Swifts continue at Johnson's Auto Glass
- Chirp,Greg and Elizabeth Bohn have been doing a great job documenting Vaux's Swifts roosting in downtown Yakima.The count tonight (Thursday) was 856 entering with another 60 flying off after the final entry.I think the counts since Sunday have been: 1,170, 624, 626, 447, and tonight's 856. The past three nights, approximately 60 swifts have flown off after the chimney fills...or for reasons known only to the swifts. First entry has been 15 to 20 minutes after sunset, now around 7:20 pm and getting earlier by two minutes per day. However, good numbers of swifts circle and drift away, then return starting around 7:15.A few birders have been dropping by every evening so far. The parking lot behind Johnson Auto Glass (accessed from 2nd St) is actually the best viewing spot. However, on two evenings, one to three young men who are obviously struggling with life's challenges were in the alleyway. Though passive, twice they approached birders asking for spare change. The lot at the front of the building for the Money Tree is well lit and fairly busy with customers.How long will the roost be active? Only the swifts know but back in 2010 when the Yakima Herald chimney was active, the high count was 3,141 on Sep 5. Good numbers continued until Sep 13 with 186. The count then dropped to zero and observations were skipped for a few days. A couple counts around Sept 15 -18, netted up to 300. Could be this warm weather will cause them to linger longer this year???One YVAS member mentioned taking her "jaded" teenage daughter to view the entry recently and the teen was wowed!Later,RichNot so swift
Ventured downtown this evening. Sunset comes quickly now with official touchdown listed as 6:50 pm today. Made a very brief stop at the Yakima Herald and did not see a single (or married for that matter) bird in three or four minutes of sunset sky searching. I then scurried over to Johnson's Auto Glass and could see high flying swifts as soon as I flopped out of my truck. The first swifts dove in at 7:03, then there was a slight pause followed by venerable Vaux's vacuuming that sucked up half of the tail tippers by 7:06. By 7:12, the sky was cleansed of black dots with my final count hitting 248.
I checked both the Larson Building and the Del Monte water tower for Peregrines right before the swifts sank without seeing a trace. But after everyone was accounted for, I glanced over at the Larson and there was Lars at his favorite ledge on the south face.
Tonight's number was close to my last observation last Sunday. Will migration continue for another week??? Friday, I think Vaux's Happening Coordinator Larry Schwitters had a report of 4,000 still near the Canadian Border at Sedro Wooley. Will they bug out before they are out of bugs?? It could get hungry up there.
Not so Swift