Friday 13 October 2023

Belair NP, a Private site near Para Wirra Conservation Park and Jones Road Dam, South Australia.

Out monitoring Square-tailed Kite sites with Deb.
Australia, Day Thirty Six.

Female Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) with a twig for the nest (Belair).
Deb and I were up and out well before dawn so that we could be at our first monitoring site in the Belair National Park, we were on site complete with chairs and kit by 07.05 and watched the pair of Square-tailed Kites (Lophoictinia isura) interacting around the nest with the female flying short distances and collecting twigs several times.
Female Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) original pair (Belair).
This carried on until 10 something when both birds took off and were joined for a moment by two more Kites which was completely unexpected, the one bird of the unknown pair disappeared quickly but we were then amazed to see the male and female from the nest return along with a second female bird.
Male Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) original pair (Belair).
There was no aggression from the nest owners so we can only assume that this extra female was one of the young birds from at least two years earlier as the nest failed in 2022.
Male and Female Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) original pair (Belair).
We continued watching and all 3 birds disappeared for a short while but a short while later the original female returned but up until around 11.30 when we left there was no sign of the male returning.
Male Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) original pair (Belair).
Other species seen during the monitoring period included Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen), Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula), Little Raven (Corvus mellori), Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus), Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), Long-billed (Cacatua tenuirostris) and Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea), Crimson (Platycercus elegans) and Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius), Rainbow (Trichoglossus moluccanus) and Purple-crowned Lorikeet (Parvipsitta porphyrocephala), Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata), Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera), Weebill (Smicrornis brevirostris), Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus), Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa), Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala), Grey Shrikethrush (Colluricincla harmonica), Grey Currawong (Strepera versicolor), Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus), Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris), Black-faced Cuckooshrike (Coracina novaehollandiae), Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) and Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus fuliginosus).
Male and Female Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) (Para Wirra).
We moved on to our second location which was on a private property with access kindly granted by the owners for the study to be carried out, on the way we called in at a bakery for some lunch and added Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles), Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes), Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis), Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides), Crescent (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) and New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) and Tree Martin (Petrochelidon nigricans) on the way to Para Wirra area.
Male Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) (Para Wirra).
Once we were on site we again got the chairs set up and waited, the female was sitting on eggs at this site and we watched as she turned them several times.
Male Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) (Para Wirra).
Just after we arrived the male returned with a very small bird and the female ate it but he didn't show up again for nearly 3 hour when he came in with a larger bird which they both feed on, the male then sat in a small tree quite close to us between us and the nest and preened for the next 20 minute before heading back out hunting.
Male Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) (Para Wirra).
We left at around 16:30 and on the way out met the owners of the property and had a nice chat about the birds with them, whilst on site we also recorded Willie-wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys), good numbers of Striated Pardalote and a single Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus), Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus), Peaceful Dove (Geopelia placida), Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum), Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris), Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata), Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis), White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos), Musk Lorikeet (Glossopsitta concinna), White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae), Rufous (Pachycephala rufiventris) and Western Whistler (Pachycephala fuliginosa), Buff-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza reguloides) and many of the species seen at the other site.
Male Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) (Para Wirra).
On the way back to the farm we made a brief stop at a large dam on Jones Road near Hahndorf where we added Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena), Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca), Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra), Hardhead (Aythya australis), Blue-billed (Oxyura australis) and Musk Duck (Biziura lobata) and Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos).
Male Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) (Para Wirra).
Thanks to everyone involved in this project for agreeing to me accompanying Deb and to Deb for asking in the first place, such a privilege to see these stunning birds so well.  
Male Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) (Para Wirra).

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