Thursday, August 1, 2013

Spring at the WTP

And yes, I know it is technically still winter but Melbourne has just come through its warmest July ever and the sun is shining and the birds are courting and the jasmine in my back yard is about to burst into flower.

Raptors are still all the go at the WTP and Tuesday was extra special, not because I found a new one but because a Black Falcon sat on a roadside fence post about 7 or 8 metres from me and while I complimented it on its beauty the falcon just sat and looked superior, which it was. The blood on its talons suggested it had just finished a meal, maybe that was why it was so loath to fly, whatever the reason though, it was a special five minutes until the falcon got sick of my praise and flew off. It ended up that I saw Black Falcons on Beach Rd, 29 Mile Rd and on the Spit track about half way to the Murtcain Outlet; they were everywhere.
Black Falcon on Beach Road

A Black-shouldered Kite also put on a show of aerobatics for me. Hovering as they do, it evidently saw some prey and went into a full dive. This was normal and I have seen it many times but this bird just kept diving. Going by the height of a four-strand fence it was still in full dive position when its head was less than a metre from the ground. I did not see how it pulled out before it drove its beak into the dirt, but it did, and flew off without its catch.
Black-shouldered Kite surveying, as they do

The start of the dive...

aimed straight at something ...

and now with its wings fully back and still in full dive less than a metre from the ground

A different B-s Kite did have a feed though and I watched as it carefully plucked, and then ate, a mouse. Mouse fluff went everywhere and then the kite grabbed the mouse and down it went, head first, until all that was showing was a length of tail.
First you take all the fluff off ....

then you gulp it down whole, head first.

Of course the tail can be a problem but it too soon disappeared.

On the waterbird front, after all that is the purpose of the WTP, there were three Glossy Ibis at the Borrow Pits.
Glossy Ibis

All images and text © Jenny Spry

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