Author Dorothy L. ◦

Birds of Prey…

Since I arrived back from a birding holiday in South Australia in late December… yes that’s correct, a birding holiday!! …I knew I was in need of rest.

I thought about driving in the Santa Teresa Road direction or the Tanami Road, but if I go to the Santa Teresa Road early — the sun will be in my eyes while driving, so Tanami Road it is then. Easily sorted!!

Check… camera batteries all charged. Water and food to sustain me for the morning. Better check I’ve got enough diesel for the trip.

Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), Central Australia © Dorothy Latimer
Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), Central Australia © Dorothy Latimer

I drove like a woman possessed, only fifty kilometres, not far. Time had gotten away and I should have left home earlier, as the birds won’t wait for me to arrive. In what seemed no time at all I was at the gate to the property… country rule leave gate as you find it!! Open, then close the gate after driving through. The drive here didn’t take long, less than an hour.

With all the bird activity in the area of the last few months I wondered if I would be meeting anybody this morning, as it is a popular birding area and sure enough there’s a black ute!! Wonder who it belongs to?

“Well hello Gregs mum!! ” came the voice. ” Hi there… Mark?” Oh dear, I thought… what is his name. “No it’s Adrian”, he tells me. “Yes of course it is, how are you?” Well I just don’t remember names. Although I remember bird names, now isn’t that funny.

Black Falcon (Falco subniger) © Dorothy Latimer
Black Falcon (Falco subniger) © Dorothy Latimer

“Spotted any good birds this morning?” I ask “Anything interesting hanging around?” Then I look out over the scrub and see a Bustard in flight. Up north they are called bush turkeys, and are one of our heaviest birds that fly.

Adrian has his camera up and firing off several shots, he checked his camera, “Pics ok?” I ask, he nods his head.

I return to the car and get my camera gear and binoculars in readiness for the day to begin.

Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus), Central Australia © Dorothy Latimer
Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus), Central Australia © Dorothy Latimer

Well long story short — what a day!! Birds of prey everywhere. A pair of Black Falcons, a Whistling Kite, Peregrine Falcon, a pair of Brown Falcons (dark morph) and a pair of Brown Goshawks. All of them after a meal, although I did feel sorry for the Budgies, Cockatiels and the Diamond Doves, as they were certainly on the menu!!

I drove home all excited wondering if I had achieved great things this morning. Turned on the laptop, then removed the cards from the cameras… yes I own two cameras, well actually five cameras but… I placed the first card in the card reader then waited impatiently. I had videoed Budgies and Cockatiels and Diamond Doves coming in for a drink on this card. Now for the second card… the important one!! Birds of Prey. I started off slow looking through a thousand photos.

OMG OMG OMG… is that the right phrase the young ones use these days…

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), Central Australia © Dorothy Latimer
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), Central Australia © Dorothy Latimer

I’m a happy person… mostly fantastic shots. Yes, yes… I know about self praise and all that. Despite the grey overcast skies, the really big surprise for me is that the Peregrine Falcon pics in flight are in focus!!