Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Hobby visits

We were walking as a group along Silverleaves Ave on Phillip Island today. Twelve year old Hannah spotted it first.

"What's that Dad?" She does seem to have the knack of recognising something a bit different. We had a five second view, in flight, before the trees of the bushy Silverleaves area obscured the view. It was enough for Hannah and I to leave the group and backtrack. We were rewarded with further views.

I'm not great with raptors but I am now able to state in the field several birds that this was not and that did leave Australian Hobby. Cropping and enhancing images of this dark, fast-flying, smallish bird didn't result in pictures of any great quality but did leave no doubt about the ID.

Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis - I do wonder about that scientific name*)

Trees - you gotta love 'em but gee they can get in the way!

Then .... close to focussed just before passing behind an electricity pole!
Also at Silverleaves today this mature Rufous whistler was seen tending to an immature bird. Always good to see new generations coming along.

View Larger Map

I visited the lookout at the end of McIllwraith's Rd, Rhyll which allows views of the Observation Point spit. This is the politically correct way of viewing the shorebirds that visit - which is OK as long as you are not planning on identifying any of them.

I believe the dots below will include godwits, terns (caspian and crested), a sizeable group of Pied oystercatcher, a few eastern curlew. Some even smaller specks belie the presence of Red-necked stint. A few extra large dots represent a couple of lads who have jumped off the family boat identifying the shallow waters surrounding the protected spit as a great place for a rollick.

* From Debus' Birds of Prey of Australia:
The specific name ('long feather') alludes to the long wings (primary feathers).
Bird on!