To: "birding-aus" <>, "Frank Hemmings" <>
Subject: Swifts.
From: "Bruce Cox" <>
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 13:22:49 +1100
From: "Frank Hemmings" <>
To: "Bruce Cox" <>
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 8:52 AM
Subject: Swifts.

Thanks for the reply Frank,

I guess I am trying to get a picture of what happens to these poor flyers
and how they get from A to B. I have watched them around the Northern
Beaches and their normal means of locomotion appears to be walking.
Frequently you see them clambering up low bushy trees and then gliding back
to the ground. I think they clamber up either to dry their plumage (early
mornings) or call during the breeding season, rather than a means of
locomotion (combined with gliding). I am not sure I have ever seen one fly.

I saw one glide from a tree on the Deep Creek escarpment once, it glided
down into the valley, a distance of somewhat less than 300 metres of which
100 metres was down, when you consider the height advantage, not much of a
glide! However I have seen nothing to indicate flying as their normal means
of  covering longer distances. If they do not fly then any open areas would
be a major impediment.

The Warriewood Wetland ones I mentioned in my previous e-mail covered a
distance of one km. in  7 days or less, during which they had to cross one
busy road. Other than the road they did not have to leave the shelter of the
wetland. I rather wonder if they did this at night? Either way, pretty slow

The first Atlas comments: "The Pheasant Coucal is territorial when breeding
but during non-breeding months will move locally" and again: "the field
atlas does not suggests any large-scale movements". Does that mean if we
lost our Sydney population they could nor replenish from out of the area?
Or again, could the Mitchell Park birds replenish the Northern Beaches if
necessary, I doubt it!

Bruce Cox.

This is Frank Hemming's response to my request for info. on recent coucal
records in the Sydney region.
> Hi Bruce,
> Last year in late December I heard (but didn't see - typical) a Pheasant
> Coucal at Scheyville National Park.  It's interesting to hear of them in
> Mitchell Park becasue in my old (1950's) copy of Birds of Sydney
> (Hindowood?), it menions them as not bing found in the shale areas.
> Somtime early this year I think someone reported one in long grass at the
> side of the road near the tip (sorry, transfer station)  at North Ryde.  I
> was most impressed to hear this since I grew up near there (although i
> saw any).  Cheers.
> Frank
> Frank Hemmings
> Curator
> John T. Waterhouse Herbarium
> School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
> University of New South Wales

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