The Flood and Animals

by Carl Strang

Yesterday I shared some images of last week’s flood at Mayslake Forest Preserve. When I saw how high the water had risen, I expected to find the Canada goose nest washed out. She was in the bowl-like parking lot marsh, on top of a muskrat house. When I got there I found that the water was high, but it had found a new outlet that limited its rise.

The water came within a few inches of the nest, but did not flood it.

The water came within a few inches of the nest, but did not flood it.

As I walked the east shore of Mays’ Lake that day, I heard a sudden loud splash above the roar of the nearby stream. It reminded me of a beaver’s warning dive, but there have been no resident beavers on the preserve in some years, so I passed it off as something else. On the next day, however, I found this:

A beaver had been there indeed. The freshly gnawed cuts showed the wide grooves made by beaver incisor teeth.

A beaver had been there indeed. The freshly gnawed cuts showed the wide grooves made by beaver incisor teeth.

Until I have reason to believe otherwise, I imagine this beaver was passing through, following the course of the flood or perhaps using the elevated waters to make an exploratory trip.

A final image comes from the day after the flood, as a northern rough-winged swallow rested at the edge of the lake.

A number of rough-wings, tree and barn swallows were foraging close above the water’s surface.

A number of rough-wings, tree and barn swallows were foraging close above the water’s surface.

This was a reminder that the spring migration is accelerating as the end of April approaches.

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1 Comment

  1. Jeanette Hirt said,

    April 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I’ve been observing a similar nest occupied by a pair of Canadian Geese here on the Fox River near the riverwalk gazebo in Batavia. She is usually alone, but yesterday he was protectively watching over her as she sat on the nest. I had first noticed it prior to the water’s rise, and was relieved to see afterward that it had survived. Now I’m anxious for the hatching!


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