African Fish Eagle vs. Grey Heron

This morning was bitterly cold but beautiful. After watching the sun rise over the plains we found some leopard tracks which we began following up on. The tracks took us up onto a dam wall with a spectacular view of the Drakensburg mountain range. As I was explaining the tracks to my guests
we heard the characteristic call of the African Fish Eagle, otherwise known as “the voice of Africa”.  At Karula we are very fortunate to be situated on the Klaserie River so the call of the African Fish Eagle is very well known to staff and guests alike. The African Fish Eagle was perched on a dead tree in the middle of the dam. Just as we took out our binoculars to take a closer look the eagle took flight towards us, allowing us an even better view. As it neared the water’s edge under the dam wall we saw it swoop down with it’s talons out and attempt to grab something out of our view.

Much to our excitement a large grey heron flew into view. We watched as the African Fish Eagle and the Grey Heron had a long and drawn out battle which resulted in a stand off between the two. The Fish Eagle had soaked his wings as he was hunting the heron and the heron, whose flight is slow and energy consuming was completely exhausted! We left them to recover and decided to return later in the morning to see if a winner had been declared.

Sarah-Estelle Sangster-Ranger, Kapama Karula

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