Fork-tailed Swift Report for 2012/13

Subject: Fork-tailed Swift Report for 2012/13
From: "Prof Michael Tarburton" <>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 09:05:41 +1000

         [Summary of 439 sightings sent to me or published where I could
find them. 

        This seasons reports are 237 more than last years.  A possible
reason for this is that the extraordinarilly hot and dry period
Feb-March in more populated areas of South-eastern Australia drove the
WTNT out and encouraged the FTS into areas were there are more

        Three or four birds were repeatedly seen in SA, NSW & Qld during Jun,
Jul and Aug, so were probably over-wintering birds.   The last of
these was of  3 birds seen at Bawley Point (NSW) by Maria Merkling 28
Sept.  The first of likely migrants were also only 3 birds at Daly
River (NT) seen 1st Oct by Peter Kyne.  The next day Mat Gilfedder
saw 25 at Darwin (NT) and James Galea saw 1 at Broome (WA 

        I have records for these birds from Russia, China, Japan, South
Korea, and Mongolia for the period May to August.  The first
migrating FTS reported from the far south of Thailand on the Kraa
Isthmus were just 5 birds seen on 20th Aug.  Five days later there
were 700 flying south.  Then on 12th  Sep there were 3,000, followed
by 2,000 the next day and 2,500 the day after that (data per Robert
DeCandido).  These flocks of thousands appear to have reached the
Broome Bird Observatory in October, where flocks of 2,400 and 3,000
were seen on the 11th ­by Simon Davies. The same day Maris Lauva
reported 2,000 from the Port of Broome.  Did these flocks remain
intact at that size from Thailand to Broome or were these just common
sized flocks for the species for this season?  Simon  observed 800
the following day while Adrian Boyle and George Swann could only
muster 7 birds on Mt Elizabeth Station. 

        I thank these people very much for reporting these birds for there
were no reports from WA (other than theirs again on 10 November),
until 1 bird was observed by Wendy & Alan Pilkington at the Eyre Bird
Observatory 5th Feb.  and 250 birds were seen by Ray Turnbull SW of
Onslow 28th  Feb and 1st  March.  WA is just too big for our few
observers!  Nigel Jackett and John Graff saw hundreds on the NW coast
Highway and Robyn & Morgan Pickering saw scores at Dandaragan, all on
9th March.  But where were these birds in December and January? 

        From this time on people started seeing them all over Australia. I
have one record of an unspecified number of FTS at Epping Forest NP,
Qld sometime during September from the Birdlife Atlas.  The first I
have reasonable details of was of 8 birds seen on 23rd Oct at
Birdsville by Drew Morris.  In NSW the very small numbers of
overwintering FTS give way to larger numbers (again unspecified) in
the second half of October.  We have already shown in the WTNT report
that FTS almost replaced WTNT in much of Victoria in March & early

        All told 30 sightings were reported from WA, 48 from NT, 172 from
Qld, 92 from NSW, 3 from ACT, 63 from Vic (compared to 27 the previous
year) 29 sightings were made in SA & 0 from Tas. 

        The first Vic report was of just 2 birds I saw at Bunyip SP 23 Oct. 
The largest flocks seen in Vic were 300 birds seen at Lilydale Lake by
Paul Jones on 4th Jan, 1,200 at Carlton North 21 Mar by Jenny Spry, &
470+ at Newport 21st Mar by Steve Davidson. 

        The first five SA reports this year were reported by the same person
in the Birdlife Atlas for June, July, August, October and November,
but unfortunately no numbers were given. Then Peter Waanders reported
30 from Gluepot 5 Nov.  & E. Stelle-Collins saw three at Waitpinga
cliffs the same day. The largest flocks from SA were 300+ seen at
Taylorville by Peter Waanders (13th Dec) and at Waitpinga Beach (11th
Mar) by Kevin Stracey. Total reported sightings from SA were 29. 

        6 records were made during May in Qld, NSW & Vic. One sighting was
reported for Jul in Qld by Craig Pattison, but unfortunately he did
not tell us how many he saw. 

        Observers with the most observations were: JONES, Paul (14), FLUMM,
Dave (10), KYNE, Peter (9), LARSON, Helen (9),  VANDERDUYS, Eric (8),
RAWLINSON, John (8), ARMSTRONG, Chris (8), SHURCLIFFE, Kath (7),
SMITH, Alastair (7), PRESTON, Ivor (7), DOECKE, & Nathaniel (6). 

        I thank all these contributors:

        ABBOTT, Carol (1), ACTON, Marleen (3), ADAMS, D. (1), ALCORN, Richard
& Margaret (1), ALEXANDER, Peter (1), ALLAN, Irene, (1), ALLSOP, John
(2), ARMSTRONG, Chris (8), ASHTON, Tony (1), BAKER, George & Teresa
(2), BARNES, Chris (2), BAXTER, Chris (1), BENSON, Robin (1),
BERTZELOTOS, Dimitris (1), BLAus Atlas (37), BLNQ (1), BORTOLUSSI,
Greg (2), BOWRA Bird Call (1), BOYLE, Adrian (4), BRUCE, Niel (3),
BUCKLEY, Kate (1), BULTREYS, Enoch (1), CACHIA, Mark (1), CASSON, Sue
(1), CHARLEY, David (1), CHICKSEN, Mal (2), CLOG, Jan (4), COMER, Ray
(1), COOK, rendan (1), CORBETT, Larry & Chris (1), COUSLAND, Malcolm
(2), COWAN, Ian (3), CRAWFORD, Alan (1), CRAWFORD, Liz (5), CROSLAND,
Michael (1), DAHLEM, Michael (1), DAVIDSON, Steve (3), DAVIES, Simon
(4), DAWE, Tony & Stephanie (1), DeLEIROS, Adrian (1), DENNIS Snow
(1), DENNIS, Terry (1), DICKSON, James (1), DODD, Paul (1), DOECKE,
Nathaniel (6), DOUGHTY, Chris (5), DOYLE, Karen (1), DUNSTAN P&C (1),
EDVARDSSOn, Martin (1), EGGINS, Gary (1), ELSE, Richard (3), ENGEL,
Deryk (1),  ENGLAND, Jan (1), EVANS, Andrew (1), EWIN, Peter (1),
EZZY, Len & Chris (5), FAULKNER, Tim (1), FISHER, Keith & Lindsay(2),
FLUMM, Dave (10), FRAWLEY, Ace (1), FUNNELL, Dominic (8),  GABRIEL,
Obi (1), GALEA, James (1), GARDNER, Marc (13), GARLAND, Clive (2),
GILLANDERS, Allan (9), GILLIES, Glenn (1), GRAFF, John (2), GRANT,
John (1), GREEN, Bob (1), GILFEDDER, Mat (1), GILL, Norton (2),
GILLANDERS, Alan (5), GINNANE, Peter (1), GORTA, Simon (4), GREATWICH,
Bruce (1), GREGORY, Phil (2), HAASS, Nikolas (1),  HALL, Lachlan (2),
HAMPEL, Trevor (2), HARDY, Kirri (1), HARTSHORN, Angus (1), HAVENS,
Maria (1), HAWTIN, Alec (1), HAYNE, Crtis (4), HEFFERNAN, R. (1),
HENSEN, Bas. (2),  HERBERT, Chris (5), HERRINGTON, Doug (2), 
HEWISH, Dean (1), HOCKING, Doug (1), HOUGHTON, Dave (5), INGWERSEN,
Dean (1), IRETON, Tania (1), JACKETT, Nigel (2), JACOBSON, Paul (4),
JAMES, David (1), JARVIS, Mike (1), JEFFERS, Len (1), JENKIN, Dick
(1), JENSEN, Andy (3), JERRAM, Mick (2), JOHNSTONE, Richard (1),
JOLLY, William (1), JONES, Barbara (1), JONES, Paul (14), KYNE, Peter
(9), LARSON, Helen (9), LEE, Sue (1), LEITCH, Judy (1), LINDORF, Chris
(1), LINDSAY, Kurtis (2), LYELL, Marlene (1), MACARTNEY, Corrie & Ian
(1), MACDONALD, Caroline (1), MAHER, Phil & Patricia (1), MANTLE, Dan
(1), MASON, Tiffany (2), MASTERS, Gavin (5), McKANE Eula (1),
McRITCHIE, Bernie (1), MERKLING HAVENS, Maria (1), MERRALL, David &
Margaret (1), MITFORD, David (5),   MOORHEAD, Bill (1), MORRIS, Drew
(1), MORRIS, Tim (2), MOVERLEY, John (2), MURPHY, Fran. (1), MUTTON,
Troy, (3), NORDSTROM, Terill (2), O’BRIEN, Gavin (1), O’BRIEN,
Martin (1), O’DONNELL, Kath (1), O;HARA, Adrian (1), O’MALLEY, Pat
(1), PARKIN, Kay (1), PATTISON, Craig (1), PAYET, Rosemary (4), PEAKE,
Paul (1), PEARSON, John (3), PENLINGTON, Phil (2), PERKINS, Harvey
(1), PICKERING, Robyn & Morgan (2), PICKERING, Stuart (1), PIERCE, Ed
(5), PILKINGTON, Wendy & Alan (1), POINTER, Kaye (1), POTTER, Steve
(2), PRESTON, Ivor (7), RAE, Pamela (1), RAMSEY, Michael (5), 
RAWLINSON, John (8), ROBINO, Janet (3), RODERICK, Steve (1), ROLLAND,
Vivien (1), RONAN, Michael (1), ROSS, Sonja (3), ROSSITER, Jill (1),
RUDDER, Ashwin (2), RYAN, Scott (1), SANDERSON, Chris (3), SAWYER,
Peter (1), SHELLEY, Lke (2), SHELLEY, Neil (1), SHERRING, Ken (1),
SHURCLIFFE, Kath (7), SMITH, Alastair (7), SMITH, Graham & Brenda (1),
SMITH, Ross (1), SMITH, Edward (2), SPILLANE, Nicole (4), SPRY, Jenny
(1), STAFFORD, Andrew (1), STEELE-COLLINS, E (1), STEELES, Chris (1),
STEWART, David (5), STILES, Jenny (3), STRACEY, Kevin (1), SWANN,
George (1), TANSEY, Joy (1), TARBURTON, Mike (3),  TESCH, Mike (1),
THOMPSON, Sue (1), TIERNEY, Peter (1), TOLL, Brendan (1), TORR, Dave
(1), TURNBULL, Ray (4), VALENTINE, Peter (4), VANDERDUYS, Eric (8),
WAANDERS, Peter (3), WALDON, D. (1), WEBB, David (2), WELLER, Dan (1),
WHARTON, Joan (5), WILK, Kathy (2), WILLIAMS, B & E, (1), WILSON, Tom
(4), WNOROWSKI, Ted (1), WOOD, Michael (3),  WOODFORD, Russell (1), 
WREN, Jon & Camilla (1). 

        Please remember to send me (preferably directly (ie off-list) all
your FTS & WTNT observations with estimated number of birds and any
interesting behaviour and weather data. 

        Cheers & thanks  


          Mike Tarburton

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