Sounds like a fairy tale, but no, when I emerged from the track at the Bingie Wetlands a beautiful adult White-bellied Sea Eagle took off from the other side of the pond.
My heart sank, so near, yet my chance had flown before I even realised it was there. Black ducks on the pond also swam away from me and took off.
However another bird circled around, landed and proceeded to feed on something on the ground.
It was very speckled, obviously a raptor, I thought it might be a Harrier.
I was hiding behind a wattle bush and trying to hold steady to capture clear shots of the very distant bird.
Finally I had to stand up, but the bird was so absorbed in the struggle with its prey, that it did not fly. Now I could see that the inert lump on the sand was definitely a small turtle.
When I got home I studied the bird book and discovered it was not a Swamp Harrier, but a juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle. You can see although he is very speckled, there are patches of white as his adult feathers come through. Perhaps the adult I saw leaving had shown the young one how to take a turtle from the pond, and then left him to work out how to get the meat. When the young Sea Eagle had flown off a Raven came down to feed.
P.S. Email from my local photographer friend John “Christine, I enjoyed the eagle photos but it is not a juvenile sea eagle. The shot of the bird flying shows flat wing shape with very long fingers – sea eagles have a characteristic deep V shape and the fingers aren’t that long. The tail looks wrong too, the sea eagle has a wedge shaped one whereas your bird is more square. I think you initial harrier ID was closer to the mark.”
I have not had time to reinvestigate yet, but options are open!