Thursday, May 25, 2017

Exciting, Dizzying and Vexing

 Snow, rain and a brutal North wind accompanied the arrival of swallows in St. John's. Tree Swallows, Barn and Bank Swallows (pictured below) are typical at this time of the year. A flurry of swallows nearly always show up with the worst Spring weather. They swirl over the waters in search of something to eat. This year a few Cliff Swallows accompanied the flash mob.
 While much of the activity occurred at Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's, a small number also gathered at Bidgood Park. It was there I got my best look at a Cliff Swallow. I have never really had an opportunity to stand and study this species. Keep in mind the sun popped out for one day this week, but the unrelenting North wind held steady.
 In Newfoundland, it is always a battle between the elements, the arrival of good birds and perseverance. Given our island location, it is almost a given: Bad weather equals good birds.
 Now for the best buzz! The most exciting bird arrival in St. John's this week was a Common Swift! This bird is a draw for birders across North America. So far, it has been here for five days. Since the weather today is rain, drizzle and fog with a temp around freezing and the presence of full-on North winds, it is likely the bird will continue at QV Lake.
 For anyone who wants to view this bird, go dressed for it: Winter boots, winter coat, hat, gloves and hand warmers.
 It is probable that viewers will be standing in one place for a long time tracking the steady movement of this swift. At times it will swoop in close, raising the level of excitement.
 For those hoping to photograph this bird, be prepared to have lots of patience. Of the hundreds of shots I took, these are the best. Most were just a blur or a distant silhouette is in dull gray atmosphere.
 Having said all that, make no mistake, the pleasure of seeing this bird far outweighs all the hardships. I will probably go down again today just to get another glimpse of this Common Swift.

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