Edwin Vella asked about the any previous records of White-backed
Swallows for the Sydney Region, as few birds have been recorded here in
recent times. This is an interesting subject because Arnold McGill in
his 1960 Book, "Handlist of Birds in NSW", said that the White-backed
Swallow was moderately common, but sparingly dispersed throughout inland
NSW favouring open timbered plains, interspersed with eroded dry creeks.
Apparently resident in some eastern districts!
The first NSW Bird Reports, that commenced in 1970 reported White-backed
Swallows at Bakers Lagoon, Pitt Town, Wisemans Ferry, St Albans and
Londonderry, mostly winter records May-Aug, however birds were reported
as nesting at Liverpool Tip in December 1977. The inference was that the
birds were on the increase in the Sydney region.
In 1981, it was recorded that White-backed Swallows were ..."now
regularly reported in the Hawkesbury Region throughout the year with
breeding attempted at Yarramundi in May, so that the species must now be
considered reasonably common". Between 1981 & 1985 they were reported
from Scheyville, Chipping Norton, Prospect, Baulkham Hills, Pitt Town,
Sackville, Roses Ck Dharug NP, Londonderry, Yarramundi, Penrith Lakes,
Ebenezer, Bakers Lagoon & Wisemans Ferry, and while most records were
for winter, they were reported all year round.
Then there was a decline, with 20 at Penrith Lakes on 25/2/1988 and 1
at a sandpit at Richmond 26/9/92 and none since! So it would appear
thatWhite-backed Swallows were either rare or uncommon in western Sydney
prior to 1970, their numbers built up to a peak 1981-85, and then
dropped away. They are still relatively common in the Hunter Valley with
records from Warkworth, Denman, Kerrabee, Arrowfield and Goulburn River
in 1997 and Bulga, Warkworth and Milbrodale in 1997!
One of my favourite locations to see them is around Uluru and Katajuka!
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