Raptors at North Head, Manly (Sydney, NSW)

To: "Birding- Aus" <>
Subject: Raptors at North Head, Manly (Sydney, NSW)
From: "Matthew Taylor" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 19:18:13 +1000
While out Whale watching this afternoon at North Head, Manly (Northern Suburbs of Sydney, NSW) had the great fortune to observe first a Peregrine flying along the cliff line, followed by a Spotted Harrier.  First seen close to base of cliffs, directly below one of the lookouts, tightly circling to gain height until it reached cliff tops and could fly away over the heath.  Later seen again, in low afternoon light quartering back and forth over the heath at close quarters, unpeturbed by walkers.  The combination of chestnut body & face, grey flight feathers and black wing tips with half dangling legs was lit up beautifully by the low winter afternoon sun.
First time I've seen this species over coastal heath.  A real delight to watch.
Is this an unusual record for Sydney or merely uncommon?
Later in the day a White bellied Sea-Eagle finished off an excellent raptor afternoon.
Matthew Taylor
PS  Unfortunately, no whales, although an Albatross sp. and Australasian Gannets were present.
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