Recent online discussions about swallows got me thinking I should go back and check on a colony of Bank Swallows that I was introduced to in 2014 by Bill Evans. Bill conducted point-counts for Metro along the Clackamas River for many years before his untimely death in 2018. He urged me to learn to bird by ear and used the Willow Flycatcher as a natural first example of how easy it can be to locate and identify birds by ear. He was fun to bird with, and I miss his light-hearted companionship.
The good news is the colony persists at River Island Natural Area, and there are still many opportunities for up-close views of the birds in flight. The bad news is tunnels are now hard to view from land due to changes in the river channel, and the colony appears to be about a third of the size it was in 2014. I estimated 60 individuals were present during this visit.
Another notable difference between the two observations was that on 5 June 2014, feeding of chicks seemed to be the predominant activity observed while nest-building and pairing actions were all that was happening on 28 May 2020.
Aerial views of the lower half of the south unit looking West-Northwest 2020.05.28
PARKING IS LIMITED TO THE NARROW SOUTHBOUND SHOULDER OF EADEN ROAD NEAR THE ENTRANCE.