Today is Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Bit Nippy Outside

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Turkey Vulture

A cool brisk morning was just what the Doctor ordered. With Daylight Saving Time over with, we can expect the nighttime to get here maybe before 5 0'Clock in the evening. Cold weather is definitely not my cup of tea. My butterfly garden is almost gone as such is most of my butterflies. I almost wish I could do like the groundhog underneath my out shed and hibernate the winter away. The construction behind my house is probably why I have groundhogs.

Anthony Gray and I embarked into the highways and byways of Wilson County hoping to find a few of our feathered friends. Anthony had plans on where to go and to me, it sounded like a plan. Starting out, we went to the Cedars of Lebanon State Park and checked out the campground. With a little nip in the air, the campers that were awake, were huddled around the campfires. Others were most likely still snuggled up in their beds, especially the tent campers.

Moving about in the Cedar Forest were a small group of White-tailed Deer, probably knowing that they were safe from the legal hunters that were on the prowl. We could hear American Crows and Bluejays fussing way back in the trees out in the forestry section. Up close, the calls of the Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadees were prevalent. You can usually find these small birds most anywhere you travel.

Headed toward Norene, we pass several vehicles pulled off the road. These drivers are probably out scouting for prime hunting spots. Even the Woodpeckers were quiet as we sat in the heavily wooded area on Cedar Forest Road. Up about a hundred yards away, we spot a patch of bright day-glow orange moving slowly through the undergrowth. Up ahead of the person wearing the orange, the voice of a White-breasted Nuthatch, "Nuk nuk nuk" is heard.

Crossing over Cainsville Road, we come onto Sherrilltown Road. Many times this year, we have worn out the asphalt here. This is a perfect place for Eastern Bluebirds. We have been out this way dozens of time, but to be different, we turn right on Porterfield Hill Road. This is the road that really goes through the community of Sherrilltown. There is a high hill right in the center of the road. We pass by a small farm pond where we find a small group of Red-winged Blackbirds. These birds have lost a lot of their bright wing feathers.

Turning left on Rocky Branch Road, we find even more Eastern Bluebirds. I believe that Wilson County must have a larger population of Bluebirds than some of the surrounding ones. There is more fussing coming from a family of Crows. Might be some more hunters up on the hillside. This road meanders through the high hills and soon comes out on Statesville Road where we take a left.

On down towards Watertown we turn onto Patton Hollow Road. More Eastern Bluebirds live here also. We run beside a small shallow creek, that must have an abundance of minnows as we watch a Belted Kingfisher strike the water and then comes up with her lunch. We come past a lot of trees that is inundated with Northern Cardinals. We haven't seen many all morning until now. Most of them are females.

Soon we turn onto Rock Springs Road, for our first time ever and find ourselves back in the sleepy community of Statesville. There is a lot of things different now, as there are no small grocery stores. There was a time where you could stop and get a bologna sandwich and a Pepsi Cola. Those were the good old days.

We thought we had found a large flock of Wild Turkeys over in a large hay field. Before Anthony could write them down, we discovered that they were really a large flock of Vultures. There was about a fifty-fifty mix of Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures. Turkey vultures possess a greater sense of smell than the black ones and the black ones will follow the Turkey Vultures to their next meal.

We head back down Greenvale Road and drive up to the top of a small cemetery that gives you a great view of the surrounding countryside. I hear an old familiar song coming from the treetops. This is the first Yellow-rumped Warbler that we have seen this year. We usually find them in abundance out at Longhunter State Park during the winter months.

Taking a right onto Old Goose Creek Road we find American Kestrals actively feeding from one of the overhead power lines. They seem to be annoyed at our presence and soon move to the other side of the road. It is now time to head back toward Lebanon and then meet Diana Bright at Peking Chinese Restaurant for a great meal. After Peking we stop at the Jimmy Floyd Center to shoot our weekly video.

It was good to hear from Cordell Winfree, who is an avid reader of my article in the Wilson Post. Cordell has been involved with the education of many of our children, including mine, and is a good friend.

I would love to hear from you as to what's lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can write me at, 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at, rpope15@bellsouth.net

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Our Feathered Friends
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Anthony Gray, Diana Bright, Ray Pope
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