----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 6:28
Subject: Be on the lookout for Cave
Whuda thunkit? A Red-necked Stint in Missouri in
July? OK. Miracles do happen -- albeit rarely. But let's get real. That was
last month. Now it's August. A more realistic expectation for Missouri's
next first state record is Cave Swallow. And now's the time to be on the
lookout for them.
Kansas' first Cave Swallows, two molting
juveniles, showed up at Cheyenne Bottoms roughly about this time last year. It
took only two weeks for the next one to appear -- also at Cheyenne Bottoms.
Once people start looking for birds, the chances that they will be noticed
When Tim Barksdale was around, he used to say
"That means they're also in Missouri" whenever a new species showed up in
Kansas. He said that when White-throated Swifts appeared in Lawrence, KS,
and sure enough, one was found in Missouri. The same principle operated
in reverse the year the Slaty-backed Gull showed up near the bridge to
Alton, IL (i.e. what is now REDA). Kansans and western Missourians streamed
east to see it and learned to identify
Thayer's Gulls in the process. Within a year, the first Kansas record of
Thayer's Gull occurred -- a bird photographed by Ted Cable. But that was just
a beginning. There were six additional reports of Thayer's Gull in Kansas that
year! And several Thayer's Gulls have been reported in Kansas every
winter since then!
You get my point. Cave Swallow has now showed up
in Kansas. It's time to look for them in Missouri.
Adult and juvenile Cave Swallows usually differ
most strikingly from Cliff Swallows in that they have a pale throat.
Dark-throated adult Cave Swallows occaisionally occur, however, as sometimes
do pale-throated juvenile Cliff Swallows. However, pale throated adult
Cliff Swallows never occur, nor do paled-eared juvenile Cliff Swallows. If you
think you might have a Cave Swallow, look carefully at its throat and
Of course, the pale throat, ears and
nape of a juvenile Cave Swallow -- the most likely age of Cave Swallow to
appear in Missouri -- will distinguish it out as something quite different
from the usual juvenile Cliff Swallow. Most juvenile Cliff Swallows have dark
caps, faces, ears and throats. Likewise, the usual adult Cave Swallow's pale
throat will mark it as conspicuously different from the usual adult Cliff
Swallow. Also check out all square-tailed swallows with darker-than-usual
rumps. A second look might reveal that it is a Cave Swallow.
We are now coming into the time of year when
swallows finish nesting, disperse and stage preparatory to migrating. You can
look over sizeable groups of staging Cliff swallows at leisure on the ground
or on telephone wires. That's how Missouri's first Cave Swallow will probably
Cave Swallows have rapidly been expanding their
ranges northward from southern Texas and southern New Mexico. (No
doubt they are being noticed outside their traditional ranges in part because
more people are looking for them). I would not be surprised if they were to
nest regularly in Kansas some day. By the logic of Tim Barksdale, they
will show up in Missouri long before they settle down to nest in
Neotropic Cormorants and Mottled Ducks are two
other southern birds that showed up first in Kansas, then in Missouri. Cave
Swallows may well be next.
Ready. On your mark. Get set. Go!
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