On what turned out to be one of the last warm beautiful summer nights of the year, we packed a picnic and biked down after work to Chapman Elementary School to catch the Vaux's Swift nightly routine before roosting in the school's chimney. Even though we went well before the sunset show started there were a ton of people so we decided to take a seat on the other side in front of the school verses by the soccer field directly in front of the chimney.
When we first arrived, not a single bird was in sight. As the sun sets, the pinkish-purple sky becomes dotted with tiny little black birds. Then a few more and a few more and then a few hundred more and before you know it the sky is a funnel cyclone of thousands of tiny black birds that whirl around the chimney, above the crowd, way up high into the sky and then back down in the trees. It's strangely quiet and very Alfred Hitchcock like. The whole experience is truly amazing. We watched in awe for almost an hour and gasped in unison as a hawk would swoop in and take out one of the tiny Swifts. As summer winds down, watching the Swifts at sunset is just another way to hang onto summer even if it's just for one more late night picnic.