Thursday, June 28, 2012

riverboat swallows

"Wednesday evening [last week] we took a dinner cruise on the Star of Knoxville riverboat," emailed Lynne and Bob Davis.  

"It was a perfect evening for standing by the rail and watching the world go by.  We saw the osprey nest at the downstream end of Looney Island, with an adult and two nearly-grown nestlings. Also the usual river birds: great blue herons, cormorants, Canada geese, mallards, kingfishers. 

"The most interesting thing came as the boat approached the dock.  We were standing at the bow, near the long boarding ramp. This ramp is only used if the boat stops at a place where there is no dock, and the rest of the time, it is just suspended above the water."  

"Passing under the Gay Street Bridge, we were suddenly  welcomed by a flock of at least two dozen barn swallows, swooping and chittering around the bow.  We first thought they were looking for insects on the water, but then realized they were landing on the underside of the boarding ramp. They were answered by more chittering from under the ramp. We could not confirm that there were nests under the ramp, but it seemed likely. What must they think when their homes leave and come back several times a day?"

Thanks, Lynne and Bob

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