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Posts Tagged ‘swallow’

Last weekend at Huntley Meadows Park, a Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) seemed determined to scare off potential competitors by screaming loudly and vigorously flapping its wings as it sat atop a pole to which a nesting box was attached. The swallow spent a lot of time looking upwards, scanning the skies for rivals. I couldn’t tell if the swallow’s mate was inside of the nesting box or if it was simply staking a claim to the box for future use.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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When some birds zoomed by me this past weekend, I could tell they were swallows by the way that they flew.  Their coloration, however, didn’t seem to match the Barn and Tree Swallows that I have previously seen at Huntley Meadows Park.

One of them finally perched and I got this shot of what appears to be a Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis), a bird that I had never seen before. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “The species derives its name from the outer wing feathers, which have small hooks or points on their leading edges.”

The bright sun made for a pleasant day, but made it tough to properly expose for the brilliant white feathers on the swallow’s chest. I was happy that I managed to capture a few details of the feathers despite the rather harsh midday sunlight.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As we move deeper and deeper into spring, more birds are starting to arrive at my favorite marshland, Huntley Meadows Park. Last weekend I spotted my first Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) of the year. Actually I had spotted a few of them a bit earlier zipping around the sky, but this was the first one that I saw perched on the ground.

The Tree Swallows seem to enjoy using the nesting boxes scattered throughout the park and this one was checking out one of the boxes. I was happy also to be able to get a shot of the swallow perched in a tree—despite their names, I rarely see Tree Swallows in the trees.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) are fast and erratic fliers as they chase after insects in mid-air. It’s tough to track them in my camera’s viewfinder and even more difficult to get shots that are in focus.

Last Friday, however, I managed to capture some images of a Tree Swallow at Huntley Meadows Park as it swooped so low above the surface of the water that it cast a reflection. It was an overcast day in which the sky and the water seemed to have the same gray color,, making it hard to tell where the sky ended and the water began.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The winds were blowing hard at Huntley Meadows Park on Monday and I watched as a Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) struggled to stay on its perch high in a tree. The determined little bird kept changing wing positions in an effort to maintain stability.

Eventually, however, the swallow lost the battle and appeared to be blown off of its perch.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Tree Swallows have been flying about for several weeks, but it was only this weekend that I finally observed one of their multi-colored brethren, the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica). Last year, the Barn Swallows built a nest underneath a raised observation platform of the boardwalk at my local marsh, and it looks like they are doing the same thing this year.

I was able to photograph this swallow as it perched on a small branch coming out of the water directly opposite the platform. The sky was mostly overcast during the day, which caused the reflections in the water to look mostly white. As I made a few adjustments to the image, the background essentially disappeared, resulting in a photo that looks almost like it was shot in a studio.

I really like the swallow’s serious pose and the fact that I was able to capture its signature swallow tail. It won’t be long before I see swallowtails on some of my favorite butterflies.

barn_swallow1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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It’s springtime and love is in the air. Two tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) seemed intent on getting to know each other better, but kept getting buzzed by a third swallow. A couple of times, one of the swallows, which I suspect was the male, took off and chased away the potential rival.

swalow_couple2_blogswallow_couple1_blogswallow_couple3_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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