Thursday, March 14, 2013

Brown Goshawk sighting

Having the opportunity to film any kind of Raptor or Owl in the area is "You have to be in the right place at the right time to do so". This opportunity arose and I grabbed it with what tools I had in my possession at the time. Brown Goshawk sightings in Tenterfield is rare, rarer than sighting a Tawny Frogmouth which is pretty rare these days. Apparently Brown Goshawks are secretive birds but there was nothing secretive about this sighting. The poor bird was under attack by Pied Currawongs. Let me explain what happened.

On the 12th of January 2013 a bird landed in one of the gum trees in my neighbour Carol's side garden. At first all I heard and saw was just a commotion of activity of birds in the trees. Pied Currawongs were flying everywhere in and out of the trees. They all seemed to be chasing each other. That was my first impression. But when the Pied Currawongs began chasing a bird out of the tree I knew something was up. Pied Currawongs don't usually chase anything, especially not any local species. They are quite timid and relaxed birds. But the Pied Currawongs were going mental in the trees.

I started filming the birds and saw a larger bird than a Pied Currawong in the tree. It made a sound I'd heard before and instantly knew it was a raptor of some sort. The Currawongs were swooping it and getting really close to it. The raptor tried mostly to ignore it's attackers but spent a great deal of time chasing after the Pied Currawongs to get them to leave it alone.

Studying the videos I took of the whole incident it seems there may have been 2 Brown Goshawks in the trees. I can't be certain though. I done some research on it's call and learnt it was a Brown Goshawk.

This attack went on for quite some time before and after I stop filming it. I noticed that the House Sparrows in the area panicked when the Brown Goshawk was around and ended up over at my place, hiding in the tree by my bedroom window. This happened after I finished filming the attack by the Pied Currawongs. The Sparrows sounded nervous and panicky. Then they went quiet after a while, hoping not to be heard.

Brown Goshawks used to frequent Tenterfield a lot but now they rarely come to this part of the woods. I had never seen one in a tree before. I always used to see them on wing in the air. One of their main food sources is House Sparrows.

It must be really hard for raptors to be constantly chased and attacked by other birds. The Brown Goshawk obviously just wanted to rest for a while but whilst in those trees it barely got any rest at all.

The Brown Goshawk was in the area for about 4-5 days prior to me filming them. After filming it was gone about 24-48 hours later, never to be seen or heard from again.

Below are the 2 videos I recorded of the Brown Goshawk. I have a digital camera that refuses to zoom.

I filmed this raptor because I love the sounds they make. It reminds me of when I was living in South Australia where there were plenty of raptors. My experiences with wild raptors have been up close and personal, for they ventured close to me back then. Now they don't, and filming this raptor was something I didn't want to miss.


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