A decaraptor half day.

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: A decaraptor half day.
From: "Philip A Veerman" <>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 12:38:18 +1100
On Tuesday 25-1-2000 I travelled as a passenger with a friend, on a NSW south coast. I thought it was good enough to share with you. There may have been some days in the past when I have encountered ten species of raptors in a day (not the sort of statistic I would keep) but if so, they are few and far between. I don't often write bird watching tales to this list, more often comments, but this was just one I thought worth doing.
The list starts at Narooma at lunch time, with the usual pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagles. Earlier we watched an Eastern Reef Egret, Great Cormorants and Pelicans catching fish, at about two metres range, at the Narooma Pier. About ten km south of Narooma, the Princess Highway intersects Nandugda Lake. Whilst driving over the bridge, I noticed a large raptor alight in a dead tree about 100 m from the road. We stopped and had a good look. To my amazement, it was a Osprey (showing all the distinctive bits), the only one I have seen outside se Qld. Great spot too, we counted 16 White-faced Herons in view simultaneously, and a whole lot of other things, looks like a great place for crakes and smaller waders too though we didn't see any of them, some Pied Oystercatchers were there though, odd to see them in a swampy habitat. An adult male Swamp Harrier cruised by, over and around, a pair of Peregrine Falcons had a chase then disappeared over the horizon and a Whistling Kite called and flew past the Osprey, which later flew by too. Nine Y-t B-Cockatoos came by. All in about an hour (or less).
Continuing on, near Quaama just past Cobargo, we stopped to look at a flock of White-throated Needletails (my first for this summer so I just had too), an Australian Hobby came and flew into a tree by the roadside nearby. Whilst looking at it, a Peregrine Falcon appeared from the same direction. We watched it for a few minutes as it then circled up above us, progressively higher. Suddenly a few quick flaps and it was heading down - real fast - then a few more flaps flying straight down and then even faster, it changed from a tiny shape above, to a dot in the distance disappearing below the horizon between the hills. It is not often that one actually sees these birds do this but it really is stunning. We didn't see what it was going for. The Hobby stayed where it was perched throughout. Along the way there were many Kestrels and a four Wedge-tailed Eagles. At Brogo dam (about 20 km west of the highway). a Brown Goshawk flew over me as I was walking across the dam wall. Last one was whilst driving a narrow stretch of the Princess highway 100 metres north of the crossing of Alsops Creek, at Brogo. At about 90 km/h we noticed a white bird perched in the open in a tree about 2 metres from the road. (The land slopes steeply down from the road on the left hand side, so although this bird was half way up a tree, it was level with us on the road with no intervening branches). I had just enough time to notice the pure white thing with big yellow legs, hawky face, black beak and yellow cere. No mistaking the white morph Varied (Grey) Goshawk. The only stopping place was just before the bridge so we stopped there and walked back. Dangerous place to walk on a busy, narrow highway but we did. Because of the shape of the tree, it was in, it was harder to see from the angle we approached it, but seen briefly semi-obscured, then clearly though quickly as it flew away from the road into the valley, upsetting the Magpies.
Pretty good result, especially as these ten species did not even include three common species (Black-shouldered Kite, Little Eagle & Brown Falcon) which we could easily have added if the last part from Nimmitabel to Canberra was done in good weather and lighting (It was dark as we left Cooma).
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