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.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Black-shouldered Kites.

Work took me to Willowra yesterday, about 220 kms north on the Stuart Highway from Alice Springs, and then 130 kms along dirt heading north-west. The first 50 kms is well-vegetated and a few hills, which flattens out to scrubby plains after Aningie Station.

On my return to Alice Springs just near the Station, a pair of Black-shouldered Kites were sitting beautifully exposed on some dead branches in the late afternoon sun. Unfortunately my slowing and stopping of the car in the dust scared them off. Although disappointed, I decided to grab the camera and hope they returned to the same branch. Forlorn hope really, it hasn't happened in the past and no real reason beyond sheer fantasy it would happen on this occasion. I finally spotted one of them in another tree about 70 metres from the road.  I couldn't see the second one so took a few shots of the perched one when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. The second one was returning towards me. I stood still, camera at the ready. I've only recently realised the easily identifiable difference in the face of a Black-shouldered Kite compared to a Letter-wing Kite. The Letter-wing "eyebrow" doesn't extend beyond the eye, whereas the Black-shouldered Kite black "eyebrow" extends beyond the eye sort of onto the cheek. As I looked through the camera, it was still too far off to tell, and I couldn't see the underwing. I was hoping to get a decent shot of both the face and the underwing for easy i.d. After a series of shots, the flying BSK finally swung around quite close to me. The shot was exactly what I was after and I saw an added bonus. Can you spot it?
Apparently this one had not only flown off because of me, but also decided to take the opportunity to go hunting. I then headed back to the nearby tree where the other one was sitting. Below is a series of photos of the flight path and landing:

The lower of the two then called to the other and I think this is the first time I have heard their call. Not the melodic tune of a Whistling Kite that's for sure, quite a harsh sound to my ears. I left them alone after the landing and calling to devour their afternoon snack, and continued on home to Alice Springs.

Happy Birding!


  1. a wonderful experience Richard, great photos

  2. beautiful birds; great birding and photographs

  3. Muy buenas capturas del Elanio Australiano,me gustan mucho las capturas en vuelo.Saludos