Monday, March 19, 2007

Living on the Edge

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a feeding flock of upwards of 50 Tree Swallows swirling and darting, wheeling and dipping above the swift-flowing waters of the Potomac River at the boat ramp in Williamsport, Maryland. I had to wonder what kinds of flying insects these birds were able to find. At the time these birds were sighted, the temperature was hovering around 40 degrees and a stiff breeze was blowing. But that morning, and the two previous mornings, temperatures dropped to well below freezing, and five inches of snow had been dropped on the area on Friday. I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of flying insects these birds were able to find. I find it amazing that these insectivorous aerial gleaners are always among the earliest of spring arrivals, showing up in parts of southern West Virginia as early as late February.

Also, in a gravelly area adjacent to the boat ramp that had been cleared of snow, I noted at least 20 American Pipits searching the bare ground for food.


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