To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Birds
From: "Chris Baxter" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 20:45:59 +1030
Hi All


Chris Baxter here from far away Kangaroo Island, a 4, 500 sq km island of
predominantly mallee scrubland some 50 km S off the South Australian
mainland. I was interested to read about the birds coming into roost with
their bizarre landing performances. Whiffling you are calling it. On KI I
have sat on the shores of brackish paperbark lagoons and had some several
thousands of Australian Shelducks returning to roost on lagoon shores after
a night out dining on farmer's stubble/grain or whatever. They return in the
early morning to camp on lagoon throughout day and one can see "squadrons"
of them coming in from high up. Then suddenly they descend at a great rate
and at a furious pace-needing to bleed off speed as they descend over ones
head to the lagoon shore they are twisting and turning and doing all sorts
of aerial manouevers. Plenty of whiffling going on then and a sight and
sound (wing noise) to behold. Also, on reading about swifts coming in to
drink recently on birding-Aus, it reminded me of the day at Flinders Chase
NP on the extreme W end of KI, when on dusk a thousand White-throated
Needletails assembled above the dam and then proceeded to come in to drink.
They came from the W and I was on the E bank - hundreds in a long line
skimming water off of the dam surface and then zooming over my head as they
again ascended to altitude. The noise of their scimitar shaped wings cutting
through the air like a scythe was enough to make me keep ducking my head
even though I knew in my mind that they were not actually going to hit me!!
Mother Nature at her best! Colleted three nice specimens from Flour Cask Bay
on S coast of KI today. A White-headed Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater and
White-faced Storm Petrel. The former was a freshly washed specimen and had
me in awe of its beauty. On an on "chooks" - lots of B-tailed Native Hens
and happily we now have Aust. Spotted Crakes here again. I will be looking
for Baillon's and Spotless Crakes in the New year. We had a wet 2009 and our
swamps/lagoons will get better and better as summer proceeds as we act as a
drought refuge when mainland wetlands dry up.


In closing I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Safe Christmas and all
of the best for the New Year and onwards. Happy Birding.


Kindest Regards 


Chris Baxter


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