Tag Archives: Brown Falcon

The hunter’s perch…

One of the best reasons to visit the Western Treatment Plant over winter is the large number of Raptors that can be easily seen.  The species found all year round include the Swamp Harriers, Kites (Black-Shouldered, Black and Whistling) and the Brown Falcons. Several more stop by for a few months to breed locally or just to take advantage of an abundant food supply – these include the Black Falcon, Kestrel, Brown Goshawk, Spotted Harrier, Sea-Eagle and Wedge-tailed Eagle.

Below are two regulars that I often see and photograph. The Brown Falcon and the Whistling Kite – both perched in late afternoon light on dead tree branches with great open views of the surrounding area.

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Whistling Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Whistling Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Under the watchful gaze of a Brown Falcon

A regular member of the raptors often sighted at the Treatment Plant lagoons is the  Brown Falcon, a striking bird that often perches on posts and signs waiting for opportunities to pounce on small mammals, rabbits, birds, snakes and lizards. Towards the end of our day at the Lagoons last week, we found our  Falcon perched and watching out for its next meal. While wary of us it remained quite calm and unlike many other raptors allowed us to approach close enough to gain a few photographs.

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria

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Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria

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Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria

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Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria

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Emus, Falcons and a weird Giant Koala

During a drive around the various state nature reserves just outside the boundaries of the Grampians National Park I stopped at Cherrypool Wetlands along the Henty Highway. The water level was quite low and I worked my way around the edge of the scrub that ran down to the water and mud. When I pushed through some bushes I came face to face with a family of Emus. I was as stunned as they were but they had better reflexes and took off before I could get my camera into action. By the time I spotted them again they were still running but now on the other side and the adult emu was well in front of his family….the chicks were about half his size.

Emu, Cherrypool Highway Park, Wartook, Victoria

Emu, Cherrypool Highway Park, Wartook, Victoria

Emu chicks, Cherrypool Highway Park, Wartook, Victoria

Emu chicks, Cherrypool Highway Park, Wartook, Victoria

While driving back to camp I found a Brown Falcon feeding on a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. A good catch for the Falcon but very bad luck for the Cockatoo

Brown Falcon with cockatoo, Wartook State Forest, Victoria

Brown Falcon with cockatoo, Wartook State Forest, Victoria

I had driven past this bizarre sight several times in a few days and decided to pull in for a cold drink. Australia has a strange custom of building large animals, fruits, fish etc as tourist attractions. The Koala below had very hairy ears and a cool silver goatee…

Giant Koala, Dadswells Bridge, Victoria

Giant Koala, Dadswells Bridge, Victoria

Flight – Raptors and Terns

At this time of year, the number of raptors at the Western Treatment Plant are steadily building up. It can be a good place to practice your flight photography. Along with the raptors that search the ponds and lagoons for prey there are many flocks of ducks and terns .

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant,

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant,

Juvenile Sea Eagle, Western Treatment Plant

Juvenile Sea Eagle flying over the car and spooking 1000s of Pink Eared Ducks

Black Kite, Western Treatment Plant

Black Kite

Whiskered Tern, Western Treatment Plant,

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern flock, Western Treatment Plant

Whiskered Tern flock hawking for insects near the surface of the ponds

Hunters and Prey

The small birds are very aware of what is around and above them and are always on the lookout for the raptors that are everywhere at the Western Treatment Plant lagoons. The images below are from a few visits to the lagoons over the last several weeks. Even in winter it is a haven for many species of birds.

Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren

Superb Fairy Wren

Little Grassbird

Little Grassbird

Zebra Finch, Western Treatment Plant,

Zebra Finch

Blue Winged Parrot

Blue Winged Parrot

Red Necked Avocet

Red Necked Avocet

Black Falcon

Black Falcon

Brown Falcon

Brown Falcon

Black Kite, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Black Kite

Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite

Caution – Falco Berigora

Over the last month I have been making weekly visits on my own and with friends to the Victorian Western Treatment Plant in Weribee. It is an amazing place for birds any time of the year. At the moment there are many species of Raptor stopping by and taking advantage of the conditions and hunting opportunities. At least one species has even started to nest and raise chicks.

On this occasion, I was on my own reviewing the usual areas and seeing what had changed since I had last been here in February. I found this Brown Falcon enjoying a bit of late afternoon sun on an old wooden sign. It spotted something nearby and took off.

Brown Falcon - Falco Berigora, Western Treatment Plant.

Brown Falcon – Falco Berigora, Western Treatment Plant.

Brown Falcon - Falco Berigora, Western Treatment Plant.

Brown Falcon – Falco Berigora, Western Treatment Plant.

Western Treatment Plant, Werribee (aka the “Pooh Farm”)

The pooh farm is one of the best birding sites in Victoria and arguably in Australia  – it is only 35 mins away for me and I go as often as I can (20+ times so far this year). I hardly get less than 65 birds and as high as 88 in one day. The good birders get over 100 in a day. To get access to all birding areas you need 2 permits and a key supplied by Melbourne Water.

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee - 19 Nov 2014

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee – 19 Nov 2014

Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 19 Dec, 2014

Golden Headed Cisticola, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 19 Dec, 2014

Yellow Billed Spoonbills, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 5 Nov, 2014

Yellow Billed Spoonbills, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 5 Nov, 2014

Striated Fieldwren, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 29 May, 2014

Striated Fieldwren, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 29 May, 2014

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 22 Aug, 2014

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 22 Aug, 2014

Blue Winged Parrots, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 22 Aug, 2014

Blue Winged Parrots, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 22 Aug, 2014

Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee - 19 Nov 2014

Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee – 19 Nov 2014