Swallows Return to Theler

I walk Theler Wetlands all year-long, but Spring is definitely one of my favorite times. In particular, I look forward to the return of the swallows.

The Tree Swallows usually return first, as they did this year. In previous years, my favorite swallow shots have been those of Tree Swallows sitting on the railing of the Southern Swamp Trail where they seem eager to pose for anyone who passes by. This year, though, there seems to be a lot fewer of them sitting on the railing, though I’m not sure why. They have, however, claimed most of the birdhouses north of the pond, refusing to give up possession even to walkers and birders.

male Tree Swallow

While it’s still possible to get an occasional shot of a Tree Swallow sitting on the boardwalk railing,

male Tree Swallow

you’re more apt to find Violet-Green Swallows, which I showed on an earlier post, or, even more likely, Barn Swallows

Barn Swallows

which nest under the boardwalk.

Today I finally saw my first Cliff Swallow

Cliff Swallow

of the year, hanging out with some other swallows that looked like a cross between a Barn Swallow and a Cliff Swallow. My Stokes Bird Guide suggested that hybrids between species is not uncommon.

This is the only place I’ve ever been where you can easily find four different varieties of swallows, and, apparently if you’re more observant than I am, a fifth variety I haven’t managed to photograph yet.