[Tweeters] Money Creek Black Swift

Houghton, Jon Jon.Houghton at hartcrowser.com
Tue Aug 24 20:52:38 PDT 2021

Hi Tweeterdom - Yesterday (8/23) Ann Marie Wood and I decided to head up Money Creek to seek the Black Swift nest site so intriguingly described by Eric Horvath in Larry Schwitter's Tweet of 8/20. It was a fine cool morning with the sun chasing away the clouds and enough precip last evening to quell the dust on Money Creek Rd. Eric's description of the road, the falls (4.6 mi in) and the cliff face were right on. Our initial problem was in looking at too many small, inverted V clefts (1 to 2-ft scale) to the left of the falls instead of the one dominant one (5 to 10-ft scale), about 10 to 12 feet to the left of the falling water. We focused our scopes at the darkness under the top of the cleft and under the described maidenhair fern clump for about 10 minutes before I finally detected some movement as the chick shifted in the nest and stretched its wings briefly. After it settled back into the nest all we could see (at 20-60X in the scope!) were the incomplete pale arcs around the eyes. No adults showed in the 45 minutes we were there. If you're going to try for it, as Eric sez, mortals will need a scope. We built a rock cairn at the best viewing spot, up the road about 40 feet from the limited parking pullout. Also, under the large green clump of maidenhair fern at the top of the inverted V are 4 finger like fronds of much smaller, dead, maidenhair spleenwort (google it). From the cairn viewing point, the nest is just inches behind the tips of those fronds. Remember, you're looking for a black bird (ok, with minimal white or silver highlights), in a poorly-lit black nest, on a black (wet, dark moss) cliff!! Be patient - wait for the wiggle. Many thanks to Eric and Larry for getting this info out to us all. - Jon Houghton, Edmonds

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