Raptors west of Melbourne

To: "" <>
Subject: Raptors west of Melbourne
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 16:55:36 +1000
We went to the Grampians via the Western Highway on Saturday, and
returned on Sunday via the Glenelg Highway. We were agreeably surprised
to see a lot of raptors along the roadsides. Lately we haven't seen much
up the Hume Hwy or out between Geelong and Ballarat, let alone in the
1. Wedgetailed Eagles - a pair indulging in acrobatics just east of
Ballan, near Werribee River crossing on the old Highway. Exciting
U-shaped dives to treetop level and then zooming up at an angle beyond
the vertical, at about 30 degrees, back downwards! Followe by a quick
flip to the side and repeat performances. The two birds were diving at
once, not quite fully synchronised, sufficiently close to the highway
for me to feel I could see every feather in detail!  Advantage of being
the passenger, Brian could only get a glimpse. A marvellous moment.
2. Brown Falcons in a wide range of colour variants were everywhere west
of Ballarat. Pale-breasted forms were commonest but also solid brown and
smudge-breasted. One pale-breasted bird was almost as gingery-coloured
as a kestrel.
3. Nankeen Kestrels moderately common, particularly west of Ballarat.
4. Black-shouldered Kites extended into Melbourne's western suburbs.
5. Whistling Kites. One pair 10 km west of Ararat on Western Hwy; one
pair in Victoria Valley, Grampians - one bird was harrying an all-dark
Brown Falcon in an attempt to make it drop a rat or other rodent.
Another Whistling Kite near Chinamans swamp, Glenelg Hwy.
6. A Peregrine overhead at Buninyong
7. Swamp Harriers - single birds at Bryans Swamp and at Chinamans Swamp;
one or two others en route.
8. Pair of small Falcons, possibly Aust Hobbies, at Chinamans Swamp,
Glenelg Hwy.
See Banded Stilt message for details. I'd appreciate comment from
someone who knows the area on this one.

Anthea Fleming in Ivanhoe, Vic.
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