Tuesday, May 6, 2008

They're Baaaack!

The chimney swifts have returned to the skies over my house. Every year, they arrive on about May 1st and can be seen every day swooping and zooming in formation, happily chattering all the while. They were a little late this year, and I wonder if they were delayed by bad weather this past weekend. All summer, they are the background music on my backyard soundtrack and then, just as suddenly as they arrived, the disappear on about September 1st. I worry that all the chimney caps that are getting installed around here these days may reduce the number of potential nesting sites, but so far, I can almost set my calendar by their comings and goings.

Check out ChineySwifts.Org to see an interactive map of the swifts' northward migration. Submit the date of your first swift sighting . Be sure to look for the mark in eastern Massachusetts!

I stole an hour to have breakfast on Moose Hill this morning. It was a perfect clear, warm, calm May morning and I wanted to see and hear some new arrivals. I heard my first ovenbird and saw catbirds, tree swallows, a pair of blackburnian warblers and a black and white warbler. A couple of other birders with the same idea were kind enough to help me spot and identify some of the tiny creatures so high up in tall trees. The orioles are back, too. I saw my first one yesterday and heard and saw a few more today.

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