Subject: [Tweeters] Early Black Swift (!?), Ellensburg, WA
Date: Apr 26 07:43:34 2016
From: Walter Szeliga - walter.szeliga at

Yesteryday evening (4/25), I spotted a single low flying Black Swift
over the West Ellensburg Baseball field complex. The swift was flying just
above the tree tops near the eastern playground and was only 100-200 ft
away from me for a bit. The swift was all black, with very long wings
(longer wingspan than the Starlings flying nearby) and a wide and longish
squared off tail. The swift was only see briefly, for about 3 minutes,
before it continued off to the west. Other flyby birds present included
larger flocks of foraging Violet-Green Swallows, European Starlings, and a
pair of Wood Ducks!

This seems to be on the early side for Black Swift sightings all time in
Washington, so I don't know what to make of that. All late-April records
of Black Swift that I could find barely extend into southern Oregon. The
earliest records for Black Swift in Kittitas County are the third week of
May. This doesn't bother me so much since the birding coverage on this
side of the mountains is less than the west side so this could equally
likely be due to an actual migration timing pattern or just lack of looking
at the right time. The earliest records for Black Swift for Washington
State seem to be right around the 1st of May, so, maybe this is just an
anomaly. After all, they Winter in the Amazon and no human has ever seen
them there!

Walter Szeliga
Ellensburg, WA
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