Walking back to Escobar Gate along Road F at the conclusion of an interesting photographic morning, I noticed a flurry of activity around one particular valley oak. I stopped and watched. Birds of several species were perched in the tree, then venturing into the air, swooping and dodging, returning to the tree. I could see how swallows evolved -- these different birds were apparently plucking insects out of the air. Here is a little of what I saw (the part I got into near focus when the shutter opened). There is even an accidental capture of the prey -- now identified as probably a termite by Merav Vonshak.
Now I know that this was caused by a mass emergence of termites. Nona and Cary noticed termites swarming elsewhere in JRBP. It rained the day before. Somehow, around this one tree, masses of termites emerged. I only noticed activity around this tree. About 11:30 am.
Ruth Troetschler writes: "Fantastic pictures of the ACWO flycatching subterranean termites which emerged on the first sunny day after the first soaking rain. Flycatching is the major way these woodpeckers feed themselves through the winter and obviously these termites provide a tasty tidbit of fat and protein."
The first part of my tour is in a separate folder.