Posted by: atowhee | May 4, 2018


May 4, 2018,McMinnville:

Vaux’s Swifts inhabit the sky right now.  Any time from dawn to dark you may see one or more crossing beneath cloud or blue.  No other creature flies the same way.  The arc-shaped wings beat rapidly several times, then stop as the body speeds onward.  The swift motion through the sky seems too fast for deliberation. Yet they run down insects and other small fly [sic], and swallow them with wide mouth fully open.  At one moment a swift will head straight, then suddenly carom off an unseen edge, loop back around, zig-zag off at a step angle, dropping or climbing to a new altitude. At times you can hear them signalling to one another, a cranky sound not confused with song or music.  We now know they can migrate at a height of thousands of feet above the earth, feeding on aerial plankton as they travel.  Here to breed this summer these small swifts are only slightly more earthbound now.  They do not stand, nor perch, nor belly down on a limb to rest, they fly.  When not in flight they hang in a chosen chimney or hollow tree, head down like a bat.

All the wintering ducks are gone from No Name Pond.  Only Mallards and Canada Geese remain to nest.  Then I hear a coot complaining about my presence.  While I fail to find the nesting bird in the tall emergent pond grass, the other adult paddles past.  Then a Sora lifts out of the patch of grass in front of me, flutters low across a small arm of the pond and vanishes into another line of tall grass.  My first McMinnville town Sora. I shall return to hope for a photo opp.

No Name Pond, McMinnville, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
May 4, 2018.  7 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  4
Mallard (Northern) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos/conboschas)  6
Sora (Porzana carolina)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  2     nesting pair
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X



  1. Wow, the swifts hang head-side down, like a bat! I had no idea.

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