Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pompey's White-throated Swift

Over the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to spend a bit of time at the Pompey's Pillar National Monument. I always look forward to the walk to the top of this large sandstone bluff along the Yellowstone, not only to see the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition along their trail - Wm Clark's signature carved into the rock - but these little aerial speedsters, the White-throated Swift.

I could have showed you a sample of the majority of the photos I took on both occasions, but I figured photos of dark blurs and clear blue sky just wouldn't be all that interesting.

The Monument has an excellent visitors center - one of the best designed I have ever been to - and there is a boardwalk to the top of the rock that ends at the summit of the west end above a cliff face. This is the best spot to observe the swifts. They nest is small holes and cracks in these sandstone cliffs and frolic and chatter in swirling groups around the Pillar, often cresting above the edge at eye level.

Often they cruise right over the top of you - too fast and close to even attempt a photo, chattering the whole time.

The speed and maneuverability of these birds is amazing.  

Occasionally they get into aerial tussles. They happen too fast to see what is happening but I was able to (somewhat) focus on a couple of these interactions and get a few photos.


 I will probably be back photographing these guys again this summer. Part of the fun is just trying to get a clear photo of these guys as they rocket around, but the other part is just to be able to enjoy watching their ability to twist and dart through the air.

No comments: