On Friday I left home very early and drove to Point Peron. I have not been there in years and thought it may be a good spot for some different sea birds. Secretly I hoped to see a White Bellied Sea Eagle!! I pulled up at about 6.00am and explored the rocky cliffs and beaches. There were a few fisherman out on the rocks, lots of seagulls, pigeons and an Osprey sitting on a distant rock, that was it!! So I got in the car thinking I would head back along the coast to Perth and maybe stop at Woodman Point. As I was leaving the car park I spotted it, a Black Shouldered Kite and then another. Stopped the car got out and headed up the hill to get closer.
The Kite was perched on the top of a wind vein and as I got closer I realised it was a juvenile. Black Shouldered Kites have a vivid red eye as adults and are shades of black grey and white. This one had a golden orange eye and some brown baby feathers remaining on his chest. A beautiful inquisitive creature he allowed me to get very close before taking flight in the direction of the beach.
I followed him back down the hill on on the walking track to some low limestone cliffs. He had landed on some rocks but unfortunately had his back to me so I took off the boots and waded out and around to get some beautiful shots of him with a lovely creamy grey limestone background, cliffs just the right distance to blur perfectly.
Sea gulls were flapping around and seemed to be quite curious about the Kite flying around him and landing close to get a better look. Two old Greek fisherman appeared on the beach and started cutting up bait, the sea gulls went crazy and a majestic Caspian Tern appeared from no where swooping the seagulls so it could get to the bait scraps. Meanwhile the Kite remained on his rock surveying the scene with intelligent curiosity.
Finally he took off, and landed in some dry grass, I waded out put my boots back on and followed, getting a nice shot of him amongst the dry weeds. He took off and flew high, hovering, looking for prey but was unsuccessful and came down landing in some dead bushes on top of the cliffs. I scrambled up the sand dune, pulling myself up and worming through the thick scrub to arrive at the top covered in scratches and sticks in my hair. He was perched on a stick and allowed me to get very close.
A couple of Willy Wag tails spotted him and proceeded with their usual trouble making antics, flying around his head, dive bombing and landing on nearby sticks chattering noisily. The Kite took flight, hovered and landed on a nearby bush, allowing me to get some nice take-off and landing shots. Finally he took off and landed on the beach.
I half scrambled half fell down the sand dunes to end up on the beach much to the delight of the fisherman who had been watching my antics with a mixture of confusion and amusement. The Kite took off once again and I decided it was time to go to work, very pleased with how the morning turned out. When I went through my shots I was even happier, the Kite was one of the most beautiful birds I have ever seen and I was able to get up close and share a few hours with him. When I checked my bird book the pictures confirmed he was a juvenile which is good news because it means these beautiful creatures are breeding in the suburbs and hopefully we will continue to see them. To see the comparison, below is a shot of an adult Black Shouldered Kite taken earlier in the week at Salter Point. The colours are more defined, there is no brown and the eye is bright red.