Nankeen Kestrel

Nankeen Kestrel

Nankeen Kestrel

Land block

Land block

 

I was supposed to be looking at blocks of land to build on, but I ended up getting side tracked. This is what my photos should have looked like.

 

Nakeen Kestrel hovering

Nakeen Kestrel hovering

It was far more interesting to watch this kestrel hunting along the dunes.

Here’s the series of him almost, but not quite, catching lunch.

Kestrel Landing

Kestrel Landing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kestrel turning

Kestrel turning

Kestrel Taking Off

Kestrel Taking Off

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kestrel Fly

Kestrel Fly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He wasn’t interested in me watching him – he was concentrating far too hard to care.

So in the ‘Plus’ box for that block of land I’ve added ‘Watching kestrel from the window’.

 

 

 

AussieBirdLife Update

Carnabys Black Cockatoo feeding

Carnabys Black Cockatoo feeding

It’s time for an update on several of my previous posts.

In my post on the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo I said that if you wanted to see them, then you’d be certain to see them at Yanchep National Park. A few weeks later I visited and didn’t see, or hear any of them. They seem to have largely dispersed and small groups of them can be seen all over the northern suburbs, in areas I hadn’t ever seen them before. Presumably this is due to their breeding season, or possibly after a particular source of food. Several of them were feeding in a neighbour’s tree when I took the picture above.

Musk Duck displaying

Musk Duck displaying

I mentioned in my AussieBirdLife post about the musk duck how he would use his tail when displaying. This duck decided to give me a demonstration, incorporating all his best moves at once, like in this picture.

Musk Duck's tail

Musk Duck’s tail

 

 

He opens his beak to let out a loud ‘honk’, holds his chin up to stretch his leathery flap, throws his tail over his back, and caps it off will a big splash of water with his feet.

 

Osprey

No news is good news on the ospreys.  They haven’t started nesting, but then a local wildlife warden told me that they don’t normally nest in this region until September.  It’s usually in northern Australia that they nest in May/June time.  I had a spell of a few weeks when I hadn’t seen them, but I’ve seen them both together again this week.  So maybe I’ll have a nesting update in a couple of months time.

 

Now Football Celebrities at the Mall

My last post was about the surprise appearance of Birds of Prey at the local shops.  When I went yesterday, I got to meet  a local football star – and even stroke him!

Auzzie - The Wedge-Tailed Eagle

Auzzie – West Coast Eagles Mascot

 

Meet Auzzie, the Wedge-Tailed Eagle.  Auzzie is a mascot for the Weat Coast Eagles.  (For international readers, it’s the AFL equivalent to Manchester United.)  Auzzie even has his own facebook page.  I stood in line to stroke Auzzie  (- average age of those in queue, roughly 10 I’d say).  It was mainly to get a close up photo though.  That was difficult as he wasn’t keen to keep his head still as he was turning to look all around him.  However the photo much better than my previous best attempt.  This eagle was flying over woodland about an hour’s drive away.  Not a very sharp picture, but great to identify him.  You can easily see his tail shape.

Wedge Tailed Eagle - Australian Bird of Prey

Wedge Tailed Eagle – Australian Bird of Prey

This time I spoke to the keepers of these lovely birds who are very helpful and extremely knowledgable.  They are from the Western Australian Birds of Prey Centre, wabirdsofprey.com, and they give these talks to all sorts of groups (schools, guides and scouts etc).

Sooty Owl - Australian Bird of Prey

Sooty Owl – Australian Bird of Prey

Barking Owl - Australian Bird of Prey

Barking Owl – Australian Bird of Prey

 

This time I also got to see a Barking Owl and a Sooty Owl which was great as I haven’t seen either before.

 

 

 

The picture quality isn’t too bad given that they were taken on a very old mobile phone.  The biggest lesson for me from this week is ‘Always take a camera to the supermarket’.

Sooty Owl - Australian Bird of Prey

Sooty Owl – Australian Bird of Prey

 

Birds of Prey- where you least expect them

Often, when I see birds , I haven’t actually gone looking for them,  they just happen to be there.  It might me when I’m walking the dog, going on a bike ride, walking the children to school, down on the beach.  Seeing them isn’t actually a surprise, but it isn’t always my purpose.

Kmart - special offer
Kmart – special offer

Yesterday I went to the supermarket (not so unusual),  but when I came out I had to walk through the mall, and I saw this.

Was it a special offer?  No, a keeper had several birds on a perch and on her glove and was giving a talk.  In the middle of the mall.  There were lots of eager faces looking up from rows of chairs.

It was a great idea.  A Birds of Prey show by the shops during the school holidays.  The children, and plenty of adults, sat down to listen, and then got a really close up view of birds they might normally only see at a distance.  I’m not sure whose idea it was or who paid for it (maybe the shopping centre) but it was certainly a popular show.  The more our children know about the wildlife around them, the more likely they are to grow up respecting and protecting it.

Brown Falcon - Australian Bird of Prey

Brown Falcon – Australian Bird of Prey

Nankeen Kestrel - Australian Bird of Prey

Nankeen Kestrel – Australian Bird of Prey

 

 

 

I hope my identification is spot on – if not, feel free to correct me.

 

 

 

 

Whistling Kite

The difficult thing with writing posts about a bird of prey is taking a photo of one first.  Without a photo, the post might be a bit ‘dry’ but usually birds of prey are a) high up and b) moving,  causing obvious problems.  So I was quite pleased to get a picture of  this whistling kite.

Whistling Kite, Aussie Bird

Whistling Kite – Yanchep National Park

Fortunately it chose to land on a tree right in front of me with one of its parents, making life much easier for me.  The two of them took off and circled overhead a couple of times, allowing me a good look at its underside to help identify it later on.   These were in Yanchep National Park, WA.

I also see them circling up and down the edge of the coastline regularly, though I can often hear them ‘whistling’ long before I see them. I realise the quality of the following picture isn’t great, but I post it for 2 reasons.  Firstly, I was jubilant to capture it on film at all given how hard it was to see it at that distance and speed through my camera’s viewfinder.  Secondly, it shows the value of some apparently rubbish photos.  Although it’s not a sharp picture, it shows the bird’s markings from underneath.  When I got home, I was able to match up the photo with the pictures in my field guide to identify it.  I can now recognise its whistling cry, but at the time I wouldn’t have known what it was.

Whistling Kite Flying

Whistling Kite Flying

If you’re in Queensland, you can’t rely purely on hearing its whistling cry anyway – the Spotted Bowerbirds there are known to mimic the whistling kite (though no-one seems sure why). You will find these kites over most of Australia.  They like to hunt young rabbits and also fish, so a coastal area with a rabbit problem is ideal territory.

So, if anyone has a fantastic, clear photo of one of these in the air, well done, and feel free to send it for me to upload for all to see.

Osprey

I was in a kayak, having my first paddle across the nearby marina, when I saw a bird of prey where I didn’t expect to.  It was above my head on the balcony of a large house, and I was sure it was an osprey.  I knew that ospreys had bred on the coast nearby in recent years, but I hadn’t seen one until then.  Since then, I have undertaken the most civilised bird watching ever.  The balcony is on the opposite side of the marina to the shops and cafes.  So I am forced to sit in a cafe drinking tea and eating cake in order to watch the ospreys (and enjoy the view) – such a chore.

The balcony is too far from the cafe to get a decent picture with my little (not very zoomy) camera, so, the following weekend, I set off again in the kayak, this time with a camera.  I rounded the corner to see not one but two ospreys.  Fantastic.  I still had to zoom quite a lot, and the kayak was wobbling and drifting a bit, but I did get a picture.  Very cooperative birds.  Ok, so the picture is quite grainy, but I think it’s quite good given that I was bobbing about and using a little camera at quite a distance.

Ospreys on the balcony

 

The council thoughtfully erected an osprey nesting platform in the wildlife reserve about a kilometre away, so I’ve been going to look regularly.  On one occasion, one of the
ospreys flew over with a fish in its talons.  No, I didn’t manage to get a photo, it was far too fast for me.  So far, no luck with the nest, but I’ll keep an eye out as I’m sure they’ll nest somewhere nearby fairly soon.  I hope so as I’d really love to watch them raise a family this season.

Some of you may be thinking that an osprey isn’t just an Australian Bird.  No, you can find them in many parts of the world.  I’ve seen them in Britain, but the great thing for me here is the ease of seeing them, right on my doorstep – no hikes in the rain to remote places.