Thursday, July 16, 2009
As the sky cleared this morning after a week of heavy rain, I noticed the resident pair of Peregrines toing and froing around the office block next my office window. Last year they successfully fledged a chick, and hopefully they'll do the same this year. It got me thinking about what a great country Australia is for raptors. We are blessed with the second largest eagle in the world, Wedge-tailed Eagle, and a whole host of kites, falcons, hawks and eagles. Here are few that I have managed to capture over the past couple of years. After being in Australia for 7 months I moved from Sydney to Adelaide, and as I drove through the Hay Plain, a wonderful stretch of flat, open scrub with saltbush and bluebush, I happened across this "Wedgie" - my first good photo opportunity with one: More recently, I found this one on a recently roadkilled joey, and he was so full that he could hardly fly!! Notice his bulging crop in the second photo. Another lovely eagle is the White-bellied Sea-eagle. this is a juvenile bird taken over Karatha in the Pilbara in Western Australia on a long distance twitch for Red-legged Crake - (but that is a whole different story). Black Kite is partially migratory in South Australia in that we get a lot more in the summer, with only a few overwintering. Sometime they can be in flocks of twenty or thirty, but I have never managed any decent photos. These were taken of a small group at Montecollina Bore in the Strzlecki Desert in South Australia. One of them appeared to be eating on the wing. I hadn't heard of that before. Finally, some falcons. Brown Falcon is very common, and about the same size as Peregrine though built more like an Accipiter. This one was taken at Farina, on the same trip as the kite photos. Australian Hobby is much more scarce, and I'm lucky if I get to see more than one or two each year. Like Brown Falcon, Australian Kestrel is also pretty common. This one settled beside me at Magic Point, Maroubra which is only a few Km from Sydney city centre. He was totally unconcerned that I was only about 5m (16ft) away and sat for about 20 minutes before opening his wings and drifting off. What a gorgeous bird!