Also called a “gulp of swallows,” but probably only by Peregrine Falcons.
Katherine and I recently spent a few days in Montana with our friends, Carmel and Sharon. They took us one morning to a friend’s ranch, where we were able to see several different kinds of birds, including beautiful Tree and Violet-green Swallows.
In the right light — and this was beautiful morning light — the colors on a Violet-green Swallow are almost unbelievable. This bird looks like it is wearing a green felt bolero.
As a bonus, we also were able to see — across the field — a White-tailed Deer and its baby. Sharon and Carmel speculated that the baby may have only been a day or so old.
The fun didn’t end at the ranch.
Carmel and Sharon took us out on a boat on Noxon Reservoir. We hoped to see Osprey and Bald Eagles. We did, but the Swallows had drama going on.
The Barn Swallows had built their nests underneath a bridge that Sharon patiently steered us under again and again as we (the royal “we,” I’m afraid) tried to get pictures.
Once past the bridge, we found a steepish, sparsely covered bank where the Barn Swallows collected twigs and mud for their nests.
Above the Barn Swallows, Rough-winged Swallows were nesting in holes in the bank. One hole in particular had almost constant traffic going in and out as one Swallow stood guard outside.
Oh, and I mentioned drama, didn’t I?
We saw two Northern Rough-winged Swallows tangled up as they rolled down the bank together.
“They’re having sex.”
“Maybe it’s kind of both?”
Does a person’s view of such an event bear any reflection on their character?
Asking for a friend.
Now, Gentle Reader, you decide. Sex, fighting or both?
I think this last photo is pretty definitive…unless you’re in the “both” camp.
From the beauty of the Tree and Violet-green Swallows to the frantic activity of the Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, it was a great day for Swallow watching.