Nov 25 2012
Visiting kingfishers shuttle up and down the valley to find favorable fishing spots. They perch above the man-made lake and stare at the cloudy water. The fish are hard to see. If they don’t catch a meal at the lake the birds head down Junction Hollow to the Monongahela River.
Junction Hollow must be amazing to kingfishers because it’s a waterless valley. Four Mile Run was there but it’s buried beneath the playing fields and bike trail. Those amenities are making the best of an unnatural situation.
The Run was buried long ago but any hope of daylighting it was dashed in 1989 when Sol Gross bought 28 acres of Junction Hollow and further buried the valley under construction debris generated by his demolition company. The City stopped his dumping and everyone ended up in court, but the damage was done. The creek is so far underground now that it’s way too expensive to remove the debris. Hence the fields.
Kingfishers come and go through Schenley Park in the fall. Gregory Diskin found this female at the lake on September 30, then saw none until last week.
When the lake freezes this bird will leave for a site with open water. Until then, keep your ears open for the rattling call of an occasional fisher.
(photo by Gregory Diskin)
p.s. Want to see a kingfisher soon? Check Duck Hollow where Nine Mile Run empties into the Monongahela River.