Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eastward Ho

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Eastern Meadowlark

Where did the humidity go? This past Saturday morning begins with a cool 60 degrees. Of course to me, it felt like I was going to freeze. There was not a cloud in the sky all day long.

Anthony Gray picked me up right at eight on the dot this past Saturday morning. Two weeks ago we headed to the northern part of Wilson County. This past week, we headed south to some of our old familiar haunts, mostly around the Cedars of Lebanon State Park. This week, we head east.

Driving east on the Old Hartsville Pike, we take a right turn on the Taylorsville Road which turns into Goshen Road. We didn't see much here except several Eastern Meadowlarks. Stopping on the bridge over the little Cedar Creek, just about the only thing we could hear was the buzz of the Dog Day Cicada. These are a green color double ugly insect that can make a little girl scream.

Headed out Goshen Road, we take a left onto NE Young Road. Here we find Northern Cardinals all over the place. In a large hay field we find a plethora of Field Sparrows. These are a small dull colored bird that lives up to their name. You will only find them around open fields and not in a wooded area. I believe that I have only had one of them at my bird feeders. This was before they started building the apartment complex behind my home. We also find several Eastern Kingbirds dancing along the power lines in this section of the road.

We turn onto Centerhill Road which winds around and turns into Bellwood Road East at the Smith County line. We also find Northern Cardinals all up and down this road. There is still the drone of the Cicadas all over the place. We drive down next to a small creek that soon goes under the road next to a driveway that had an old tractor sitting out, rusting away. Me and Anthony always make some kind of statement that we would love to try and get the tractor in a running condition. It even has steel wheels on it.

Just before we start up a hill, next to an old cemetery and a very tall fir tree, we hear the call of an Indigo Bunting. We have found several places along the road that we could actually hear them singing louder that those dad burn cicadas. Upon a wooded hillside we hear the repeated call of a Red-eyed Vireo. More Northern Cardinals even more Eastern Kingbirds round out the total species of birds found in this area.

We travel down Spar Mine Road which turns into Conatser Road as it hits the Wilson County Line. Fast forward, we wind up on Hiwassee Road close to the Rome community. Here in a freshly cut field, we find a Red-tailed Hawk sitting atop one of the round bales of hay, looking out for its lunch. We find one spot where some deer met its demise and now the flock of Black and Turkey Vultures, will soon render the road kill to just bones and bits of tough hide.

Next to the Cumberland River we find more Northern Cardinals and Meadowlarks. In another field, we find American Kestrels hunting over a fresh mowed area. Just over the river from where the cooling tower of the defunct Hartsville Nuclear Plant is, there is a large flock of Barn Swallows swooping over a large field of Soybeans. Woe to any flying insect that takes to the wing there. Once again we have a road name change as Hiwassee Road turns into Cedar Bluff Road as we come back into Wilson County.

Getting back on the Hartsville Pike, we go north over the river and take a right on Cemetery Lane, which runs down to the river at a boat ramp. Out over the surface of the river we find hundreds of Rough-winged Swallows wheeling and soaring, feasting on the large number of flying insects.

We drive toward Carthage on Highway 25, but get side tracked where the highway is blocked by a rock slide close to Carthage. Getting onto Highway 80, we take a right onto Tanglewood Road and then onto the old Highway 25 which gets us around the rock slide.

Anyway we wind up on the Grant Road where we find more Meadowlarks. All along this route, we find Eastern Bluebirds everywhere. Once we get close to the Grant Cedar Mill, the aroma of the fresh cut cedar fills the air. We head back to Lebanon and grab us a burger at Uncle Pete's where we are waited on by a close friend, Britney Taylor. I have known her and her family since she was about 10 years old.

You can write me at 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at, rpope15@bellsouth.net

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