Spotted Harrier ?? at Kurnell

Subject: Spotted Harrier ?? at Kurnell
From: "Dean Portelli" <>
Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 00:33:04 +1000

Your ID sounds spot on (excuse the pun!!) but I would like a few more details. The tail of SpHarrier is typically grey thickly barred black including juveniles/immatures. The dorsal of SpHarrier has distinctly black primaries, the whole dorsum is a bluish grey to my eyes, in younger birds more dull. The one thing I want to know is how was the bird flying - the dihedral of harriers is quite distinct with slightly but noticeably raised wings, the head is held characteristically facing more to the ground in most of their flight including when being chased by ravens. If you piece together the dihedral then I think you are spot on. SpHarrier is a regular winter visitor to the county of Cumberland, but at Kurnell is a little unusual - usually they occur with most frequency in the Hawkesbury. Do you bird often in Sydney?, if so please consider being an atlasser with the Cumberland Bird Observer's Club database, we liase and exchange data with the national atlas and NSW atlas, but being that we concentrate on a small area we can increase the quality of data collected, such as habitat use, smaller grid sizes and more accurate plotting of distribution and reporting rates. The only thing we need is more birdwatchers!!!. If anyone is interested please contact me in person at this email.
Cheers, Dean

From: Chris Ross <>
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Spotted Harrier ?? at Kurnell
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 22:08:23 +1000

At lunchtime today I spotted a raptor close to the water just near Cape
Solander in Botany bay NP, Kurnell.  It was flying low close to the
waters edge and was quickly set upon by an Aust raven.  Key features
observed through 8x42 binos were a distintly black and white barred tail
and black widely fingered wing tips.  It was quite pale, initially
appearing grey, ten showing some buff colouration.  It was only seen
from above.

After being harrassed by the raven it leisureley headed out across the
water dropping close to the surface and headd towards La Perouse.  My
first thought without having a field guide handy was a grey goshawk,
however referring to a field guide later showed the closest match to be
a juvenile spotted harrier.  It looked too dark for an Osprey, which
also has dark fingers and some barring of the tail.  It was a comparable
size to the raven.  Any thoughts about my ID??


Chris Ross
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