Gray Day at the Tower

Today was very gray with little natural light making its way into the chimney in the Tower. It was very difficult to focus through the peek hole and observation window. The youngsters feathers are starting to flake off their silvery sheaths which we could see floating about and sometimes sticking to the window. The only acceptable images were made using flash. The silvery feather sheaths serve at highlights in most images.

They have grown considerably since Sunday and are filling the nest to overflowing. A few more eyes were partly open. They continue to preen and the large one in the top image would lean back while hanging on and flap both wings vigorously. They seem to be more accustomed to our presence and usually did not start buzzing when we climbed the stairs after taking breaks between photo attempts.

The adults came in several times when we were up in the tower. They stayed well below the nest and left without getting in range of our lenses. The children did buzz when the adult left. We did get several recordings of their vocalizations.

Sometimes people worry about using flash. From what we have read there is no scientific reason to worry as eyes are not damaged by the very brief flash durations of 1/12,000 second. Animals rarely seem to notice flash unless they see a shadow that startles them. Today these chicks mostly kept their backs to us and did not change places often so we did not see much difference in most of our images.

We used several different lenses and lighting strategies. Here a ring flash was used and the left side third of this image needed to be cropped because the flash on the glass produced a hazy effect, probably from dust on the glass reflecting back through at particular angles. The barbs on the tails used in bracing on the walls are beginning to show.

It must get warm in the bunch. Here heads were thrown back while they were buzzing. It is sometimes hard to tell which head or wing or tail goes with which bird.

One Response to “Gray Day at the Tower”

  1. Althea Sherman's swift tower webcam : WI Chimney Swift Working Group Says:

    [...] & Robert Scarth have been blogging about the nest and have wonderful photos of the nestlings in the tower. Posted in [...]