Saturday, July 28, 2012

Immature Barn Swallows

Yesterday while driving up to Cape Spear, I had a visual flashback.  It was on May 12 of this year that I saw two adult Barn Swallows sitting on a wire. I have included this image of an adult female Barn Swallow for reference.
 This time, there were two Barn Swallows flying around as I drove up the road.  Not sure what I saw, I turned around to get a better look. It was then I found the two sitting on the wire, almost exactly where I saw the male and female sitting back in May.

When I first saw the white on the forehead, I was hoping I had found two Cliff Swallows, but closer look damped that hope. These were two immature Barn Swallows.

The emerging tail was the give-away. Yet, it was special to see these two as I have never seen an immature Bank Swallow before. 

The two sat long enough for me to take a few pictures and to look up swallow pictures in my field guide. As this one stretches and readies to lift off, it is easy to see the distinctive white markings on the tail. When spread, these white markings looks like the adult.
While sitting, the shortened-version of the notched tail is also obvious.

Also, when sitting the notched tail looks much shorter than when in flight as seen before. Nevertheless, it still is quite short compared to the adult.
It is interesting as this is my third summer of birding. Up until this year, I was struggling with identifying so many different birds that I really couldn't handle dealing with immature-adult or spring-fall variations.  Now, that I can identify more birds, I find that my depth of learning about each species is deepening. It has been quite enjoyable learning in this way - no pressure. After all,  Rome wasn't built....

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