Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lots of Birds

Monday night, we headed over to Portland to view the Vaux Swifts (birds). We had heard about their nesting in the old chimney of a school (Chapman School to be precise) every September before they migrate and how it's an incredible sight. Thanks to our friends, the Skinner's, our seeing this phenomena became a reality. :)
We got there about an hour before sunset to get a good spot on the field and had a picnic dinner.
Carter through the football around to pass the time...

And Jemma slid down the hill on a cardboard box with buddies, Jefferson and Grant. (Thanks Kristina and Shawn for bring the box along! That was genius!!)

They seriously did this the whole time we were there. They maybe took a 10 minute break for dinner and to watch the birds...and ONLY 'cause we made them. I asked Jemma if she even saw the birds when we were headed home, and she said she did while she was sliding down the hill...

Here's a pic of the chimney...pretty darn old. Apparently, it used to be the schools heat source, but in true Oregonian style, once it was discovered that the swifts were nesting there every September, they stopped using it...hopefully they have implemented a new source of heat so the kids aren't FREEZING every winter on behalf of the "September Swifts".

Don't know if you can really see, but there are little black specks in the sky there...the birds were just beginning to gather at this point.

Carter and Reagan having some brownies to kill time.

Once the sun started setting, HUGE groups of these birds started circling and eventually diving into the chimney. The sight is pretty indescribable and I WISH I had video taped it. We even had a hawk show up trying to pick off some of these little guys for dinner. There was one casualty of which we're little bird fell out of the sky and landed just up the hill from where we were sitting...the poor folks sitting right next to where it fell got a bit closer to a swift than they had planned on I'm sure.

The pics below were taken by Kristina...they are AWESOME! And, hopefully give you a better idea of what we saw...

The crowd totally gets into it. We CHEERED and CLAPPED every time a group of these birds would plunge into the chimney, and then we all marvled over how THOUSANDS of these birds could even all fit inside.
Mr. Gavin even got a little souvenir...Brandon and I were talking about how lucky we were that none of us had been pooped on with all these birds flying over head...not 2 minutes later, we look down and poor little Gavin has a nice blob of bird dropping on his head. We wiped half of it off before we thought to document the occurence with a photo, but there you have it...

Thanks Skinner Family for inviting us to see the Vaux Swifts! It ROCKED and Jemma and Carter have asked to go back multiple times a day ever since.


Sharee and Arthur said...

Wow, that looks amazing! Poor little Gavin! It's amazing more people didn't get a souvenir!

Kristina said...

Poor Gavin will NEVER live that one down. We're glad you guys came with us!