[Tweeters] possible new Vaux chimney

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 27 21:47:43 PDT 2010

Dear Tweeters,

Today (9-27-10) I found myself in downtown Sedro-Woolley (Skagit Cty) in the afternoon, and again in the evening. At about 1640, I thought I heard Vaux's Swifts, but I had to go to Burlington for tedious errands.

At about 1830, back in downtown Sedro-Woolley, I saw 300 to 500 VASW swirling around downtown, over the former Market Place grocery store. I followed the flock to the area near City Hall, by US Bank and the little Countryside Chevy dealership. This area is about a block and a half east of the Post Office, and is on Woodworth Street.

The flock continued to swirl about, sometimes making a feint toward City Hall's chimney. At sbout 1850, the flock coalesced into a spectacular whirling toroid. Then, at about 1855, all but about fifty of the swifts dove into one of the chimneys at the Chevy dealership. This was the smaller of the building's two chimneys, a brick one that is painted off-white and is not terribly tall.

Sundry passersby, several of whom were sober, expressed their curiosity; they stopped to watch with me.

I don't know what became of those last fifty swifts. I did not feel like doing any serious swift counting, but somewhere between three hundred and five hundred birds had been present--perhaps as many as a thousand? The last fifty flew off to the east, and none of us could tell where they went. At about 1900, two swifts returned, circled for three minutes, and then entered the same chimney as had the others.

I don't know if the swift counters (Larry, are you out there?) know about this chimney, or whether it's been used for any length of time. In the early 1990's, a chimney about a quarter mile NW from there was used each fall, at the old Skagit Steel plant, but that stack is long gone.

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch   Near Lyman, Washington (Skagit County), USA   garybletsch at yahoo.com    

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