Thursday, January 2, 2014

Letter-winged Kites

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.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic kites! And you got superb photos of them and the other birds,