Last week, some Letter-winged Kites were reported less than an hours drive away on a property near Port Wakefield. Letter-winged Kites are an irruptive species normally associated with remote outback locations. They are an Elanus kite, similar to the much commoner Black-shouldered Kite. It wasn't until new year's eve that I had a chance to try for them. The property owners were kind enough to allow birders access to look for the birds.
When I arrived at the property, a fox crossed in front of me and ran across a paddock, being soundly scolded by a bold little Willie Wagtail. Willie Wagtail 1 - Fox 0!
On a power pole was a Brown Falcon, and in trees around the homestead were a few Black Kites.
As I followed the instructions through a couple of paddocks, a small kite flew over and hovered in front of me - Black-shouldered.
I scanned the trees again. Another small kite flew in - Black-shouldered again! Then a shadow across the ground. I look up at another Black-shouldered Kite.
By now the raptors are beginning to thermal overhead. Black Kites, Whistling Kites, and another Black-shouldered. Then into my view flies a Letter-winged Kite! Unmistakeable!
Over the next couple of hours I saw 6 of these beauties, perched in various trees and also flying. An amazing birding experience.
Also on the property were a few pairs of Australian Pratincole, another species difficult to tie down, so I had a quick look for them, and found some in a tiny paddock by an old farm building.