Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

Down by the River Side

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Red-tailed Hawk in my Backyard

There is always someone who thinks about predictions about the weather. Up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, people have taken it upon themselves to turn to a large rodent to let them know when spring arrives. I am sure many of you had wished that "Phill" had not seen his shadow back on February the 2nd. I, myself have a more straight forward, scientific approach when it comes to weather. All I have to do is drive out to our local radio station, WANT-Fm and walk into studio "A" and observe my favorite disc jockey, M.J. Lucas on the morning show. If she is bundled up where all you can see is her eyes, it's going to be cold. If she is wearing her shorts in February, spring time is fast approaching. I'll have to go along with M.J. on this one.

Anthony Gray and I headed back out to the old "Blown-out-bridge" this past Saturday after out visit to Peking. When we turned the corner, we could see that the gate was open. There was only one lonely fisherman out on the lake in a bright red kayak. He was much braver than we were. Three Great Blue Herons flew across the water while one of them landed on an old fence post, just sticking above the surface, the other two just kept on moving on. Still too distant for a good photo, even with my 300mm telephoto lens.

Something else caught our eye, really it caught our ears. Even with snow and some still frozen ground, we could hear a small chorus of spring Peepers singing like there wasn't no tomorrow. I might guess that they were also tired of this winter weather hanging on past it's time. I am ready to do some planting and already thinking ahead to some home grown tomatoes. One lonely pair of Ring-billed Gulls was also found there on South Dickerson Chapel Road.

Headed east from there we motored on out toward Speck Road, where we watched the antics of a family of White-breasted Nuthatches. (see photo) These are the amazing little fellows that seems to defy the laws of gravity. Their world consist of an up-side-down existence. It was too early in the season for them to be very vocal. These birds can also be seen around the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, where they visited me while camping there. I would spread a small dab of peanut butter on one of the trees at my campsite, and they would be eating before I could get back to my seat. Up higher in the same tree, we find a Red-bellied Woodpecker. (see photo)

Driving by the "Big Springs" on Big Springs Road, we could see that the spring was working double time. This sits on private property and I would love to be able to get permission to walk around there. In all my years out that way, I have never known of it drying up. Watercress stays green in the stream year round. I've never tasted it but I hear it is good to add to a salad.

Turning onto Trousdale Ferry Pike we find a very large flock of Wild Turkeys feeding in the area next to Jennings Fork Creek. Many of the hen turkeys will soon be mated and raising their own clutch of little gobblers. Several Eastern Bluebirds sit in the overhead wires on that stretch of road. Ever now and then we spot American Kestrals hovering over the hay fields looking for voles or other assorted mouse like creatures.

Turning onto North Commerce Road, we stop for photos along a no-named creek, according to Map Quest. This is one of my favorite spots to "bird" during the warmer months. There is always a pair of Eastern Phoebees using the underside of the bridge for a nesting site. To the west the creek has a series of five small step downs or minor waterfalls. I seem to have a picture of this for every season and now currently have this photo on my Facebook page for my cover photo.

Once past Interstate 40, it's called South Commerce Road and winds it's way into Watertown where we stop at Three Forks Market for a cold drink, or "drank", as Anthony calls it. Headed back into Lebanon, we hope for a little more bird excitement in my own back yard.

This past week or two, there is a female Red-tailed Hawk that frequents my yard, (see photo). The birds that feed here, pay her no attention as she is not a swift flyer. But let a Coopers Hawk come around, it's "Katie bar the door". The only thing she will see are my bird's shadows, as they head for the thickest cover that they can find.

We sat in the back yard hoping for Anthony to get a look see at her, but she must have been somewhere else looking for dinner. As Anthony left for home, he couldn't have been much past the bypass, when she decided to make her appearance. It kind of seems like a "day late and a dollar short". When breeding begins, she will be mobbed by all kinds of brave birds trying to chase her away. Even the high flying Vultures will have to put up with these brave souls, even though they pose no danger to them.

My precious Mother, Margie R. Pope passed away Tuesday Morning, March 10th, 2015. Services at Sellars Funeral Home with visitation this Thursday from 2pm through 8pm. Visitation on Friday from 12 noon with funeral at 2pm. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank You.

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, Margie Pope, Mj Lucas, Ray Pope
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