The kites are gathering at Cairn Curran.
As the reservoir is steadily rising from good winter rains the water is spilling over areas of mudflat … rich pickings of frogs, fish and the occasional duckling will keep the Whistling Kites happy.
A brief stop at Joyce’s Creek was followed by a sweep across the plains. Numerous Brown Falcons were observed – the highlight as I turned for home was an Australian Hobby just south of Walker’s Swamp. I’ve seen a hobby at this location before.
Whistling Kites @ Joyce’s Creek, 5th September 2020
Brown Falcon near Walker’s Swamp
Australian Hobby with volcanic landscape backdrop
There are quite a few Black Kites getting around at present.
They are curious and handsome birds … not in the ‘Black Falcon class’ but still lots of fun to observe and photograph.
Black Kite, Moolort Plains, 31st May 2020
II … with Lalgambook (Mount Franklin) in the background
Black Falcon x Black Kite
A quiet Sunday morning on the plains … a cruising Black Falcon … what a sight!
Black Falcon, Moolort Plains, 31st May 2020
I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share another Black Falcon Falco subniger image, this time in monochrome. It appears there are at least two separate pairs roaming the Moolort Plains at present.
Black Falcon, Moolort Plains, 23rd May 2020
I venture to the western boundary of the Moolort Plains only rarely.
At this time of year I make a note to stop by the recreation area at Tullaroop Reservoir. Planted out with specimen trees in the 1960s, mainly native but non-local, it is a good spot to get close up views of lorikeets as they feed on the autumn flowering gums.
Purple-crowned Lorikeets, an uncommon species locally, can be reliably seen here over winter, along with Musk Lorikeets. An immature White-bellied Sea-Eagle was also observed cruising the margins of the lake and then a pair of Black Falcons in the deepening gloom at Rodborough as I returned home.
Purple-crowned Lorikeet feeding in Spotted Gum, Tullaroop Reservoir, 22nd May 2020
One of a pair of Black Falcons seen on the return journey
… that I see on the plains, I can reckon on a single Black Falcon.
Each encounter is a thrilling event. This one was spotted yesterday afternoon at the Moolort grain silos.
When perched it can be easy to discount this species as just another Brown Falcon, although when you become familiar with Black Falcons they are instantly recognisable.
A fast and powerful flier, the tail is noticeably longer than the wings and they lack the distinct Brown Falcon mask. In flight their rapid wing-beats and long, broad wings set them apart from their sluggish cousin. While they breed locally most years I seem to observe them more frequently in winter.
Black Falcon, Moolort Plains, 16th May 2020
Returning home from up north last evening.
Magic sky over the plains … click to enlarge.
Looking south from Moolort Plains towards Mount Koorocheang, 14th February 2020
Yesterday was unsettling. A dust cloud rolled in from the north-west during the afternoon and this is what the Moolort Plains looked like at 6pm.
The Wedge-tailed Eagle, clearly not enjoying the conditions, was sheltering on a low branch in a Grey Box before I unknowingly disturbed it. No late afternoon soaring circles today.
Looking north-east towards Mount Tarrengower
Starlings in a dust cloud … not quite a murmuration
Yesterday’s afternoon jaunt across the Moolort Plains was rewarded with a diversity of observations. My close-up views of a Horsfield’s Bushlark contrasted with frustratingly distant glimpses of a Spotted Harrier and a party of Black-tailed Native-hens around a rapidly shrinking pool along Boundary Gully.
Horsfield’s Bushlark, Moolort Plains, 19th January 2020
Black-tailed Native-hens at Boundary Gully
Spotted Harrier @ Boundary Gully
Summer evenings bring a golden light to the plains country.
I was idling, enjoying the beautiful contrast from Black Kites, Galahs and Straw-necked Ibis, when a Peregrine Falcon appeared to disturb the dusking peace.
Black Kite, Moolort Plains, 11th December 2019