Well it is certainly a misleading that only one person has seen many this
summer, although numbers apparently are well down on the usual. Certainly
they are variable in Canberra, as shown by 17 years of GBS results (which
will be available soon) but this summer appears to be possibly the lowest on
record (but the data isn't in yet). The lowest other year we had was
1983-84. In about 6 months hopefully the year 18 data for 1998-99 should be
available to confirm this. I had about 100 over my place (Kambah in Canberra
in third week of March) and 2 two weeks earlier. I encountered a big lot,
60+ at Bemboka NSW on I think 24-2-1999. That for one whole summer is not
much and with the luxury of my long term unemployment (which has now
terminated) over that time, I was out seriously looking for the creatures
almost every day during good (i.e. bad) weather. By that I mean getting out
of the house and looking up with quite some local travelling around too.
From: Dr Mike Tarburton <>
Date: Friday, 21 May 1999 18:28
Subject: birding-aus Bad Year for the Swifts
>> It appears that except for one observer in NSW no one has made many
>> needletail swift sightings anywhere in Australia this season. This is a
>>bit of a worry,
>More than a bit of a worry I should think. Would it be worth repeating
>the above on birding aus so that anyone who hasn't sent in sightings
>would be encouraged to do so?
>Even Fork-tailed Swifts seem to have been hard to find this year, with most
>reports (and that only three or four) coming from Adelaide (Tony Russel).
>Needletails appear to have been late (and few) to Canberra, Blue Mountains,
>None seen in South East Melbourne, few elswhere in or around Melbourne, few
>in north NSW and few in Qld.
>Please if you have found any large numbers (or any swifts at all) would you
>be kind enough tolet me know of them.
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