What a treat!

In the past couple of years a once common raptor of the plains, the Black-shouldered Kite, has been worryingly scarce … even as its favourite prey, Mus musculus, has been abundant.

In recent months I’ve started seeing the return of a few of these beautiful small kites and at the weekend I spent an hour in the company of the bird pictured below. Spotted first on a high exposed perch it appeared to be surveying its surroundings for a likely meal. Over the next hour it departed on five occasions to hover over an adjacent area of rough basalt grassland, returning four times with a House Mouse … an 80% strike-rate.

Unlike most other raptors, the Black-shouldered Kite can be quite confiding and this bird allowed me to approach within thirty metres. What a privilege to be able to witness it hunting successfully. After each meal it uttered some gentle contact calls, an effort I suspect, to attract the attention of a mate to share its territory with.

Fingers crossed for a successful breeding season for this charming raptor.

BSK1

Black-shouldered Kite , Moolort Plains, 18th June 2022

BSK2

II

BSK3

III

BSK4

IV

BSK5

V

BSK6

VI

BSK7

VII

BSK8

VIII

BSK10

IX

BSK11

X

BSK12

XI

BSK13

XII

14 responses to “What a treat!

  1. Geoff
    You have excelled with these. Bravo.

    Allan

  2. Hi Geoff,

    I think this is a black shouldered kite, perches on the dead tree outside my bedroom in the morning, Mt Alexander is in the distance, to the south. Added the wedgies that sometimes sit there too

    Love your work. Apologies for the quality of my snaps.

    Regards

    Jan S

    Jan Savage m: +61 447 005 959 e: deloraine3551@gmail.com a: PO Box 1098 Castlemaine VIC 3450

  3. Hi Geoff good to know you have been able to find one, and hopefully more.

    We have three pairs on nests in the area at the moment, one is on her second clutch without much of a break, they were still feeding the previous young and re-building the nest at the same time.

    Good luck with your search.

    • Hi David – good to hear from you. That’s really interesting to hear of nesting in June, typically doesn’t commence until perhaps a month later in this neck of the woods but I’ve seen no nests at all in the past couple of years. All the best, Geoff

  4. Magnificent images of this majestic kite Geoff. Well done,
    Regards
    Bevan Hood

  5. What a privilege to share time and space with this beautiful bird.

  6. Fabulous pics and observation Geoff! We’ve seen a few around this year on both sides of the Loddon just north of Baringhup.

  7. Hi Geoff
    I am generally a silent viewer but had to comment on your great pictures of
    The Black Shouldered Kite
    What a beautiful bird
    Keep the pics coming
    Many thanks

  8. Robyn Robinson

    Sent from my Galaxy

  9. Magnificent collection of images.

  10. Annmaree Smerdon

    Gorgeous photos of one of my favourite raptors.
    As I’ve not been home for 5 yrs, I’d didn’t know they had been recently scarce. So, really looking forward to seeing them next yr!
    Here’s hoping.

  11. Dian Bedggood

    Dear Sir, Thank you so much for your photos, I so enjoy them, I have wondered if they use a mouse plague to enhance their breeding program, shall be interested to see what happens. I live in the north west slopes and plains of NSW and have yet to see them here, Regards Dian Bedggood

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  12. Lachlan McKinnon

    Brilliant photos Geoff. Inspiring.
    Lachlan McKinnon

  13. Beautiful images Geoff. Lots around my area at present, ie south western Vic.and lots of juveniles spotted too. Think all is well with them at least in this part of the world.

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