Swift Parrots and Sound Recording

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Subject: Swift Parrots and Sound Recording
From: Daniel Mantle <>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2010 23:46:07 +0100
Hi All

Just back from a beautiful early spring morning in urban Tuggeranong. I went to see Matthew Frawley's Swift Parrots (thanks again for reporting these birds) in the carparks opposite the college and library. I really wanted to get some sound recordings of these birds having failed miserably in last weekends rain and wind, when the birds where spending much of the time in the crowns of the trees and the wind was far too strong to make any decent recordings. What a difference this morning! - stunning early morning light and nice quiet weekend conditions. The birds behaved brilliantly and noisily whilst spending much of their time in the college carpark and often feeding just above head height. There are also many White-plumed Honeyeaters, a few Fuscous Honeyeaters and Noisy Friarbirds and Little Corella, Eastern Rosella, SC Cockatoo, Red-rumped Parrot (fly overs) and Magpie-larks around - not bad for a carpark.

At one time I had most (?all) of the Swift Parrots in a single smallish tree and as they flew out in small groups there were at least 17 individuals, possibly more. They did spend a lot of time split into groups of 4-7 birds. I would strongly recommend anyone interested to go and look at these birds early in the morning as I had them to myself, they were not at all wary, and they were showing brilliantly. The busy chattering and almost flight call that is somewhat reminiscent of a blackbird's alarm call are a dead giveaway to their location. If you stand in the midldle of either car park and don't here them within a few minutes, I would bet they are in the other carpark - well this has worked for me on my three visits. At 7.15am as a few cars started to arrive in the area, I put the sound recording gear away and switched over to the camera which even I couldn't help but get a few reasonable shots as the birds fed only metres away. But I certainly wouldn't improve on any of Geoffrey's fantastic photographs that he posted early in the week - thanks for sharing.

Anyway, my main reason for emailing is to remind anyone who may be interested in sound recording that COG is getting up and running again trying to fill in the gaps in our sound recordings of local birds. We had an introductory work shop with Peter Fullagar and Chris Davey a few weeks ago and decided that if any of the planned revisions to the website (nothing concrete yet) get up and running in 2011, we would be keen to upload sound recordings onto our COG webpages as we go, rather than wait the couple of years it will take us to fill in all our data gaps and make a new CD. At the moment, Tim Birch, Nicki Taws and I have expressed an interest in doing these recordings and we have two sets of equipment to share around. Tim is pretty 'au-fait' with the use of the equipment and we are very lucky to have Peter Fullagar (a bit of guru on these things) overlooking the whole project, so advice is always on hand. I am a complete novice and just wanted to encourage anyone else with zero experience who may be keen to contribute to give me a call or email me.

Anyway, such a nice morning I had better get down to the record the Crescent Honeyeaters along the Murrumbidgee, there are still several birds jealously guarding some flowering eucalypts behind the Camp Cottermouth.

Cheers Dan

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