Sunday, 22 October 2006

Let us prey

We were watching the white ibis organise their nests at the sanctuary when a lone straw-necked ibis joined them. It landed in the tree above the colony. As it was settling onto a suitable perch, another bird arrived at the afternoon rendezvous. This was obviously the place to be.

But it was unlikely that the second bird—a whistling kite—was there just to experience the friendly vibe. It was soon joined by another. They waited on the boughs closest to the colony. Maybe they were curious. Certainly, they were both watching the ibises on their nests.

The pair got bored after a while and took off. They circled over the lake. Then one soared down to snatch a duckling. Fortunately (for the duckling, if not for the kite), it missed.

My camera batteries went flat seconds after I took these pictures. So I enjoyed the spectacle of five whistling kites and a squadron of pelicans gliding on thermals without experiencing the anxiety of trying to get them in focus.

[I'm pretty sure these are whistling kites. They were certainly whistling. From underneath the wings had dark tips and dark trailing edges. If I'd had spare batteries ...]


Duncan said...

Snail, at Dowd's Morass near Sale, where Ibis breed in thousands there are also a lot of Whistling Kites, and a search under their nests soon reveals that the most common prey they collect for their young are young ibis. There's a picture in this old blog of mine.

Snail said...

Thank you for that link, Duncan. (I know someone who's working on the Dowd Morass birds, so I'll point him towards it.)

Those colonies must be really easy pickings for the kites. No wonder they were circling.

Trevor said...

I wonder if they were "preying" before eating their meal??