Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Purple Martin Show!


In the waning weeks of August, as dusk draws nigh, a show begins unlike any show most have ever experienced. The show runs nightly into the first week or two of September. One of the best places to see and experience this marvelous spectacle is at the foot of Sommerheim Drive in Erie, PA, on the Waterworks property. The show is incredible and the fact that more people don't attend the show is nearly as incredible. "Who", you may ask, "stars in this show?"...why...the Purple Martins, of course. It is here that the Purple Martins gather to roost each night in a large cattail bed so significant that it has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society . The martins fly in from all over this and nearby counties swooping, skimming and swirling in a spectacular avian ballet before slipping into the cattail bed for the night. The martins gather at roosts such as this prior to and during migration. It is believed these roosts are used by these highly social birds because they provide protection from predators, as well as a setting that is warmer and less windy than inland roosts. I was amazed to read that one of the largest PM roosts is in Lake Murray, SC and housed an estimated 703, 000 PMs!


There may still be a few days left for you to get down to see The Purple Martin Show, so I encourage you to grab your binoculars and get down to the "theater". My friend, Julie, listens to the calls of the circling Purple Martins.This is an example of a slow shutter speed and fast birds. I thought is was cool anyway.A female PM in flight directly above my head!


A great egret that decided to get in on the act.

5 comments:

Bird Girl said...

What a neat spectacle in a gorgeous sky!

Willard said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I like your blog and will return to look at it in depth when I have more time. The post on the Purple Martins is most interesting and informative.

In answer to your question, I have the 70-200mm f2.8 IS.

Toni said...

Hey Michele I sure like your photos of the Martins way better than mine.
Thanks for posting this.

NCmountainwoman said...

Great shots of these wonderful birds. I've never seen them in such numbers. What a sight that must be.

Leedra said...

Boy, this would be great to experience. My neighbor just wants one pair and can't seem to get that.