Great Cocky count

To: "" <>
Subject: Great Cocky count
From: Jack & Andrea Holland <>
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2018 23:45:31 +0000
Hello Ryu, many thanks for organising this count which (as well as earlier observations this year) has helped me get a clearer idea of the movements of SCCs around my area in Chapman which I have been observing for over 40 years.
>From my vantage point at the NW end of Cooleman Ridge (CR; about 35 21 06 S; 149 01 27 E) last evening 8 July from 16:18 to 17:11 I counted 395 (pretty accurate <+ 10% count ) SCCs moving low (generally around or less than tree top height) in a WSW direction against the strong wind towards the Murrumbidgee River.  Over half of them (~233) were counted over the 10 minutes from 16:45 to 16-55.  While from this vantage point I could see 800 m across the Chapman Horse paddocks to the S fence of Narrabundah Hill (NH) and beyond, across to the wires at the corner of Hindmarsh (1 km), and well into Rivett and less so Duffy, due to their low flight I could not see where they may have roosted.  This could either be in trees before the Murrumbidgee River or in the Bullen range about midway between the Cotter and Kambah Pool.
Initially they were coming from Rivett across Darwinia Tce following the lines of tree from the start of Kathner St Chapman (35 20 49 S; 149 01 43 E), and after that I could see them gathering on the wires and in trees to the E of there around Woollum Crescent in Rivett (max of 57 at 16:39).  As well as moving as described above many then moved to the wires at the end of Hindmarsh Drive (joined by others, so a similar number) before they either moved through the S side of NH or to the WNW end of the Kathner St line of trees (35 20 47 S; 149 01 31 E).  It wasn’t until around 16:55 that SCCs started coming from the direction of my GBS site (unfortunately obscured) at (35 21 01 S; 149 01 45 E) from where by the end about 1/3 of the birds had come (similar to the count from my GBS site the evening before ie 7/7).   However, despite stopping at different points on both the wires and trees in this close to 90 degrees arc, nearly all birds seemed to funnel into the lowest point of the saddle in the Chapman horse paddocks midway between between CR and NH before continuing WSW, with only one late bird coming over the ridge behind me. 
No birds were seen to move in the opposite direction but this morning (9 July) I tried to follow up the 70+ birds Andrea had seen on the end of Hindmarsh Drive wires around 7:35 am yesterday.  From 7:03 am I could hear SCCs in Duffy/Holder, possibly from the Holder shops roost, and by 7:08 am around 10 birds had flown high over the end of Hindmarsh towards in a WSW direction similarly to what I had observed during March/April.  While none of the birds which I had counted last night had moved in the opposite direction by 7:15 am, the question as to why (and how many) move in opposite directions in the morning (ie some roosting in the suburbs and then moving to the open areas and others roosting there and coming into to the suburbs) remains unresolved.  From the point of view of the energy used flying the long distance for the latter would seem to be much less efficient. 
There were no birds in the “Lipman St” Chapman roost and trees close by around 6:55 yesterday morning (8 July), which is interesting as on Saturday morning 7/7 around the same time I saw a flock of around 35 SCCs fly from Rivett towards there.  They seemed to be calling from there but unfortunately I was not able to follow this up.  Possibly the 21 birds I saw there on 1 July quietly sitting frozen in very exposed positions around the same time on 1 July may have also flown in based on the calls I had heard around 6:50 am.
Finally no Little Corellas were seen at all in my local patch during the roost census window, though a loose flock of around 35 flew over my GBS on the morning of 6 July.
I trust the above summary is useful, I have included the detail for my own benefit.
Once again many thanks for organising this very interesting census, we still have so much to learn about our common birds.
Jack Holland
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