Tuesday, August 21, 2018


[Barn Swallows migrating past the South Cape May Meadows 
on August 18, 2018. Click icon at lower right of box 
to view in full screen mode. Video © Tom Reed.]   

Barn Swallows migrate by day and the flight at Cape May seems to be mainly confined to the immediate vicinity of the sea beach while most of the birds pass within a strip one hundred yards wide...The birds often fly only a few inches above the strand and rarely over six feet. Their course is somewhat erratic, drifting right and left and sometimes tacking back again for a few yards but the general progress southward is steady and rapid. During one of the August flights I stationed myself back on the meadows below South Cape May, some fifty yards from the dunes, where I had a clear view all the way to the sea. Apparently all the Barn Swallows were passing in front of me and selecting a definite line of bushes as a base I counted the birds as they passed it and the average was seventy per minute. Again on August 27, 1926, I counted the swallows that passed along the dunes and beach and the average was forty-six per minute and, so far as I could see, the flight continued at this rate for the better part of the morning and part of the afternoon...

– Witmer Stone, Bird Studies at Old Cape May

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