Way down in the bowels of Flickr, back about March 2011, is a photo of a Brown Falcon on a Fence. It’s a shot that has always been in my “Signature Series“. It was made on my very first ever trip down to the Western Treatment Plant, and I found it just as I was leaving, with the late afternoon sunshine gracing the bird. It stood its ground on me and I just waited. So did the bird. Eventually a small breeze blew past, and the bird took to wing. It threw straight into the sunshine, and I only got the one shot.
Its been up on Flickr for quite a long time, and I received an email from one of the editors of Wildlife Magazine, a few months back looking for images for an article on Brown Falcons. So they published it in the latest Edition of the magazine, Winter 2014, vol 51, No. 2 supporting an article by Dr Penny Olsen. The article is titled Snake Charmer The Brown Falcon. My mate Paul Randall of wingsonwire, (see the sidebar for the address) also had a featured shot of a Brownie with a snake for a meal.
Been awhile since I’ve posted, but its been lack of good weather more than anything.
The area close to home, on the Werribee River Park, that I’ve taken to euphemistically calling ‘The Office”, has an amazing number of raptors, and I thought I’d introduce them and what they are up to.
On the roadway in, just over the Geelong Freeway, there is a fence line and a few old pines. Here a pair of Black-shouldered Kites have just flown their two orange and cinnamon young. In the same tree line a pair of Black Kites appear to be setting up house, if not already at work on brooding. Next tree or three down, is a pair of Brown Falcons. Not nesting yet, but certainly staking out their claim to the territory. Much to the anger of the Black-shouldered Kites.
Down the road a little just before the carpark off in the paddocks a second pair of Brown Falcons are at work on territorial rights. Also regularly in the area a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles, although the moment, it probably is just a convenient perching location.
At the carpark proper, a pair of Black-shouldered Kites and their recently fledged three teenagers. Not more than a dozen trees down from them is a pair of Black Kites and a nest that is work in progress. I’ve not checked up close, but there is either brooding or feeding going on. The male seems quite adept at pursing a laden Black-shouldered Kite and getting it to release its mouse capture.
A pair of Brown Falcons are constantly in the trees just off the river cliffs line, and I’d be tempted to say its a likely spot for a nest.
Further out in the field and well away from my prying lens is a pair of Australian Kestrels, and again they are too early for nesting, but are certainly building good pair bonding.
Combine that with the regular visits by any number of Whistling Kites and the area is certainly busy. A few days back an arrow shaped bird sped through the trees and caused quite a stir among the smaller birds and the one really good look suggested Peregrine Falcon, and I’ve seen one briefly on the fence line on the way in.
So here are a few of the birds at work. The food in the area must be exceptional to support such a range of nesting and preparing birds.