Spot the Harrier

On a bit of a spur of the moment decision we decided on a trip to the WTP.

We left a little later in the afternoon and the cloudy old morning gave way to lovely filtered sunlight and it was one of those times when it is a joy to be a photographer.

We made a quick detour down through 29 Mile Road and Avalon airfield and were impressed to find a Whistling Kite making its way along the tree lined fences.

We went back up to the 15 W roadside, and after a little bit of hunting about, found not one  but two Spotted Harriers in the late evening sunshine.

One took off to harrass the Australian Shelduck populations, the other continued to hunt in the nearby paddocks.

A number of Ravens took exception to this and harassed it mercilessly.  Then all of a sudden, it turned what can only be described as a cartwheel, long legs swinging out to pendulum around and attack the ravens. Now we have used the word “languid” to describe its usual flight, but this was far from that and would best be described as “Rapid”. In moments it closed the gap to the ravens, who, clever creatures that they are, sensed a change of fortune and with tail between legs headed for the nearest shelter.  A casuarina just across the road.  They all arrived just about the time the harrier did, and it made a near vertical ascent to the top of the tree,and hovered in the breeze for a minute or two before wheeling about, and using the breeze, landed on a fence post just opposite the casuarina.  If the distance had been a little further, no doubt the Harrier would have caught up with them. No   noise from the ravens  It preened for a few minutes and the took off to resume its hunt. The ravens slipped quietly out the other side of the tree and went off to find other things to do.

Had we been a few minutes earlier we might have placed ourselves with the light behind us rather than having to shoot into the light, but the spectacle was worth it anyway.

In a few minutes a prey was located and there was  merry dance around the bushes and finally it settled in to eat.

After a bit of a preen this Harrier took to the evening air to continue its hunt

More pics of the evening here.

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