Fork-tailed Swifts in Blaxland, NSW

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Subject: Fork-tailed Swifts in Blaxland, NSW
From: "Richard Johnstone" <>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2013 17:03:39 +1100
Hi. From 10.20 am until 12.30 pm yesterday (10 Feb) there were at least 200
Fork-tailed Swifts hawking over the ridge where the Great Western Highway
runs through Blaxland. I went back to the same spot at the corner of the
highway and Bridge Rd twice, hoping to see other species of swift in the
large loose flock, but no luck - no Little Swift or even any White-throated
Needletails. At my house only 500 metres to the north I saw absolutely no
swifts, they appeared to be concentrated along a stretch of highway where
the uplift of wind from Fitzgerald Creek was bringing up insects. There were
also quite a lot of welcome Swallows at lower elevations as well. Conditions
were almost calm, sunny and humid, lots of rain the night before.

I saw only 2 White-throated Needletails on a recent work field trip (seed
collecting), on Monday Feb 4th at Brunswick Heads, 2 single birds about 5
minutes apart. Usually when I stay there during the summer there are good
numbers of Needletails, last week was very cool, after the passing of the
rain from cyclone Oswald.

The other interesting observation I made on that trip was around Delungra
and Gravesend, west of Inverell, where I saw at least 4 pairs of rosellas
that appeared to be intergrades between Eastern and Pale-headed Rosellas.
They mostly appeared to be very bright sulphur yellow on the back, with a
fairly bright orange yellow head, with varying amounts of bright red on the
crown. I have seen one pair of what I assumed to be this intergrade many
years ago near Cunningham's Gap in Qld, that pair both had very bright
golden orange heads, with no scarlet.

Cheers, Richard.


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