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Herald Swift Roost a Mini-Monroe

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  • Rich712@aol.com
    Chirp, After observing Vaux s Swifts entering the Herald-Republic chimney last evening, I sent a email to Larry Schwitters in western Washington. He gave a
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2010
      Chirp,

      After observing Vaux's Swifts entering the Herald-Republic chimney last
      evening, I sent a email to Larry Schwitters in western Washington. He
      gave a program on Swifts to YVAS last October. He is project manager
      for Audubon's "Vaux's Happening."

      He emailed me back with an offer I couldn't refuse. Today, May 1, was
      the first of two "big" Saturday Swift roost counts to tally the northbound
      migration. Next Saturday, May 8, will be the second count.

      His email included simple instructions for the count and a few tips. So
      down the road I went.

      The Swifts were sparse right up to sunset at 8:11. Then, boom, 200+
      were flirting with the chimney. The first seven went in at 8:10. A slight
      pause, then bursts of 70, 100, 120, 10, 85, 30, 2, 15, 20, 5, and the final
      3 at 8:27. The grand total was 467! Last evening, I never had more than
      25 in view at one time.

      John Hebert showed up just as the swarm hit at sunset. I followed Larry's
      advise to estimate strong flows by counting by 5's and 10's. John didn't
      argue with my tallies so I think I was in the ballpark.

      Larry's tips on the impact of weather goes something like this: In nice
      weather, the swifts will go to roost close to sunset. Dark, cold and
      windy
      conditions result in earlier entry. But the real complication is rain.
      Swifts beat the big drops regardless of time of day.

      I believe this is a migration roost...it will probably continue for a week
      or
      two. If you have a free evening and the weather is good, drop down for a
      view. Park on Third Street at or across from the library. The Herald's
      black chimney at the back of the building is obvious from the private
      parking lot directly east of the library. Depending on weather, show
      time is around sunset.

      Later,
      Rich
      Swift Sifter


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