Ospreys on the NSW South Coast generally and Adelaide

To: "Robert Gosford" <>, <>
Subject: Ospreys on the NSW South Coast generally and Adelaide
From: "Greg" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 18:15:42 +1100
Hi Robert and others,

Ospreys have been observed on the south coast of New South Wales regularly for at least 20 years but to date no-one has observed them breeding. Because they often choose tall dead trees or power poles on which to nest any nest should be obvious to inquisitive birdwatchers. The southernmost recent NSW successful breeding site is at Lake Macquarie, as was the case when North published his 'Nest and eggs....." in 1912. Although he did refer to a 'report' of a nest in a lofty gum tree at St Georges Basin, I would think that this was probably a Sea-Eagle nest. An attempted nesting at Bensville, on the NSW Central Coast, in the 1990's, and more recently, an attempt at Narrabeen Lakes last year, both failed. Competition with Sea-Eagles is a possible factor preventing Ospreys nesting south of Lake Macquarie, however the two species co-exist well in northern New South Wales. I would think that it is more climate or habitat related. I have given it much thought over the years as there would appear to be suitable habitat in southern NSW and Victoria but no breeding. The Osprey is generally a tropical species, although the South and Western Australian populations are exceptions. No genetic work has been carried out comparing Ospreys from different parts of Australia but blood samples that I sent to Grnamany, along with some sent by other researchers, indicate that the Australian subspecies is genetically quite different to Northern Hemisphere birds. Whether the Australian Osprey is a separate species is still being determined.

Greg Clancy

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