Bank swallows along the Annapolis River

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One of the great things about winter is the chance to go places we don’t or can’t normally go…perhaps because its too far or too difficult.  For me this often means too many brambles in the summer.  Today we covered a bit of both, we went for a ski in one of our favorite places, BelleIsle Marsh along the Annapolis River.  We followed snow mobile trails for some of the way and broke trail for some of the way because I wanted to see the river up close and no trails led to shore.  As it turned out, we skiied on the ice for a short distance.  We had a great view of the river bank and discovered small holes in the earth.  I thought these were made by cliff swallows, but no, a bit of online research shows that these small holes are made by bank swallows, also called sand martins. Check out these images and these too. (I know, cliff swallows make mud nests, but I thought they might make nests in holes too…what can I say – I’m not a birder!) And here are my images.

The snow was excellent and this has been a wonderful couple of weeks for snow shoeing and skiing, just tons of snow!  At BelleIsle open fields are divided by tree breaks and dykes and marsh.  The open areas have little snow that is well packed, but along the trees and dykes there are deep drifts – a lot more work!  The road to the regular parking lot is not plowed, so be prepared to ski from the highway.

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