Re: birding-aus Whistling Kite flock

To: "The Dam Lamb Service Clan" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Whistling Kite flock
From: Peter Woodall <>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 09:18:32 +1000
At 23:04 11/11/1999 +1100, you wrote:
>I regularly do BOP Watch on drive to and from home and work, 77 km. from
Maleny, on Blackall Range, Sunshine Coast hinterland , to Redcliffe, 30 km.
north of Brisbane. My route traverses the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains and
I regularly pick-up whistling kites around Beerburrum , near a large battery
chicken farm. Until tonight, four was the max.number I'd recorded at any time.
>     This afternoon at 1715hrs. I observed a flock of 35+ whistling kites
soaring high in the sky just south of Mt.Tibrogargan , slowly heading east
towards Pumicestone Passage. My initial reaction was that they were
Torresean Crows or Straw -necked Ibis, both commonly seen in large flocks in
this area. However their flight pattern said "raptor" so I pulled over,
extracted the binos., and a good, long look. Sufficient of the flock were
low enough to observe the usual identifying marks and flight patterns.
>Most birds appeared darker than usual underwing although they were
backgrounded (?skygrounded) by a large dark stormcloud which may explain
this.They were unhurried , slowly circling, in loose formation with many
going off in different directions and at different levels before slowly
regrouping again.I could not discern any other species in flock, spent some
time looking for tell-tale tail of Black Kite, though have not ever seen
Black Kite in this area. (Saw tens and hundreds in flocks in outback Qld.
and NT last year however)
>             Wonder if anyone else observed them? What prompts flocking
behaviour in this species? Are they all/mainly juveniles ?Peter Woodall does
raptor counts in southern Moreton Bay (approx.70km. south) in which large
numbers of Whistling Kites are invariably counted.
>            On arriving home was greeted by our newly-resident Wonga Pigeon
waddling down driveway whilst female Koel squawked from low branch.
>                        Russ Lamb,Maleny,Qld


A very interesting post and a good indication of how observations like this
can contribute
to our overall understanding of a common bird's biology.

My coastal raptor counts, both in Pumicestone Passage and southern
Moreton bay (N & S of Brisbane, Qld) over the last 4 years show a marked
drop in 
Whistling Kite numbers over summer.  Peaks of 150 WK's in winter, down to
50-60 in
summer (over nearly 80 km) in Moreton Bay.

I'm not sure where they go, possibly inland???

Your record of a flock might indicate the start of this move away from the
[Even though your flock was going towards Pumicestone Passage, I would
guesss that
they might form a flock, move around locally for a bit before finally
heading off...

In Moreton Bay we get groups of up to 15 Whistlers in one spot (thermal,
river mouths)
but never over 30.



Dr Peter Woodall                          email = 
Division of Vet Pathology & Anatomy             
School of Veterinary Science & An. Prod.  Phone = +61 7 3365 2300
The University of Queensland              Fax   = +61 7 3365 1355
Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4072             WWW  =
"hamba phezulu" (= "go higher" in isiZulu)


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