I was thrilled to count at least ten black swifts hawking insects
above the Cross Mountain Trailhead (Dolores Co.) a couple miles south
of Lizard Head Pass in the San Juan Mtns. yesterday, August 11,
between 5:45 and 6:30 PM. They were still present when I left at
6:30. It was difficult to get an accurate count, because they were
swirling about in several different directions, and by the time I
sorted them out from the few swallows also present, I would lose
track of which birds I had counted and which I had not. I confirmed
at least ten swifts present, but I believe there were a dozen or more.
Viewing was excellent when they sometimes passed low over my head.
At other times they were quite high or would move off to the east or
south down the valley for awhile.
A dozen or so mountain bluebirds were also hawking insects
presumably the same insects that the swifts were eating.
Today, between 3:00 and 3:15 PM, no swifts were present, though a
light shower had just gone through, so maybe that had knocked the
insects down, and so maybe the swifts had gone in search of easier
pickings somewhere else.
I have never seen so many black swifts together before, nor have I
ever been able to study them so easily and for so long. I was so
excited that I wanted to flag cars down on the highway just to be
able to share the spectacle with somebody! I didn't, of course, but
I when I finally got a chance to point them out to a few nonbirders,
they just could not appreciate the experience!
John Bregar -- Durango