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Cave Swallow - Washington County, CO - July 2013 | by SteveMlodinow
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Cave Swallow - Washington County, CO - July 2013

Photographed at Prewitt Reservoir on 17 July 2013. Juvenile Cave/Cliff Swallow ID is challenging, though the fact that this bird appears to have undergone reasonably extensive body molt (making it more adult like in appearance), makes the ID easier (none of those birds with peculiar white and/or black speckling on throat and face). This topic is marginally covered in most field guides, but fortunately, Tony Leukering published a fairly extensive article in Colorado Birds, 45:236-242. First, a comment: the bird's throat appeared paler in life, with many views and different light angles, and the throat was distinctly paler than the orange on any Cliff Swallow present, something noted by each of us individually (and, indeed, this was much of what first drew my attention to this bird).Note that the vent is very lightly marked (not even visible in these photos).. a Cave Swallow character. The auriculars are orange, also a Cave trait (note in 3rd photo how cap simply dips to encompass eye), and the orange goes up onto the nape with fairly sharp demarcation between nape and back, also pointing towards Cave (more evident in field than these photos). In the field, the bird stood out among the morass of hundreds of Cliff Swallows. We watched it for 10 minutes or so, sometimes as close at 15 feet in good light (great for observation, impossible for me to track with camera). I don't know if this is of import, and it is not clear in the photos, but the undertail coverts nearly to legs was suffused in orange. Additionally, in the field, a small orange forehead concolorous with throat was obvious.. but for unclear reasons... not very apparent in these photos. Not sure of Cliffs ever show this or not. Additionally, in the field, a small orange forehead concolorous with throat was obvious.. but for unclear reasons... not very apparent in these photos. Observed with Andrew Core and Sean Walters, and seen later in day by Dan Maynard.

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Taken on July 27, 2013