Ospreys on the NSW South Coast generally and Adelaide

Subject: Ospreys on the NSW South Coast generally and Adelaide
From: Robert Gosford <>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 15:30:02 +1100

Re Marnix's Osprey question - I'm at Jervis Bay on the south coast of NSW and over the last four years I've seen Ospreys at Currarong on the northern side of Beecroft Peninsula (the north head of Jervis Bay) on a few occasions, once with two birds enagaged in talon-tangling pre-courtship/territorial display(?) and on other occasions as single birds. Inside Jervis Bay I've only seen single birds on two confirmed occasions and one unconfirmed (flying away from me in bad light). Jervis Bay. Much of the south coast is noted for the high population of White-Bellied Sea Eagles (see the recent paper by Spencer & Lynch in 2005/ The Emu/ 105(3): 211) and it has been suggested that Ospreys seen here are birds dispersing from their parents territories further north. Notwithstanding what would seem ideal Osprey habitat and foraging prospects on the south coast, I and no-one I've spoken to has ever seen Ospreys frequently enough to suggest that they have taken up residence and I've heard nothing about breeding activity on the south coast. It has been suggested (and I have seen WBSE agonistic behaviour toward an Osprey on at least one occasion) that the WBSEs would drive them out of suitable breeding areas - which from previous experience would be most of the shoreline area in Jervis Bay and the nearby St Georges Basin. I'd be interested in further sightings of Ospreys down this part of the coast. The New ... Atlas shows regular reported sightings down the coast and near/over the Victorian border and Breeding Records stop on the north coast of NSW at about (?) Crescent Head. (Greg Clancy may know more here) Looking at the New ... Atlas it would be interesting to know more about the status of the Adelaide breeding population - there appears to be a dispersal of this population to the east and west of Adelaide (are the few reports of birds in Melbourne from the NSW north coast or the Adelaide breeding populations?) but there are large gaps (the Nullabor coast to the west and the Victorian coastline to about Mallacoota respectively) on either side of this population. Has anyone studied these birds, particularly their genetics?


Robert Gosford
Jervis Bay
south coast NSW


We spent this weekend in Bermagui which gave me the opportunity to explore the area. Long Swamp is drying up again with little water left and hardly any birdlife, while Bermagui Lagoon is full of water. On Saturday along the Bermagui River Conservation Area I found a *Striated Heron*, an *Osprey*, a pair of *White-bellied Sea-Eagles* and a *Whistling Kite*. The Sea-Eagles were perched 100 metres from the Osprey providing an opportunity to compare the 2 species closely. In Bermgui Harbour there were 2 *Eastern Curlew* and some 70 *Bar-tailed Godwits*. With the cooler weather the massive Smooth Stingrays seemed to have vacated the harbour and estuary leaving the much smaller, but still dangerous, Brown Stingarees (5 counted in one area). My dad stepped on one while wading Bithry Inlet in Mimosa Rocks NP this week leaving a bleeding wound, although the pain had subsided after an hour or so.

Barragoot Lake contained well over 500 *Black Swans*, surely the largest congregation along this section of coastline, while Wallaga Lake came close with over 300. There was also a single egret with nuptial plumes present (most likely Little, possibly Intermediate) among the* Pied Oystercatchers* and *Royal Spoonbills* in the distance.

On Sunday we walked a beautiful stretch of beach from Goalen Head to Bunga Head (newly declared section of Mimosa Rocks NP) under an overcast sky. No less than 6 Sea-Eagles present, 2 mature birds perched high up the cliffs at Bunga. Nearby were 6 *Sooty Oystercatchers* and a dark morph *Eastern Reef Egret* (There was also a single bird present at Cuttagee Lake). A pair of *Jacky Winters* kept us company in the car park.

Late on Sunday at Bingie we had great views of an adult *Spotted Harrier* in the low vegetation behind Bingie Beach (Eurobodalla NP). The Eurobodalla NHS annual report states this species is a rare vagrant. On the drive home we stopped at Cabbage Tree Creek, this spot is literally metres from the the noise and traffic of the Kings Highway and yet we saw *Black-faced Monarchs*, a pair of *Large-billed Scrubwrens* up super close in a clearing and nearby *Brown Gerygones* and *Pilotbirds* were calling.

All up we saw 9 species of raptor over the weekend. Surely Bermagui is as far south as Ospreys are seen these days?


Marnix Zwankhuizen


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Robert Gosford
M Phil Candidate
Australian National University
Ph: (02) 4441 8717
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