|Something has enlarged some of what appear to be kingfisher nesting holes|
I can explain the smaller holes. Kingfishers nest in clay banks and make holes just like these. So do bank swallows but they are rarer in these parts than are kingfishers.
But what about the larger ones?
My guess is that creatures have enlarged a couple of the kingfisher holes to make their own dens or nests but I'm at a loss for what those creatures were.
There are no trails from the holes down to the water so it would seem the creature and its young didn't travel that way. Neither are there trails going upwards. This would seem to rule out animals like otters, muskrats, etc.
The size of the hole is probably a clue. The holes are big enough for a woodchuck, also known as a groundhog, but it would be silly for such an animal to make a hole entrance on a vertical bank face, 15 feet above the lake. Also this island was too small to provide enough food for a woodchuck.
My best guess is that the holes might be nesting sites for merganser ducks. They are cavity nesters and mostly nest in pileated woodpecker holes in large trees; however, I have also seen them use abandoned woodchuck holes in the ground. Since these holes couldn't have been made by a woodchuck I'm surmising that maybe the ducks enlarged the kingfisher holes. I've never heard of such a thing though.
Does anybody know what actually went on here? Any ideas?
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