Swallow Dogfights – Terry Thormin

Well I haven’t posted for over a year now. I just found that I had taken on too much and decided to back off for a while. Now that I am back I am approaching this differently. I will not attempt to follow any schedule and I will probably concentrate more on the photography and less on the text. I am after all primarily a nature photographer.

A couple of weeks ago I went down to Union Bay, about a 20 minute drive south of Comox on the east side of Vancouver Island, to check to see if the Purple Martins were back at the nest boxes at the boat launch. Purple Martins on Vancouver Island nest in individual boxes set over the water rather than the large, communal boxes that most people are used to. As it turned out, the martins did not return to these boxes this year, although other boxes along the coast are now fully occupied. Instead the use of the boxes at Union Bay, and there are only two of them, was being fought over by several Tree Swallows and a couple of Violet-green Swallows. I spent an hour or so trying to get photos of these birds and here are the results.


As you can see this was one angry swallow.


Ready to defend it’s nest box at all cost.




Going in for the kill!


Looks like it is time to give up and let the other bird have the nest box.


Most of the time the fights were between Tree Swallows as in the first four photos. It was during these fights that I was best able to get photos as often the birds would be relatively stationary and predictably in front of the box entrance. Only once did a Violet-green Swallow come in for a landing when I was ready, and then I just got a shot without any interaction.

Ten days later when I went back to check on the boxes, things had settled down and it appeared that both boxes were occupied by Tree Swallows.


About annieandterry

This is a blog shared by two friends who have never met in person, Annie Pang and Terry Thormin. We both live on Vancouver Island, Annie in Victoria and Terry in Comox. All communication to date has been either by email or telephone. We are both passionate about nature and conservation and we are both nature photographers. Annie is also a very fine poet and was a concert violinist, while Terry worked as an entomologist for the Royal Alberta Museum until he retired in 2005. We hope you enjoy this joint effort to share our nature musings with anyone who is interested.

Posted on May 10, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Wow! Amazing shots 🙂

  2. Susie Claxton

    So happy to get this in my inbox this morning. I discovered you (are you Terry?) last summer when I was researching “digger bees.” I had “discovered” them, the first time for me, and found your blog about how the mother digs her own nest and cares for her own young. Maybe one day I will have my own blog and you will find it interesting. Susie Claxton

    • Hi Susie. Yes I am Terry. Annie is no longer blogging with me, at least for the time being. Hopefully she will come back soon. I love her writing style and her poetry.

  3. Wow. That is a seriously angry bird. Your shots are wonderful–you stopped the action at the most dramatic moments.

  4. Nice post and pics, Terry! Welcome back! 😊

  5. Charles Bird

    Excellent shots Terry. In nature, things happen so fast that we often fail to see things like you captured here. Glad you are back. It would be great if Annie would start blogging again. You both have lots to offer.

  6. Wonderful shots! Nice to see you’re blogging again. Was following your blog last year then visited friends in Comox (from Yorkshire UK) last year. Inspired by your Dragonfly shots visited Little River Pond to see bule-eyed darner, blue dasher, the Merlin, a flicker and pileated woodpecker. What a wonderful spot and hope to return in the next couple of years so keep the photos coming!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s