Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time Draws Closer… and Ravens

We were sitting on the eastern veranda this [Saturday] morning, indulging in a second cup of hot coffee. The ambient temperature was around 5.3oC [it had hit a low of 3.5oC overnight]. When here [and not off somewhere else] we keep an almost religious weekend list of our backyard birds. The usual crowd had been “ticked”: Laughing Kookaburra, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Grey Butcherbird, etc. We noted the caw of several crows off to the south and looked up to the sky. Sure enough four Torresian Crows floated into view. I recorded them and looked away to note the White-winged Chough and Crested Pigeon in the orchard.

It was Fay who drew my attention back to the crows. Surely the one slightly apart from the others, and clearly much higher in the sky, was almost raptor-like. It soared with outstretched fingers, presenting a flat dihedral. Crows tend to soar with wings bent slightly downwards.

Out came the binoculars and, yes, it wasn’t after all a crow but rather an Australian Raven. I deleted the “4”, substituted a “3” but added the 152nd species to the “Backyard List.” We’d have celebrated with a glass of Barossa's finest shiraz but this is Saturday 28 August, the last Saturday before we leave for the U.K. and several last-minute chores remain to be completed prior to our departure.

The photo was taken by Steve Happ [].

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