Dear Orhan and all,

Yes, Barn Swallows are migrating now. Under the right conditions (northwest 
winds following a cold front), one can see thousands of them streaming westward 
along Long Island's outer beaches at this time of year. The weather lately, 
however, has been quite odd, with no northwest winds in our area since 18 July. 
The day before that day I posted to this list, describing the potential for a 
big swallow flight:

The flight on the 18th was lighter than I'd hoped, but still illustrative of 
the potential to see lots of Bank and Barn Swallows on the move:

During the relentlessly dull, humid weather since then, it's likely that Barn 
Swallows and other species are continuing to migrate, but in less dramatic and 
conspicuous ways. Yesterday, as a group of us held an unsuccessful vigil for 
the Walkill River Roseate Spoonbill in Orange County, we noticed interesting 
Barn Swallow behavior. The swallows foraged higher and higher during the late 
morning, until, during the middle of that sweltering day, few could be seen. 
Toward dusk, about 200 reappeared and began coursing in dense groups, low over 
the marshes, joined by several Least Bitterns that flew along with them in 
various directions, attracting their ire at times. Watching this was a visually 
unusual experience, to say the least! My guess is that the birds gathering 
around your boats are staging up prior to leaving, or pausing in a favorable 
feeding area, awaiting favorable conditions to continue migrating. For what 
it's worth, I have seen exactly the same kind of behavior that you describe, at 
this time of year. On 29 July 2011, Pat and I met John Zarudsky at Pt. Lookout, 
Nassau County, to survey the Line Islands for shorebirds. On his boat and 
others in the West Marina, I estimated 60 Barn Swallows, closely packed on the 

Shai Mitra
Bay Shore

I saw 35 Barn Swallows on an 18' boat in West Neck Creek, Shelter Island while 
trolling for Snapper Blues. I saw many more on other boats . I have been 
trolling around boats for ten years here, never seen this many Barn Swallow on 
boats. Barn swallows here nest under docks and many times the high tide wipes 
them out, there is at least a hundred docks from the beginning to the end of 
West Neck Creek. Maybe the start of migration south?

I must also add that I see hundreds of Tree Swallow moving west starting at 
this time of the year over the creeks, this year maybe 10% of the Barn 
Swallows. At least in my Purple Martin colony where I have a Tree Swallow gourd 
away, I found only one or two survive out of four or five, where I never had 
casualties and in Mashomack many were found dead in the Blue Bird houses, 
because of the many Noreasters.this spring. Maybe, better live Barn Swallows 
than Tree Swallows

OrhanShelter Island

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