[Tweeters] Barn Swallows and Palm Warbler at Hoquiam STP-24 December

Andy Stepniewski steppie at nwinfo.net
Sun Dec 25 07:34:22 PST 2016

Hi Tweeters,

Ellen and I observed two Barn Swallows skimming low at Hoquim Sewage Treatment Plant ponds just after dawn 24 December. They consistently flew low over ice lining the margin of the northern pond at the south end of Paulson Dr. It was 28-degrees F, so we wondered how successful these birds were in finding food. I was drawn by how white below these birds appeared. So, we checked out the NatGeo guide and it illustrates the European rustica race as really bright white below. I phoned Brad Waggoner for help on this matter and he explained most reports of Barn Swallows at this season in the Pacific Northwest are of really pale immature birds. Fortunately, one of our swallows perched at the edge of the pond and we were able to see its color below was off-white and its tail not fully developed. The whiteness we observed might have been due to flying low over ice. as color of birds seems distorted when they fly over ice and snow. Brad was probably right here and our birds immature Barn Swallows of the North American race.

Also of note was a Palm Warbler working the ice edge here, along with a Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Merry Christmas All!

Andy and Ellen Stepniewski
Wapato WA
steppie at nwinfo.net

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