Big shakeup yesterday! The river upstream on the Sylvia Grinnell River broke up and came sweeping down. When confronted with the sea ice the river, and the huge chunks of ice it was carrying, formed a dam right across the river backing everything up, heaving huge frozen chunks up on shore and flooding the lower valley from side to side. I wish I had been there to see it – the power must have been awesome! Today it was cold (barely above freezing) and a bitter wind blew out of the south….making it difficult to perceive this as the first day of Summer.
On the negative side, one of “my” nests, SNBU3, was totally wiped out, submerged under many feet of water and ice. I was going to start trying to band the adults of this nest on Sunday. Several days ago there was one egg in the nest. The female lays one a day and begins incubating after the 3rd egg – so there were likely 4 eggs in the nest anyway. It would have been interesting (and sad if, like me, you’re just a bit anthropomorhpic) to watch the parents try to come to grips with the rising water and then have to abandon. They still have time so, hopefully, they will make a second attempt.
On the plus side, just after realizing the demise of this nest, we found a new nest (SNBU19) in an obscure crack high above the flooding. This nest has 7 eggs in it so I will get around to trying to band the adults in a couple of days.
Although it’s the most difficult time to find nests (the females are hidden while they incubate), I will keep trying for two more days and then I will focus on catching and banding.
Last night David Hussell took me to a Northern Wheatear nest that he had found with 5 eggs: