Friday, May 23, 2008

Daytime Nighthawk

Stopping at my local warbler station, I set up my comfy camp chair and relaxed under the bluest sky nil of clouds. The light breezes and sunshine made for the perfect 70-ish degree day. I didn't care if I saw a bird or not; it was more about soaking in the gorgeous day and what it had to offer. Then something flew over my head...

It took me a few seconds, because I have only seen these once before during the daylight hours and they were extremely high in the sky at the time... A Nighthawk!-WOW!

Then another and another and another...COOL! I watched them circle above me for awhile, then head north...It got me thinking maybe I should follow them, so I did.

I found about 10 of them at a pond within the park, swooping down low... like swallows do. They were feeding! I took all the shots I could, but these guys are really really fast! They fed and they left, and I have to say that I was so disappointed when they did. I had such a good time with them as they were buzzing around my head. Who can say they got to spend a few minutes watching nighthawks feed, up close and personal? It was truly...amazing!

Cool Facts: Pursuing flying insects at dusk and dawn, the Common Nighthawk can be seen flying its floppy flight in rural or urban areas. Its white wing patches and eratic flight make it look like a big bat with headlights, and it is known in some areas as the "bullbat." It also has a tiny beak with a large gape, surrounded by stiff feathers called rictal bristles, which help the bird catch its aerial prey. The male Common Nighthawk has a dramatic booming display used during the breeding season. He flies around at a moderate height, then dives straight toward the ground. Somewhere just about two meters from the ground he turns upward. At the bottom of the dive he flexes his wings downward, and the air rushing through his wingtips makes a deep booming sound. The dives are directed at females, young nighthawks, intruders, and even people. (Source: All About Birds)