I set off this morning to inspect the effects of last afternoon’s storm … 75mm in a two hour burst. More on that in an upcoming post.
As I strolled along Mia Mia Track the distinctive call of a Collared Sparrowhawk grabbed my attention, followed by the agitated call of a second individual nearby.
It didn’t take long to locate three individuals, two of which were juveniles with small songbirds in their talons. One of the prey items was easily identified – a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, while the other young sparrowhawk had a slightly larger catch … possibly a young Red Wattlebird.
The third sparrowhawk was in similar garb to the juveniles but appeared to be an older immature bird, the slaty-grey upper parts retaining just a semblance of rufous edging on the wing coverts, with this feature more pronounced in the juvenile birds. The parent, which I think was the female, on account of its larger size, later captured a meal for itself … a Scarlet Robin I suspect.
Upon returning home a spot of research revealed that Collared Sparrowhawks sometimes breed before they attain their full adult plumage. This article gives a fabulously detailed account.
This blog post from 2015 has a nice image of an adult Collared Sparrowhawk.
Collared Sparrowhawk – juvenile with prey, Mia Mia Track, 29th January 2022
The second juvenile with a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
The third bird – I suspect the female parent … still in immature plumage
Collared Sparrowhawk … ever alert
One of the juveniles in the act of dismembering its prey
The female again, this time with what appears to be a Scarlet Robin … note the slaty-grey upper parts, lacking (largely) rufous margins to the wing coverts
Collared Sparrowhawk showing the distinctive elongated middle-toe