Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nesting Swallows, somewhere in Castleton Vt

The day had started out rainy but was clearing as we left Rutland to do some birding and scouting for photography locations. Riding along Bill shouts "what the heck is that ? it's black and white and has a blue bill" well that stopped the car pretty quick. A Lesser Scaup in a marsh just off Old Rt 4, a fairly uncommon bird for the location and time of year. Next stop as a "did you see that stop " which was a robinisque Kestrel #$&%(! ?. But did turn up about 70 swallows flying around the barn yard. A closer look revealed Tree, Barn and the surprise of the day Cliff Swallows. We watched for about half hour as the swallows gathered nest building materials. The Cliff Swallows just pickup mud in their beaks and flew off with it. ( image bellow Cliff Swallow with beak full of mud) The Barn Swallows however carried hay to the muddy tire tracks in the barn yard most of which had water in them after the rain, where they would wet the hay . ( tree swallow wetting piece of hay for nest. I think they do this to make the hay/grass soft to work with) Then they would then added mud to the mixed load of nesting materials and fly off. This scene was repeated over and over again with some copulations throne in for good measure every now and then. Ahhhh spring!

List from today:

Lesser Scaup 1 m

Canada Goose 6 1 with very new goslings

Mallard 7 all males

Northern Harrier 1 gray ghost
Cowbird 5

Kingbird 3

House Sparrow many

A Goldfinch 4

Redwing Black Bird 6

Common Grackle dozens

TV's 9

Broadwing Hawk 1

Redtailed Hawk 2 one with pray

Kestrel 1

Cliff Swallow 10+

Barn Swallow 30+

Tree Swallow 20+

NO Warblers today, that was a surprise. Latter on in the day I took a right off Rt 22a down a dirt road I'd never been on. Found 5 Red Admirals mineraling as I slowly drove along. Also found in same general area Cabbage Whites, Clouded Sulphur, Red Admirals and a Canadian Swallowtail plus two West Virginia Whites. There was one that would not hold still long enough to ID. I thought it could have been a Juvenal's Duskywing. We'll see what I find when to go back tomorrow to spend more time looking around. There was also many dragonflies and damselflies moving in the warm afternoon air.

Thanks for visiting BFO's
Peter Manship
All photos and story © 2010 Peter Manship