Birds flocking o'er Holt

To: "Canberra Birds" <>
Subject: Birds flocking o'er Holt
From: "John Layton" <>
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2010 18:13:10 +1000

 Late yesterday afternoon I was sitting on the front porch reading – appropriately enough, Pizzey’s  Journey of a Lifetime – glancing  up once in a while as birdwatchers are wont to do. Suddenly I noticed a flock of c.100 Magpie-larks wheeling around interspersed with at least 10 Magpies. As I watched they plied a broad arc across the sky sometimes landing in clumps of trees only to take wing a few seconds later. In the distance I noticed and heard flocks of galahs flying about haphazardly and could hear them calling but don’t believe the Magpie-larks or the Magpies were calling. I scanned the sky for raptors but didn’t notice any. The sun had set but sufficient light was still refracting  from below the horizon to flood the sky with subtle light which nicely illuminated the black-and-white flashings of the underwing areas. The performance lasted for 10 minutes before the protagonists faded from the scene. But what was it all about? Was there a bird of prey patrolling the area but, if so, why did they continually break from cover after landing in trees for just a few seconds? Perhaps, as they landed at a potential roost they found no room at the inn and had to move along?

John K. Layton


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