Friday, September 2, 2011

Covey odd swift species

Merlin, Covey WMA, Sep 1, 2011

Tree Swallows, Covey WMA, Sep 1, 2011

Olive-sided Flycatcher with bumblebee, Covey WMA, Sep 1, 2011

Olive-sided Flycatcher, Covey WMA, Sep 1, 2011

I spent the first day of September at Covey WMA in Belchertown and had a spectacular morning.  I will say the highlights were many including a cooperative Olive-sided Flycatcher, a Merlin that zipped in trying to pick off a Tree Swallow, a calling Virginia Rail, an American Bittern, several Green Heron, Common Nighthawks and a very interesting large swift species that moved through with the nighthawks.  I have no idea what species the bird was but it was not a Chimney Swift.  Below is the list for the day:
Wood Duck 2
Northern Bobwhite 1 calling bird
American Bittern 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Green Heron 4
Turkey Vulture 5
Osprey 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Merlin 1
Virginia Rail 1
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Least Sandpiper 1
Mourning Dove 10
Common Nighthawk 15
Chimney Swift 1
large swift sp. 1   I was standing at the edge of a marsh area and had a group of Common Nighthawks moving from north to south at 9:40am. I would estimate them at a few hundred feet. After snapping a few photos of the lead birds I put the camera down and noticed three more birds appear. Two were nighthawks but the other immediately stuck me as odd. It had the typical swift shape but the bird was quite bulky and I would estimate the size as about 1/2 to 2/3 that of the nighthawks. The tail was longer than a Chimney Swift and the wings were much bulkier. I got no color beyond beyond dark overall. The wing beats to me were slower than a Chimney Swift and then it was in a glide as it went over top of me. The bird was in view for only a few seconds and then it disappeared behind trees. It did fly directly overhead of me. I was unable to get the camera up quick enough. I hobbled out to a more open area beyond the tree line but I could not relocate it. I really do not know what to make of the bird beyond it being a different swift. I looked for the bird for the rest of my time there but had no luck.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4
Belted Kingfisher 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 4
Eastern Phoebe 5
Red-eyed Vireo 5
Blue Jay 14
American Crow 5
Tree Swallow 62
Barn Swallow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 23
Tufted Titmouse 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 3
Carolina Wren 1
House Wren 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Eastern Bluebird 3
Veery 1
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 6
Gray Catbird 10
Cedar Waxwing 6
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 2
Common Yellowthroat 8
American Redstart 4
Magnolia Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Chipping Sparrow 3
Field Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 11
Scarlet Tanager 2
Northern Cardinal 4
Bobolink 2
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Baltimore Oriole 8
American Goldfinch 32
House Sparrow 2


  1. Your post is interesting, in that a large swift of currently-not-positively-identified species, but possibly a Black Swift, was seen just after the hurricane made landfall in New Jersey by several observers in Cape May. There are a few (poor quality) pictures on the Cape May blog..

  2. I have seen that post also as well as another unidentified large swift species from NYC. Makes me wonder on the swift I saw. I certainly could have been a Black Swift but we will never know. The one that got away!