Winter raptor watching...

Subject: Winter raptor watching...
From: "Michael Ramsey" <>
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 18:22:32 +1000
Hi all,
I had a friend from Melbourne visiting this weekend who is particularly interested in watching birds of prey so I took him out to a few places where a few might be seen. Being a cold (10 degrees) and cloudy day we did not expect to see much but the results were quite surprising.
First stop was Ryan's Lookout, in the Warby Ranges near Wangaratta. From this high vantage point a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles were observed for about 1/2 hour, a Little Eagle was also seen briefly.
Then it was on to Lake Mokoan, half way between Wangaratta and Benalla. Eight species of raptors were seen here, as detailed below:
Wedge-tailed Eagle (3)
Little Eagle (4)
White-bellied Sea-eagle (1) imm.
Whistling Kite (1)
Black-shouldered Kite (2)
Peregrine Falcon (1)
Brown Falcon (2)
Nankeen Kestrel (1)
The Wedge-tailed Eagles were observed soaring over the nearby Chesney Vale hills. Two pairs of Little Eagles were also seen with the Wedgies, one bird was seen performing a display flight. The bird would fly up vertically, then, soar downwards, repeating often. Little Eagles were also heard giving high pitched piping calls. A lone female Peregrine was soaring above the hills.
Other birds of note around Lake Mokoan were a small covey of Brown Quail, two flocks of Diamond Firetails, a large flock of Zebra Finches and (considering hardly anything is flowering in this district) a group of eight Little Lorikeets.    
Also of note are the large numbers of cockatoos at Lake Mokoan. The lake if full of dead trees which may provide numerous nesting and roosting sites for the birds. One lone Galah was seen amongst (estimate) over 800 Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and 300 Little Corellas. The cockatoos were continuously observed flying between the lake and feeding sites in paddocks nearby, where large numbers congregated.
Michael Ramsey, Albury, NSW. 

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