Fork-tailed Swifts near Kaikoura

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Location: Christchurch

Fork-tailed Swifts near Kaikoura

Postby andrewcrossland » Sat Nov 19, 2022 11:00 pm

Hi folks, the following good report received from Jim Briskie (from Uni of Canty and former Notornis editor)

“On Wednesday morning (16 Nov) I saw 2 swifts fly over Kowhai Bush in Kaikoura. It was about 1030 in the morning as I was standing at edge of forest at end of Schoolhouse Road talking to one of my students (during our coffee break) and heard an unfamiliar twittering sound above. I had a brief view with my binos as the 2 birds flew overhead and they were clearly swifts (I’m confident I know the difference between swifts and swallows; I grew up in Canada with swifts flying over our house every summer and have seen >20 species of swifts around the world, including fork-tailed swifts in Thailand). They were black overall, much bigger than a swallow, flying fast and in a straight line (that’s why they call them swifts I guess!) and I could clearly see a white rump. They were making twittering calls, and I later listened on line to the calls of the fork-tailed swift on Birds NZ website, and they were a match. So although I only had about a 5 second view, I’m confident they were swifts and probably fork-tailed swift (Apus pacificus). Definitely no white crissum, so can rule out spine-tailed. Unfortunately they were flying on a bee-line from north to south, and were soon out of sight. I later checked if they might have been hanging out at South Bay, but no luck. Anyway, they clearly were on their way south, so could be anywhere between Kaikoura and Stewart Island!

Sorry for delay in sending this email, but I couldn’t get my email to work in Kaikoura this week (now back home in Christchurch).”

In a follow up email Jim added: “Also forgot to say I didn’t get any photos as by the time I looked at them with my binos, they were already too far away for a photo.”

So keep an eye out further south along the South Island east coast folks !!

Cheers, Jim

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