Spoke with Mr An Onymous, and he was pretty happy to take a trip down to WTP. The weather at the time looked, well, sad, so we waited until the weather person on the telly said, “Fine”, and as she would know, we went with her recommendations. Wednesday. Would a person with an auto-cue mislead you?
Most will know that I’m a great fan of WTP in the late afternoon. The light seems to me always to be at a better angle. But, morning light offers s softness that is also hard to resist. And we get to stop off somewhere for a late lunch on the way home. So, we went in the morning.
The “Clear” skies didn’t eventuate, but at least it didn’t rain. There was little or no wind so the raptors of the field were going to have to work that bit harder to get, and stay airborne.
We went down by the Spit to look perhaps, for Brolgas, perhaps. But were pretty infatuated with the way the early morning light was playing over the shallow pools, with its soft mellow yellow and orange, so we played creative photographer and enjoyed the moment.
We spotted a Whistling kite on one of the ‘new’ logs that have been placed in the pool, and were just setting up to photograph it when it suddenly took off. As usual we blamed ourselves for setting it to air. But, it circled the pond, and with clear intention swung down and attempted to grasp something from the water. It missed, so did we, and astounded we watched as it regained height, dropped is legs and swung in for a second pass. This time the shutters went, but not being a great inflght person, what I got was hardly super. But enough to show the bird meant business. So new sets of rules. 1. Be ready, 2. Always anticipate they may do something unusual. 3. Brush up on inflight techniques.
A couple of Black-shouldered Kites were sitting on one of the many solar panel settings in the paddocks. The birds ruin the panels by crapping all over them, so the clever people who design these things have added specially spaced spikes to convince the birds to (a) perch elsewhere, and (b), don’t defecate. Seems like a good idea. Doubt though that the birds see it as any more than just another challenge in their day, and so have just taken the spikes to be part of the scene. This pair is really interesting to us, they seem to be a pair that stays together over the entire year. Not just at nesting. They always seem to be in the same area and hunt together. Today was no exception.
I finally found a flock of Pink-eared Ducks that were close to the road way and accessible. I also learned several things from this encounter. 1. They don’t like intruders. 2. They will return to a perch pretty quickly. 3. With the tripod buried among the grasses they will not be alarmed when they return. and 4. Cars driving along the roadway, put them to flight, and they quickly return. So corollary of 4. is, you get good exit and return shots if you’re sitting in the grass.
Also managed to see several foxes plying their trade. One was a bit inquisitive about said photographer, sitting in the grass,and took quite awhile to finally disappear along one of its tracks.
Around the beachside to the east of the Little River mouth, the road runs across a causeway, and there is a large log jutting out into the sea. Most travellers through the WTP, will have seen at least once a raptor sitting on this log. Today, the place was filled with a Whistling Kite, devouring its latest catch. We waited until it took to wing, and then wandered down along the beach to see the remains, a few wing feathers of a Magpie Lark. It had jammed the carcass into the cracks on the branch so it could more easily deal with it.
Just past the causeway we found a small tidal pool with a number of Red-kneed Dotterels feeding and disputing about territory. Then a EE noted a white tail flick in the grass, and out came a Spotted Crake. The Dotterels immediately took umbrage and forced it back into the grasses, then they all took off and to our pleasure the Crake came out to feed.
On toward Borrow an stopping at 15W outflow, I found a Pied Cormorant being fed by its parent. And then we spotted a Brown Flacon who seemed to have a complete dislike for Whistling Kites. And then to have a Brown Falcon being put off by a Magpie.
Not a bad mornings work. A stop on the way to look for the Northern Shoveller, no such luck,and coffee at the Highway Lounge ended a good morning out and about.