Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Finally A Bald Eagle

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Bald Eagle, photo by Robin Nation

What a beautiful Saturday morning to be above dirt. This is my favorite time of the year. As long as the weather is this nice, it helps to stir up the blood and get you outside. I do have a very busy schedule today. Diana Bright and I have plans to eat with Randy and Teresa Botts then go to the concert, To Liz With Love. It was a very good show for a very worthy cause.

Anthony Gray picked me up fairly bright and early for our usual Saturday morning excursion into the bird world. Something was still sticking in his craw and he wanted to head back to the lakes. We started out Coles Ferry Pike, then over to Academy Road in the Laguardo area.

Driving out to the launching ramp at the Tyree Access, several species awaited our presence. Sitting right next to one of the many boat docks there, we found a Great Blue Heron doing his or hers favorite thing, fishing. On out in Spencer Creek, we found a Common Loon swimming about a hundred out. This one was preening and every now and then, it exposed it's white belly, then rolled over the other direction. Before we left, the Loon let out it's mournful cry. Very erie, especially if it's after sunset. Kind of reminds me of some of the horror movies from the 80's.

Headed south we catch a right turn on Burton Road and turn into the Davis Corner boat launch area. Out in the middle we find a pair of Pied Bill Grebe. A boat suddenly takes off and the pair dives under the surface of the water. After about fifteen seconds, they surface about fifty yards behind where the boat was. This bird is an excelent diver and practically flies under water.

We stop in the back slew on Burton Road, but the only thing stiring are Great Blue Herons and American Coots. With their white bill, they can be identified from a great distance. One lonely Ring-billed Gull is flying above, hoping to catch it's breakfast.

We turn right on River View Road and drive to Braid Road. This takes us on the opposite shore from the Tyree Access. We still find the common birds such as the Carolina Wren and the Tufted Titmouse in this area singing their little hearts out. Turning around we head south on Benders Ferry Road until we come to the Lonebranch Recreation area.

We look out to the small island that has several nest on it and several Double Crested Cormorants are guarding their place in line. One Great Blue Heron can be seen on a single nest, rearranging the sticks to please itself. In a few weeks, this will be a community, which is protected from all predators except the ones who can fly or swim.

We head down to the city of Mt. Juliet and head west until we reach Nonaville Road. We take this road north and take a right on Saundersville Road. This dead ends at the Cedar Creek Recreation area and campground. We can get a different perspective of the island where we found the Cormorants nest.

Scanning the tree line to the west, Anthony spots a large mass of something that might be an eagle's nest. It is at least a mile and a quarter away and our binoculars are not powerful enough to tell if this might be a nest. We make plans to come back with my spotting scope and tripod to get a better look see at this possible nest.

After out Peking Chinese fix with Anthony's wife, Linda Gray and two of their grandchildren, Ali and Madi Hoffman, we head back out to where we thought might be an Eagles nest.

Arriving back at the Cedar Creek Recreation Area, we set up my spotting scope and zoom in on the nest in question. We are tickled to see the nest close up and a Bald Eagle sitting just up above it. Our quest has ended, finally. It is too far away to get a picture and is on private property over the river in Sumner County. Maybe we can figure out who owns the place and get permission to get a little closer and maybe get some decent photos.

Looking back north at the Cedar Creek Yacht Club, we see a man made structure made from a telephone pole where we find a pair of nesting Ospreys. Another name for this bird is a "Fish Eagle". They are equipted with a reversible toe on their foot that helps them hold on to a slippery fish.

Most everyone who knows me calls me the "Birdman". That name was first bestowed on me by my good friend, the late Neal Blackburn, photographer extraordinaire. So people come up to me with their bird stories and there are plenty of them.

Margaret Gentry approached me one day last week at the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center to tell me about having Purple Martins on the first of March. This is just a tad early for this bird, but with all of the warmer weather and flying insect activity, it makes sense. Margaret, along with her husband, Richard Gentry have out two Martin Houses. Have your Purple Martins arrived yet?

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.ne

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Anthony Gray, Ray Pope, Robin Nation, Teresa Botts
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