White-throated Needletails, Lord Howe Island

To: 'Michael Tarburton' <>
Subject: White-throated Needletails, Lord Howe Island
From: Stephen Ambrose <>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2016 23:44:18 +0000
Hi Mike,

I was back on Lord Howe Island last week (3 - 8 July 2016) conducting more
bird surveys on Transit Hill.  I experienced typical winter weather, with an
intense low pressure system located over the Tasman Sea causing winds of
90-100 km/hr to prevail continually for 3 days (5 - 7 July, inclusive) over
the island.  Heavy rain fell overnight on 5/6 July, but subsequent rainfall
was limited to brief rain squalls, despite heavy cloud cover and strong

At 0923 hrs on Wednesday, 6 July I observed three White-throated Needletails
fly over the slopes of Transit Hill, approximately 20 m above ground level,
moving in a north-easterly direction with the prevailing winds.  They were
moving in a straight line, rather than circling, presumably because of the
strength of the winds.  Lat/long co-ordinates:  31 deg 31.8 min South, 159
deg 4.4 min East.

I was surprised to see White-throated Needletails at this time of the year.
I recorded a larger flock at the same location in late summer of this year,
and those records were sent to you. Is this evidence that some WTNTs
over-winter in Australia or could they be early arrivals?

Kind regards,


Dr Stephen Ambrose



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