Dragon slayers of Pine Ridge

To: Canberra birds <>
Subject: Dragon slayers of Pine Ridge
From: John Layton <>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2016 21:20:13 +0000

At 7am yesterday I stopped off Stockdill Drive, Holt, opposite the Pine Ridge dam, always worth a look. As I watched, a Rainbow Bee-eater landed on the uppermost branch of a willow, on a section of the branch growing horizontal for about 60cm before tuning downwards. This section was devoid of foliage which made it ideal for the bee-eater’s purpose, namely bashing the living daylights out of a large dragonfly.

Suddenly the bee-eater took wing and left carrying its prey. Maybe it had dependent young somewhere, or was yielding to a congener higher up the pecking order because, within a second or two, another bee-eater landed on the bashing branch and set about tenderising a large dragonfly. But almost immediately it was up and gone The reason for its sudden departure flickered by in the form of an Australian Hobby. The hobby climbed high in the sky before banking around and descending to land on the bashing branch. It held a dragonfly against the branch and, without bashing, removed wings and things before eating the palatable portions. After some 60 seconds it dropped the remnants of its prey and took wing returning within a minute carrying another dragonfly.

During the ensuing 30 minutes I watched the hobby complete three more forays, returning to the same perch to eat what appeared to be similar prey.

John K. Layton



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