Hello and our unusual backyard visitor

To: Greg Keogh <>,
Subject: Hello and our unusual backyard visitor
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Tue, 05 Mar 2013 18:16:15 +1100
Congratulations on getting a photo!
Of course if the hawk was sitting upright, the stripes or streaks would be vertical.

Anthea Fleming

On 5/03/2013 2:49 PM, Greg Keogh wrote:
Hello folks, this is my first posting in the group. I was directed here
by a helpful lady at  when I asked if casual forums
were available to help amateurs identify birds by pictures or sound. My
wife and I are hobby bird (and native wildlife) watchers in suburban
Cheltenham VIC and we occasionally need such help when we spot unusual
visitors. We have some familiar and popular bird books, but we can be
confused by the appearance of rarities or juveniles with different markings.

Here is the specific reason I arrived at the group: I was standing in our
kitchen reading the newspaper when I heard an explosion of flapping wings
evacuate our back yard en masse. Many dozens of doves as well as the
resident mynahs, wattle birds and even the local magpie family just blasted
off into the air and left the tree branches swaying. It was so stunned I
ran out to see if it was an earthquake or nearby disaster, but the yard was
mysteriously deserted and silent. A minute later I saw a huge dark bird
tail sweep across the yard and land in the tree by our kitchen window. I
quickly grabbed the camera and just pointed and clicked at arms length by
guessing the right direction. I was lucky and I captured the cause the mass
bird evacuation, which you can see here:

The lady at birdlife explained it was a juvenile goshawk, identified by the
brown plumage and horizontal chest stripes.

About 15 years ago I saw a smaller version of this bird sitting on the
power lines with a mouse in its beak. It might have been a sparrowhawk. As
I watched, it ate the whole mouse head first, the tail disappearing
tip-last down its throat.So I think this is only the second

I have a hobby page of back yard bird spotting here: We've had some interesting
birds drop in our yard over the years, including corellas, tawny frogmouth,
cockatoos and a kookaburra (no photo sadly).

Greg Keogh

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