Bahama Swallows Over the Hawkwatch!
At least 3 Bahama Swallows (Tachycineta cyaneoviridis) were seen this afternoon (October 26) at Curry Hammock State Park – with the first bird – an adult – detected at roughly 2:30 pm. Photographs of individual juvenile and adult birds were captured from the Florida Keys Hawkwatch deck. The birds were seen feeding in relative association with other swallow species, including Barn, Northern Rough-winged and Cliff. One Cave Swallow was also seen this day. Above, an adult photographed by Kerry Ross.
We continued seeing the Bahama Swallows foraging over the adjacent campgrounds well past 4:30 pm. Photo of a juvenile above by Alexander Harper.
From October 20 through the 24th, we experienced much rain and wind associated with a tropical depression brewing in the Gulf of Mexico – see the “Huge Passerine Movement” blog entry for more information. While we were experiencing large daily flights of swallows earlier in the fall, these have greatly diminished as the season has progressed. During this recent tropical depression, we struggled to tally a combined number of swallows in the three digits. After the rain dissipated and clear weather associated with winds out of the north dominated the skies, more swallows certainly pushed through. By contrast, on October 25 we counted 783 swallows, and today Oct. 26 we counted 513. Above, photo of an adult Bahama Swallow by Kerry Ross.
It must be noted that the Bahama Swallows from Curry Hammock were not isolated occurrences. On this day, the species was also observed and documented from Cape Florida (Key Biscayne) at around midday. Additionally, a Bahama Swallow was reported from Long Key State Park on Oct. 25 – 11 miles northeast of Curry Hammock. The photo above, and the 3 below were taken by Kerry Ross at Curry Hammock.
The Bahama Swallow is endemic to the Bahamas and it is common on Andros, Abaco and Grand Bahama. It is considered a very rare visitor to South Florida, with under 10 documented records prior to these occurrences. All the prior records took place before 1993.