From: Mark and Amanda Young
Sent: Saturday, 28 December 2013 7:52 PM
This morning I was photographing a small group of 5 Ruddy Turnstones at Long
Reef, when 2 Peregrine Falcons flew low over the group of birds causing the
birds to take cover.
At this spot of the beach, there were approx 50 Silver gulls, 1 White-faced
Heron and the Turnstones. About 20 mins before I saw the gulls, I noticed
Turnstones had started to watch the sky. They stopped, made themselves lower to
the ground and stood still for a few minutes. After that they continued feeding
just like before.
About 10 minutes later, all the birds became spooked. The Silver Gulls all flew
off to form a group sitting on the water about 30 metres out from the beach,
whilst the Turnstones originally tried to hide near the big rocks before moving
to be closer amongst the seaweed. At this point the birds were sitting on the
sand and to me they looked like they were trying to get as low as possible.
I suspected a Raptor, but I couldn’t find any after looking for about 5
minutes. The birds all stayed still, so I decided to leave head off for a
while. When I started to walk towards the track I heard the sounds of a couple
of birds flying low. I’ve not memorised the voice of a Peregrine Falcon, so I
didn’t recognise them until they did a couple of very low loops allowing me to
get a couple of images before they headed off again.
I thought I’ld share this as there was some discussion recently about how other
birds respond to Raptors. I’ve seen Stints and Pacific do similar things at
Long Reef before when Raptor fly over. The most peculiar instance was watching
a PGP try to make itself skinnier than it actually was (have photos of this if
anyone is interested). The Turnstones choice of hiding in the seaweed seemed
like a good one as they were really hard to see if you didn’t know they were
there. Not sure if it worked, or if the Falcon’s just weren’t interested.
If anyone is interested, I managed a photo of the 2 Falcons. I think one of
them is a young bird.
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