Today is Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Excitement in the air

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Here is another slightly chilly start to our morning travel, hopefully in the bird world. Birds seem to be at a standstill just before spring arrives with the breeding season at hand. In another month, the excitement should be in the air.

Anthony Gray knocked at my door this past Saturday morning before I was ready to answer it. A few more winks would have been perfect for me. We headed east on the Old Rome Pike into the sunrise, which had not warmed the air very much. Taking a left onto Spring Creek Road, we found several families of Eastern bluebirds strung out on the entire route.

In my own backyard, a pair of bluebirds has already staked out one of my boxes to raise their family. I really miss Roy Garr, especially during this time of the year. Most anybody who cared for bluebirds would purchase mealworms from Roy at a very good price. Now you can find large bags of dried mealworms at most bird supply stores. Someone gave me a bag of these which I tried feeding. To me, it was a waste of money. I have looked them up on Amazon and have found several dealers that will ship live worms. I will give these a try.

We came out on the "new" Old Hartsville Pike where we found a sleepy Red-tailed hawk sitting on a high limb sunning himself, or herself. Woe until any jackrabbit that scurried along while it was watching. We took a right onto Taylorsville, taking us to Big Springs Road. There is much farmland there that used to belong to Harold and Sara Stanford.

In the old days, we would look down by the creek and find a plethora of different shorebirds. Greater and Lesser yellowlegs were in plentiful supply. I don't know who owns the property now, but I would love to get permission from them to let me check out the creek for shorebirds. The creek is partially fed by the "Big Spring" that gives the road its name. I have never known this creek to dry up, even during some of the droughts we have had in the past.

Driving past the old Stanford place, we found a small flock of goldfinch feeding on the side of the road. I still run into friends who tell me they don't see any goldfinch and wonder where they have gone. I have plenty of them at my house to go around and would gladly let you have some of mine. They are now colored olive-drab but, closer to spring, the males will be turning a brighter, familiar yellow. Close by, we found more Eastern bluebirds.

We took a left on Conatser Road and found a huge contingent of both Turkey and Black vultures. The unused TVA transmission towers there form a huge roost for these beneficial birds of doom and despair. Small groups of Field sparrows dot the twist and turns of the road ahead. We turned onto Walter Morris Road, which soon turns into a pig path when it goes over into Smith County. We residents of Wilson County should be proud of our road system.

We hit Highway 70 and went through Rome and Rock City and turned left onto Highway 25. We ran this all the way to where Highway 141 heads north in Hartsville. Turning left on Browning Branch Road took us to Highway 231. This is more prime bluebird territory. To shorten my long-winded story, we headed back toward Lebanon and took a left on Gilmore Hill Road.

We stopped at the famous Blowed Out Bridge on South Dickerson Road. This boat launch area has been closed since the middle of November and just reopened this past Wednesday. We were greeted by a Great blue heron off to the right of the slew. One lonely pair of Canada geese took to the water when we pulled up. In the treetops were Carolina chickadees, Field sparrows, Tufted titmouse and one stray Yellow-rumped warbler. Before we left, we shot our weekly video from off of the bridge.

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 rpope16@bellsouth.net.

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Our Feathered Friends
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Anthony Gray, Harold Stanford, Our Feathered Friends, Ray Pope, Roy Garr, Sara Stanford
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