White-throated Needletails

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: White-throated Needletails
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2007 17:35:56 +1000 (EST)
Hello all WTNT fans,

Quick report and comments on numbers of the species.

Over the past two months have frequently observed WTNT "working" the
Western area of Newcastle, over suburban areas with plenty of mature trees
such as Kotara (near Blackbutt Reserve).

Weather usually has been fine, humidity on the cusp of or well on way to
increasing in lead up to storm activity.

Numbers of birds: rarely more than 15 observed (always difficult to tell
when you don't have a wide field of view!)

My note on numbers: compared to late seventies, early 1980s sightings in
the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas, numbers of WTNT's 2003-2007 are
very low in relative terms.  1970s/1980s sightings were so dramatic at
times because of the numbers of WTNT's involved (usually over 250,
probably many more) that often found myself thinking from an insect's
point of view it must be like a concerted "military" aerial attack: the
pattern usually involved loads of activity, "bombing" runs crisscrossing,
then the flock would string out and suddenly be 50km away and beyond

I know that WTNTs are not listed as being of concern in terms of
population numbers, but increasingly I want to know much more about their
status and what's going on back in their breeding territories: those
Siberian forests etc etc and wherever else they return to after their
Australian sojourn (as I said, I don't know enough about the global
migration patterns and breeding behaviour of these fantastic speedsters).


Craig Williams


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