Kent birds.....

Buteoreg at Buteoreg at
Tue Jun 12 22:35:45 PDT 2001

Hi all -

On Monday I checked the Kent Ponds for Black Swifts during my lunch break. I
only saw one distant bird there, but I got the real show later in the day at
my workplace.

I work at a warehouse that backs up to the Green River on Central Ave South,
just north of Auburn. We have a garden behind the warehouse and I went out
there around 4:30 to check the tomato plants (goofing around in the name of
science/business). I see lots of swallows over the river, and often see
Vaux's Swifts as well, but never had seen Black Swifts there. Well, Monday
changed that! For over 1/2 an hour I watched about 15 of them foraging over
the river, and over the warehouse. They often flew as low as 20 feet over my
head, and at one point I could even see the whitish forehead marks of one
bird. It also appeared to have a few, very fine, white edgings to the
belly/breast feathers similar to the markings Sibley shows for the juvenile
birds - maybe a few birds could retain these markings into their following

I just love watching them fly - they vary from slow, gliding, somewhat
bat-like foraging, to bat-outta-you know where, rocketing foraging runs.
Sibley says the foraging flight is rather slow and erratic - I would say,
yes, at times, that's the case. But often they fly so rapidly and marvelously
that it takes your breath away! I was able to see the forked tail, supposedly
of males, a few times during the observation as well. What a thrill - and not
a bad bird for the "work list". I'm so glad I had my bins in my car...

As this was going on I heard a song along the river I thought I recognized.
Sure enough, the Lazuli Bunting that frequented the riverbank shrubbery last
summer has returned. Not a typical day's work for me - unfortunately - I
*could* get used to it...

Jim Flynn
buteoreg at
Federal Way, WA

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