Visitors 13
Modified 14-Aug-14
Created 14-Aug-14
40 photos

The morning insect hunt, from perches in the lonely valley oak near Road F and Trail 15. There are probably more than one swallow.

I took several photos of one bird as it approached; then switched to another for a similar sequence. I have identified each sequence with a letter: A, B, C... Two sequences may be of the same bird -- or certainly, the same species. But not necessarily. I give all these photos to allow birders to get a better handle on ID. The letters (A, B, C...) each refer to one individual swallow, in one pass.


I originally identified these birds as Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina). Phil Leighton writes: "You might check Northern Rough Wing Swallow for your flying swallow. The Violet Green Swallow should have bright white, with a clear edge extending above the eye as can be seen on your perched swallow."

Dudley Carlson writes:"Don't look to me as anybody's expert on this! But I have to disagree with Phil on those photos where marks are reasonably clear. (Some are too obscure for my eyes.) Violet-green has a distinctly notched tail; N. Rough-winged is squared when held straight, rounded when fanned out, but not notched in a v. V-g is also the only one of our swallows that has this acid-green back with brownish wings. Tree swallow has darker bluish-green back, and its eye is covered by the dark cap and mask; NR-w has grayish to brownish back, head, and wings. V-g is also the one with the distinctive white wrap-around rump patch (more visible at sides of tail than Tree's).


"I do agree that your photos don't show the clean white patch, extending above the eye, of a "typical adult male" V-g. But look at Sibley's juvenile - very much like yours, as is his "drab adult female.". I'd guess this to be young or female, but definitely V-g. Could be a mixed flock of all three."


So I am providing Phil and you all, these many views, of the same and possibly different swallows. Apologies if these are not in sharp focus: I was lucky to even get the bird in the frame! And apologies as well to all birders. I do understand that bird identification is best done in the field. It is unfair to give a bunch of old photos, out of focus, perhaps not showing the critical distinguishing marks, and expect a definitive ID.

Caution -- these 40 photos may not be for everyone. Birders may care. And camera nuts, to see how good -- or not -- I was at focusing on darting swallows.

Other images taken the same morning are nearby, and in the macro gallery "Adventures on a Smaller Scale".
Swallow A in FlightSwallow A in FlightSwallow A in FlightSwallow B in FlightViolet-green Swallow B (Tachycineta thalassina) (??) in Flight -- or is this a Northern Rough Wing?Swallow B in FlightSwallow B in FlightSwallow B in FlightSwallow B in FlightSwallow B in FlightSwallow B in FlightSwallow B in FlightSwallow B in FlightSwallow B in FlightSwallow C in FlightSwallow C in FlightViolet-green Swallow D (Tachycineta thalassina) (??) in Flight -- or is this a Northern Rough Wing?Swallow D in FlightSwallow D in FlightSwallow E in Flight