The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note any observations of the natural world. Birds, blooms, bugs and more, all are worthy additions to the bucket. Please let us know what is going on around you in the comments, with location as close as you care to share.Every half hour, the wind picks up, and then it drizzles. About the time you put on your rain jacket, the drizzle stops. But leave your jacket off, and soon your sweater's wet.
For some reason, the swallows just arrived. Has the weather stirred up the bugs? They swoop just in front of us, as our striding through the grass drives the bugs into the air, vulnerable to the swallows. I see lots of swallows, certainly dozens. But they aren't swarming into a mystical, collective murmuration.
Instead, each individual swallow is whizzing around at Mach One, wolfing down bugs. They dive and spin and veer and corner. I see alluring flashes of their purple and orange coloring that is usually hidden beneath their wings.
I look over the calm, multi-acre lake. Now scores of swallows zip across it, inches above the water. It looks like a chaotic ice rink,with tiny figures crossing and recrossing it at high speed, above the smooth azure surface.
I begin walking again, scrutinizing the nearest birds. They never stop, never rest, never even touch ground. Come catch bugs like that in my yard, I think.
Then as the two closest birds swirl and dive, they begin an aerial dance together, spiraling around each other, climbing into the sky, never more than a foot apart. They must be mated. Their exuberance resembles two teenagers in first love, dashing though the grass, hand in hand, laughing.
Thinking of teenage first love triggers free associating, and soon my mind has rewritten part of a song from the 60s;
"...catching bugs in the green grass, behind the stadium, with you, my browned eyed bird." sung with longing by Van Morrison.
So the swallows have arrived in the Pacific Northwest. What's happening in your neck of the woods?