What’s that bird doing?

While travelling home from Clare in the mid-north of South Australia recently I was surprised by a sudden movement by a small raptor. As I was travelling at about 90kph at the time it was hard to stop and photograph the Nankeen Kestrel.

The kestrel dived from above the car as I travelled along. It plummeted rapidly across my line of vision into the grass on the verge of the road. What it was attempting to capture I could only imagine. Perhaps it was a mouse or a lizard sunning itself. Or even a beetle or some other insect that would make a small delicacy for the kite, such as a grasshopper.

I suspect it was probably a mouse of some description. Both Nankeen Kestrels and Black Shouldered Kites are regularly encountered along the highways in this area at present. They are two of our quite common, small Australian raptors present throughout most of the country. In the 180 kilometre drive from home in Murray Bridge to my daughter’s place in Clare it is not unusual to see ten or more of each species, far more common than any other species of raptor.


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