14 August 2011

Colorful Phantasm of Martins Midtown

An evening's interlude once again led to the medical center campus midtown. Approaching from Carthage and then Dundee, the prime light of a setting sun lit the buildings in a palette of expression sufficient to capture an observant's imagination. The coloration was sublime, requiring stops along the way to absorb the varied hues.

On the scene of the regular martinfest this season, the first subjects of focus were notably just to the north above the trees. More bugs there because of the arboreal foliage.

The first Purple Martin was at the roost site by 330 South at 7:45 p.m. Others then arrived at their suitable time, languid in flight among the unseen currents of the sky space.

Additional bits of birdlife were present during the prelude to the grand spectacle.

Cedar Waxwings went one direction then another, and back again. A flock of four turned three towards the great north. There then went south anyway after a brief time.

Gradually the birds concentration above the hard streets of urban Omaha. Big-sized martins close by. Little martins high in the sky. A dragonfly drone nearby were all parts of the place.

Martins soar in such a casual manner. Adults and season's young traverse hither and yonder over there as their congregation gathers on a Friday eve of no special significance - except for the martins which know what is important for them, as expressed year after year.

Each bird has their own part of space. With a dip or a dash, or with a quick flash of flight, they pass wing-to-wing.

There was an Eastern Kingbird atop the tree near a hard-concrete vantage point. How unexpected. It may have thought the same as it was gone within a minute or two.

Martins continued to gather. And get together in a spectacle of their own concern and importance.

There were a few watchers, the first noted this season. One man north of Farnam was bedecked in outdoorsman garb, including a broad hat for protection from nonexistent sunlight. An obviously comfortable group of three had lawn chairs and other accouterments on the lawn.

With the descent of dusk, birds overwhelmed the scene on the street, once again at this place.

Noisy bunches of starlings arrived. In came the more boisterous grackles. These were lesser birds in more ways than one.

A pungence from birdly droppings was obvious in the moist air of the evening.

Doves dashed around. Swifts twittered above.

A miasma of tendrils can be imagined in a phantasmagoria manner in the sky from the flight patterns of 35,000 individual martins gathered in an unsurpassed spectacle. Their flight displays are appreciated only by observation. An observer could scribe an account which might be expressive, but would still not be sufficient for the actual experience of time and place sensations created by the birds.

The actual view can be so easily enjoyed, and so comfortably, so experience is the best way to experience the event..

A party of three arrived late, missing much of the event, but the "main man" was expressive - as overheard - in expressing views based upon some sort of bias, as some bird people are prone to do.

This Friday evening started - based upon known intent - in silence. It ended with distinct sounds of exquisite chatter by the gathered throng of martins.

The finale of the 12th was done by 8:45 p.m. so its important to not be late to get the best look, especially when the light is right and the moon would be so bright.

Mid-morning gathering of martins on a powerline at the Florence Waterworks. August 13, 2011.

Saturday Evening Sequel

Phenomenal views not experienced in four years of watching occurred. The martin vortex came in low and thousands of them swirled just feet above the eleven viewers present.

It was one of the best evenings ever for watching the spectacle.

A mature couple "dressed to kill" for earlier evening events, got recognition for being the best dressed. They have a martin office at their residence in Pacific Heights, and came down to see where their martins had gone. They had visited last season as well.

One juvenile martin struck the glass of the walkway, but was only temporarily stunned and flew away when approached after most of the other martins were at their night's roost.