Interludes: Learning Curves

It has to be said that the learning curve for young Australian Hobbys would best be described with an exponential curve rather than a lazy sine curve wandering about aimlessly.

For a start, the speeds that all the activities take place is super-sonic.
Ask anyone who has tried to keep them in the viewfinder as they speed past.
“Oh, glad you asked!  It is next to impossible to keep them in the viewfinder as they speed past.”

Most of the shots below were taken at quite some distance out.  These little dudes have discovered that they can dig into the air and be a kilometre out of sight before you can say, “Now where are they going?”

It’s more likely, “There they went.”

Over the past few days they have been learning to hunt dragonflies. Interesting as the adult, no doubt its Bronte, the male, lets them run hard and fast and then seems to manoeuvre through their actions, helping, or at least guiding. A few times catching and then dropping the prey for the young bird to snatch away.

Early on, he was arriving with a fresh kill, and then allowing the youngster to snatch it away from the perch.  A day or so later and he developed a new strategy.
He would come in, and then ‘hover’ for a few seconds with the prey while the young came up and took it.  Now there are several actions going on here that I could determine.
First:  He has to swoop up, and stall, before falling backdown.  In those few seconds, (like a diver from a springboard) there is a delay between the going up, and the coming down.

Second: The young at first were a tad clumsy. Tad being a euphemism for very clumsy.  But a few attempts of crashing into Bronte really honed the skill and they both soon learned to get the timing right.

Third: He would roll over and follow them down to be sure that nothing untoward, such as dropping the prey occurred. If it did, he simply closed wings and sped past them to retrieve it and repeat the food pass.

I only saw one food drop.

And as they say: Therein endeth the lesson.
Moving on to dragonflies and other flying creatures tomorrow.


Wings folding up for supersonic speed
Waiting for the youngster
Got it. Worth looking at Bronte’s eyes as he watches to make sure it’s all secure
Folded up at Super-sonic. They learned to stoop from great heights. Perhaps to avoid any disasters.
Coming in for a meal
He’ll hold position for a few moments, but really can’t hover like a Kite
An overshoot, but somehow its persistence nailed the prey.
Dropping away successully
A bit like Goldilocks, nothing left for the late comer.
Closeup. Is that glee on the young one’s face?
Rolling into a stoop, Bronte follows the young one down

5 thoughts on “Interludes: Learning Curves

  1. Amazing captures as usual David. Interesting study you are doing on their parenting and feeding methods. They are quite capable of trying new things to see how they work, like we would trying to teach our children how to eat for themselves. Beautiful captures all round. I have been getting use to the new concept of Mirrorless technology, it is quite different through the viewfinder, but I am getting some nice pics. Still a lot of learning and changing to do before its second nature. They have placed some buttons in different place which catches me out at times.Have a wonderful new year both of you, and may you stay healthy and safe. It is crazy here, so many sick, my step son had Covid over Christmas, missing Christmas with the family (Zoom Christmas) and is now almost recovered and he was double vaxed, We are trying to avoid going anywhere and will be getting out of Sydney tomorrow like many trying to escape the madness.


  2. Hello Ashley,
    Good to hear the family are by and large ok. I’ve been watching the numbers and have to say its easy to get a bit despondent. And the leadership seems completely ship-wrecked on what to do. I’m also getting tired of being told, that rapid antigen, boosters and the like will ‘solve’ the problem. The abandonment of the leadership to ‘let it rip’ is really sacrificing those who are unable to help themselves.

    Glad to hear the Canon is doing a great job. You’ll soon be a master no doubt. I have a Nikon Z50, it is a treat to work with, light and responsive, but is let down by poor af software implementation, (a Nikon foible).

    We go to see the Hobbys every other day or so, and intend to stay an hour and spend the entire morning. The impossible speeds that things happen in the very small space we are working in makes it difficult to nail closeup shots. However we’ve learned so much more about these birds this time around.
    It is difficult to say how much the male is actually teaching and how much they are just experimenting with. In the meantime the female has left the area as we’ve not see her in a week or more. Not usual for a raptor once the male takes over I think.

    Couple more days yet to go.

    Remain Safe.


    1. Thanks David,
      If they were working in a area like the Sneydes Road Kites, then I’d score a bit better. Little tiny space, surrounded by tall trees adds to the challenges
      Hope the new year is a goodun for you and yours


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