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white throated swifts along the road in the Colorado Monument

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  • kathy kuyper
    On my way out of the Monument, I stopped at Fruita View (?) lookout because there was a column of 200-300 WTSW at the end of the canyon above the road. There
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 12, 2006
      On my way out of the Monument, I stopped at Fruita View (?) lookout because there was a column of 200-300 WTSW at the end of the canyon above the road.  There was a golden eagle cruising around and I got a couple of close looks before he saw me in the shade.
       
      The swifts were amazing!  The formation looked like kettling as done by migrating hawks, but the swifts were going in all directions within the column and at really fast speeds.  Anyway, after watching the eagle I noticed the column had all but disappeared and all the swifts were trying to get into the nest site at once.  What a circus!  After most of them got in and some started coming out, I counted 112 coming out before the ones trying to get in and turning around got too confused with the ones actually dropping out for me to keep up.
       
      So, this is a new colony, actually two sites in the next canyon over from V shaped site.  The first in the fruita lookout canyon is directly across from the lookout under a ledge that runs above a big swath of very smooth sandstone. The ledge keeps the sun off the entrance all day.  There is a little whitewash along the smooth granite below - swifts entered along about fifteen feet or more under the ledge.
       
      The second colony I just happened to see about a dozen birds fall out of and a couple go in, and is at the end of the canyon, to the left of the lookout, that is, a few feet (12'?) directly under a small vertical dead tree.  (And right below a patch of whitewash from a rock dove nest.)  The swifts came out under a couple of curved scallops of rock.  No whitewash.
       
      No wonder people used to think swallows hibernated in the earth!  It still amazes me to see these feisty little guys dropping out of what looks like solid rock.
       
      All this from a little after 8 am to 8:30 August 11 2006
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