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Hi All,

I just got back from Viera and viewed the Swallow flying at length with John
Hintermister for over an hour. For what it's worth I'm posting my
observations. First off I have to disagree with David Simpson on it's
similarity with Tree Swallows. This bird is noticeably smaller and thinner
winged, maybe the best way to describe this is that this Swallow is much more
"streamlined" than a Tree Swallow. It's flight style is different too, not as
direct or strong as a Tree Swallow. It also seemed to associate with the Cave
Swallows and stayed away from the groups of Tree Swallows.
       Everyone has noticed the complete white rump, from the angles that I
saw the bird from I also agree with this, and add that the uppertail coverts
are white too.  There is definite white edging on the tertials and possibly
the inner most secondaries. On the head there seems to be a small indistinct
white line above part of the eye. At certain angles there also seems to be a
very small amount of white on the forehead, just above the bill. The area
behind the eye is dark, fading to grayish/white in the lower part of the
auriculars, creating a weak contrast.
       I have seen many Violet-Green Swallows out west and have never seen
one with a white rump that bold nor with any noticeable white edging on the
tertials. I have no experience with Mangrove Swallows so I'm not brave enough
to suggest that's what this Swallow is, but that it simply doesn't look
completely "right" for a Violet-Green Swallow. Kurt Radamaker does make some
very good points (wish you were here to see this one!) I do feel certain that
it's definitely not a Tree Swallow!
Good Birding!,
Brian Ahern
Tampa, FL.
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