Fork-tailed swifts

To: Helen Larson <>, Birding- Aus <>, "mike tarburton (SWIFT records)" <>
Subject: Fork-tailed swifts
From: martin cachard <>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2014 18:01:45 +1100
hi Helen,
thanks for inadvetantly reminding me that i had forgotten to post my first 
swifts for the season seen up here on the Cairns coastal plain!!!!
on Sunday 26/02/14 at 6pm i recorded my first migrant swifts here for the 
season. there were literally thousands of Fork-tailed Swifts with a few 
White-throated Needletails amongst them - numbers were impossible to ascertain, 
by if i were to hazard a guess, i'd guess-timate possibly a minimum 5000 
fork-tailed's,  & i actually counted 20 needletails - the flock was spread over 
3kms & at varying altitudes above me, with the highest barely visible without 
my bins...
i was riding my mountain bike home from work & i could hear the lowest of the 
birds calling - they made quite a racket...  
the flock was from McGregor Rd/Cook Hwy roundabout, Smithfield, north to 
Trinity Beach foreshore - an amazing arrival indeed !!
amongst the swifts were a great deal of Aust Swiflets, White-breasted 
Woodswallows & Welcome Swallows, our usual hawking locals...
this is a pretty late mass arrival - the big flocks normally get here late 
December most years, sometimes as early as first week of December, & this is 
the latest i've had them through here in numbers in 18 years living here...
i apologise for this late posting (sorry Mike!!).
cheers Martin Cachard, Cairns, 0428 782 808

 > Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2014 02:07:13 +0000
> From: 
> To: ; 
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Fork-tailed swifts
> We saw our first Fork-tailed swifts for the year yesterday, over the farm 
> behind us here at Wongaling Beach (FNQ), about 12 mixed in with 12 Australian 
> swiftlets.
> Then we went down to Tully Heads sandspit at the mouth of the Hull River to 
> see what the big spring tides had done and saw about 500 fork-tails, at 
> least. Just an estimate based on their constant loose stream going south 
> along the coast, some flying high and some close to the river; we counted 100 
> going south in one minute, then concentrated on the shorebirds (a fisherman 
> kept putting up the terns and sharp-tailed sandpipers, sandpipers left after 
> two flights); swifts stopped coming after about 15 mins. We saw a few extra 
> fork-tails go over as we drove out but did not stop to count. 
> At Hull Heads we had 8 Fork-tails go low over our heads as we were standing 
> on the sandspit (other arm of the Hull River mouth).
> No swifts of any kind this morning, more howling wind all rushing to join the 
> low off Karumba I suppose. 
> Helen
> <')//////==<
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