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Tom


Saturday, May 19, 2012

CAVE SWALLOWS IN LOUISIANA


A corridor of  'caves' along Interstate 10 in the form of overpasses provided for the Cave Swallow's west to east movement into our state. Up until a few years ago they were Review List birds but have now been stricken due to their increased numbers.

Below are some stop action shots of Cave Swallows. When I first began birding four years ago, I had trouble picking out the Cave Swallows as all the Swallows were similar in appearance. After a while you begin to pick up on their distinguishing characteristics and it becomes easier to spot these guys.

Sometimes you can see them soaring high in the sky and other times they have long glides following rapid wing beats. Their square tail, chestnut forehead, dark blue crown, buff colored throats, faces and sides coupled with their whitish underparts become evident after you watch these guys for a while. The males and females are similar in appearance. 


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Check out the daublet of mud on this one's beak as he is in the nest-building phase.



Jetting by.



Another nest-builder.



Note the whitish underparts, square tail, buff-colored throat, chestnut forehead, and dark blue crown



A backward glance.



Their tails are square until they decide to flair them.



I'm glad he didn't decide to drop any whitewash while this photo was taken.



Cliff Swallows are similar in appearance with Cave Swallows as they also have square tails and whitish underparts but you can see how their chestnut brown throats and white foreheads differ.



Barn Swallows fly in the company of Cave Swallows but are easily eliminated with their deep forked tails and different coloration scheme.

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