Monday, June 24, 2013

Bank Swallow Bend - Ground Zero

Bank Swallow Bend - Ground Zero 

On June 10th, 2013 I took this photo of a Bank Swallow colony on the Elbow River. This was home to about 50 swallow families. The distance from the water to the green brush on the bank is about 5 meters. I took the photo downstream to the East.
Ten days later, on June 20th, Southern Alberta suffered a terrible flood. Both the Elbow and Bow Rivers overflowed. Communities along the rivers were evacuated. But for essential services, work in the city stopped. 
I took this black and white photo on the evening of June 20th. The Elbow River peaked about 10 hours later. The photo shows the same area as in the first image, but this photo was taken upstream from the colony because the entire area downstream was underwater.  

The Bank Swallows continued to fly up to the side of the river, hoping I guess, that the nest holes would suddenly reappear. I saw similar activity for the next two days and then by the third day, there were few Bank Swallows around.

The river rushes louder now, but the river is also silent. Many nests were lost. I have not heard a Spotted Sandpiper for three days. All the smaller ducks were nesting and for those that nest in the shore grass, there will be no ducklings this year. Yellow Warblers nest several meters up in willow branches and these nests were lost, but these birds usually have a second brood so they will likely have young this year. Single brooded birds will not raise young this year. 

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