I've recently returned from Tasmania where I spent the last 2 weeks volunteering with University of Tasmania student James Pay, who is also studying Wedge-tailed Eagles for his PhD. Some of James' work has involved satellite-telemetry, so I was thrilled when he gave me the opportunity to visit Tassie and assist with the attachment of transmitters to juvenile eagles, something I have been slowly gaining experience doing since Wallu was satellite-tagged in 2013.
More information is coming soon, but for now I wanted to post a few images of the magnificent bird that is the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax fleyii), a subspecies of wedgie that, as I was totally amazed to discover first-hand, is so much bigger than its mainland cousin!
|Tasmanian Wedge-tails are normally very wary but this female was an exception to the rule.|
|The eagle's habitat in this southern-most part of its range is usually tall Eucalypt forest.|
|Eyries like this one built in a tall Mountain Ash (E. regnans), are very camouflaged in the canopy.|
|The characteristic pale head and dark bill of a juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle.|
|Woldja, an 11-week old Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle that I was thrilled to capture.|
|Bill Brown holds Woldja while James Pay fits a harness-mounted satellite transmitter to her back.|
|Woldja's feet were eNORmous (nearly the same size as my hand!) - an adaptation for taking the larger prey animals like possums and paddymelons found in Tasmania.|
|All juvenile eagles have a pale head but Woldja's was an incredibly beautiful blonde colour.|
|A beautifully calm 8-week old Wedge-tail with a transmitter being fitted.|
|The incredible tree-climbing skills of Dave James allowed access to some very high eyries!|