MFF with a difference - Tallagandra Lanem Sutton

To: <>
Subject: MFF with a difference - Tallagandra Lanem Sutton
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Sat, 21 May 2011 17:26:30 +1000

Good Michael.  Speeding vehicles are the bane of roadside birdwatchers on country roads.


We seem to have settled on ‘’MFF’’ in this part of the world.  In some places ‘’bird wave’’ is used.  There is a Wikipedia article (not updated for some time) under ‘’Mixed-species foraging flock’’.  Around Canberra seems to be as good as anywhere to study our woodland/grassland ones.  One question is whether a particular flock is mainly feeding or ‘’moving through’’.


Another question is ‘’What is the nuclear species?’’   Steve Wilson used to suggest the YR Thornbill, and that flocks tended to disintegrate when the YRTs broke off to start nesting.  I’ve noticed a lot of Buff-rumpeds, so far, with the woodland flocks this year and they certainly contribute to the noise side of things.    


From: MJ and ME [
Sent: Saturday, 21 May 2011 4:56 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] MFF with a difference - Tallagandra Lanem Sutton


  Went for a drive along Tallagandra Lane this afternoon. At about the halfway point there was a MFF consisting of Diamond Firetails (about 10), Scarlet Robin (2), Australian Pipit (about 20), Yellow-rumped Thornbills (too many to count) and about 10 White-fronted Chats. They were on the edge of the road in tussocks of grass but feeding on the ground. Would have spent ages watching them except a car came along at great speed and scared them all off. Some of the Diamond Firetails were juveniles with black beaks.
Michael Kingsford

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