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Help ID this raptor - wedge-tail?

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Old Thursday 23rd September 2010, 10:08   #1
frogmouth71
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Help ID this raptor - wedge-tail?

This afternoon I was out at a reservoir just up the road from my house.

It's right on the edge of Brisbane Forest Park so gives on to the D'Aguilar ranges, a lot of forest and a lot of hills.

I was there because I've been watching a white-bellied sea-eagle which hangs around there.

While the sea-eagle was in a tree about 4-500m across the water I scanned along the shoreline and saw a large raptor flying low down.

From the size of it I thought it must be a wedge-tailed eagle but thought I would run it past the forum.

The bird was very large, flying low down to the water with slow wing beats. When it was gliding it held its wings up in a V.

The overall colour appeared to be a chestnut brown with a lighter-coloured band on the tail.

I saw the tail as it came in to the perch and it flared large and fan-shaped as opposed to the wedge shape you'd see in normal flight.

I can't recall any white patches on the wings as you'd expect to see with a black-breasted buzzard.

The only thing that's stopped me calling it for a wedge-tail is the tail shape. Would an eagle's tail flare like that just as it came up to the perch?

The sea eagle must have been aware of it as it was no more than 200m away but didn't seem to be too bothered.

Grateful for any opinions

Ben
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 07:40   #2
canonrock
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Hi Ben

I am thinking it is an immature White bellied sea eagle.1st and 2nd year eagles are brown in colour, but otherwise look like their parents.

John
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Old Tuesday 28th September 2010, 07:57   #3
frogmouth71
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Hi John,

The more I think about it, the more I think you're right. There must be a family of them out there.

Thanks

Ben
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Old Saturday 9th October 2010, 01:16   #4
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I agree with canonrock, that would be an immature sea eagle
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Old Monday 11th October 2010, 08:31   #5
frogmouth71
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Thanks both. We've had a monster amount of rain here in the last 24 hours, the reservoir level is up a lot, I'll head over there when it calms down in a day or two and see if they're still around.
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Old Tuesday 12th October 2010, 10:05   #6
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Good at photography? Maybe you should try and get some pics?
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Old Monday 25th October 2010, 08:26   #7
frogmouth71
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I'm hopeless at photography, but ...

Today I went out there for the first time for a couple of weeks. I decided to explore the arm of the lake which the eagle always flew away down when I saw it on the move.

I found the adult was preening itself on a big dead tree, the brown juvenile was on a lower branch of the same tree. You were both right on that ID. That made my day.

As I was trying to get a better view, I nearly trod on a black snake that looked as thick as my arm. Need to be more careful in long grass. :0
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Old Friday 26th November 2010, 22:24   #8
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Other than an immature (1st year) White-bellied Sea Eagle, the light band on or near the tail could mean it may have been a Swamp Harrier. Where was the band exactly? On the rump at the base of the tail? If so, then a Swampie for sure as not other Aussie BOP has that feature. But it is generally quite white. A photo is always a welcome addition to ID queries. :)
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