Osprey eagles nest falls at Meelup Beach

This photo of an osprey eagle at Meelup Beach was taken by bird photographer Joop van den Ouweland from the Netherlands. Mr van den Ouweland was visiting his family in Carbanup River.

This photo of an osprey eagle at Meelup Beach was taken by bird photographer Joop van den Ouweland from the Netherlands. Mr van den Ouweland was visiting his family in Carbanup River.

Regular visitors to Meelup Beach may be aware of its resident eastern osprey eagles which have been perched high among the trees for many years.

Part-time resident George Atzemis had been following the eagles for about five years when visiting the region from Perth, primarily the mother eagle and more recently her chick.

Last week when Mr Atzemis visited the beach for his early morning swim he noticed the branch where the eagles nested had broken and the nest had collapsed on the ground.

"I always keep an eye out for the nest, a couple of weeks ago I heard the chick screeching, which they do a lot," he said.

"When I returned a few days later I could not see the nest and asked one of the city officers who was working there where it was, and he said it had collapsed.

"Because they are seabirds there was a lot of debris in the collapsed nest which had likely been in the nest for many years.

"There were sea sponges, sea kelp, seaweed, sea grass and all that sort of stuff.

"The nest was amazing with all the bits and pieces it had in there, it was beautiful.

"The sponge was as hard as a rock because it had probably been sitting up there for many years, you could have broken it.

"When I visited Meelup Beach again a few days later the chick was flying way up high with its mother, they were soaring, the chick was screeching.

"How unfortunate for this little bird, I got quite tearful because I had been following them for years."

Collapsed eagles nest. Photo by George Atzemis.

Collapsed eagles nest. Photo by George Atzemis.

Cape to Cape Bird Group representative Christine Wilder said it wasn't the first time the osprey's nest had fallen and it was likely the nest became too heavy causing the branch to snap.

In a recent newsletter, Cape to Cape Bird Group member Jane Webbware wrote she noticed the big ospreys' nest had fallen on the morning of January 7, 2020 when she was riding her bike.

"The big ospreys' nest has fallen to the ground in a big pile of sticks," she said.

"A bird is sitting in the tree where the nest was.

"There definitely have been chicks or a chick as I have seen an osprey flying to the nest with a fish in its claws.

"I am pretty sure there was a chick in the nest after November 8, 2019.

"I looked at the nest on the ground but couldn't see or hear anything."

Osprey eagle chick at Meelup Beach. Photo by George Atzemis.

Osprey eagle chick at Meelup Beach. Photo by George Atzemis.

City of Busselton Meelup environmental management officer Kay Lehman said the city along with Meelup Regional Park volunteers had been monitoring the nesting eastern osprey at Meelup Beach.

"Not a great deal can be done in terms of relocating or fixing the nest - the preference is to let nature take its own course," she said.

"However, we ask people to avoid the nest area and give the osprey the best chance of raising any chicks."

Do you have any images of the osprey eagles at Meelup? If you would like to share your photos please send them to editorial.bdmail@austcommunitymedia.com.au.

This photo of an osprey eagle at Meelup Beach was taken by bird photographer Joop van den Ouweland from the Netherlands.

This photo of an osprey eagle at Meelup Beach was taken by bird photographer Joop van den Ouweland from the Netherlands.