This is the final part to my ‘Birding Around Broome’ series. This week I want to highlight the amazing and numerous raptors that are easily seen hovering over various parts of the area. Like other birders visiting from the southern states, raptors are a rare delicacy for most. Against the blue, unpolluted winter sky their colors and patterns are remarkable and often stunningly beautiful.
My Bird of the Week – The Brahminy Kite.
The Brahminy Kite is common around the northern coasts of Australia and also throughout SE Asia. They look similar to the White-bellied Sea-Eagle but have a rich chestnut brown colouring. Like the Sea Eagle and Osprey they tend towards prey on the coastline where they soar over estuaries, mangroves and mudflats. They enjoy meals of small fish, but like other raptors eat insects and small reptiles.
Like other raptors they take excellent vantage from the very top of dead tree branches.
It is a birder’s pleasure to see them soaring in bright sunlight on a clear sky. They often have their wingtips upturned like a jet aeroplane as they glide the thermals.
The most commonly seen raptor in far northern Australia is the Black Kite on both the west and east coasts. One of the first observations one makes when visiting this region is the number of Black Kites seen circling in many parts of the town. They are called Black Kites but they are more brown than black.
Groups of 3 to 6 kites are often seen circling over an area, but on one day down at Town Beach we saw about twenty circling and landing on the beach. Some were fishing for small fish and fisherman leftovers.
Above the adults have landed on the beach with their youngster. Notice the speckled appearance of the juvenile compared to the adult bird.
As you have seen in my previous posts I saw several Brown Falcon in Broome. This one posed for me by the side of the Broome Highway. It allowed me to get quite close, which was interesting, as all the others I saw took flight when I approached. Even when I tried to get it to take flight it just looked at me.
We found this little Nankeen Kestrel on a lamp post by the beach one afternoon. He did not mind us looking at him, he was a little inquisitive when I pointed my camera at him, but he just sat and watched.
I was surprised I did not see more Whistling Kites on my visit to Broome, as I have seen on a previous visit, though I did see this juvenile Whistler passing. With raptor identification the plumage colouring, wing markings, tail and body shape help to identify them. Several of the immature raptors can look very similar.
This immature White-bellied Sea-Eagle that we saw pass over on the beach is a good example when compared with the above immature Whistling Kite. he looks to be only about a year old.
The adult was not far away, as you can see the transformation that must take place for the immature to mature. Immature Sea Eagles go through several plumage changes before maturity, making it easy for us birders to give an age to them. What was interesting was that I saw no Wedged-tailed Eagles while I was there. I have seen on previous occasions. Many thousands of these magnificent birds were culled with a bounty on their heads over the past hundred years, but this has since gradually been stopped in most states. However, it has left a big hole in the numbers that would have been, had man not interfered.
The Osprey nest in the lighthouse structure at Gantheaume Point at the end of Cable Beach has a history of Osprey nests, which tourists always come to see. Several generations, including this juvenile above have been raised here, by the above parent.
And so ends my Birding Around Broome series with another glorious Cable Beach sunset. I hope you have enjoyed this series. Have a wonderful week.
“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” – Ephesians 4:26
Each time the sun sets it is important that we have already forgiven and made up with those we have hurt or been hurt by. This is essential for a happy healthy life.
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