Posted by: atowhee | August 29, 2019


Last evening my wife and I went to the McMinnville Co-operative Ministries to watch the swift show.  We got there about 8PM, a few minutes after official sunset.  It was overcast and darker than it would have been with a clear sky.  Almost immediately swifts seemed to drop down from the clouds and swirl overhead.  An occasional big brown bat zoomed past at a lower elevation, usually less than thirty feet off the ground.  With sudden spurts of speed many of the swifts would whirl up and out of sight or over the horizon in seemingly random directions.

We watched for about twenty minutes and around thirty of the swifts whirlpooled down into the chimney.  Almost twice that many circled, disappeared, circled some more and then seemed to speed off to the east and not return.  Is there a second chimney in town they preferred?
On a previous evening a large flock of Brewers’s Blackbirds had flown past en route to their nightly roost.  On this eve besides the bats we saw only a pair of disinterested robins on a wire.  They eventually flew down into a dense tree for the night.
The clouds and the sunset and the waning light of day produced a shifting sky mural worthy of an Italian Baroque painted ceiling:


McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 28, 2019
12 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Vaux’s Swift  80
Ring-billed Gull  X
Turkey Vulture  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
European Starling  X
American Robin  X
American Goldfinch  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X

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