Sunday, February 26, 2012

Peregrine falcon vs Whistling kite

A few slow birding days (too hot, too windy, too tired) so I would like to recount an hitherto unposted experience from 18 October last year.

This episode occurred at an otherwise pretty miserable looking place called Kow Swamp in northern Victoria (I believe it can be a birding paradise if the conditions are right, you have a boat or are prepared to wade). The course of events was as follows:

Viewing and photographing Whistling kite in flight while parked at the Lions Club picnic area.

Whistling kite (Haliastur sphenurus)
Drove away from picnic area but had travelled no further then 400m when surprised by an imposing looking bird in a roadside tree-top.

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Falcon flies off - "So much for that!" I think. I jump back in the car vaguely aware that the Peregrine has gone in the same direction as the road.

I have travelled another 200m when I notice the kites are again close. As I am photographing, the peregrine re-appears and stoops on the kite who takes defensive action.

Closely cropped view of the kite reaction.
My interpretation of this episode is that the Peregine was aggressively reinforcing "his patch". It was fast and impressive flight.

An Eremaea poster describes Kow Swamp as a:
Large freshwater storage lake between Echuca and Kerang with drowned trees and swampy margins.
You can see a list of recorded species at Eremaea's Kow Swamp page.

Typical Kow Swamp view
Australasian darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae)


  1. Nice action, beautifully captured. You did well to notice the behaviour. I like the looks of Kow Swamp. Even if it's hot I wish I was there today. (inside doing housework because of never ending snow)

  2. Wow!
    Great reaction... both from you and the Kite!
    Well done!
    I didn't know they were Perigrine falcons in Australia and this is really good news!
    Cheers, Pete!