Dancing in the sun and shade

Just ‘closing the loop’ on Spotted Harrier observations on the Moolort Plains.

The three youngsters featured earlier this month have been honing their flying and hunting skills. Spotted Harriers not fast but they are very acrobatic and can wheel and dive rapidly when required. They are also adept at chasing and hunting down prey; such as small birds, reptiles and insects, on the ground.

Typical harrier hunting behaviour involves low-level quartering over cereal crops and stubble, interrupted (when food is abundant) by regular short descents to the earth to snatch their prey. The initial strike is not always successful and the raptor is quite happy to chase down its quarry ‘on foot’.

The youngsters were having a terrific time practising their acrobatics over the sun-drenched paddocks, while a little later I watched one of the juveniles prancing in the shade emulating the ground-foraging behaviour of the parents … there was no obvious prey in sight but it won’t be long before the technique is more serious.

Juvenile Spotted Harriers, Moolort Plains, 18th January 2020

II

III

Juvenile harrier ground hunting

II

III

IV

Hunting on the wing

10 responses to “Dancing in the sun and shade

  1. These photos are amazing, really loving these pictures dropping into the inbox Geoff. Many thanks Caroline

  2. Lovely photos Geoff. You must have really enjoyed watching them.

  3. What a fantastic series of photos of young harriers! The pictures on the ground are funny – I’ll be you had a chuckle watching the performance.

    Well done, Jan Dunwoodie

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  4. Geoff you have captured the young ones at play in the air with a unique set of images, especially the second one. Congratulations.

  5. Great Photos Geoff. What a delight it must have been watching them.

  6. Fabulous photos and fabulous birds !!!

  7. Geoff the Harriers are my favourite I think and these photos are an absolute joy – I keep looking at them!  Thank you

    Val Evans

  8. just bloody brilliant Geoff.

  9. Wow, incredible photos. Amazing to see the feathers flairing out !

  10. Wowee
    incredible photos.

    Amazing to see the feathers flairing out !

    Thanks !

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