Sunday, May 12, 2013

Swallow Extravaganza at Maple Lake

I was going to drive by Maple Lake today, because all the waterfowl have been gone, and, frankly, it just hasn't been that interesting. As I tried to drive by, however, I was forced to put on the brakes to avoid running over hundreds of swallows that coursed back and forth low over the roadway, some passing from lake to lake, and some trying to land on the roadway! I turned around, went back to the boat launch area, and found literally thousands of swallows flitting over the surface of the water, or high in the air, or landing on the ground around the edge of the lake. I have no idea what caused this behavior, unless it had something to do with the unseasonable cold temperatures. I have seen large flocks of swallows here before, but this was several orders of magnitude beyond what I have ever seen. Barn Swallows predominated by a wide margin, but there were also quite a few Tree Swallows, and every once in a while a single of another species would flit into my binoc field. Pretty soon, I had all the regularly occurring Michigan swallow to my credit, and a wildlife experience that will stay with me for a long, long time. Photos can't give any idea of what I was seeing, but here are a couple. I have some video that turned out pretty well, but I will have to wait until I can get to a faster connection before I try to upload that.

A tiny fraction of the many swallows present today.

Multiply this by "as far as the eye can see" and triple it for the density of the flock that was coursing low over the lake.

         The flooded field on 38th Avenue, 1.5 miles east of 46th Street is still providing promising habitat for shorebirds. There weren't any there today, but it is still worth checking if you are in the area. Today the only birds of interest there were a couple of latish male Green-winged Teal.

         If you would like to join me for a morning walk at Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery, and a road trip to try for some grassland birds, as well as a visit with the Prothonotary Warblers of 44th Avenue, meet me in the parking lot at Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery at 9am 5/13/2013. (Monday). 

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