Saturday, 29 March 2008

Whistling kites

I managed to fit in a brief visit to Serendip Sanctuary last week. The surrounding area (which includes the You Yangs) is a great locality for raptors. It is (almost) guaranteed that an hour or so of bird watching will turn up wedge-tailed eagles (Aquila audax), black kites (Milvus migrans) and whistling kites (Haliastur sphenurus). You can see all those in half an hour, if you're lucky.

Serendip's lakes attract all types of waterfowl and waders. They, in turn, attract birds of prey. Whistling kites are particularly keen on the ibis rookery at the far end of the sanctuary, where they can feed on young ibis or badger the adults into disgorging food, but they also spend time at the artificial pond system near the entrance. They are sociable birds, especially as juveniles. They are also very vocal. Their plaintive whistles are part of the Australian soundtrack.

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