Red-headed Woodpecker by Gail Morris
It was good to get back on my regular Saturday schedule, with a noon meal and hopefully some good bird sightings. Our trip took us out to Cairo Bend Road where many memories flooded my mind. Many of them were fishing related and the rest were bird trips. I might guess you could say half and half.
Back in the 1980's Anthony Gray, Wiley Taylor and myself took advantage of the 13 year cicadas infestation to do a little fishing. We arrived early in Wiley's truck so we could catch the newly emerged bugs before they could dry the dew off and then fly away. Anthony and me caught plenty fish, but it seemed as if Wiley would be skunked for the days foray. Wiley was determined that we were not leaving until he had at least caught a carp. It took another hour before he finally reeled one in. Suffice it to say, we didn't invite Wiley to go fishing with us again unless we were supplying the transportation.
Several years before that, the Rev. William Senter, John W. Sellars and myself did a lot of bird watching in that area. One of the birds that stands out in my mind was an American Woodcock. This bird was sitting on the ground and was determined not to move from where it was sitting, even though we were standing within six inches of it. I got down on my knees to make sure that it was still alive. It did seem to get a little nervous and did blink once.
Today the biggest thing going was a loud chorus of Spring Peepers, a small frog that could sure make a lot of noise. As we approached the water filled depression, the frogs got very quiet. Anthony stood and watched, hoping to catch a glimpse. It was as if they had never been there singing in the first place. Judging from all the racket, I would think that the puddle probably had over a hundred frogs in it. Anthony might have been better off looking for "Bigfoot". Birds seen in the area were a pair of Pied-bill Grebes, about three Ring-billed Gulls, and one solitary Great Blue Herron. It was almost as bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard.
After getting an e-mail from a couple of friends earlier in the week, we decided to stop off at Gail and Charles Morris' home, hoping to spot the Red-headed Woodpecker that Gail had seen earlier in the week. Their beautiful home is located on the Spring Creek embayment of Old Hickory Lake. This was my second visit with them, and there is always some birds lurking about there.
Gail had taken pictures of an immature Bald Eagle that showed up there on Christmas day several years ago. Karen Franklin along with her children, Anna and Nick went with me there once before. The birds were alright, but the children enjoyed feeding the fish most of all.
With bird feeders hanging high up in the trees away from most predators, she has a high volume of hungry birds close at hand, right outside of her glassed in sun-room. While Gail was looking up her most recent photos of another Bald Eagle, Anthony got to enjoy the upside down antics of a White-breasted Nuthatch, practically at arms reach. Another nocturnal visitor to her feeders include a family of Flying Squirrels, so cute!
Before we started for home, Gail wanted to check on the Woodpecker once more. Sure enough, it was sitting on it's favorite perch, where she first saw it earlier. Believe it or not, I did have my camera, but I didn't have my telephoto lenses on it. It was in Anthony's van. We did get to watch it through our binoculars for a satisfying look at it. The photo this week of the Red-headed Woodpecker is the one that Gail shared with me on Facebook.
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