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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Violet-green swallow

All afternoon they darted in and out of a grove of pines near our house. They jostled with each other and performed derring-do, swerving to miss a fatal collision with a tree by fractions of an inch. A group about 20 swallows appeared to perform for us as we stood on our back porch. Often they would zip by within inches of our eyes, performing dips, dives and near collisions (deploy air brakes and climb vertically to bleed off speed, spectacular!) within feet of us. Maybe they were bagging bugs as they did this, but neither Loy nor I could see any bugs in the air. Over the space of four hours (I came out and watched from time to time) I never saw one perch.

I bagged these photos from Google images. I could not have photographed these birds, too fast for me. Audubon says we're in their range, but I don't recall having ever seen this bird before.


D.E. Bishop said...

Swallows are my favorite birds. They are the fighter jets of birds because, as you noticed, they are such marvelously acrobatic fliers. My favorite swallow is the barn swallow, a gorgeous bird.

Wayne Gilbert said...

My guess is that there were bugs in the air, and the swallows were, well, swallowing them. Last night at the municipal band concert I watched a couple of dragonflies flitting about, also making remarkable turns. They were catching bugs also.

Bob Newland said...

The dragonflies were themselves bait for a predator like the swallow, which must in turn look out for a wide range of lunch-hunters. It's a short, nasty, brutish life for more creatures than not.