This report is late but has some interesting sightings just in for
the previous season so to my mind was worth the wait. I have only
three reports for WTNT for the current season and no sightings of
Fork-tailed Swifts at all; (yes even Laurie Boyle has not seen any
yet), so please get outside and look up and tell me what swifts you see.
White-throated Needletail (Hirundapus caudacutus ) Report for
Once again the first sighting I have for the season was from NSW and
the second from Queensland. The first of the 253 records I have for
this species in the 2005/6 season was of 16 birds at West Byron Bay
and was made by David Stewart on 2 October (One day later than the
first record for last year). A week later the next reported sighting
was made by Mat & Cathy Gilfedder at Marcus Beach. It was nine days
after that (18th Oct.) when Mat & Cathy saw 10 in Brisbane. Two days
later Greg saw the next birds (four) at Station Creek in NSW, but
this started the normal rush of sightings through Queensland and New
The first sighting in Victoria was on 8th November when Martin
O’Brien recorded 50 needletails at Bulga Park, Balook. This sighting
however, did not start a run of sightings in Victoria for the next
reported sighting did not come until 15th December, when Tim Dolby
recorded 50+ birds at Mallacoota. As is often the case it was mid
January before consistent reports occurred in Victoria, though Duncan
Fraser saw 3 at Maffra 18 Dec, Michael Ramsey saw one at Clonbine 27
Dec and Marlene Lyell saw two at Axedale 28 Dec.
It was the 13th March before any sightings were reported from
Tasmania. 70 were seen on Bruny Island 13 March by John Tongue. He
also saw 15 at Cressy 18 March. David Siems saw 10 birds at Wynyard
12th & 13th April. These are the only sightings I have located for
Tasmania. These sightings were being made while Tom Tarrant was
seeing some in Qld.
The Tasmanian reports were followed by only three others: Chris
Armstrong recorded 10 needletails at Warwick in Qld 14 April. Three
were seen by Michael Ramsey at Strath Creek in Vic on 24th April.
Jenny Flood reported 20 birds over the Little Desert on 9.5.2005.
Were these late migrants or did they over-winter here?
I did not receive any reports from SA, NT, or WA this season
This season there were no reported sightings of flocks of thousands.
The largest flock was of 300 seen by Margaret Cameron at Daly’s
Lagoon in Qld. David Geering recorded 250 birds at East Dubbo and
Greg Oakley saw the same number at Quarantine Bay (both in NSW).
Dick Jenkin, Colin Driscoll and Michael Ramsey reported flocks of 200
needletails in NSW and Vic. Ray Marston lives adjacent to a
plantation eucalypt forest in Boolarra in Victoria and over the last
ten years has seen a decline in this species.
The largest number of sightings reported by one observer were the 30
reported by Mat & Cathy Gilfedder.
I wish to acknowledge and thank the following observers for sending
in reports or publishing them where I could find them. Each
observers number of reports are given in parenthesis. Alan
Gilanders (3), Alan Morris (5), Alan Stuart (2), Alistair McKeough
(1) Andrew Taylor (1), Ann Sanchez (1), Annabel Ashworth/Hoskins (1),
Barbara Jones & Spineless Spinebills (1) Barry McLean (7), Ben Hope
(1), Bruce Cox (8), Carol Probets (16), Carole Carpenter (2), Chris
Armstrong (1), Chris Sanderson (7), Chris Todd (1), Colin Driscoll
(1), Colin Reid (1), Dan Blunt (1), David Geering (7), David Mitford
(1), David Parker (1), David Siems (3), David Starr (1), David
Stewart (3), David Taylor (1), Dick Jenkin (1), Dick Turner (2),
Duncan Fraser (3), Edwin Vella (3), Elizabeth Mitchell (1), Fiona
Lumsden (7), George Oakes (1), Greg Oakley (3), Helen Newton (1),
Isobel Evans (1), Jack Beseau (1), Janet ‘Glassco’ (1), Jennifer Spry
(3), Jenny Flood (1), Jim Smart (4), John Reidy (1) John Tongue (2),
John Walker (1), Julie Neumann (3), Keith Brandwood (3), Laurie
Knight (3), Lawrie Canole (1), Liz Benson (4), Liz Field (1),
Margaret Cameron (2), Mark Ley (10), Marlene Lyell (2), Marnix (3),
Martin O’Brien (1), Mat & Cathy Gilfedder (30), Michael Hunter (1),
Michael Ramsey (5), Michael Wood (1), Mick Roderick (1) Mike Barth
(2), Mike Tarburton (2), Nevil lazarus (2) Neville Shrader (1), Penny
Brockman (3), Peter Ewin (1), Peter Madig (1), Peter Settle (2),
Peter Ware (1), Ray Marston (8), Reg Clark (2), Robert Gosford (1),
Robyn C (2), Rohan Clarke (1), Russ Lamb (11), Russell Jago (2),
Russell Woodford (1), Shirley Cook (1), Simon Hayes (2), Simon Starr
(2), Stephen Keen (1), Tania Ireton (1) Tim Dolby (1), Tim Morris
(4), Tom Tarrant (4), Tom Wilson (3), Whaked Out Woodswallows (1).
I think more observations were made in clear skies and fine weather
this season than was the norm. This probably represents a growing
realisation that the birds are there to be seen when there are no
storms. 39 observers reported no sign of rain and 16 reported rain
or a rain front.
That summarises the sightings I am aware of to this time. If you
have any unreported sightings for the past or current seasons please
send them in.
Many thanks to you all & happy swift watching
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