Fork-tailed Swifts Xmas arrival in Cairns

To: birding-aus threads <>
Subject: Fork-tailed Swifts Xmas arrival in Cairns
From: martin cachard <>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2011 12:00:52 +1100

Dear All A very very Merry Christmas to the whole list from me!!! A huge pure 
flock of 1000+ Fork-tailed Swifts has been swarming over my place in 
Smithfield, in Cairns northern beaches, all morning today. This arrival is bang 
on-cue, as this species normally arrives here on the Cairns coastal plain in 
numbers usually a week either side of Xmas. Last season they were almost a 
month early, but this year's arrival date is more typical. A very small flock 
of birds were seen last night at dusk by another observer in the Cairns 
southern suburbs, so it seems that the big numbers have streamed into our 
vicinity over night, on Santa's sled trail!! Many birds are in various stages 
of tail moult, which could cause some potential confusion, if one is not 
careful, with mis-ID'd House Swifts. I have put a report just now onto Birdline 
Nth Qld, with a pic of mine showing how these moulting "short-tailed" 
fork-taileds can look. This report may not be published for a little while yet 
 depending on how busy the moderators are up here, but please do look out for 
it, as it shows how misleading these birds can appear at times, and may be of 
some use to others. Have a great day everyone!!!! BIG  BIG  Xmas Cheers from 
Martin Cachard,Cairns, 0428 782 808                                             

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