Monday, April 16, 2012

Right On Time

A few days back, I was birding a bit at Crosswinds Marsh.  April 5th, in fact.  Warm?  Nope.  Quite chilly, as I recall.   So chilly, I was under-dressed.  (No, I wasn't nude. Naked birdwatching has not yet caught on with the masses.  For that matter, I'm not sure it has caught on anywhere.)  With a brisk breeze, the open boardwalks were really not the place to be. 

With all the chitter-chatter in the bird world relating to the mild winter and unseasonably early summer-like temps contributing to an early bird migration (most of which is nonsense), it was nice to spend a bit of time paying attention to a bird that is one of bona fide "early" migrants. 

Sitting patiently, on the boardwalk railing just a few feet in front of me, sat this Tree Swallow. 

Generally speaking, my records (I have notes dating back to 1995) have Tree Swallows arriving in southeast Michigan around the third week of March.  It is amazing how consistent this bird's migration timetable can be. For that matter, it is amazing how consistent most birds are with their timetable!

Was this bird late?  After all, I had it in April when many of my first-of-the-year records are weeks previous. No.  I had been seeing them here and there for a few weeks. 

This is just the first one who sat long enough for a photo. 

I suspect part of the reason was the chill.  Cool air keeps the insects down.  With little-to-no flying insects, there was really nothing for this bird to catch.  So, with no food, what is the point of zippin' around? 

That said, know that within an hour or so, the insects where starting to move and this blue-green gem started snapping them out of midair with ease.  

I suspect this bird will try and nest in the area.  If is survives the season, it will head back to the deep South or well into Mexico for the winter.  If all goes well, he/she (you can't tell by looking at it) will survive that season and then migrate north again.

Perhaps I'll see it again in March of 2013.  I would bet sometime around the 21st. 

Right on time. 

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