Black Falcon

Subject: Black Falcon
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 13:59:30 +1000 (EET)
Black Falcons don't seem as abundant on the plains around Geelong as they
used to be in the 1980s, so it was a pleasure to get a good view of one
last night.  Maybe they're here more often coinciding with drought
conditions inland.  Paradoxically the inland has had lots of rain, but the
country around here is so dry here with months since significant rain,
that it looks like perfect Black Falcon terrain. 

On the Geelong - Bacchus Marsh Road, about 2.5 km towards Bacchus Marsh
from the Little River crossing, I saw a large & muscular (probably female)
Black Falcon being very tentatively mobbed by a Black-shouldered Kite. 
The falcon was flying only 4-5 m above the ground, with the kite keeping a
safe distance of 10-15 m higher up.  After seeing the falcon off, the kite
resumed foraging, and the falcon put on a burst of impressive straight
line speed to skim over a few isolated trees and out of sight. 

Black Falcons always seem to me the most impressive of the Australian
falcons - great acceleration combined with being robust and menacing. 
Often they fly quite slowly, making them look superficially like a dark
morph Brown Falcon.  A closer look reveals the flicking flight on pointed
wings, with flat, slightly downswept wing glides (they look a bit like a
jet fighter without the wing tanks if seen from directly front or rear
on), and regular bursts of tremendous speed. 

Lawrie Conole 
Geelong, Victoria, Australia 

WORK:  37^48'39"S, 144^57'58"E 
HOME:  38^09'06"S, 144^20'50"E

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