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Don’t worry if you missed Kite Day…

April 3, 2013
Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

February 8 is International Day of the Kites. If you missed the wonderful, coloured cloth creations scooting about the sky, don’t worry – a number of kites have been seen in the Flowerdale district in the past week. Just a different sort of kite.

My attention was drawn to a bird sitting in the very top of a Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) on our property by the persistent raucous screeching of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita). The cockies were obviously objecting to the bird being there. From a great distance it looked like a dirty cocky itself, but as I crept closer it resolved into a Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus) (pictured left). Although named for its distinct shrill whistling call, it wasn’t whistling at the time, seeming more intent on keeping a low profile.

Driving down the road the next day, we saw a Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) perched on a power line – no prizes for

Black-shouldered Kite

Black-shouldered Kite

guessing how it got its name. The Black-shouldered Kite looks very much like the Letter-winged Kite (Elanus scriptus), with the major difference that the latter has a black ‘W’ marking that can be seen under its wings when it hovers. Eventually tiring of being photographed the bird flew off – no W under its wings.

So next year in late March we should run our own Week of the Kites in Flowerdale. Entry will be free and you can observe these kites as much as you like, no strings attached.

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