Monday, August 16, 2010


I'm in western Massachusetts for the week. Tonight a cloud of 15-20 nighthawks swooped over the urban rush-hour mayhem of Route 33 in Chicopee. There were so many, they looked like swallows at first glance. Migrating already? Or maybe just congregating into post-breeding feeding frenzies.

Nighthawks that nest in the sandy grasslands near Lakehurst, NJ usually finish up by mid-July. For the next few weeks after that, the parents and children spend their mornings flying around he fields in flocks similar to this one, especially on overcast days. So...maybe this is just a nearby roof-top colony (it's an industrial area) in post-breeding flock mode. But, then again, there are many miles of swooping to do between here and South America, and relatively little time to get there (say by mid-October). Best to get an early start.

The dots are nighthawks.

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