Firstly, the good news, I will be continuing my blog. But, given other demands on my time (talks, books, conservation work, netflix) I will be only blogging twice weekly; Saturdays and Tuesdays. I may add in the occasional additional post/blog/email, if the species or timing warrants it, and of course, please let me know if you have any amazing species near you that I can come and see. Ok, now on with what you came for...our next wildcreature: The steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis).
I was lucky enough to hear about this wonderful bird having landed very remote, up near some fish ponds near the Chinese border. An hour drive and a 25 minute walk and I spent about 30 minutes in its company. I did not want to unduly disturb it, so I kept my distance, using an 800mm lens and also a heavy crop for these photos.
It is an unusual eagle, not least because one has not been seen in Hong Kong for a very long time. We are very lucky to have this juvenile as a visitor. The vast and flat steppe is the unique home of breeding steppe eagles, and because of its treeless habitat, it can often be found on the ground. I have read that it principally hunts for ground squirrels, as its main food source. I am not sure what it does whilst in Hong Kong, but maybe some other small mammals, snakes and birds, as well as larger insects. It typically needs to eat and hunt more during its breeding season.
These are also in a sub-family of eagles known as the "booted eagles", because of their feathered legs.
Here it is looking at some muppets who walked under its tree....it took off soon after.