Pacific Swifts in Vic

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Pacific Swifts in Vic
From: jenny spry <>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:53:20 +1100
Hi all,

There was a fascinating Fork-tailed (Pacific) Swift event over Melbourne
yesterday. The day had been very windy with, according to the ABC, winds in
excess of 100 km per hour until a front with brief but heavy rain went
through at about 1630. Behind the front the sky cleared and the wind
dropped to maybe 20 - 30 kph.

At about 1730 I got a call from a friend in Altona Meadows, south of the
city on the west coast of the bay, to say that she had Fork-tailed Swifts
and Martins flying low over her house. I live in Carlton North, about 3 km
north of the city and 20 km n-e of Altona Meadows. I walked out with the
phone and they were over my place as well. Between then and 1930 a steady
stream of F-t S and Tree Martins flew over in small groups of 10 - 20 birds
at a time, heading to the north-east. After 1930 it was too dark to see.

Return calls to Joy in Altona Meadows as I watched from my place confirmed
that they were still passing over her house as well so I assume that there
was a more or less steady stream of swifts passing over an area more
than 20 km long for at least 2 hours.

Looking at Birdline Vic shows that during the afternoon and evening F-t S
were being seen over Hopetoun, 300 km n-w of Melb as the swift flies, over
Ballarat, over Rye on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melb, and in many
places in between. I checked Birdline Tasmania but there have been no
reports from there as yet nor any from southern NSW.

Early in the event the birds were flying low, just above roof level, but as
the evening wore on the birds moved higher. The martins seemed to reduce in
number the later it got so maybe they were finding places to roost for the
evening. I have lived in my small inner suburban house for 15 years now and
have never seen Tree Martins or Fork-tailed Swifts over the house before.
They may have been there, but certainly they are not common.



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