Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Swallows? Bank on it in Chagrin.

Ohio has many lovely locations for birding.  Mohican and Shawnee State Forests come to mind, as does the North Coast.  Lake Erie offers countless opportunities to take in a golden sunset and admire a stunning view, all in the name of birding.

The Chagrin River on a lazy day.
Just South-east of Cleveland, the Chagrin River flows north to the lake and meanders through North Chagrin Reservation, one of Cleveland's many parks which make up the The Emerald Necklace.

A river bluff, remains from an earlier geological period.
 The river's water level was down from the previous week when I had visited during a flood stage.  There is no exposed shore when the water was raging over the banks. It was interesting to see the river at both stages.  It is calm in the photos, but just a week before it was an altogether different beast.

Bank Swallow nesting riddles the bluff with holes.
 Scanning the far shore, a cliff rise high above the river.  It is probably a good 120 foot tall, if not more.  Look carefully at the face and you notice the Swiss cheese effect of bank nesting birds.  There is a huge colony present of the highly social Bank Swallows, Riparia riparia.  Special thanks goes out to Dale Gaul for alerting me to this nesting colony.

Bank Swallows tended their nests and socialized along the bluff face.

For video of Bank Swallows go here.  This video shows the interactions of the Bank Swallow colony.  It was a joy to see Bank Swallows in a natural (vs. man-created) habitat.  Watch carefully for the bank swallow hole (mid-screen left)  where excavated sand comes flying out of the nesting cavity!

To read more about Ohio's Bank Swallows- This is from a past blog which features the Bank Swallows utilizing the screenings or tailing piles, the name for the by-product from quarrying operations, at the Marblehead limestone quarry.

The river walk at Chagrin Falls
Chagrin Falls, Ohio is a charming town with lovely shops and cafes. It was fun to visit this nearby city after our birding adventure, knowing the best- kept secret in Ohio.  Bank Swallows rule their nearby river bluffs.

I could hardly contain myself!

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