Monday, May 30, 2005

Down at the Dallas Marine this afternoon, I went to sit on the dock overlooking Snug Cove and read a little. I heard a strange bird call, a loud CHEEP above me and saw a small bird flying out over the water with a short glide and relaxed but rapid wingflaps. The bird seemed a little smaller than a crow and much slimmer in profile. It had white wing bars. It had a very prounounced V-shaped forked tail with a long tail feather in the middle extending past the tips of the V

I thought it was a common nighthawk at first, as it had the wingbars and the stuttery flight. What puts doubt in my mind was the call was less raspy than the nighhawk's - a CHEEP rather the nasal PEENT - and the forked tail. Also the flight seemed a little less frantic and the bird was aloft during the height of day. The bird also perched on a branch, instead of the ground, and it was very slim and sleek looking in profile, sitting about 40 meters from me up in a cedar tree.

The deeply forked tail makes me wonder. That was very obvious, to the point where I continued watching the bird as intently as I could. The white wing bars almost certainly make it a nighthawk, but I can't quite square that bird, which I know well, with what I saw.

Any thoughts?