It’s mid-August already. Our last blog update was at the end of July. Since then, the “radio silence” has not reflected an absence of Chimney Swift news. Rather, monitors have been inundating me with truly fascinating reports.
Here is a very brief synopsis of some of the key developments. A detailed update with everyone’s monitoring results will follow when I finish up with daytime monitoring.
In early August, new fledglings were greeting by John at one of his City Centre sites, Tim witnessing a “wobbly” entry in Melita, and Winona seeing a family group flying about her Selkirk site.
In St Adolphe, the stealth swifts that flew so far under the radar at Main St. that they had belly rubs, fledged young on Aug. 12; I actually thought they had a nest failure in mid-July. A very late starting SE Club Amical breeding attempt is still playing out.
I often ask “Does the St Adolphe breeding situation specifically reflect the provincial condition generally?” This year, the answer is yes.
Gord, in Portage, reported in on the weekend that 2 nest sites have young in them still – Janice and other recruits also are pushing late season monitoring sessions to track developments – these were also stealthy, late nesters as no nest building behaviour was seen by early July. A race to the season end is underway as migration has begun. Gord wonders if adults ever abandon juveniles and if very late-fledging young will be at risk during migration. Great questions.
Indications of migration comes from our big three roosts. In Dauphin, Ken had 19 roosting swifts on July 29, then 10 on August 5. The Selkirk Large Stack had 17 roosting swifts on July 18, then 27 on August 3; some local nest sites have emptied. At the Assiniboine School, Adolf noticed the August 2 counts had dropped significantly to 8 swifts, from 61-63 on July 25; the August 6 count was zero.
Matt, in Carman, witnessed late evening departures (~9 PM) from a roost on August 12 and the 4 swifts did not return that night. On Saturday, Matt checked in the morning and evening, and no swifts were seen in town at all.
Next round, we’ll feature detailed monitoring results from: Millie and Margaret in Souris; road warriors, Jacquie and Frank, in Aubigny, Otterburne, and Winnipeg; David in La Broquerie; Ken in Wasagaming; John, at yet another new City Centre nest site; the Selkirk birding club; the St James observers; Ken and Jan in Dauphin; Matt in Carman; and a multi-site recon from the St Adolphe team.
The next blog instalment likely will come when most of our sites have emptied. Until then, enjoy your last Chimney Swift sightings for 2016. If you feel inspired for just one more head count, send in your news. Your participation is always appreciated and the results are golden!
— Barb Stewart