I regularly do BOP Watch on drive to and from
home and work, 77 km. from Maleny, on Blackall Range, Sunshine Coast hinterland
, to Redcliffe, 30 km. north of Brisbane. My route traverses the beautiful
Glasshouse Mountains and I regularly pick-up whistling kites around Beerburrum ,
near a large battery chicken farm. Until tonight, four was the max.number I'd
recorded at any time.
This afternoon at
1715hrs. I observed a flock of 35+ whistling kites soaring high in the sky just
south of Mt.Tibrogargan , slowly heading east towards Pumicestone Passage. My
initial reaction was that they were Torresean Crows or Straw -necked Ibis, both
commonly seen in large flocks in this area. However their flight pattern said
"raptor" so I pulled over, extracted the binos., and a good, long
look. Sufficient of the flock were low enough to observe the usual identifying
marks and flight patterns.
Most birds appeared darker than usual underwing although they
were backgrounded (?skygrounded) by a large dark stormcloud which may explain
this.They were unhurried , slowly circling, in loose formation with many going
off in different directions and at different levels before slowly regrouping
again.I could not discern any other species in flock, spent some time looking
for tell-tale tail of Black Kite, though have not ever seen Black Kite in this
area. (Saw tens and hundreds in flocks in outback Qld. and NT last year
Wonder if anyone else observed them? What prompts flocking behaviour in this
species? Are they all/mainly juveniles ?Peter Woodall does raptor counts in
southern Moreton Bay (approx.70km. south) in which large numbers of Whistling
Kites are invariably counted.
arriving home was greeted by our newly-resident Wonga Pigeon waddling down
driveway whilst female Koel squawked from low branch.