( IntroductionCollapse )
Whatever the reasons, I love to see and hear them around, I feel very sad when they are gone, and I miss them all winter.
And then at some point this year, or maybe even last year I started to realize that some of the birds in my part of town were suspiciously different. It’s not easy to observe individual birds high in the sky, but I still started to notice an all-black underside now and then… and dismissed them as either a variation or some different kind of birds that were just passing by accidentally.
And them my mother commented on one such “unusual” bird maybe a couples of week ago, and I started thinking and watching the birds more closely… and then I suddenly thought of something I had heard or read, but it took me a long time to remember the name in Bulgarian, and then looked it up in English.Swifts
Ouch! At first I felt cheated and a little disappointed because most of my beloved birds weren’t really swallows. But then, as I kept observing both the swifts and swallows, listening to them, reading about them and struggling to photograph them, I discovered that I enjoyed the swifts almost as much as the swallows (or house martins to be precise).
I say almost, because the swifts’ vices are so loud and shrill that it’s sometimes too much even for bird-loving me, while the house martins’ voices are softer and chirpier, and the sounds their nestlings make are pure concentrated awesomeness.
To my surprise, it was relatively easy to photograph the swifts even with a slow camera like mine. The secret is to stand under a place where a group of them flies in circles, point the camera at the sky and press the button a little before they come near; that’s a little more efficient than randomly shooting at the sky.
This is the same group as in the previous photo. Do you feel dizzy already? :)
Swifts again, different place:
I discovered that swallows and swifts peacefully share aerial territories, but never fly in mixed groups. Any attempts to photograph those mixed flight areas resulted just in tiny blurry spots on the screen, alas.
I had much less success with the swallows in general because they flew either too high (and zoom photos from my camera are disastrous) or too fast. This photo is a piece of sheer luck because I never managed to capture an adult bird again; it’s a little blurry, but you can still see the white underside of a house martin flying out of its nest after feeding its young (it's right in front of the window).( Where everybody nests (with photos)Collapse )
I now wonder if the swallows and swifts migrate together or at least at the same time, or I’ve been too absent-minded for I don’t know how many years to notice that only some of the swallow-like birds were gone and then only part of them were back.
And if you have made it to the end of this entry, and are still wondering how to tell all those birds apart, there is a handy guide here
, and some much better photos than mine here