Never think you’ve seen it all

It’s just exciting to be part of something that is brand-new.
– Brian McKnight

Last Saturday I went to my favourite bird of prey place. I try to go there every week because I know I’ll see at least one bird of prey. I know which ones to expect. I always see Whistling Kites and I almost always see a White-bellied Sea-Eagle. I usually see one or two other birds of prey – mostly a Swamp Harrier and maybe a Brown Falcon. I’ve also seen Wedge-tailed Eagles (several times), Black-shouldered Kites (a few times), Brown Goshawks (a few times), a Peregrine Falcon (once), a Little Falcon (once) and a Grey Goshawk (once). I think I’ve even seen a Nankeen Kestrel there too, but I can’t be sure.
The other bird of prey I’ve seen in my area in a different place is a Pacific Baza (a pair, once only).
After many years of looking for birds of prey to photograph, I thought I’d seen all the different species there were to see in my area … but I was wrong!
On Saturday I was watching what looked like four Whistling Kites flying over a paddock some distance from me. Suddenly I noticed a bird of prey that was a rich dark chocolate colour on its underside and undertail.

I tried to work out what it was. It looked a similar size and shape to a Whistling Kite, but it was too dark. Its wings were too short for it to be a Swamp Harrier.
Maybe it’s a Brown Falcon, I thought. If only it would come closer.
I took some photos then looked at them on my camera. When I zoomed in, I gasped in surprise. There was no mistaking the forked tail.Could it be a Black Kite? I’ve never seen one in my area before.
I looked up from my camera and was startled to see a Brown Falcon sitting on a power line not far from me. My camouflage gear must have been really working! I snapped two photos before it flew off.

I stayed for a long time hoping that the bird would come closer so I could get a better look at it. It didn’t, but I realised that there were two! You can see them here with this White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

Or maybe there were three … or more!

At home I downloaded my photos then posted them on a forum and asked four of my birding friends if they thought my bird of prey was a Black Kite. They all did.
What a find! It reminded me to never think I’ve seen all there is to see. Birds come and go, and even in a place you know very well, there’s always a new discovery to be made.

Australian daytime birds of prey

birds of prey

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