Tuckahoe Creek Rt. 328 Bridge Swallows

Head down to a boat marina around the Chesapeake Bay during the spring/summer season and you’ll likely find a colony of Barn Swallows, swooping the air and water for insects, or perched on the dock lines or boats lookin’ pretty.

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Barn Swallow (male)


I received an e-bird alert over the summer that there were Cliff Swallows under the Rt. 328 bridge crossing the Tuckahoe Creek, a tributary off the Choptank River near us.  The Cliff Swallows would be a new addition to my bird lifer list if I could capture one.

After two trips by boat, hanging around/under that bridge and taking a bunch of photos, I was disappointed that I couldn’t ID any Cliff Swallows, even after pouring through my images later to make sure.  Several times!

However, there was a large colony of Barn Swallows and I did note one male Tree Swallow.

The Cliff Swallow looks very similar to the Barn Swallow in coloring but has an added white patch on its forehead, the white patch that was missing in all my Swallow photos.

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Barn Swallows surrounding a Tree Swallow (in the center)


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Barn Swallows chillin’


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Barn Swallows and one Tree Swallow


What was neat was seeing the Barn Swallows’ nests as we passed under the bridge.  Barn Swallows use mud to create their nest, mixing it with grass stems to make pellets.

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Barn Swallow nest under Tuckahoe Creek Rt. 328 bridge


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Barn Swallow nest under Tuckahoe Creek Rt. 328 bridge
(sorry bad photo, rocking boat)


I wish I could have gotten more/better photos of their nests but the current was always swift while maneuvering the boat.

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Barn Swallow nest under Tuckahoe Creek Rt. 328 bridge


Of course, I was bummed in not photographing the Cliff Swallow and getting to add them to my lifer list, but I did take notice and got this next photo of a Cliff Swallow’s nest amongst the Barn Swallow nests.

Notice how the Cliff Swallow adds a tube to their nest, making it look more like an enclosed gourd.  Proof the Cliff Swallow was present here somewhere!

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Cliff Swallow nest under Tuckahoe Creek Rt. 328 bridge


How pretty to see Swallows perch so elegantly on a line….

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Barn Swallows


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Barn Swallows and one Tree Swallow


The swallows have all since migrated from the area to their wintering grounds in Central and South America, so I missed my opportunity this year on the Cliff Swallow.

Hopefully next Spring the Cliff Swallows will return to the bridge…… and so will I if I’m able to.  My lifer list awaits!  🙂



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