unusual swiftlets, Trinity Beach Qld

To: <>
Subject: unusual swiftlets, Trinity Beach Qld
From: "chris chafer" <>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 08:00:12 +1000
Hi all

I was recently in Trinity Beach Qld (near Cairns), for several days (20-24
Apr). At the southern end of the beach is a prominent hill with a short
walking track around the front of the headland. Every morning I wandered
along this track and observed a flock of 30-50 White-rumped Swiftlets (WrS)
hawking above the remnant forest and over the palm-fringed beach. Amongst
these birds were 4-6 swiftlets which appeared "different". The following
description is brief, but locals may whish to check them out, or someone may
wish to jolt my memory for some characteristic that I have observed but not
realised. I am well aware that swiftlet identification is difficult in the
field, but I spent a total of at least two hours watching these birds and I
am comfortable that they differed from the WrS that were present.

All observations were made with 8*30 binoculars in even morning light, in
generally light overcast conditions and a gentle breeze. Basically, the
birds were the same size and jizz of WrS. They did not call and foraging
behaviour appeared the same as the WrS. The upper body and wings were dark
grey with a slight metallic sheen to the upper parts, especially the wings
and top of the head. Definitely NO white or paler patch on the
rump.Underparts were slightly paler grey belly and throat, definitely not
white, the throat appeared very slightly paler than the belly, but still a
shade of grey. Undertail and underwings were dark grey. Obvious V notch in
the tail when closed, very shallowly forked when spread, similar to WrS.

Chris Chafer
Wollongong NSW

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