Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Matter of Grey

Grey Goshawk in flight
Photo by Russell Jenkins, available at the Australian Bird Images Database:

Seeing one Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae in a week [] is joy enough for the soul of most Queensland birders but to see three over the same weekend – and two of those as a pair- is rapture beyond reckoning!  All the more as at the time we were not birding, simply enjoying a respite from a number of household and backyard chores that needed doing before the sun became too fierce to work in.   We were sitting on the front verandah with a cuppa each.
It was the Noisy Miners Manorina melanocephala that first attracted our attention.  The species has a number of alarm calls, one distinctly warning of the approach of a raptor.  It becomes almost second nature to look up when the Miners alert you to the presence of some danger.
Fay spotted them first, pair of Grey Goshawks just beyond the roofline of our neighbour’s house.  They dipped below our line of vision, reappeared momentarily as they flew towards the wooded area between our two properties, vanished from view again and then suddenly burst out into the open sky.
It was the briefest of glimpses.  Rare views of any delightful bird are never long enough to satisfy the inner being of a birder but it was long enough to note the deeply veed wings as the pair cavorted around each other, dropped from view and reappeared, still in gracefully slow motion before going on their way beyond our line of sight.
We didn’t even have the binoculars at hand but then the pair had been close enough to fully appreciate with the naked eye.
It remains the gem of the 35 backyard species, including the Australian Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles cristatus of the evening, recorded that day.

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