Saturday Evening Post #179: In the Blink of an Eye

Well it could be the blink of an eye, but perhaps a better descriptor would be the instant between the Nikon D500 mirror going up. And then… Coming down.

I was having a little portrait session with two of the young Black-shouldered Kites. They had been spending the morning gaining skills at working on the ground and in the long grass. Not yet able to ‘hunt’ but at least getting familiar with the process.
I had been moving about a little around the tree they were encamped in, looking to get the best from the backdrop.

So here is a bit bit of a departure from Saturday Evenning Post style of one photo, and a bit of rambling about the virtues of great photography and more a doco on the few milli-seconds between one event and the next.

Let’s settle down for a small portrait session.
What was that noise! One of the young birds is on the alert that something is happening
Suddenly, out of nowhere, and this shot is just after the shot above, the Collared Sparrowhawk barrelled through the treeline and put the young birds to wing. You can just see a tail disappearing at the top. The speed and stealth of the Sparrowhawk was so typical, and so impressive. That the Sparrowhawk is in focus is only because it now occupied where there kites had been sitting. Your erstwhile scribe was as surprised as could be when I reviewed the results and found one sharp frame.
Looking a bit perplexed as to what just happened, each of the young seemed unsure how to respond
Dad turned up to try and protect the young, and one of them followed him around very closely. To add to the drama a Black Kite and its two Magpie Attendants, also flew through the area. The male is checking to see if they pose any threat to his charges.
This one decided that if you were going to rest, then do so in the top of the tree among the leaves so a sneak attack would be less likely.

8 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #179: In the Blink of an Eye

  1. The capture of the Sparrowhawk coming through is exceptional, David! A fine series of images telling the story! Dad is always on the lookout! No sign of any of the B-s K’s this afternoon, but I did hear the call of one of the parents as I was leaving the paddock. Guessing they were across the freeway.

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    1. Ha, it was a bit exciting for a couple of seconds.
      I think the young gained so much wing strength that first few days in the gale force winds that they could skip a few lessons!
      Over the freeway appears to be the domicle of a second pair with breeding intentions. I would go for a wander along that tree line by do not have a good track record with angry locals of late.;-)

      Seeya

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  2. Wow, David what an exciting moment you captured, and to get that unplanned shot so clearly, what a blessing ! Those youngsters look so well and certainly glad they moved when they did. That is probably the best photo of this bird I have seen. We have just returned from our western road trip into areas of no signal, we have an enjoyable time in the hot dry climate, away from all the rain, but glad to be home and not living out of bags.

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  3. Hi Ashley, I also had 3 other shots of it all out of focus. The speed is quite astounding. How the little birds got away is interesting to consider. It might simply be that the Sparrowhawk was interesting in something else in the tree line?

    Glad you are back and all is well. Travelling is good fun, but being home and relaxed is also a pleasure to enjoy.

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  4. Amazing series of shots that emerged from your quiet observation of the beautiful young ones. I was trying to follow your example and stated for almost half an hour observing the area where Braeside BS Kites are nesting. The nest is pretty far away on an island but I got to see some action. I’m still unsure about the parents when they appear separately but one day… You are the inspiration.

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    1. Hello Adam, Thanks for the kind thoughts and encouragement.
      Patience is the guiding factor in all of this. An hour here or an hour there it all adds info that is important to that particular pair of birds. I like it and am never bored, even when they just sit for an hour or more

      Don’t despair over not being able to tell the difference male/female. Almost impossible on a single bird. She willl by average be quite larger than he, but unless they sit together you’d never guess.
      He also has various functions, nest building mouse gathering looking after the kids that set him apart and you’ll get to figure that sort of stuff out over a period of time.

      Just remember we’ve followed this pair closely for at least 5 seasons, through about 9 nestings, so we’ve more than a litle info to workon when watching them.

      good luck, no detail is irrelevant to them.

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