This morning I went birding with Beckham Bird Club at a lake I'd never been to before near Elizabethtown, KY. We saw a good variety of water birds, including a Horned Grebe in breeding plumage (a first for me), and the first Tree Swallows of the season. A Red Shouldered Hawk carried a snake away in the distance. The Ky Birdlist has reported a Ross' Goose here, and we found it with a group of domestic gray geese. Over 200 Sandhill Cranes flew over on their way north.
We saw more American Coots than I've ever seen in one place together too. I didn't realize how small they really are until some swam next to this Mallard. You expect Gulls to swoop and dive down to the water, but not Crows! These Crows were out there swooping with the Gulls like they do it every day, and came up with something in their beaks. It almost looks like Cheetos...I'm sure Crows will eat Cheetos, but why would Cheetos be floating in the middle of a large lake?
I was impressed with the accurate predictions about the tsunamis after the quake, and how quickly they crossed half a world. We have flooding on the Ohio River too, but nothing as bad as other places. Some of the lower roads are covered. You can see the size of the logs that float downstream and end up at the Falls of the Ohio.
Those large logs get past the dam because the Army Corps of Engineers just opens the gates entirely, as you can see from this photo of the dam, just above a railroad trestle at the falls. What you can't see is the rest of the dam extending from the gates to where I am standing, which are completely covered with water. I know the dam is about 30 feet taller than the fossil beds, and it's completely covered. Water extends from shore to shore.
Downstream at the George Rogers Clark cabin, the dam is also completely submerged. This photo is taken from the cabin and you can barely see the gates at the lower end of the dam by the LG&E power plant, shut down when the river gets too high. It must be over a mile from the cabin to Shippingport Island and the power plant.
Last spring we had the very first Bald Eagle nest in Jefferson County, KY, here at Shippingport Island in the middle of the Ohio River. Unfortunately, the nest failed, and no young hatched. People have asked me why, but I never heard any theories. Well, the same pair are back, and she's sitting in the same nest (you can barely see her - remember the distance). I ran into some birding friends who really know their stuff. They asked if the male was around but I hadn't seen him. They shook their heads sadly. They think the nest failed last year because this male is a dead-beat dad. He didn't do his share of incubating the eggs while the female hunts, nor did he bring her fish while she sat on the eggs. Thus the eggs were exposed too much during bad weather last spring and died. I wonder if Eagles ever divorce?