A Witness to a Hunt – Changeable Hawk Eagle. By Thio Hui Bing.
I was about to leave Lorong Halus on a hot and sunny March day 3rd, 2018, just past midday, when I heard and saw two Changeable Hawk Eagles flying some distance away. I took a few record shots of them. I walk slowly back along the road keeping a lookout for other birds.
It was then I noticed a dark colored raptor on a tree about 10-20m away on the right side from the road. It was a dark morph Changeable Hawk Eagle, perched on tree branches fairly high up. It was behaving normally, looking around, just like what raptors do. I took a few photos and video of it. Just when I was about to leave, it suddenly flew down across the road with its legs hanging swooping down into the secondary vegetation.
The next moment I heard and saw some mynas flying out. I knew the raptor had likely caught a prey. Curiously, I approached with care and wondered if it was still inside. Looking around I managed to see it among the branches some 10m away, on a low perch. I took some more shots of it. It seemed to know that I was watching it. My close presence may have caused it to fly out of the semi thick vegetation to the other side of the road where it was previously.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to get a focused shot even though I got it in frame for flying off with its prey. This time it opted to perch on a branch of tall tree, probably not wanting to be disturbed. After landing on the tree, it hopped and flew to an even higher tree branch. I could still see it with the backlight, but not see its prey. I took some shots and video of it plucking the prey’s feathers for records, before leaving it in peace. What an amazing sight to witness its precision hunting skills.