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'Raptor-ous' summer inspires amateur Canberra photographer

The snapping eyes and splayed claws of Canberra's raptors have proven an ideal source of inspiration for amateur snapper Greg Wyncoll.

Mr Wyncoll, of Weston, captured a violent mid-air battle between a nankeen kestrel in attack mode and a magpie desperate to protect its young near the foot of Mount Taylor.

"All three raptors I've seen on Mount Taylor – a little eagle, a wedge-tailed eagle and the nankeen kestrels – have been being attacked by magpie larks or magpies.

"All those birds have young in their nests this time of year and the raptors try to get the babies.

"They're mortal enemies in summer."

He said the bird brawl had grown quite violent but ended with the nankeen kestrel giving up the fight and flying away.


Mr Wyncoll often spotted wildlife, including kangaroos and snakes, on Mount Taylor but it was the raptor birds that held his attention.

"It's just been a raptor-ous summer.

"I love the birds of prey, I love their eyes. I've taken quite a lot of photographs of them in flight and you can actually see them looking at you."

Mr Wyncoll has lived in the area for the past five years and said his regular walks on the mountain had become a search for the perfect picture after he bought himself an SLR camera last month.

"I walk up Mount Taylor probably 100 times a year, I love it up there.

"Just before Christmas I saw a little eagle and got a few photos just on my point-and-shoot camera.

"That's what made me buy the SLR. Then I started to take my camera walking there every day."

Mr Wyncoll has since photographed a tiny weebill bird as it peeked out of its nest and regularly watched the two nankeen kestrels that frequented the bushland area.

"The kestrels often sit on the power lines at the base of Mount Taylor and the poles have all those disks on them and the kestrel looks really interesting there. On the other side of the mountain the kestrels dart down into people's backyards.

"I'm sure it's a pair and they alternate between the two spots."

Native wildlife, stormy skies and relaxed beachside landscapes have captured Canberra's keen photographers in the past few weeks.

They have also documented games of backyard cricket, afternoons spent in the pool and even a summer spent working on a container ship.

If you've captured a summer scene, you can enter The Canberra Times summer photo competition.

To enter, send in a maximum of three photos with a summer theme to as attached JPEG files at least 150 kilobytes and not more than one megabyte in size. Include your name, address, phone number, photo title, a description of the photo and the date it was taken.

Full terms and conditions are available here.