|Booted Eagle (John Hawkins)|
The next performance comes again from the sky. A curious "chip-chip-chip-chip" draws my attention upwards. The sound comes from the direction of the risen sun and it takes a few seconds before the bird responsible has circled into safe view. It is an adult Booted Eagle. It circles low, a magnificent sight, calling continuously. Within my field of vision, a second bird appears and together they wheel. For the last ten days or so, this chipping call has been a distinctive feature of the morning repertoire of bird sound, as it is at the start of every autumn. I am puzzled by this each year. These Booted Eagles (are they the local nesting pair or birds on passage from further north?) suddenly become a highly visible feature of the garden birding experience, just days now before they head south for their wintering quarters in Africa. Invariably it is a pair of birds, circling together, giving this short, repetitive high-pitched note. It sounds very close to that uttered at the time of pair-bonding and courtship in the spring......is it a means by which the pair reaffirm their bond before the more solitary life over winter? So far my search throuigh the literature on the species has failed to describe its role.
|Red-rumped Swallow (John Hawkins)|
|Pied Flycatcher at bird-bath (Martin Kelsey)|