Violet Green at Yellow

I’m FINALLY getting to the pictures taken on our trip to Yellowstone back in 2013. Granted this delay is embarrassing, but I blame all the recent projects for keeping me from my photo queue. In this case I can actually take care of both of these endeavors at the exact same time. One of the first sets of shots processed happened to be of a bird – check that, not just a bird, a NEW bird on the checklist!

Violet-Green Swallow at Yellowstone

This bird was shot while Linda was off taking pictures of those flowing water thingies.  I can’t remember exactly where we took this in Yellowstone, but do know it was close to the road – at the time the car door was being leveraged for a makeshift tripod.  These birds fall in the uber-hyper category and it took everything I had to be able to swing the Beast around fast enough to get a shot before it darted off in a different direction.

Violet-Green Swallow at Yellowstone

Hit the jump to see and read more of this spectrumed beauty.

This trip was my first outing with the 1.4 tele…. that makes this the first trip that validate you only want that extender on if you absolutely have to.  Excited about the extra reach capabilities caused me to keep it on bit too much and a lot of my shots went soft as a result.  The reach is good if the subject is off in the distance, but tough to sacrifice the crispiness.  Unfortunately, without it in this particular case would have resulted in a lot of shots showing some small animal with possibly a green hat on.


Since it was broad daylight the loss of a step (or two) from the tele didn’t have much of an impact and the shutter could be set a little higher than norm to help compensate for any amplified movement.  Now, with the extra reach, it is clear that we are looking at a Violet-Green Swallow which officially makes this a new entry on the Birding Life List.

Violet-Green Swallow at Yellowstone

This pretty bird sport a wide spectrum of colors from the top of their head to the very tips of their tails.  The palette starts with the standard green hues, but finishes with a brilliant violet/purple proving once again that those lucky bird discoverers are boring as shit when it comes to naming them… uhhhh, that bird is black.. let’s call it a Blackbird – exactly.  Guessing whoever gave the common name for the Baeolophus Bicolor was just out alone in the woods too long.  But I digress.

Violet-Green Swallow at Yellowstone

Oops, out of pictures.  Better throw in some interesting facts or the hate mail will make it into the inbox.  First amazing fact is … they eat flying insects.  Next up they have … white eggs.  Whew, the excitement is killing me.  Sit for this one.. they will nest in cliff cavities – get the hell out of here, no way.  It’s all true and can all be verified on Cornell’s Ornithology website (link here).  Sorry, it was just a big let down from one of my favorite online bird reference sites.  With the exception of the egg color, all of these were easily deduced based solely on my 20 minutes spent trying to photograph them.    We have higher expectations Cornell.

That’s is all there is folks.  Hope you enjoyed the shots as much as I enjoyed adding a new bird to the brand new Bird Life List gallery and thus putting me at least one up on a friendly competition that my brother started tonight – game on!


3 comments on “Violet Green at Yellow

  1. Ron

    Wow, I’ve never seen this bird before! What a cool bird! I did look up some more interesting facts about it:

    1. Its wingtips stick out beyond the tip of its tail when it is perched, which is really odd. This can distinguish it from the related Tree Swallow, but if you can’t tell the difference between this bird and a Tree Swallow you are colorblind.

    2. Also, …hmmm…nothing more. Boring bird.

    What is that bright orange stuff all over the rocks in the first and last pictures? Sulphur?

    And did you imply you took this from your car?? That’s why I take pictures from my car window here in the winter, simply for the tripod leverage…

    Game on!


  2. admin

    I agree with your comment on the Tree Swallow vs the Violet-Green Swallow being easy to distinguish – even if you are color blind the Tree Swallow coloring on the head extends uniformly under the eye where the VG version is above and not straight. … and then there is the whole color differences if that doesn’t get it done for you.

    2. yes, very little at all about this bird which for being such a colorful bird apparently gets no attention by the researchers – did I mention their eggs are white!?!

    I did not imply I took this FROM the car I simply said I took it using the car door as a makeshift tripod – clearly I would not take a shot from sitting IN the car and try to claim any photographic merit whatsoever – clearly.

    and you are still down by one (and still question whether that Yellow-Rumped Warbler counts as a bird capture hehehe)

  3. admin

    Oh, not sure on the orange coloring – it is definitely a high sulfur content area but not sure that manifest on rocks that way – could just be some form of orange lichen

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