Where are the Fork-tailed Swifts & Needletails?

Subject: Where are the Fork-tailed Swifts & Needletails?
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 03:49:43 -0500
 This afternoon I had a loose flock of 15 - 20 Fork-tailed Swifts wheeling 
around and moving slowly in a westerly direction over Duncraig - a northern 
suburb of Perth, WA.
 Regards, Clive. 
 -----Original Message-----
 Sent: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 8:54 AM
 Subject: [Birding-Aus] Where are the Fork-tailed Swifts & Needletails?
  G'day bird students 
 I spent most of January either censusing swiftlet colonies in Finch Hatton 
Gorge and the Chillagoe-Mungana caves area, or driving up the coast then 
returning to Melbourne through the outback. Of course I look for swifts all the 
way, and this year there appeared to be some different distributions than what 
I normally encounter. So can you help verify my observations. 
 There appear to be very few WTNT or FTS in North Coastal and central coastal 
Qld. I saw WTNT the two days before I left Melbourne, and all the way through 
coastal NSW and SE Qld up to GinGin. But I saw none north of Gingin. There are 
usually some between Tully and Cairns and around Mackay - but none were seen at 
all this trip- not even swiftlets. Did the cyclone knock out the insect food 
supply? They appear to have reached Melbourne earlier than usual so will it be 
a good year for sightings in Tassie? 
 FTS were seen occasionally around Chillagoe then I recorded large flocks a few 
days ago in Central central and south central Qld. 
 So can those who live in far North Qld and Central Qld verify my observations 
and would others travelling through please let me know what swifts you see (how 
many and where and the prevailing weather if possible) so I can try to make 
some sense out of what is happening. I have just gone through all my e-mails 
with swifts in the titles and these tent to support my own observations. John 
Turner is still getting FTS in Adelaide so they are not all in Qld! 
 Of course as usual sightings of FTS & WTNT from anywhere are of interest in 
building up the picture of what is normal and how they respond to drought, 
cyclones and fires. Wouldn't it be good to be able to respond as a swift to 
localised problems by rapidly going somewhere else? 
 So please take a moment to report your FTS and WTNT sightings (directly or 
through Birding-Aus). Many thanks & 
 Mike Tarburton 
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