Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Memorable Morning!

You may feel you don't want to hear about the first part of this morning's saga, but I was bitten by a dog!! Not a life threatening bite, but more than a playful nip. I know dogs on leashes are one of my constant themes, and this morning's episode highlights what I'm on about. I entered the Meehan Range (a 'dogs on leashes only' area), and had not gone more than a 100 metres, when a group of 4 dogs in the charge of an elderly women, rushed at me. This is not the first time this has happened and I have remonstrated with the woman about leashes. I am not easily cowed by dogs, but one made a determined effort and finally bit me on the leg. You might have thought I would be in line for an apology, at least. Not on your life, the woman merely told me that I should be aware that she exercised her dogs at this time every morning and kept out!!! In a public reserve!!! And you perhaps have wondered why I go on about dog owners.
On to the bright side. I heard my first Pallid Cuckoos this morning, calling from near the crest of a nearby hill and set off in pursuit. I eventually came across two birds, probably a pair by their behaviour. They were quite difficult to photograph, as they chose to keep to the tops of the trees, but I managed to get a few shots. It was while I was photographing them that I noticed a white bird being pursued by a Forest Raven. I assumed it was a gull, many fly over the Meehan Range, but wondered why it would interest a raven. Then the penny dropped! The white bird was a white morph Grey Goshawk. I took several photos, some reproduced here. This is the first time I have seen this species in this reserve, and I have been coming here for around 30 years. Other people have mentioned seeing them further North in the range on the Richmond side of the hills, although I was a bit sceptical. There are fair numbers of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos here too. The goshawk seemed mainly unfazed by the raven, and only once attempted to turn on it's back to retaliate with it's talons. Both birds were circling in the thermal and probably about 200 metres up when I first spotted them, so the quality has suffered. I hope you can share some of the excitement of this event. A very memorable morning!


John & Shirley Tongue said...

Thanks Alan, for the great shots, even at that height.

And I share your frustration at many dog owners! We are convinced omst of them can't read - at least not 'inconvenient' signs.

Duncan said...

Ripper shots! Next time you go to that reserve take a monopod with you, it would make a very useful waddy, and use it.

BirdingTas said...

Hi Duncan,
Thanks for the comments. I do indeed carry a monopod, actually a V-yoke shooters monopod--much lighter and more portable than a conventional monopod. Unfortunately, it was clipped to my belt! You didn't define which "culprit" I should use it on!!!