Australian Swiftlets in NSW

On Saturday 2nd February at 5.15 Eastern Summer Time between Goonengerry and Repentance Creek, north-eastern N.S.W., I looked vertically and saw about 100 Australian Swiftlets fly overhead about 30 metres above the ground, on a ridge with a mixture of orchard and pasture and adjoining slopes and gullies with regrowth rainforest. This appears to have been the tail end of what could have been a bigger flock.
At first glance I thought they were martins but their wing profiles and flight looked too swift like, and I then saw they were grey where martins would be blue. All  were flying eastward with substantial gliding but occasionally one would spread its tail and slow rapidly as though catching an insect.
Half an hour earlier I had seen greyish white flashes when looking horizontally about 250 metres to the east of the sighting location, but, without my binoculars I had no idea what bird species they could have been, although the subsequent closer sighting suggests they may have been swiftlets.
It is tempting to speculate that the very wet conditions in north Queensland had driven them further south than usual.
Sandy Gilmore
Goonengerry, N.S.W. 2482


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