Michael Atzeni asked me to make a note of anything that turned up at
Abberton on Saturday, the day of the annual raptor count.
When I saw him at the Toowoomba Bird Observers stand on Sunday's World
Environment Day expo, all I had to report by way of raptors were two
Whistling Kites, and I joked that we'd probably get a lot more tomorrow once
the count was over - and sure enough, we did!
As we enjoyed a couple of cuppas on the verandah mid-morning today (Monday),
a lone Whistling Kite came by over the house; there had been a lot of
whistling and interaction between the two that were here the other day, but
this one cruised about looking down at the creek and twisting first his
head, then his tail in typical kite-like manner. Only five minutes later, a
strikingly patterned Little Eagle (always an autumn or winter bird here)
harassed a White-faced Heron away from a tree-top snag. And no more than
five minutes after this, a strikingly handsome White-bellied Sea-eagle
cruised low over the centre of the creek, heading upstream. Although the
other raptors were around on and off for a while, the White-bellied
Sea-eagle was very much on passage somewhere, and the whole sighting from go
to whoa would have been maybe 15 seconds at the most. As we mulled this
brief moment of excitement, we suddenly noticed a Wedge-tailed Eagle
thermalling its way upwards over the other side of the creek. Four big
beautiful raptors in the course of two cups of tea!
But to cap it off, when I went into Gatton this-afternoon, a Square-tailed
Kite was patrolling over Lockyer State High School and the surrounding
houses. When Square-tailed Kites show up in the valley, this is a regular
location for them - presumably feeding from the tree- tops in the
well-wooded gardens in that part of town. I spent five tricky minutes
following it round the suburb as best I could, keeping one eye on the bird,
and one on the road - but gave it up as too dangerous an exercise when I
looked down from the kite to find myself outside the high school just as it
was emptying into the street.
Pity it couldn't have all happened on Saturday.
Lockyer Valley, Queensland.
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