Moments: A Hunting We will Go. Brown Falcon Style

In the best traditions of exclusive marketing, “Snapshots” has been renamed “Moments”.  Same great taste, same great ingredients, just a name that more closely realises the time with a bird(s).

EE and I have been missing our dose of Brown Falcon life for quite awhile.  Summer over, nesting behind them, tis time for Browns to come out and play again.  Gone are the wary, defensive secretive lives.  Now relaxed birds that don’t have a territory nor a growing family to defend.

We were looking along Ryan’s Swamp Rd at the WTP and found a bird sitting just off the road on a bund. Hunting.
Now Browns aren’t like other falcons, lots of flying about looking, here and there, looking busy.  Brown’s mostly contemplate. They are clever hunters that have their local territory ‘mapped’. Each flypast simply confirms, or adds to their already massive data bank.   A farm ute driving past on the roadway doesn’t even get a glance.  They know it’s not a threat.

We managed to get past the bird for some over-the-shoulder front light.
And then. Waited.  Browns do that a lot.
This one sat, then lifted off with one wing sweep, and landed on the far side of the bund emerging with a cricket or a beetle snack.
Next it swept across the road. Low down, Brown style.  Paused on a white fence post.  Then returned to our side of the road landing on a post to contemplate.
Another trip across the road, and more sitting.
A small sweep out to pickup another snack, and back on the white fence post.

Watching it is one thing. Working out the its stratergy something else again.
A dash off the post, a huge sweep up on to a branch and it sat.
Intruiged I walked over the road to get closer.
And it sat.

After a few minutes, it threw off the branch, dropped without a wing flap, straight down on to the ground on top of the bund on the far side of the fence.  Straight into some old grass and scrub. Luckily for me, there was an opening in the dried twigs and I managed to see it turn around with its latest meal. A snake.  Tiger I think. Your average Brown stands about 50cm so its fair to guess that the snake was at least that longer or a bit longer, perhaps 60-70cm (about 2 Foot in the old real measurement).

Satisfied all was safe, the bird went to work and before too long, turned, licked its beak (Well it can’t do that, but anthropomorphically speaking). Looked about and sailed back up into the tree to let the meal digest.

Bad career move!

The tree was inhabited by a small flock of WIllie Wagtail juveniles, all wanting to show their prowess and bravery.  So poor Brown was harassed mercilessly by the team of young guns. Each trying to be a little more enthusiastic than the others. In the end, Brown took the hint and moved on.

Sitting quietly by the side of the road. Taking it all in.
Just a hop and a step, and there’s a snack
It looks pretty detached, but its fair to conclude that nothing is getting past that steely gaze
A quick fly over the bund, just to see what the options or possibilites are.
From this perch, the bird no doubt had a good view of the snake, and kept returning here every 10 minutes or so.
A plan is hatched, just need to get the right attack position.
Dropping straight down under full control
On Target!
Look what I found.
And that is the last little bit.
Never underestimate your average Brown Falcon, but also never underestimate a determined Wagtail clan.

8 thoughts on “Moments: A Hunting We will Go. Brown Falcon Style

  1. A wonderful narrative description of the Brown at work! And a fabulous series of shots! Amazing to see it with the Tiger!
    DN

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  2. Magnificent captures David. The Brown’s are one my favourite birds to photograph when I get to see them, which is rare. I love the light on their patterned plumage. How wonderful that it allowed you to watch it hunt and capture, what a blessing!

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    1. Hi AB, your are right, it was a blessing. Sometimes, Browns can be the most cooperative birds, other times they flee in an instant.
      I think the bird knows so much about its surrounds. Nothing comes as a surprise. The area is a working farm and there is traffic and workers in the area all the time, so it knows a vehicle going past offers no threat.
      They are extremely patient, and one might mistake that for lethargy or contentment, but each scan is telling the bird something, either confirming or acquiring new data.
      I love working with them, just don’t do it enough to fully gain the bird’s confidence.

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  3. One time a few years ago a Brown Falcon flew down straight in front of me and grabbed a pigeon, the pigeon was staring at me in horror while I stared back in awe, this was a busy suburban street and I could not believe my eyes! Last time i’ve ever seen on though. These set of images and story alongside is brilliant! Love your work!

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  4. Hi Stacy, Great story. I’ve had a few experiences with Browns, but not one that dramatic. Although I did have one get so angry we were in the area that it struck the rear window of the car as we drove away!.
    I enjoy my time working with Browns, their apparent patience means some great photos of them as personalities and character.
    Keep takin’ pictures, we do

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