Raptor of Holt

To: "chat line" <>
Subject: Raptor of Holt
From: "John Layton" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 21:11:59 +1100
Usually, during spring, but more frequently in autumn, we've often seen an Australian Hobby perched on a steet lamp pole making forays back and forth in the dusk. We assumed it was hunting bats or large insects attracted to the light.
At 7:30pm today I was watching the hobby as it sat on the light pole when it speared off and intercepted a flight of about six little birds. I heard a high-pitched twit-twitter, and the hobby flapped back to towards the light pole with a small creature in its talons. As it approached the pole it peeled off and landed atop a tall deciduous street tree and began to pluck its prey. I yelled (not too loudly, didn't want to scare off the hobby) for a daughter to bring my binoculars.
Fortunately, Sami had a rare fit of prompt obedience and hared from the house with two pair of binos and we watched the hobby plucking its prey which I reckon was a Silvereye. Miss Smarty-Boots, however, insisted it was a White-plumed Honeyeater. After three minutes the hobby tired of our bickering and repaired to a big, thickly-foliaged eucalypt in a neighbouring yard, carrying its prey, and we lost sight of it.
Last Thursday, I was indulging in a bit of feral pest control, ie happily pinging bunnies with my late Granddaddy's Model 1906 Winchester .22 rifle on a property near Burrunjuck Dam. Later that evening, over a dinner of barbecued bunny, my hosts described how they'd watched a pair of Magpies peck a Dollar Bird to death.
Next morning they opened their compost bin and, as I held my nose, I examined the stinky remains of the "Dollar Bird" which turned out to be a Common Myna. So, the "flying cane toads" have reached the precincts of Burrunjuck Dam. Oh well, more targets for Grandpa Layton's Winchester.
John Layton.
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