Blog Archives

White-bellied Sea-Eagle at Manly Dam near Sydney

Yesterday I spotted a White-bellied Sea-Eagle flying along the shore of Manly Dam. It flew up and down the shore a few times, and across the water, then landed at the edge of the water in a baylet, with its legs in the water.

I was on the opposite side of the dam, so I couldn’t get a close look at the bird. I did take some photos and videos, but they’re fuzzy and unsatisfactory, although they’re good enough to satisfy me about the identification of the bird. So I decided to record the sighting here, and hope I get to see this beautiful bird again soon.

Common name: White-bellied Sea-Eagle

Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucogaster

Approximate length: 85 cm. Wing span: 2.2 m

Date spotted: 22 April 2017 (Autumn)

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia: 33°46’35.2″S 151°15’08.0″E


Square-tailed Kite at Manly Dam near Sydney

This magnificent bird was sitting quietly in a tree, occasionally squinting down at the path, when I passed by. It’s a Square-tailed Kite – a large bird, at approximately 55 centimetres from head to tail (half a metre) with a wing span of  1.4 metres.

Square-tailed Kites are classified as rare in my bird book. Also, they’re not often seen around Sydney. I identified this one by the white markings around the face, and the characteristically long wing tips. When folded, they’re significantly longer than the tail, as you can see in the photo below:

This video shows the bird having a good grooming session, feathers flying:

In the next video, the bird moves its head back and forward in a slightly eery way, perhaps scanning for prey:

Common name: Square-Tailed Kite

Scientific name: Lophoictinia isura

Approximate length: 55 cm. Wing span: 1.4 m

Date spotted: 15 April 2017 (Autumn)

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia: 33°46’35.3″S 151°15’13.3″E

Funny-faced kookaburra

Kookaburras are gorgeous, but sometimes they can look a little goofy.

Funny-faced kookaburra

Here’s the whole bird:


Common name: Laughing Kookaburra

Scientific name: Dacelo novaeguineae

Approximate length: 47 cm

Date spotted: 6 August 2016

Season: Winter

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’55.4″S 151°15’10.3″E

Juvenile Powerful Owl with two adults

Today I went back to a spot in the bush where I’ve seen a Powerful Owl a few times. This time, there were three owls, one of them a juvenile: white and fluffy, with dark patches around its eyes. It heard me, and checked me out:

Powerful Owl juvenile

It’s hard to get a good day’s sleep when you’re an owl. Listen to all the noise they have to put up with from the other birds:

Here’s a still photo of the three owls:

Three Powerful Owls

And here’s a rear view of the juvenile:

Powerful Owl juvenile

Common name: Powerful Owl

Scientific name: Ninox strenua

Approximate length: 65 cm

Date spotted: 6 October 2014

Season: Spring

Location: Manly Dam National Park, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’51.0″S 151°14’52.1″E

Powerful Owl roosting

While walking through the bush this morning, I spotted some tell-tale white splatters on the ferns lining the path. I looked up into the trees, and sure enough there was a Powerful Owl high above my head.

The zoom in this short video shows how high up the owl was. You’ll also hear the kookaburras laughing and a couple of cockatoos scolding. The owl doesn’t do much except swivel its head.

Here’s a still shot of the owl gazing into the distance:

Powerful Owl roosting


Powerful Owl roosting

Still watching…

Powerful Owl roosting


Powerful Owl roosting

A view from the front:

Powerful Owl roosting

And the view of the owl without my camera’s super zoom:

Powerful Owl roosting

Common name: Powerful Owl

Scientific name: Ninox strenua

Approximate length: 65 cm

Date spotted: 27 July 2014

Season: Winter

Location: Manly Dam National Park, New South Wales, Australia

Approximate latitude/longitude: 33°46’50.2″S 151°14’54.5″E

Spotted a Sparrowhawk near Manly Dam

It took me a while to identify this bird. I’ve decided it’s a Collared Sparrowhawk. Other candidates were a Brown Goshawk and a Peregrine Falcon. I’ve spent a while poring over my bird book, and decided that this bird doesn’t have a light enough front collar to be a Peregrine Falcon. Deciding between the Goshawk and the Sparrowhawk was even more difficult. Close examination reveals that this bird has middle toes that are longer than the other toes, which qualifies it to be the Sparrowhawk.

Common name: Collared Sparrowhawk

Scientific name: Accipiter cirrhocephalus

Approximate length: 30-40 cm, wing span 55-80cm

Date spotted: 25 December 2013

Season: Summer

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: -33° 46.608′, 151° 15.268′

Here’s a still of the same bird. What a fierce gaze!

Spotted a Sparrowhawk at Manly Dam

This one shows the barred plumage on the bird’s chest, and the long middle toe:

Spotted a Sparrowhawk at Manly Dam