Friday, August 28, 2009

Brief Encounter...............Swift Parrots

Just a short note to recount an all too brief encounter with Swift Parrots this morning.
The first reasonable day for sometime, but still windy, I decided to bird the Mortimer Bay reserve. Little action at first, probably not helped by the temperature hovering around 8C, but as it warmed up, so did the birding. While trying to get close enough for a few shots of a Dusky Robin, I heard a single, rather metallic, sharp call. Although I felt sure I should know what was calling, I couldn't at first place it. However as I neared what I thought was the source, the bird repeated it several times, and then gave the "giveaway" screech of a departing Swift Parrot--my first for the season. It wasn't a bird that I expected in this area as this parrot is more usually encountered on the western side of the Derwent River. It has bred here in the distant past, but that's was 30 years ago when the area was farmed. I followed in the general direction of the departing bird, which fortunately gave the same single note occasionally, enough to eventually find it. As you can see from the accompanying shots, it remained high in the dead branches of a eucalypt, not very conducive to great images. After a few minutes it took flight, at which time I realised there was in fact a pair. During the course of the mornings birding, I heard distant screeching from at least 3 pairs, but there may have been more. Perhaps they have been drawn here by the lack of Blue Gum flowering so far locally, and the fairly profuse flowering at "Mortimer" of the local peppermints. So if you haven't found any of the returning "swifties" yet, it's time to get out there!


Unknown said...

Despite your comments about lighting etc. not being conducive to great shots, I think they came up brilliantly! Especially since most times I've tried to get Swifties, they seem to be deep in foliage. Also surprised to see them back so early - will have to get out looking!!

BirdingTas said...

Hi Melana,
Thanks for your comments. I thought their return was fairly early, hence the blog. They were reported on the birding-aus forum recently from Queensland!
I've found them difficult to photograph too--in foliage, often high in the canopy etc. In this case I think I was lucky to get any shots, even though they remained high up.
I returned to Mortimer Bay yesterday, and they're still there--at least a dozen, mostly silent, occasionally being hassled by Little Wattlebirds. Never got close to photographing any, just saw them "whizzing" past!

John Tongue said...

Hi Alan,
I'm glad my comment about photographing the Swifites came through to your blog (and congratulations on your shots, again). However, I'm not sure who "Melana" is, who the Blog attributed the post to. I haven't gone transgender yet!
John Tongue

BirdingTas said...

Hi John,
Good to hear! It appears that the 'system' is recognising you as "Melana" for some reason, but I can't figure out why. It may have something to do with how you log on to blogger. Perhaps you might like to send me another comment (which I won't publish) to test it out.

Richard King said...

Nice shots. I'm still want to see one. Must get out to Tassie again!

BirdingTas said...

Hi Richard,
Well I suggest you don't leave it too long! Whereas several years ago they were not uncommon in the suburbs of Hobart during the Summer/Autumn, these days you really need to search them out. Breeding areas seemed to be moving southwards, perhaps due to global warming--well it's easier to blame that than the trashing of blue gum habitat!
Good luck with the videography, I think with faster broadband it offers real possibilities.