Confusing Swifts & Birding from bed

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Confusing Swifts & Birding from bed
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2003 14:32:22 +1000
Hi All,
I have had the task (poor me!) of caretaking Rose Gum Wilderness Retreat over the last few weeks and got in some great birding.
There wee a few disappointments like that the Red-necked Crakes and Bush Hens while calling most days have not been good enough to show themselves. The Blue-faced Parrot-finches also did not put on a show every time we looked but life goes on despite the disappointments.
On 19/02 I was watching a couple of Needletail Swifts close to the house and some White-rumped Swiftletts returning to Mt Bartle Frere across the valley when my attention was taken by two birds deep in the valley below. They seemed to be swifts with some white below, short bodies and significant white on their rump or back. This was not always visible but when it was stood out remarkably. The birds were a long way off and even with the telescope I could not much improve on my observations. After consulting first field guides and then other reference books I was still confused.
Next day there was a flock of over 250 Needletails working the gap between Bartle Frere and Mt Bellenden Ker and the Mulgrave Valley. At certain angles when the birds were below the height of Rose Gums their backs flashed a brilliant white. That little bit of white on the inside of the wing seemed to light up the whole back. Perhaps the birds were in fresh moult. Anyway the mystery of the day before was solved. If only this would always happen.
Just a quick addendum for those who bird from bed here is what I remember of a recent morning's effort!
Pied, Spectacled and Black-faced Monarchs seen and Leaden heard.
Eastern Whipbird
Large-billed Scrubwren
Brown Gerygone
Macleay's, Lewin's and Dusky Honeyeaters
Victoria's Riflebird
Little Shrike-thrush
Brush Turkey
Heard only:-
O.F. Scrubfowl
Pied Currawong
Laughing Kookaburra
Brown Honeyeater and Helmeted Friarbird
Also seen:-
Boyd's forest Dragon
Musky Rat-kangaroo
Cairns Birdwing and Australian Vagrant Butterflies
To have kept a complete list would have meant getting up for a note book and fearing this would be against the rules I just lay back and took in the view.
Alan Gillanders
Alan's Wildlife Tours
On the beautiful Atherton Tablelands
145* 33' 25"E  17* 16' 40"S

(07) 4095 3784
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