The family spent a few days on the water tower – with no juveniles accessing the scrape – before moving holus bolus to the a small copse of trees in paddock just out of sight of the ledge cam – just up and to the left a bit. They have used these trees for roosting and flight training in previous years, but usually they spend a few days or up to a week in the trees opposite the tower. This year stage has almost been by-passed!
The photos show Budhin, Gaama, Gaama, Gaama in her tree, all three (left to right: Xavier, Budhin and Diamond) in the dead roost tree, Xavier, and three of Diamond (two in flight, not the greatest pictures, I’m afraid).
I think they will now spend a week or so between these trees and the tower, while building their flight skills. The parents will hunt and then drop the prey to give the youngsters practice at catching prey in the air before starting to hunt themselves. They don’t seem that interested in hunting yet. I watched potential prey birds come and go at will from their roost tree yesterday (when these photos were taken).
This is quite a dangerous time for juveniles. Collisions with power lines and trees are not unknown. We had one youngster hit a tree while chasing prey and hurt her leg. This apparently healed itself according to a witness, although I still have my doubts about that…. They will also get more aggressive to humans (particularly me!). They will also start to move further afield as their skills increase, but I think we will have the pleasure of their company for a while yet. And they could still visit the nest box (they usually do), often chasing a parent with prey. Our box is not a particularly easy target for landing, however (compared to the top of the tower, or a tree, for instance).
Here is a video of a changover of adults in the box very early this morning (Xavier arrives and leaves, Diamond arrives), followed by juveniles apparently chasing Xavier (you’ll have to look hard, as they are very small!).
I’ll be out and about most afternoons on foot with my camera to try and get some photos. Diamond is not at all happy with this approach, so my visits have to be short for this reason.
I’ll update this site every couple of days or so, unless there is something dramatic. The live youtube stream is still busy with chat and I’m updating the google hangout as well.