Swift Parrots and Sound Recording

To: "'Philip Veerman'" <>, <>
Subject: Swift Parrots and Sound Recording
From: "Julian Robinson" <>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2010 17:52:30 +1000

Along with half of COG I responded to Dan’s encouraging report and spent a bit of time yesterday and today checking out the Swift Parrots. The following is offered as data for anyone attempting to work out where and why these birds inhabit, when in Kambah/Tuggeranong.  Yesterday afternoon as Philip mentioned we only saw a single non-calling feeding adult.  Today (Sunday morning from 7:15) I only saw immatures, between 10 and 15 of them.  At around 9:45am they all took off towards the lake, I assumed for a drink break, so I tried to follow them but didn’t find them again.  I couldn’t see any back in the carpark, and on the way home checked the Kambah shops Ironbarks (which were flowering and is roughly where they were heading) mentioned by Michael Robins but didn’t find any.  Maybe there is a crèche of the youngsters that moves separately from the adults for some of the time?  I assume they will all return tonight since they’ve been so faithful to the area.



From: Philip Veerman [
Sent: 11 September 2010 18:11
Subject: [canberrabirds] Swift Parrots and Sound Recording


Having read this, I went again, from about 2:30 pm till about 4:30. As I arrived I noticed two people with binoculars leaving but I don't think they saw me. I searched every tree and after about 30 minutes found one SP. It was in the same tree as they had been in each time I have been. The flowering ironbark tree with the white plastic bag stuck in it. It was feeding on lerp from the leaves and from flowers. After some time Julian arrived and we spent the next hour or so watching this one bird. Sometimes quite close but mostly not in view. They are amazingly cryptic and as they walk about the tree they just disappear for ages and then 10 to 20 minutes later you see it again. It had not left the tree. It only left the tree when a wattlebird chased it. Some time later maybe the same bird returned from where it had gone to the same tree. Apart from that one, there were two quick looks at 2 other SP that flew past but not possible to know how many there were in the area. In that whole time I only heard calls from them twice, so trying to record them would have been frustrating.



-----Original Message-----
From: Daniel Mantle [
Sent: Saturday, 11 September 2010 8:46 AM
To: ;
Subject: [canberrabirds] Swift Parrots and Sound Recording

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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