Ballet of the Black-shouldered Kites

Black-shouldered Kite
Umbiram Road, midway  between Wyreema and Southbrook, Queensland.
August 26, 2011
Nikon D300 + Nikkor 80-400mm VR

Thank you for viewing and commenting on this blog in 2011.

These photos were taken in a 3 minute period, (between 2:41 and 2:44pm) on August 26 and are of two Black-shouldered Kites. I first saw one hovering behind a tree and we stopped the car to take a look. I couldn't get closer because of the fence along side the road and didn't really think of it as a good photo opportunity. My luck changed when the kite looped around the tree and started hovering closer but with its back to me. Suddenly, it flew off in a blur as another Black-shouldered Kite came from behind me and attacked it. The two flung directly towards the sun tumbling about fighting each other. I was too slow and both birds were too far away so I was almost going to give up and turn around when the attacker, seemingly satisfied with the scolding he gave my original subject, turned back and came directly over me. The last two shots are among my favourites for the year.

Black-shouldered Kites are common but graceful little raptors around grasslands in Australia. I am concerned however about the effects of mining on their populations and niches in general.

Have a good 2012.