Australian hobby

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shoop
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Australian hobby

Took this photo yesterday (27/4/13) at Bibra Lake , Perth Western Australia. There were quite alot of varieties of birds of prey in the sky the few hours i was there. This is the second time I have managed to get a photo of this gorgeous bird. My first time was at Lake Joondalup (11/11/12).

Woko
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Hey Shoop. Great shots. However, I'm wondering if you have a Peregrine Falcon there.

shoop
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Hi Woko, thanks for your comments and I must say you had me doubting myself if indeed it was an Australian Hobby. I done a bit of research on the net and it seems that Peregine Falcons feed only on birds, where as the Hobby will eat insects as well as birds. So I have here another photo taken on the same day, ( it is not the best quality as the light was not the best as rain was coming) and I am guessing it was the same bird as the two photos were taken only 3 minutes apart!!! It appears to me that this bird has what looks like a dragonfly in one of its talons. So I think I have to lean towards the Hobby . 

Kerry - Perth, Western Australia.

Woko
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Hi Shoop. The reason I thought it might be a Peregrine Falcon was the size of the white collar & the frontal barring rather than striations.

The Reader's Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds says that apart from birds the Peregrine Falcon's prey is "rabbits and a few other mammals". On the Australian Hobby it says its chief prey is small birds. I don't know if that advances the identification of your bird but it added to my knowledge!

Anyway, I'll be interested in comments from other members.

shoop
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I totally agree with you Woko , comments from other members would be great. I have got a list of Western Australian birds off the net and I am trying to mark off as many of the birds that I photogragh as a fun achievement, so it will be good to be able to place the photos of this bird in it's rightful folder under it's rightful name ! 

Kerry - Perth, Western Australia.

dna1972
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The bird in flight appears a bit like a Peregrine, however, Peregrines appear much chunkier. You could have a female Little Falcon here, as it looks heavy, but still not heavy enough to be a Peregrine. But if it is the same bird as the perched one, then a Little Falcon (aka Hobby) it is. I have seen Little Falcons catch and eat insects on the wing. I recently watched a female and what I assumed her offspring (one young bird), almost every evening for two or so weeks, hunt insects over paddocks on a warm evening when it was almost too dark to even see them flying against the trees. It was almost night and they were out there hunting like bullets. Just incredible.

It's Windhover here BTW Adrian (Woko). How are your Wedgies coming along?

Woko
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No nesting yet, dna/Windhover but I still see them from time to time. To encourage them to nest I may have to get a developer to import a fully grown, 400 year old River Red Gum.

dna1972
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Ah yes, that will be a problem Adrian!

Annie W
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Love that second shot Shoop - is he warning, yawning, or sizing up lunch wink

NW Tasmania

shoop
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RubyE he was actually regurgitating something out of his mouth, but it does make him look nasty perched there with his mouth wide open.

Kerry - Perth, Western Australia.

dna1972
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Ruby and others.

Raptors will regurgitate indigestible body parts of their preys in the form of pellets. Things like bones, fur, wing casings (insects) etc are all in these pellets. Quite often during research the prey items can even be identified from single bones.

I have a photo of an Australian Kestrel doing this. It looks bad, but it is perfectly normal behaviour for them.

In the first image you can see the pellet in the throat about to come out.

http://amatteroflight.com/gallery2/d/4583-2/Australian-Kestrel_9224.jpg

In the second it has flown....

http://amatteroflight.com/gallery2/d/5223-1/Australian-Kestrel_9225.jpg

shoop
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   Yes I have seen this before especially when I used to have the Australian Magpies come to visit , they were always throwing out pellets , I also have a photo of a black-faced Woodswallow doing the same , unfortunately i didn't capture the shot of it in mid air as your fantastic shots show . http://www.flickr.com/photos/kerrystuart/8703825934/in/photostream/    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kerrystuart/8703823410/in/photostream/

Kerry - Perth, Western Australia.

dna1972
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Kerry, that's wonderful to see. I've never seen anything other than a raptor doing regurgitation. Of course, I know other species would also do it. Well seen! Keep up the great pics.

ScottTas
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Thanks for posting these pics, I'm sure there are lots of us who struggle separating these BOP! I am always desperately keeping my eyes out for BOP, esp Hobbys and Peregrines!!

If it helps, I tend to think of Little Falcons being to Peregrines what Nankeen Kestrels are to Brown Falcons. ie - once you've seen both, it's mostly fairly easy to differentiate based on size / bulk.

I also normally see Peregrines flying a little higher and taking big dives. Mostly the Hobbys I see fly fairly low with small dives / prolonged chases.

I also wonder in your top pic if a peregrine wouldn't have that brown streaking / speckling coming so far up it's neck? Less confident about that though...
I'm also interested to hear other thoughts on my thoughts...!

Cheers,

Scott.

shoop
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Yes Scott , I agree as I watched this bird (hobby) for some time and as you stated ''Hobbys fly fairly low with small dives/prolonged chases'' and this one certainly did. I will have to go back to that location again this week ( cross fingers if i get five minutes spare) as that day was very overcasted and about to rain , i saw more than one Hobby there,  also Swamp Harriers, Goshawk/Sparrowhawk and Black Shouldered Kites. The photo where the Hobby is sitting perched was at a completely different location on a completely different day. It sat there for ages which is always a bonus when taking photos as you can snap off 100s without being too fussed with autofocusing. I have yet to photograph a Peregrine Falcon, although I am still just a novice at this photographing thingy i am sure I will eventually get the chance one day as I am always on the hunt for a new bird to photograph, out and about at lakes, parks ,dams,  bush areas etc. I am on the hunt for the Freckled duck ATM, have been for about a year now . It will be a day of celebration when i get the oppuntity to photograph one. All my friends and family will be relieved as i am sure they get so tired of me and my long for the Freckled Duck !!!!! I also have taken a couple of photos of another BOP with the same similarites making it hard to tell which it may be: Collared Sparrowhawk OR Brown Goshawk . These photos are taken on different days at different locations. Greatly appreciate if anyone had any ideas with which one of these are which.

Kerry - Perth, Western Australia.

ScottTas
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Interesting. Keep posting photos!!
On my way out to pelagic trip off Tas, but I'd say 1 = S'hawk (wide-eyed expression), 2 not sure but tail shape may help, 3 = G'hawk (glaring). That's just my best guessing! Again, size helps a lot. Goshawks are bigger and bulkier. Male Sparrowhawks can be really quite small (the last one I saw I initially thought was a rosella based on size and flight!).
Cheers, Scott.

ScottTas
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Interesting. Keep posting photos!!
On my way out to pelagic trip off Tas, but I'd say 1 = S'hawk (wide-eyed expression), 2 not sure but tail shape may help, 3 = G'hawk (glaring). That's just my best guessing! Again, size helps a lot. Goshawks are bigger and bulkier. Male Sparrowhawks can be really quite small (the last one I saw I initially thought was a rosella based on size and flight!).
Cheers, Scott.

pacman
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shoop wrote:

I am on the hunt for the Freckled duck ATM, have been for about a year now .

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Elsewhere I have referred you to Eremaea.com; it has a find a species page; a search there for Freckled Duck says a high reliability in May-June at Lake Monger Reserve, Glendalough                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Peter

shoop
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Thanks for the heads up Pacmanyessmiley  I have been to visit Lake Monger and Herdsman on occasion in search for this Freckled friend but I must head out this week to Lake Joondalup as it had a recent sighting last Wednesday of three there (cross fingers they are still around) .   I was tickled pink a while ago at Lake Monger when i got my first Hardhead Duck , and then after that i was seeing them every where ,  ain't that always they way??!!  At least you can mark the Freckled duck off your list too now like Araminta and Rawshorty....you lucky ducks you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!wink

Kerry - Perth, Western Australia.

dna1972
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Agree that the first appears to be a Sparrowhawk. You can almost make out its longer middle toe as well, though being closer to the other toes would be better for judging.

The second is hard, don't know. Tail shape is good for birds in flight, not necessarily at rest. From appearance and my best guess I would suspect Goshawk due to the legs being quite heavy looking (Sparrowhawks have thin legs) and also it appears to be a BIG bird. I saw a male Sparrowhawk in my backyard a few weeks ago and thought it was a bloody Red Wattlebird at first.

The third is definitely a Goshawk. Heavy bird, distinct brow ridge, solid legs. (don't look at the middle toe's shadow!

These two are generally very hard to tell apart.

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