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Black Swifts

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  • kathy kuyper
    Well, I m a little abashed. Our field trip to Hanging Lake to see the black swifts was so enjoyable from a culinary aspect thanks to Tom and Kay and the black
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 2, 2005
      Well, I'm a little abashed.  Our field trip to Hanging Lake to see the black swifts was so enjoyable from a culinary aspect thanks to Tom and Kay and the black swifts so reluctant to be seen for more than a brief second, that I feel I really didn't deserve to see three of them today from Crater Lake at Maroon Bells.  My first reaction was that they flew in from the Hanging Lake colony.  There were flying at about 10,000 feet when I could see them against the sky and disappeared when they went lower and the backdrop was the forest.  Nevertheless, is it possible they are nesting under the waterfall there at about 9500'? Wow!  Have any been reported there before?  I do intend to go back and try to get closer.
    • levad
      Kathy and all, That waterfall almost certainly hosts a colony of Black Swift. I have the following notes in my database: 2002. John Maynard reported, On
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 3, 2005
        Kathy and all,

        That waterfall almost certainly hosts a colony of Black Swift. I have the following notes in my database:

        2002. John Maynard reported, " On Saturday my son and I climbed Pyramid Peak in the Maroon Bells Wilderness. Greeting us on the summit were 6 Black Swifts. They flew within 20 feet of our airy perch. Likely nest site is the waterfall decending from North Maroon Peak nearby. The waterfall can be seen (and heard!) from Crater Lake. The falls comes from the north side of North Maroon Peak, and may be the Minnehaha Creek drainage. I did not get close to the falls - they may be relatively inaccessible. The falls are not identified on the Maroon Bells Quad."
        2003. Visted 08/11. Eric Koch, Brett Smithers, and Patrick McEachren attempted to get to this falls on 8/11, but found access too dangerous. Saw 6 swifts coming to the area at half hour intervals. Scored the falls at 23/30 from a distance.

        I will add your observation to the data. If you go back, be careful! We have omitted this waterfall from RMBO's Black Swift monitoring due to the safety problems.

        Rich Levad

        ---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
        From: "kathy kuyper" <chswift@...>
        Date: Sat, 02 Jul 2005 23:16:47 +0000

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        ><div style='background-color:'><DIV class=RTE>Well, I'm a little abashed.  Our field trip to Hanging Lake to see the black swifts was so enjoyable from a culinary aspect thanks to Tom and Kay and the black swifts so reluctant to be seen for more than a brief second, that I feel I really didn't deserve to see three of them today from Crater Lake at Maroon Bells.  My first reaction was that they flew in from the Hanging Lake colony.  There were flying at about 10,000 feet when I could see them against the sky and disappeared when they went lower and the backdrop was the forest.  Nevertheless, is it possible they are nesting under the waterfall there at about 9500'? Wow!  Have any been reported there before?  I do intend to go back and try to get closer.</DIV></div>
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      • John Bregar
        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
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 12, 2007
          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
        • Brenda Wright
          Greetings, Three Black Swifts were doing courtship flights near the Nucla sewer ponds last evening. I suspect the swifts are from the San Juans. We have had
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 22, 2010
            Greetings,
            Three Black Swifts were doing courtship flights near the Nucla sewer ponds last evening. I suspect the swifts are from the San Juans. We have had heavy rains in the area and that brings the swifts down to lower elevation. The courtship behavior seems a little late, however.

            I was out there looking for Lesser Nighthawks. I may have seen a single male but the nighthawk was far away and light conditions were not great.

            Good birding,
            Coen
          • Brenda Wright
            Greetings, While working a plot in Tuttle Creek (Canyon), I watched two Black Swifts flying the cliffs. As I watch and thought I was being fooled by light
            Message 5 of 5 , May 20, 2015
              Greetings,
              While working a plot in Tuttle Creek (Canyon), I watched two Black Swifts flying the cliffs. As I watch and thought I was being fooled by light conditions a pair of White-throated Swifts came into view and the white was really obvious. Upon getting more views as the swifts (both species) passed by several more times, the flight pattern and wing motion was studied and was noticeably different.
              The date, 20 May, is a record early date for BLSW but only by one day. I wonder if these swifts are headed on to the northwest or has the Telluride swifts arrived.
              Watching the sky for several more minutes a single male Purple Martin was seen in the same area. Tuttle Creek confluences with the San Miguel River about half way between Naturita and Uravan from the east.
              Over the last couple of days Western Wood-Pewees and Blue Grosbeaks are coming but they sure are slow this spring.
              Good birding,
              Coen
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