Surprise! A Hobby at the Office

Hope you survived the little tirade in the last post. All is forgiven.

EE and I thought, based on the last couple of adventures to The Office, that we needed to make a quick looksee if the Black-shouldered Kites had settled.
Many will remember Kitty and Kalev (The Brave), and their nesting attempts over the last couple of seasons.
They are fairly tolerant, and as she makes some of the best, most secretive nests, the chances of interrupting her on nest are pretty slim. And he has no problems about bringing mice in for her virtually above our sit spot.

So it was with a bit of an expectant parent  looksee, that we turned up on a mostly cloudy day and looked around the carpark. And there they were, clever pair, way down the range, and out of camera reach.

“Perhaps he’ll come over to hunt along the river edge,” says she. So we meandered on along the river bank.


The Office is so named as in, “Just Another Day in the Office”.  The area is on the ridge line of the old Werribee River course where it has cut into the sandy plains.  The result is a huge flood plain with the river winding its way toward the sea. Because of the heights of the river cliffs, it is an ideal place for raptors and other birds that rely on winds to shoot up over the cliff side in a most spectacular manner.  The grasses on the river plain provide good food sources for quite a range of birds. On a good day, we are busy from the time we arrive.  Just another day at the Office. 🙂

But for some reason, at this time of the year, it is particularly quiet.  After a suitable amount of time, measured in cups of boiling hot black Earl of Grey tea, it seemed that we might have run out of luck today.
We continued on along the river height, at least we had plenty of time to do a spot of sight-seeing if you will.

And as we relaxed into the walking, suddenly a brown and grey streak appeared and disappeared and appeared, —you get the idea, and if not ask someone— along the river bank edge.  Hard to pick, but the process of elimination immediately ruled out pelican and emu.
A Hobby, someone exclaimed.
And this adroit little bird sped over the bank rim, turned and dropped on the fence by the roadside.  A Hobby indeed.

We walked up slowly.  It would fly anyway.  Such is the life of an Australian Hobby.  This one it appeared was hunting crickets, or perhaps small grasshoppers. A flick of the fence, a u turn in mid air, and back on the fence. Blink, and you’d miss it.  No point in “chimping” at the images on the back of the camera.  This was far to fast to allow for that.

We walked up even more slowly.  It seemed the bird had a good tolerance of us, or a grand respect for its own ability and stood its ground.

Close enough.  A flick of the tail, and a wing tip movement is a pretty good sign it has leaving on its mind.   So we stood. Until my arms got tired of holding the camera, and still we stood.  An air of expectation.  The Hobby expecting to get a glance of a easy meal, and I to get a great shot of it departing.
We stood. Fifteen minutes later, the game was the same. Hobby 0 Photographer 0.

Then, without the slightest warning. It was gone.  A feather of a tail in the upper part of the viewfinder was all I managed

It executed its well rehearsed u turn as was back on the fence about three posts down before I’d taken the next breath.

We moved forward.  It stood. The next time, EE was ready, and managed a fine tail spread as it landed back on the fence about three posts down.

Tiring of the game of challenge the photographer, it turned in the air and was gone.  We watched it and its mate run up the river both calling as they went.

That is the Office.  Perfect One Day, Perfect the Next.



4 thoughts on “Surprise! A Hobby at the Office

  1. Lovely shots of the Hobby, David. And a superb narrative to accompany them. It does sometimes seem like our feathered friends like to play games with us.
    The ethics post was well written too and sadly it is a message that often falls on deaf ears. I guess that line delineates the true birder from the photographer. My time behind the lenses (still and video) for media is time spent getting the shot/video at any or all cost. My time in the scrub or by a river with the birds is time to chill out and if I am lucky I get a shot or two of a bird that chooses to visit a nearby branch or fly within reach of my lens.
    Cheers Dave.


    1. G,day Dave, thanks for the comments and considered thoughts.
      Yep, I’ve been in the publish or perish business, not a scene I’d like to return to anytime, I’ve an old Nikon “F” with a considerable dint and ding quotient to attest to the hard life it ran though.

      I think Brad Hill is brave sticking a peg in the ground and saying, ‘this is what I do”, thought I’d make the same, if somewhat smaller contribution.

      Still we’ll be back out tomorrow, lenses tuned, ears alert, eyed peeled. Who knows what may be on the cards.


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