Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Violet-Green Swallows Have Come Home To Union Bay Natural Area

Connie Sidles, who maintains a blog documenting the many types of birds, including beautiful pictures, at the nearby Union Bay Natural Area, also known as the Montlake Fill, has posted another interesting bit of information about the return of the Violet-green Swallows.

Connie is also a member of the steering committee of Friends of Yesler Swamp, which is part of the 75-acre Union Bay Natural Area, which many birdwatchers consider one of the best bird watching sites in Seattle, attracting over 250 species of birds. For more than 40 years the area was a garbage dump, and beginning in the 1970s the natural area was restored resulting in today's ponds, meadows and woodlands.

Connie also maintains a kiosk which she updates regularly about the birds and wildlike,including a bird alert, running total of birds seen in the year and a story and picture about what the birds are up to at the Montlake Fill.

Spring Forward

March 8th, 2012
The weather was cold and blustery on the day the Violet-green Swallows came back. It was early March. A south wind without an erg of warmth whipped Lake Washington into infinite fractals of pewter-gray waves topped by icy whitecaps. It blew right through all three layers of my clothes — jacket, sweatshirt, and high-tech thermal underwear — like neutrons whizzing unhindered through solid rock. To keep my floppy blue hat from flying away, I had pulled the drawstrings so tightly around my head I was getting a migraine. I knew my forehead would be embossed for hours after I got home and took off my hat. 
Enduring the worst of the wind, I trudged along the Loop Trail where it paralleled the lake, wondering why the heck I had bothered to be out here at all when every bird in the known universe had the sense to hunker down. Then a dark shape whirled by, too fast for the eye to follow. I looked up. There against the roiling gray clouds were three Violet-green Swallows, dancing in the wind, dominating the waves, catching insects almost casually. 
Spring is here. The swallows have come home. 
I laughed in the storm.

(photo courtesy of Doug Parrott)

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