This might just be the last of our spring time winters. I have never seen the like of the blooming of the Blackberry plants. It seems that everywhere Anthony Gray and myself go on some of our bird travels, that we see plenty blooms on the roadside. If we do have another cold spell after this "Blackberry Winter", it would be what some of the old timers call "Cotton Britches Winter". I am not sure how that one came about.
I wrote about my bird program at the Cedars of Lebanon State Park with some members of the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center in last weeks story. Anthony and myself participated in this years Tennessee Ornithological Society's spring bird count, held on the tenth of May. Melissa Turrentine is the president of the John W.Sellars chapter of the (TOS), which meets here in the Lebanon area once a month.
We started out early at 7am and headed down Alhambra Drive to a spot where a small spring begins it's journey and then empty's into Barton's Creek. There was a lot of bird activity in the area, especially with me using my new toy, the parabolic microphone. It amplifies sound striking the disk and concentrating the sound to a point where the pickup mike is located. I had to be careful at what location I was pointing it to, because it was so super sensitive that just the crunching gravel under the tires sounded like a hail storm on a tin roof.
Our next stop was at the bridge on Maple Hill Road, where the waters of Barton's creek flow towards Old Hickory Lake. We were greeted by about twenty-five Barn Swallows that use the under parts of the bridge for their nesting colony. Other birds that should have been there were the resident Wood Ducks, which we have found in the area for the past twenty years. I believe that many areas have been turned into subdivisions, which usually require clearing of the land, which is detrimental to the survival of many of our species of birds. I know people want to move out into the country, but please do not clear cut all of the trees on the property.
Coming out of Trices Bluff Road, we turn left headed to Cedar Grove Road and made our first stop around the marshy area behind Greenbriar Lake. It was too quiet, not even a spring peeper was lurking about. In times past, this area should be full of spring migrants and most every species that we have of Woodpeckers. This was my first place ever to hear the call of the Barred Owl. Going on around to Belotes Ferry Road, we made our stop where Spring Creek comes under the old bridge. In this area we could hear the song of the Prothonotary Warbler along with the call of an Indigo Bunting. This bright blue bird was found on just about every country road here in Wilson County and even in my own backyard. If the sunlight is low or nonexistant, this little fellow looks more black than blue.
We circled around several back roads and managed to find 58 different species of birds, not bad for a five hour search. Anthony had to leave for some family time, so I met up with Melissa Turrentine to total up all the birds seen between us for the count. With everything tallied, we wound up with a total of 98 species seen here in Wilson County. Melissa said that she was going back out toward the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, in hopes of locating a couple of birds that should have been in the area. I haven't heard any more from her since that Saturday to see if she reached the magic number of one hundred. All in all, it was a very good day of birding.
Since most everyone at the Senior Center was afraid to go out and get wet, I will ask Teresa Botts, if we can schedule another quick trip in June to look for birds, or to just get out of town for a couple of hours. Another good friend, Diana Bright was asking about taking a bird trip in the future out at Cedar Forest, a place she enjoys visiting.
I would love to hear from you as to what's lurking about in your neighborhood, or at your feeders. You can write me at, 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at, firstname.lastname@example.org