March 29, 9 am.
As I am getting out of the car, I notice a couple of new swallows flying in and out of a small wooden building near where I am parked. They are the red-brown Barn Swallow with its’ long forked tail. These must have just arrived from their long journey from South America! The last weeks I have seen many Tree and Violet Green Swallows flying about but this is the first Barn Swallow and of course, I am so happy to see it. These birds nest almost exclusively on structures like house eaves or old barns (hence the name) or bridges. If there aren’t any people structures they will nest on cliffs. They continue flying in and out making squeaky call notes, sometimes resting on a fence post.
As I walk out into the Watson field, on the north end of the Willits valley, there are flocks of other swallows flying overhead. Their sound is always so cheerful to me, like liquid chirping. I can see the indigo blue backs of the Tree Swallows.
Tree Swallows love to nest in tree cavities and I see a pair exploring a cavity in an old Ash tree along the fence. They fly in and out of the trees twittering, then one lands on the tree and sticks its’ head inside the cavity. I will keep an eye on this site and try to get some photos of young being fed
Out in the wetland, I can see a tree full of these swallows looking like ornaments, glistening blue and white in the sunlight.
The only other swallow I can identify is the lovely Violet-Green Swallow. The males have more white on their faces and on the sides of their rump areas. and their tails are shorter than the Tree Swallows. With all this, it still can be hard to tell them apart from the Tree unless you get sight of their green backs compared to the blue of the other. Both are cavity nesters but today I do not see any Violet greens checking out the holes in the Ash and Oak trees along the fence lines.
I watch all these swallows flying over the water catching insects, doing pair bonding, twittering and singing, it is obvious what a haven this is for them.
Their joyous antics are a delight to observe and remind me to lighten up.