Subramanniyan C. M.
On December 9th 2011 early morning, we came out for our usual round of weekend birding in our favourite birding spot HESARAGHATTA Grasslands situated on the outskirts of Bangaluru, south India. The day started in a pretty ordinary manner. Found a few Black and Brahminy Kites, juvenile White-eyed Buzzards, Tawny Eagles and Egyptian Vultures. A pretty ordinary outing all in all till we decided to pack up and go home around 11 am. The light was very harsh and not good for bird photography. That is when luck decided to smile at us, we saw a few Black Kites trying to chase away a huge raptor in the sky not far from our parked car. Suddenly all hell broke loose as the huge bird made a fast dive to the ground. We were very excited by this turn of events and slowly moved our car towards the action on the ground. We had a tough time understanding what was going on, and finally when the nickel dropped, I was thanking god for the unique natural history moment we were witnessing.
The powerful raptor which made the SUCCESSFUL hunting dive was a BONELLI’S HAWK-EAGLE, and the poor hapless prey was a juvenile Black Kite perhaps, basking on the ground. The actual kill did not take more than a few seconds. Our luck continued as the very shy raptor allowed our approach. The Bonelli’s was more interested in finishing off the prey. We managed a few action clicks when the eagle took off with the prey and landed nearby at a better vantage point for us both. After eating enough,the eagle decided to fly off with the remaining prey to some safer spot.