I certainly hope that this past "Polar Vortex" will be the last that we hear of it until next year. Maybe they can come up with some completely new phrase to call a cold spell.
This past Saturday morning, Anthony Gray and myself got back in to our regular birding ritual. It is hard to sit around and do nothing to get your creative juices flowing, so we drive around in the county hoping to find something that might spark our imagination. Of course our first stop is Peking Chinese Restaurant, where our waitress, May takes care of our every culinary desires.
We head out South Hartmann Drive and the first bird, we find, beside starlings is a Female American Kestral, clutching what looks like a Vole. It is very plump and will make her an excellent meal. We find these on all of our travels as we make our way out through the countryside. This time of the year, birds become scarce as hen's teeth, except where someone has gone to the trouble of setting up and maintaining bird feeders.
The only exception is when there is some kind of source of wild food available. As we drove down Cedar Forest Road, the less traveled road to the west, we saw a huge flock of Goldfinch rise up out of a thicket. There were at least 150 in the flock. It had warmed up a tad by then, so we figured that they were not flocked to stay out of the cold, but because they had located a wild food source. Goldfinch have a beak that is adapted to opening the most tiniest of a seed. Some call then Thistle seed which is purchased at some store, but they are now called Nyjer seed. For their size, Nyjer seed gives them more energy than some of the larger seeds.
Crossing over West Richmond Shop Road, we continue on down the narrow gravel road, full of potholes till we come close to the end of the line. Here we find a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers, also feeding on a source of wild seed. The only thing that I could find was the seed pods left over on several Redbud Trees.
Because this area of the Forest is away from the main part, people think that it is a dumping ground. That is like a burr underneath my saddle and I find myself fussing about this nearly every week. There is a trash bin located just to the north of this area. Why dump a commode out in the woods? Wild Turkey and Whitetail Deer have no use for this human throne. Also a load of low-profile tires are just a few yards away, and some of them look almost new. I wish we could increase the dollar amount of fines for idiots that are doing this. Hit them in their pocketbooks and maybe we could have a cleaner environment. Whew!!!!
My birdbath heater is working perfectly, keeping fresh water available even in the coldest of times. It seems that every time that I open my window to get a better picture most of them fly off. I finally was able to capture one of the many female House Finch getting a drink. (see photo)
I received an e-mail from Tammye and Gary Whitaker that they have been watching Bald Eagles right in their own backyard. Tammye sent me a picture of one taken in the trees behind their home, somewhere on Gilmore Hill Road.(see photo) With the harsh winter weather up to the north, Eagles are coming south in droves. Kind of reminds me of a lot of Michigan people spending the winter in Florida. Really can't blame them for that. Kind of wish that I could.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org