Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Black-shouldered Kite

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Over the last two years I have visited several national parks in and around Sydney with the hope of capturing a decent image of this raptor. Needless to say, I have had very limited success. This weekend I finally managed to spend 45 minutes photographing these beautiful birds of prey. More photographs and info inside.


We spent the long weekend at a friend's farm in the northern Hunter region about 4 hours drive north west of Sydney. The area where the farm was located was quite hilly and the slopes were covered in rocky bush land. The valleys were divided into numerous paddocks which were used for grazing and to grow Lucerne. This was ideal habitat for Kites and other raptors as there was an abundance of prey.  I had noticed several Nankeen Kestrels on the drive in and couldn’t help but feel optimistic about finally getting a decent shot of a Black-shouldered Kite.


I made an early start on Sunday morning hoping to get an hour and a half of photography done before breakfast. While photographing Superb-fairy wrens (a future post) in a Lucerne field I noticed a white bird perched on a branch about 30 meters off the ground. Initially I thought it was a cockatoo but when I zoomed in on it I realised that it was a Black-shouldered Kite. I promptly forgot about the wrens and started taking shots of the Kite instead. Unfortunately the Kite was facing me and I was unable to get a decent side on shot of the Kites black and grey wings. However the bird was well lit as the sun was coming in over my right shoulder. Ten minutes after I started photographing the kite it was joined by a second Kite.


The two spent about half an hour on the branch and I was able to capture a number of images of the birds stretching and in flight. Finally, to top things off, the first bird changed positions and I was able to capture a number of images of the bird where its wings were clearly visible.

Unfortunately I was unable to photograph any Wedge-tailed eagles over the weekend. Maybe next time…

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