Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Real Frog Strangler

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Baltimore Oriole Male

Diana Bright and I headed west to visit her first great grandson in Savanah Tennessee last Friday. There is no direct route in that direction and it seemed to take all day. On the way back, it came a frog strangler, heavy rain for the ones not fluent in deep southern. Speeds were reduced to 40 miles per hour and we didn't get out of it till we turned onto 840 in Dickson.

On the way, we did stop at the David Crockett State Park in Lawrenceburg. Singing in the treetops was a male Summer Tanager, our true red bird. There is a lot of history in our State Parks. Davey Crockett had a powder and grist mill here in 1821, but it was washed away in a flood. Later after his time in Congress, fighting for people's right, he joined up with a bunch in San Antonio, Texas, where he died at the Alamo.

Anthony Gray picked me up bright and early Saturday morning. We headed west on Coles Ferry Pike and dropped by the Bartons Creek Boat ramp. Several people had already staked out their favorite fishing spots. Over to the right we heard the call of the Prothonotary Warbler. This is one of the brightest yellows I have ever seen in the bird world. They make their nest in an abandoned woodpecker nest and always will be found around water.

Headed back to Old Hickory Lake, we stop at Tyree's Access and hear the song of an Eastern Bluebird. The person who owns the property there has a dark wooden fence on both sides of the road, and keeps the property looking good. There are Bluebird houses along the way and each one seems to have a family living in them.

Coming back to Burton Road, we find the boat ramp at Davis Corner completely full of fishermen. There must be some fishing tournament going on somewhere close. Birds found there was several Ring-billed Gulls and one lonely Black Vulture. It seems that every time we stop there, we will always find a Vulture, perhaps waiting on someones dead fish.

Looking over in the shallow slew, we find Great Blue Herons posted on just about every snag in the water. Also back toward the south end there are several Great Egrets. These birds resemble the Great Blues, except that they are snow white in color.

Headed on down Davis Corner Road, we make a stop at the Lone Branch Recreation Area and boat ramp. We find several Canada Goose families along with their smaller young ones. Some of them look very similar to their parents, but a tad smaller. It has begun to rain again and I'm ready to get back into the car and travel on. We are trying to locate one of the nesting Orioles that should be there, but the leaves on the trees are too thick.

North of Mt. Juliet, we head north on Nonaville Road and take a right on Saundersville Road. This will take up out to the Cedar Creek Recreation Area and Campground. This is a pay area that is governed by the United States Corp of Engineers. It is a very beautiful campground and always seems to be full.

On the back side we can see the Osprey Nest with both mom and dad sitting atop the platform. I sure wished that I had brought my spotting scope with us on this trip. There was probably babies there deep into the nest where we couldn.t see them.

Singing overhead we find a Baltimore Oriole. I wonder if this one will be weaving it's nest from fishing line. Usually they will use grasses instead. The beautiful orange feathers almost seem to be on fire if seen in bright sun light.

To our left, there is a strange looking contraption sitting on a platform of concrete. I am thinking that it might be a Chimney Swift tower. There are several flying out over the water and coming back toward us. Chimney Swifts are losing territory right and left. People now a days cap off their chimneys to keep out the birds. During our winter months they live down in Peru where it is summer.

Looking out over the Cumberland River, we can still just make out the Bald Eagles nest in the tree line. We search back and forth, hoping to get a glimpse of one of them. There is so much more boat traffic there today, but it doesn't seem to scare the Double-crested Cormorants away. The island is still full of nesting Cormorants, each one protecting their nest from the others that also nest close by.

Just overhead we watch a Black-crowned Night Heron flying away from his roosting spot by a boat that ventured too close. These birds are mostly nocturnal, but can be found during the day. There used to be a pair of them that stayed close to the Don Fox Park here in Lebanon.

Walking back toward our car, a pair of white domestic ducks came running hoping for a handout. Sorry fellows, we brought no bread with us this trip. Wait a minute, I do have a pack of those orange crackers filled with peanut butter. I take one out and break it up and toss it on the parking lot. One taste is all it takes for them to spit it out. Well buddy, you just caused me to waste my snack on you. The five second rule doesn't apply here because of where I had tossed it. At least, a pair of Cardinals came by and finished off the rest of it.

Sitting at Peking, we watched as the bottom fell out raining. It came down so hard, I couldn't even see Bargain Hunt across the street. It was really nice to have been blessed with the rain this weekend. I had just finished transplanting some Zinnias, hoping to attract some butterflies and this should give them a head start.

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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Anthony Gray, Diana Bright, Ray Pope
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