Tree Swallow Mating and a Nighthawk at Col Sam Smith Park/ May 27, 2019

During my time as an Antarctic cruise naturalist, I became very familiar with endless mating behaviour among penguins during the southern hemisphere spring month of November.

Today I saw it again in miniature between a pair of Tree Swallows:

It was over in a matter of seconds.

Later during the walk, I thought that I might be seeing a Whip-poor-will; a bird which I haven’t seen for many years as they are on the decline. After a closer look, I realized that it was a Common Nighthawk which is closely related to the Whip-poor-will.

Some years ago while on holiday at Collingwood, I found a nighthawk which was unable to fly. For a few days, I kept it alive in a shoe box and fed it every insect that I could find. Eventually I took it to the local vet who gave it a shot of something in a needle. Rather than springing to life as I had hoped, the nighthawk promptly died. “That will be $75” said the vet.

These photos do not show the nighthawk clearly because it was high above us and sleeping. The white wing patch indicates that it is a Nighthawk.

Common Nighthawk
Common Nighthawk
Common Nighthawk
Common Nighthawk

No Whimbrels for us this morning though I did have them on Thursday and Saturday.

Species list: double-crested cormorant, red-necked grebe, Canada goose, mute swan, black-crowned night heron, mallard, American black duck, hooded merganser, spotted sandpiper, herring gull, ring-billed gull, common tern, mourning dove, common nighthawk, belted kingfisher, eastern kingbird, willow flycatcher, tree swallow, barn swallow, blue jay,Carolina wren, house wren, gray catbird, American robin, European starling, cedar waxwing, warbling vireo, red-eyed vireo, Tennessee warbler, yellow warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, ovenbird, house sparrow, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cowbird, common grackle, Baltimore oriole, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, song sparrow.  (40 species)

Baltimore Oriole (male)
Baltimore Oriole (male)
Hooded Merganser (female)
American Robin
Barn Swallow
Red-winged Blackbird (male)
Brown-headed Cowbird (male)
Brown-headed Cowbird (female)
Black-crowned Night Heron
Red-necked Grebe
Ring-billed Gull
Eastern Kingbird
Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Tree Swallow (juvenile)
Northern Cardinal (male)
Mourning Dove
Yellow Warbler (male)
Willow Flycatcher

Park scenes:

Whimbrel Point

Apple Blossom

This morning’s group:


The Pea-fields

These are the fields of light, and laughing air,
And yellow butterflies, and foraging bees,
And whitish, wayward blossoms winged as these,
And pale green tangles like a seamaid’s hair.
Pale, pale the blue, but pure beyond compare,
And pale the sparkle of the far-off seas
A-shimmer like these fluttering slopes of peas,
And pale the open landscape everywhere.
From fence to fence a perfumed breath exhales
O’er the bright pallor of the well-loved fields,ā€”
My fields of Tantramar in summer-time;
And, scorning the poor feed their pasture yields,
Up from the bushy lots the cattle climb
To gaze with longing through the grey, mossed rails. – Sir Charles G. D. Roberts

Miles Hearn

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