Little Journeys: The X-Rated Story

We had as the story is told, been shopping early in the morning to beat the rush before Metro Melbourne is forced into lockdown because of the stupidity and thoughtlessness of people.
As a friend of mine has put a sign in his window, “Welcome to Melbourne. The home of the stupidous people in Australia”.
Dictionary definition of stupidous: One who knows how stupid they are and still continues to act stupid; hence the ous at the end.

On a whim, as we had indeed packed the cameras, you know, on the off chance, wink wink, if the light was good, we might make a last journey to the beach area at Point Cook.

So, as The Banjo did write,  we went.

As soon as we arrived, EE called, “See, Black-shouldered Kite on the highest branch”, and of course she was right. Not that anyone would doubt.

Within a few moments of getting out of IamGrey, it was obvious that this was the female of the species, as very quickly the male swept in first with a mouse, then with a stick for the nest and then for pro-creation purposes.

Unlike the pair we’ve been working with locally, these two are pretty much about the same size, she being a bit better weighted.  They have a much more robust relationship too, as he is quite capable of giving as much as he gets. She might rule the roost, but he is definitely not subordinate.

Time passed, and as we hadn’t thought about lunch or any snacks, we were just as refreshed watching the birds going about their important business, and sitting in the sunshine enjoying the serenity around us.
We did make it to the beach, but not before an interlude with Cassia of Cinnamon, the Brown Falcon that featured here with her two young last year.  No doubt she is back and establishing a nesting territory.  Time will indeed tell.

By late mid-afternoon, with a full memory, and a full memory card or two, it was time to head for home.

The lockdown this time seems to have enough flexibility for a return visit or two so we might be able to follow the new Kite family in a bit of detail.  Just going to have to buy a set of golfclubs or a fishing rod or surfboard, to carry around, as such activities are gazetted.

Here is a few from the day, and a link here to the X-Rated Material on the webpage.

Looking remarkably refreshed after two successive nestings, the female is preparing for another round.
Meanwhile down in the forest the male is collecting the necessary building materials.
Personally beak picked and ready for installation. It took me a few minutes to locate where he’d settled.
Heavy lifting done, time for the next step in baby-making
His next mission it to provide some top-up snacks
She has the casual one legged approach to landing
This was an interesting transfer, as he bought in the mouse, and then set for quite a few minutes before she flew in to wrestle it from him.
The handy dandy workman at work.
Each twig or branch has to come from just the right spot, and he often has a hard time getting the branch to break off.
In bound with just the right piece.

 

13 thoughts on “Little Journeys: The X-Rated Story

  1. A beautiful love story illustrated with stunning photos!
    BTW I ran into Andrew from down Willy Way when I was looking for robins at Woodlands.
    He also gave me the low down on Koroit Creek mouth.
    He mentioned that he knew you.

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  2. G.day Richard,
    Hope the robins are well at Woodlands. We found the usual suspects at Point Cook yesterday, but had run out of time to get more than a glimpse. Maybe it will be a trip in the soonish future.

    Andrew does quite a bit of work around the Jawbone and Challis Drain area and is quite the wealth of information, a bit like the Richard Arnold of Woodlands. 🙂
    We are not planning, because of the current arrangements to get back out to Woodlands this season. Have you had any luck with the Eastern Yellow Robins up at Sugargums?

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    1. Hi David
      Yes the Eastern Yellow Robins are still there. I have posted a few shots on my eBird WHP entries.
      I was surprised they got through the really hot summer.
      I don’t see them every time I visit the sugar gums but they are still around – more in the southern section of the sugar gums just off a horse trail and near a large fallen tree, close to the East-West track which cuts the sugar gums into two.
      There was a flurry of activity in the park during May with cameras everywhere.
      People were going after the Red-capped Robin which is a bit strange because it is a resident all year – in the Back Paddock (thankfully open!) there has been a reasonable turn-up of flames and the odd scarlet

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      1. G,day Richard,
        Good to know that they are still around. We had a looksee a month or so ago, but to no avail.
        Same day we went down to the Weeroona carpark, and were staggered by the stream of people with cameras, tripods and camo gear tramping all over the place.
        One guy I spoke to said, I’ve taken more shots of photographers than I have of Robins!!!
        We did have a couple of good sessions out there just after the Flames arrived. Was good just to sit and let them feed past us.
        Not sure where all the Red-caps have gone.
        Won’t be out there now till Spring by the look.
        Good luck, stay in touch.

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  3. Does appear that is the case. She gets the tougher job of sitting (in lockdown?) for the 4 weeks of hatching and a couple of weeks before the young have feathers. Rain, hail, shine, wind, gale. I often worry, (unnecessarily) about her. I suspect that is why she is so well filled out, as just sitting and getting meals delivered must take a toll.
    Probably also why after fledging she lets him take the bulk of the training.
    He does some sitting on the nest in the early stages, while she takes a quick break.

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  4. You have definitely organised your place of residence perfectly: you go shopping or visit a doctor and you only have to remember to take your camera with you when you leave your home. If I could be envious, I would. For now I’m happy for you and thanks for sharing!

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    1. G’day Adam, I think we’ll be ok to travel the short distance to these kites. It makes a bit of a day of it, so we won’t be as regular as we have been with the locals. I’m also anticipating that the Brown Falcon will settle in in early September. No sign of her mate so far, but that is not surprising.
      Hope the lockdown does not limit you too much.
      Remain

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  5. Great to see them, David! Glad that you got over there. Yes, I believe you would be able to visit during the current lock-down. You just can’t go west of Lara (without a valid excuse). I was wanting to head down to Sneydes this morning but decided against it, I didn’t want to rock the boat on the first day! Probably should have as the light was brilliant!

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    1. Ditto, likewise, as you just said.
      With such good light it should have been good down there and we were slightly tempted, but rather chose to keep a low profile for a couple of days.
      Will have to wait till the weather picks up a bit, but will be interested to see how much longer the young ones will remain.

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  6. Wonderful captures of an important event David in the life of the Kite, not to mention humans as well, or we would not be here 🙂 It reminds me of the Rainbow Bee-eater Love Story I posted last year, and in fact only posted on my aussiebirder YouTube channel today. What beautiful clear captures of the courting and mating process.
    Yes, how stupid and so unfair that a few selfish people can contaminate so many in so few days. We are concerned now in NSW that it is already been brought across our border by dishonest, selfish, rebellious people who are trying to pretend they don’t have the virus. It has put you and your wife back inside again. Though these captures give you some joy for now. Praying this 2nd wave is dealt with well, and those responsible are stopped earlier rather than later.
    Similar to the Brown Falcon, the BS Kite has been beautifully showcased with your photographic prowess David. Stay safe my friend!

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    1. Thanks for the kind thoughts Ashley.
      It seems that we might be able to get out and about as long as we don’t run the border like some carefree bootleggers of old. Given that my family history/background is based around Cornish Pirates who ran blockades for fun and profit, I suppose I should be just a bit extra careful to keep to the rules 🙂
      Trying hard not to be disappointed by the behaviour of those I can’t do anything about I’ve decided as a committee of one to be as careful as I can to stay within the bounds.
      As I wrote to someone else today,
      Good books, good online friends, phone/vid calls to the kids, plenty of work to do on my photos library and spirits are high.
      I may be one, but I hope a lot of other ones make up a whole.

      The beaut part about these birds is we don’t have to re-establish credentials with them. They have confidence in our presence from the previous months.

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