To: <>
From: "Vella" <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 20:32:32 -0000

Yesterday afternoon (4th June 2000), myself and Lorne Johnson set out on a mission - to see 10 species of Raptors in Sydney in one day.

I met Lorne at Cornwallis Rd, Windsor at about 2 pm after a short drive around Picton where I picked up a Brown Falcon. There was a beautiful winter atmosphere about with a light wash of cloud cover, everything appeared still, apart from us and the birds and the temperature was in the low teens. There were lots of raptors about and over the last month I have notice a fair build up of raptors in the area, probably due to a possible mouse eruption. There were atleast 2 families of Black-shouldered Kites with hungry young, and the adults were hunting for mice in the long grass paddocks. Several Australian Kestrels and a few other Black-shouldered Kites were also seen flying about. Nearby one family of Black-shouldered Kites, were a pair of Brown Goshawks (one was seen being mobbed by a Black-shouldered Kites - refer to a few of my earlier reports of the later mobbing the other) and one or two Collared Sparrowhawks also hunting in this same area. The highlight here were excellent views of an adult Spotted Harrier constantly sailing over the long grass near Cornwallis Rd and beside Bakers Lagoon. It was seen a few times briefly plunging down into the long grass in the attempt to catch prey and one time perched brilliantly on a hay stack. It was also seen briefly mobbing a Collared Sparrowhawk (there was a fair size comparison between the two raptors).

What also grabbed our attention, was the behaviour given by a pair of Black-shouldered Kites and was something we had never witnessed before. One of the adults was perched fairly low beside tall long grass and wagging its tail up and down not unlike a Pipit . Another perched about a hundred metres away in a fairly tall dead tree (with a juvenile bird perched beside it) was also wagging its tail up and down and giving some soft call notes.

We were impressed to see 6 species of raptor in 20 minutes at the turf farms and then preceded along Pitt Town Bottoms Rd (a few kilometres from the Turf Farms), on the search for atleast 4 more raptor species. Soon driving along Pitt town Bottoms Rd, we spotted a Swamp Harrier hunting in a fair long grassed paddock with more Black-shouldered Kites and Kestrels nearby. We drove on until we reached Pitt Town Lagoon, where we watched over the lagoon, uphill, from the grounds of an old church. Perched in the middle of the lagoon, we saw on one island, an adult White-bellied Sea-eagle and a juvenile Sea-eagle on another island. We then soon saw our ninth raptor for the day, being a Whistling Kite. Being 3:30, and with blood rushing in us both, we were hoping to find our 10th raptor, In a short space of time, we went through Scheyville, Glenorie, past Long-neck Lagoon, Cattai and back to Pitt Town - hoping to see atleast a Wedge-tailed Eagle, Square-tailed Kite, Peregrine or Hobby, but to no avail.

That night, I met Lorne and his flat mate, to see Mission Impossible 2. During the movie (on the look out for our 10th raptor - only kidding!!!), we were quite surprised to see a lot of Australian content in this film, atleast 90 per cent of the movie appeared to be filmed in the land of Oz. Parts of the movie was taken at fairly well known spots to Sydney siders - Chifley Tower in the CBD, La Perouse, North Head, and wait for it … MAGIC PT, MAROUBRA (Where was Rod Gardner when there was all the action on those rocks).

Going back to the afternoons birding, it was a pleasant and beautiful afternoon and a very good reason to go outdoors. We saw a good number of raptors for the afternoon and was interesting to watch there behaviour. We will try again to work on this mission.


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