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Black-winged kite

09 Apr 2021 14:20 - 09 Apr 2021 14:50 #5627 by Paul T
Black-winged kite was created by Paul T
My morning jaunts to outer Bangkok have been hit and miss this week as the bloody weather forecast keeps saying its going to be poor weather BUT I wake up to good light most mornings - by the time its light its a little too late for me to get out the city re traffic though.  So I thought I would just chance it and go, the hourly forecast had "mostly cloudy" for 6 am to 9 am so I was up at 5 and on the road as I like to get where I am going early.

It was a pretty quiet morning, I was continuing my attempt to find and photograph a ruddy-breasted crake but the location I chose was very quiet, lots of crake in the early morning moving around but I could not see what they were. After the sun came up proper it was deadly silent though. Too much water and not enough water plants I think. They were there but not making themselves visible.

I pondered if it had been a wasted morning, but how can a morning sat by a small lake with the rising sun casting its morning glow on the water and healthy reed bed be wasted? So much more satisfying than sitting on my Bangkok balcony listening to the traffic pitch rise as the city wakes and starts its morning cough of vehicle fumes.

I packed up my gear and headed back to my waiting truck, I was loading the hide into the back of the truck when I noticed two birds of prey flying in unison. Too far away to see what they were but then one suddenly stopped mid air, turned and dropped down to the field it was flying over. After what must have been only 30 seconds it was back in the air and the second bird was flying at it, either taunting or playing I had no idea. They both then settled in a tree about a hundred meters away. 

I decided to investigate, I had had a quiet morning and here was a chance to see something interesting. I knew I could not get too close as that would just make them fly off so I stopped well short of them and took some pictures, it was pair of black-winged kites. I ventured closer and then could see that one was probably a juvenile - I had photographed a juvenile a couple of weeks earlier so was aware of the differences from my attempts to ID my photo at the time. 

I decided it was time to see how far I could push it, as the photos I had in the camera now were from too far away to have any detail or quality about them. I was surprised just how close I got before they took off. I could see something "hanging" from the underside of one bird so I took a look on the camera's rear screen to see a ricefield rat (Rattus argentiventer). When the bird had stooped into the field earlier it had been to catch this meaty morsel of prey. 
Juvenile black-winged kite......



Adult taking off from tree​​​​​​ .....
The adult with the rat in its talons...



The black-winged kite (Elanus caeruleus), also known as the black-shouldered kite  is a small diurnal bird of prey.






 
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