Massed martins

To: Carol Probets <>
Subject: Massed martins
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2002 22:26:52 +0800
At 13:50 09/04/2002 +1100, Carol Probets wrote:
Has anyone else on Birding-Aus observed such a gathering of martins? Is it
a regular event at certain locations?

I have seen 1,000 plus Tree Martins near Perth on a few occasions usually in mid February. They were at Rottnest Island, and Pelican Point (near University of WA). They seem to gather into a large flock in the late afternoon, and they have gone the next morning.

I saw about 1,000 at Waychinicup (about 60km east of Albany) on the south coast in January a few years ago. Again most had gone by the next morning.

While assisting a wader banding expedition on 80 Mile Beach in April several years ago, I noticed a regular movement during the day of Tree Martins heading north. Mostly in very small groups, but occasionally 20 or 30. We also saw a few flocks of Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes and White-winged Trillers (up to 30 birds) on Anna Plains Station. I knew that the trillers migrated but I was surprised by the cuckoo-shrikes.

The Tree Martins usually arrived at the Argyle Diamond Mine in the north east Kimberley in April, and left about August / September. The Fairy Martins mostly arrived about October and left in February.

I have been surprised during the last few days by seeing a couple of groups of 50 Tree Martins around Perth. Maybe these are the stragglers heading north.

Frank O'Connor     Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694                Email : 

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