RE: Curra Moors in the Royal NP, Sydney (lots of Fork-tailed Swifts) - 5

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Subject: RE: Curra Moors in the Royal NP, Sydney (lots of Fork-tailed Swifts) - 5th Feb 2005
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2005 22:43:22 +1100

Sorry the date of this report should read 5th March 2005.  




-----Original Message-----
From: Edwin Vella [
Saturday, 5 March 2005 10:40 PM
Subject: Curra Moors in the Royal NP, Sydney (lots of Fork-tailed Swifts)
- 5th Feb 2005


After checking out the Bureau of Meteorology website this morning and noticing that the winds were going to be north-westerly and ahead of a southerly change, I thought I should take the punt to try and find some Fork-tailed Swifts at Sydney’s Royal National Park (I wasn’t that optimistic at first, as I have been looking out for them for many years without success, but since they had been seen there recently, I thought I may be lucky enough this time to see them).


I arrive at the Royal NP at about 10 am, the sky appeared partly cloudy with little wind. I decided to do a stroll along the Service Trail at Curra Moors to see some heathland birds, with a very cooperative Beautiful Firetail being one of my first birds and saw several close Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters. I also heard here another Beautiful Firetail and both Southern Emu-wrens and Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens.


 It was about 11 am when the winds picked up (which were from the west) and I noticed more lines of clouds with a front approaching from the south-west. I kept looking at the sky to see if there were any swifts about but there were no signs of them yet. I decided to go for a bit of a drive to Garrie Beach to past the time and then returned back at Curra Moors (beside Sir Bertrams Drive) at about 12 pm with a lot more cloud build up. I waited for half an hour and was just about to give it up and head back home when all of a sudden about 10 White-throated Needletails flew quite low over me. A few minutes after, bingo, 2 Fork-tailed Swifts flew low over showing their diagnostic fork tails, slimmer wings and appearance, clear white rump, no white in the vent  and only a pale (not white) throat. I was deeply thrilled, as it has taken me 17 or so years to see one. But the joy was not over yet. About half an hour later, a flock of 30 more Fork-tailed Swifts flew quite lower over the road and I could clearly hear their shrill calls and they then spent an hour or so soaring high and low at times over the area. I notice the flight of the Fork-tail’s being fast but more drifting and less powerful than the Needle-tails which also had then joined them. I ended up seeing at least 50 Fork-tailed Swifts (but I dare say there was probably twice as many as some were quite high and hard to see) and they outnumbered the Needletails by 5 to 4. The Fork-tailed Swifts continued to make their shrill calls and they stayed in the same area till it started to sprinkle with rain. Both species of Swift then moved further north and to move more ahead of the rain clouds about 2:30 pm when I then decided to head home.  


Edwin Vella


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