Victorian Needletails - Jan. '05

Subject: Victorian Needletails - Jan. '05
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2005 10:11:13 +1100
Just a quick note about a Needletail observation yesterday in north-east

While surveying Bartley's Block in Chiltern Box-Ironbark National Park
early yesterday morning (~0730hrs local time), my wife Kaye and I observed
at least 40 (possible maximum of 50-60) White-throated Needletails swooping
low over the Grey Box and Ironbark canopy.

Conditions were cool and partly cloudy but weather was stable.  The birds
high in the flock were cruising (often in pairs) at lower speeds and
maintaining altitude while those close to the tree canopy were swooping in
wide arcs, occasionally coming below tree height above the open grassy
ground at this locality.

There were also plenty of Tree Martins, a few Welcome Swallows and Dusky
Woodswallows as well.

This is the largest group of Needletails I have recorded in Victoria in
recent years.  The sky had clouded over considerably by the end of the day
in Chiltern but no rain had fallen when we left the region at 1640hrs local
time (about 8 hours later).  Back in Melbourne there had been light showers
last night and thunderstorms overnight and this morning.

Martin O'Brien


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