images of australian wildlife

Black-shouldered Kite

Black-shouldered Kite

One of my first digiscoped pictures, taken back before I learned that digiscoping flight shots is more-or-less impossible.

Nankeen Kestrels and Black-shouldered Kites hover a lot, so you can digiscope them but it takes lots of paitence or (as in this case) a large slice of luck. I have often though what a pity it is that I cut off the back end of the bird, and equally often thought how lucky I was to have everything else pretty much spot on.

I think the main reason I still like this picture, however, is that it captures the hunting Black-shouldered Kite’s sense of absolute concentration. They are supremely effective mouse hunters — far better at it than a cat, a fox, or a falcon — and eat almost nothing else. We know that there were no mice in Australia until about 5 million years ago: it seems safe to assume that the Black-shouldered Kite’s ancestors followed them here some time soon after that.

Black-shouldered Kite

Elanus axillaris

Pitfield, Vic

July 2003

Nikon Coolpix 4500

Swarovski ATS80 HD

0.8° 500mm 100i

f/4.5 1/231th