Thursday, 24 November 2011

Exciting birds on the Hoskinstown Plain

The Hoskinstown Plain is an area of frost hollow along the course of the Molonglo River.  It is overlooked by the property from which the large flock of Black-shouldered Kites were reported.

A couple of the property owners on the Plain itself are keen birders and report exciting sightings to me from time to time.  The last couple of months have been extremely productive.

One property on the Plain has also been visited each year recently by Superb Parrots.  They seem to turn up to dine on the fruit of Acacia dealbata.  As I haven't been able to coincide with the birds yet this year, here is a photograph taken by my friend Kim (who is a far better photographer than myself).
The keen eyed viewer will note the Acacia pod in the bird's beak!


The irruption of Barn Owls reported from urban and peri-urban Canberrra also spread to the Plain.  There were a couple of reports of single Barn Owls at various spots and two road-killed birds were handed over to the CSIRO collection of corpses.  Last evening two Barn Owls were seen by my friend Garry, perching in a hawthorn tree- of which there are a large number alongside the road and further resaerch will be done to get a photograph of them later.

Garry also reported a Black Falcon hunting over his paddocks together with a number of Brown Falcons.  As this would be a lifer for me I took myself off PDQ.

I was barely out of our gate when I noticed a White-necked Heron feeding in a neighbour's dam.  It was pretty much at extreme range for my camera (about 100m) but an interesting photograph to record these birds presence in Carwoola after absence for a couple of years.
On getting to the Plain I found a large number of Brown Falcons- at least 9 - hunting over the paddocks, mainly by hovering and diving.
Also hunting in much the same area were 4 Nankeen Kestrels.  As I drove back through the paddocks one Brown Falcon was kind enough to pose for some photographs.

One of the Brown Falcons hunting in the area was a lot darker than this one, but still dark brown not black.  (The Black Falcon was described as being as black as a crow and aggressive to the crows.)  So I guess I dipped out. 

(A couple of days later I was on my push bike passing one of Garry's paddocks when I noticed him getting excited n the grassland.  It turned out he was talking to my wife on his phone telling her the Black falcon was overhead.  She said that I was riding down there: he saw me and after a short while we looked up and there was a Black falcon flying overhead. Woooo, and also Hooooo! A lifer!)

However the goodies were not yet finished.  Another White-necked Heron flew over the car and then started to search the adjacent paddock for food.
My view is that this is a non-breeding bird (while the one photographed earlier  was in breeding plumage).

As a footnote to comments about the White-necked Herons, shortly after arriving home two of them overflew our garden calling loudly was they were attacked by  Pied Currawong.

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