I went down South of Pershing S.P. this evening to watch the annual Fall gathering of huge numbers of Swallows. The Swallows, mostly Tree, with some Barn Swallows mixed in, gather over cornfields every evening this time of year. At dusk they start swirling around, then large groups start diving down into the standing corn to roost for the night. It looks like it is raining birds at this point. We have been watching this great spectacle for a number of years now since Doris Fitchett first accidently came upon it one evening when returning from Swan Lake. These flocks have been estimated at 600,000 or more at the peak of the migration. Merlins are sometimes seen in the area also as we have learned that some of them follow the flocks and feed off them.
I did not see any Merlins this eve and Swallow numbers not at their peak, maybe couple hundred thousand, still quite a show against the evening light with flocks of waterfowl and GB Herons passing in the background. Numbers could peak in next few days with the way the weather forecasts are looking. They are picking corn like crazy right now though the field the Swallows are using was planted later and still has some green in it. Probably won't pick it for awhile yet. The location is about 3/4 mile down Kaye road, west of YY. This is 1 mile south of the Linn/Chariton Co. line. Best time is 6:30pm to 7:20pm right now, though it will get a little earlier each day depending on sky conditions. Best viewing is with at least a mostly clear sky, esp to the west and north.
Saw a flock of 500+ Brown-headed Cowbirds near a feedlot along the road down to see the Swallows.
Driving back through Pershing SP at the "Magic Hour'"of twilight I had a Great Horned Owl fly over my vehicle, then saw White-tailed Deer, Striped Skunk, and a Grey Fox that crossed the road in front of me!
Driving through the south part of town on the way down I did a quick count of 60+ Eurasion-collared Doves lining the utilty wires at one of the Grain Elevators. That made me wonder how many more might be down out of sight? Have to check that out sometime.
I would encourage anyone to come and watch the Swallow Show! Let me know if need more info or any questions.
Enjoy the Season!
Chillicothe, Livingston Co.
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