Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Brown Goshawks - enough photos to (almost) fill a calendar

I posted about this pair about a week ago. Since then, I've managed a few decent photos, in flight, on the nest, with prey, copulating, all can be seen below. They haven't got eggs in the nest yet as far as I can tell as neither of them seems too worried about leaving it unattended. Can't be too far off now though, I've been hearing and seeing them copulate for over 2 weeks.

This morning I had a distant recollection of a cartoon with a sheepdog and a wolf. Each night the "pair" clocked off and the others clocked on. Shift change. One of them was called "Sam" I think. Anyway, the Goshawk male and the Black-breasted Buzzard male both returned to their respective nest within about 5 minutes of each other, and the females of both flew off. I was wondering if the two males were quietly sitting on their respective nests asking how the other one's early morning hunt had gone. Enough waffle. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Brown Goshawks

with Budgerigar

with rodent

making babies

pair flying, female on right

Monday, 5 October 2015

Black-breasted Buzzards - a pair and now a chick can be seen

It has been a couple of weeks since I first found the nest thanks to a tip from a friend. During that time I have learnt a lot more about the behaviour of the Buzzards during "nesting". I've watched amazed as particular birds fly past or sit near the nest without either of the adults giving even a side-ways glance, and then watch the teamwork in protecting their nesting "space" against birds they do consider a threat. The best example of this was late last week when a Wedge-tailed Eagle dared to come within 400 metres of the nest. At the time, the female was on the nest and the male was presumably hunting not far away. The male was the most vocal have heard him, and dive-bombed the Wedgie. The female was quickly off the nest to join in the attack. They succeeded in keeping the Wedgie well away from their nest. It was an interesting move by the female. The danger presented by the Wedgie out-weighed the potential danger to her chick from the nesting neighbours, the Brown Goshawks. I had only just become aware there was a chick in the nest that same day as I could hear its cries for food when the male returned to the nest. The three other threats that need to be seen off by only one of the adults while the nest stays attended are a pair of Little Eagles who seem to visit once a day, a pair of Whistling Kites who have a nest about 300 metres away from the Buzzard nest, and a pair of Black Kites, who's nest is only 150 metres south down the riverbed. The three listed seem to be in order of urgency, Little Eagles the biggest threat of the three, Black Kites the least threatening. Mainly it seems to be the female who heads these other three birds of prey out of her "range". She circles to a radius of about 300 metres from the nest for the Little Eagles, about 200m for the Whistling Kites and only 100 or so metres for the Black Kites.

Of the two, the female is by far the most vocal. The male sounds more like a falcons "peeping" whereas the female is more like a Galah's squawk.

The chick has only just started to poke its head above the nest rim. It is a grey white headed colour at the moment.

I have seen rodents, reptiles and birds all being brought back to the nest as food. The bird prey is interesting as I wouldn't have expected the Buzzards to be quick enough to capture them, but maybe they are raiding other nests. It would be great to try to track the adults to see how far they go to hunt, but that isn't possible.

The majority of the time the adult Buzzards are extremely tolerant of my presence. I have had one occasion where the female seemed to be glaring at me and squawking. I had been sitting well away from the nest and she landed in a nearby tree. I don't know if she knew I was there, or just got a shock when she saw me after she had landed. She had just returned from a hunt and stopped briefly at the nest before landing on her nearby perch. In any case, I returned to the car about 100 metres away. They have been such a delight to be around, the last thing I want to do is upset them.

I'll continue to watch, photograph, video and sound record them for as long as either I'm able to with work commitments, or they move off once the chick(s) have fledged.

Here are some more recent photos.

Black-breasted Buzzards

Female "squawk"

Female "pose"

Female leaving nest

Female wing stretch

Female take-off
Male leaving nest

Male returning to nest with prey

Pair on the nest

from left - Dad, Chick, Mum

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Rainbow Bee-eaters

The warmer weather in Central Australia has seen an explosion of Bee-eater numbers. Always a beautiful bird to photograph up close.

Rainbow Bee-eater

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Brown Goshawks

Recently I've been lucky enough to see a pair of Brown Goshawks flying together, hear them calling to one another and mating, and see their nest. They are very close to the Black-breasted Buzzard nest in the previous post. The two sets of birds seem to be unfussed by the presence of the other. The smaller birds send up the alarm call when the Goshawks are returning, but are quiet when the Buzzards return to the nest.

I was amazed by the difference in size of the male Brown Goshawk compared to the much larger female. As opposed to the Buzzards, the male is the one I have heard calling the most. They are fairly stealthy in that they perch about mid-tree, and stay in trees with a lot of foliage to conceal their presence, which then becomes obvious when they are calling to one another. I've been told the Goshawks would raid the nest of the Buzzards to grab their chicks if left unattended so maybe the neighbours wouldn't get on so well if this was the case.

Brown Goshawk

Monday, 28 September 2015

Black-breasted Buzzards - photos and video of copulation

Recently I was alerted by a friend of a nesting site for a pair of Black-breasted Buzzards. Over the past week or so, I have taken lots of photos and quite a few videos. I have only included one of the videos on this post, probably more to come in later posts.

I have noticed a few things over the past week. For a start, the female spends the most time on the nest and is by far the most vocal. She doesn't seem to worried about most birds flying nearby, but has taken exception to the Black Kites and Little Eagles. There is a pair of nesting Brown Goshawks in a tree almost right next to the Buzzard nest but she isn't worried about them at all, maybe they are too low. She also doesn't seem fussed by the Zebra Finches that sit on the underside of the nest, again, probably too small and too much effort for not much gain. The male seems to be doing the majority of the "couple hunting", the female seems to hunt only for herself, I haven't noticed her bringing food back to the nest at all. The male also leaves the nest prior to the female arriving, whereas she tends to wait until he has landed before taking off, sometimes almost immediately, other times after a few minutes.

The first photo was taken when the pair had just copulated. I almost feel as though she was saying "hey buddy, next time you're doing what I just did, let me know so I can come and watch!" (She will be waiting a long time!)

Black-breasted Buzzard

And the video is of the pair copulating, with a peck on the neck, and a beak to beak moment towards the end.