Wow, this morning I see hundreds of birds outside my window. they are dashing back and forth from tree to tree busily doing their birdlike duties. They appeared Yesterday, suddenly.
I love to watch their antics. I wish I were enough of a "birder" to call their names. Starlings, I am told, but have no idea. My cousin in Hesperia has finches, dozens of finches.
Regularly I go to a back road that has bridge over a canal where the swallows nest each season. They arrive on schedule, March 23, every year, having flown from South America. A few scouts come a day or two early and "case the joint". Then on the appointed day they arrive enmass and set up housekeeping under the bridge.
They build their nests of mud that they gather from selected puddles along the canal. Only certain puddles will do and they flock there, squabbling and scrabbling for mud rights. I cannot see the nests because there is no way to get under the low bridge.
From March until September there is a great swirl of birds that dash out from under the bridge, up into the air, turning and diving, and then swooping back under the bridge.
When the fledglings have hatched and have learned to fly, the sky is just filled with clouds of swallows practicing for their migration. Then one day in September you go to the bridge and find they have gone. All gone, including the babies a couple of months old, on their way to Chile.
In Chile, they raise another crop of swallows. Then Grand parents, new parents, and their two month old swallows come back to Merced. That's a hell of a trip for a two month old.
The swallows that go to Capistrano have the best press agents and get all the publicity, but I like our Merced swallows just as well. Every Southern California community has its own swallows. I believe that the same swallows come to the same nesting sites each year, but I cannot tell for sure because their license plates get lost on the trip.
It is hard to get pictures of them because you cant get close to them. Maybe, this year with my binoculars with the built in digital camera. Stay tuned.