sometimes in the mornings at my own house, a mating pair fly overhead, crying to each other on their way to the sea. It is said they like to nest in the Marri trees above the shoreline. As I walk in the forest, I look upwards, something my Mum taught me, ("Not enough people look into the trees, when they walk.") hoping to see their home.

This morning, after the inlet, we drove to the harbour to pick up crab pots. Pelicans created their own wake, as they followed us from pot to pot, scooping the leftover bait that I threw out to them. This was much to the consternation of Digger the Disaster Pup, who watched the fish sail past his mouth and into the carvernous beaks of the pelicans. Finally he went in after them, a valiant, wet and ultimately futile attempt to sort them out.

We were just about at the last buoy, when I veered off and motored towards the wreck of the Kingfisher. Old Salt looked at me, the routine thrown.
On the iron prow of the wreck stood huge bird. This eagle was light brown, which threw me, because it had not the tousled, messy magnificence of a Wedgetailed Eagle, but was at least the same size.
Only when closer did we realise that it was a juvenile White Breasted Sea Eagle, her feathers still a tawny brown. Her legs were massive. I kept my distance but she still felt the need to leave. As she rose into the air, I saw the difference between these eagles and the Osprey. The wings are extra wide, to give them the propulsion to lift off the water laden with a heavy fish. They are attached almost the whole length of the bird's body. The Nyoongar name for them reflects their flight; "Wing tips upward kept."
It's a rather lovely thought that something so wild hunts in the harbour below me and was hatched high in the forest above me, and that this has happened the same way for millennia.


  1. Sounds beautiful. I'm waiting at Melbourne Airport at present for a plane...delayed by five hours :)

    But when I return I'll check the animal dreaming message of this magnificent bird...and let you know it's significance.

  2. Thankyou Sontag. I would be interested. Seeing these eagles has much the same effect on me as experiencing whales, although eagles seem more aloof and self contained than whales.

    While you are at it, I had a pelican visitation today, or maybe he had a human one. It was injured and I walked him along the railway line, away from the highway where he was jousting with semi trailers, until he got tangled in a blackberry bush. I caught him and took him down to the harbour, where I thought he would be safer on water and in the rushes.
    He also managed to vomit some vile week-old something resembling muttonfat all over me and bit my nose. Despite this, he was still a nice character, although rather wobbly. I rang the wild life rescue people and told them where he was.

    Happy travels!

  3. Nice one Sarah. Lucky pelican you came along.
    I think Eagles might be about getting a big far-seeing overarching perspective on the/your world, and then employing a pinpoint focus to attack an unwary prey...and because it's a sea eagle, the prey might be out of your unconscious, as water is often representative of the unconscious and of emotions; the inner world.

  4. You have been blessed, Sarah, by both eagle and pelican. Thanks you for sharing the experience. I'm smiling all over. (I smile even more when I see the the word verification message below spells out "wings"!) LOL

  5. Nice Sarah. In some mythology the pelican feeds it's young from its own breast and is a therefore a powerful symbol of self-sacrifice and regeneration.
    Does anyone know if there is something like a sea-eagle 'kadaitcha' I ofen see the sea eagles at Nanarup when I am out surfing near the point, but the other day I got spooked cos I was there on my own and 'saw' something on the hill. The word 'kadaitcha' came into my head at the same instant. I know that the feather-foots bring healing as well so I settled down but it was a bit of a surprise cos I am not Indigenous. I am wondering if wadjelas can see Indigenous spirits too??

  6. add to the growing interpretations :)...(abbreviated version)

    My source suggests that Pelican Dreaming is associated with Piety.

    The Dreaming of Pelican embodies goodness, godliness, forgiveness and faithfulness as well as the categorical love of one for another.

    A sea faring bird that maintains endurance by riding atmospheric updrafts, the Pelican instils a strong sense of balance as it confidently navigates the ocean's ever-changing waters.

    Pelican offers support to us as we contemplate the best way to handle life's ups and downs. So, apart from its lessons in piety, Pelican also instils a sense of buoyancy by encouraging optimism and endurance to handle any situation.

  7. And,...I'll get back to you re sea eagle...these birds are actually Kites (apparently) and represent Spirit. (Plenty of info to wade through)

  8. Thanks for the interpretation Sontag. So, a wounded pelican then? That tells me something.

    My partner, Robin (RamSnake) reckons he is coming back as a pelican because he loves them so much. So if he dies before me, I will have to keep a lookout for an unusually friendly one!

  9. Thanks, Sontag. Wounded buoyancy indeed ... My son wants to come back as a pelican as well, Michelle. He says it will be the only way I can get him to eat fish - and he will have just the right kind of mother to visit!

  10. Well he has that 'Stormboy' quality about him. Must be the tousled hair.
    Wise boy.