Peregrines, penguins and needletails...

Subject: Peregrines, penguins and needletails...
From: Michael Whitehead <>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 20:40:19 +1100 (EST)
Hi all,
          Went for a five day stay up at Shoal Bay, NSW (just north of Newcastle) last week. While I didn't spend much time birding I did manage to catch a flock of about 20 white-throated needletails hawking outside our balcony (a new one for me).
          We visited the beach practically everyday and everytime we did there'd be one or two Little Penguins swimming about in the surf. Three different beaches all turned up a resident penguin. At one stage while swimming in the surf one popped its head up not more than 4 metres away before submerging and dissappearing. Aside from Phillip Island as a lad, this was a new one for me also.
           Monday afternoon here at home (Central Coast NSW) I was out in the yard engaged in domestic chores when the pigeon enthusiast next door let his flock out for a flap around the street. Having once glimpsed a mystery raptor taking off from a beheaded pigeon carcass (one of the neighbour's birds) in the yard I was keen to see if the flock would attract any predators. Not more than five minutes into their jaunt I spotted two falcons lurking in the background. Before long I was getting excellent views of the two peregrines as they took swipes at the pigeons on the wing. A couple of near misses and the pigeons were called back into their hutch. The speed of these falcons on the hunt is truly astounding. Gives a whole new meaning to feeding the wildlife.

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