Needletail swarm at Lk Samsonvale, SEQ

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Needletail swarm at Lk Samsonvale, SEQ
From: Laurence Knight <>
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 21:44:34 +1000
There were 50-100 Needletails hawking for several hours this afternoon over the long grass flat to the east of the Kobble Ck inlet to Lake Samsonvale. Normally the Needletails I see don't hang around one place for more than 15-30 mins, but this group were obviously onto a good thing. There wasn't much in the way of a breeze for most of the afternoon, so it was like watching a mass of super fast and super large martins milling about - sometimes the birds were flying only a metre above the top of the chest-high grass.

I found that photographing low-flying swifts was more of a challenge than photographing birds from the back of a boat. While I didn't have to contend with a rocking surface, swifts are pretty much the fastest bird when it comes to level flight and they don't fly in a predictable pattern, so they are hard to track. Invariably, the ones that did the closest flybys approached from behind me. The autofocus on the camera couldn't cope, so it was a case of switching to manual and hitting the shutter when the birds were in focus.

Regards, Laurie.

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