Today is Saturday, July 29, 2017

Into the Sunrise

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Brown Thrasher

I almost hated to see the freezing temperatures down in the mid 20's as everything that has grown since spring is dead. I had a wonderful success with my Butterfly garden and am looking forward to doing it all over again next year.

I had just finished eating a banana for breakfast when Anthony Gray showed up at my door. It didn't take a minute to load up all of my equiptment and then head out for a new adventure. We never know what we will find and maybe some time we will find some new species that we haven't seen before.

We drive out Highway 231 North and then take a right turn on Africa Road. Back when I was a small child, I have heard stories about this road and didn't care much about going there, especially after dark. That is all now in my past and it also looks much different now. The road is not overgrown and it no longer looks like it could be part of a jungle.

Small birds were scarce except for a few small one that flew up into a tree. We couldn't get a look at them to tell what they were. Off in the distance we could hear the "Caw caw caw" of the American Crow, just maybe he was alerting the other animals in the woods that some hunter was near. Bluejays are bad about fussing at humans to alert squirrels that danger is near. I've had that happen to me a time or two.

Turning left onto the new, Old Hartsville Pike we spot a Red-tailed Hark sitting on an overhead powerline enjoying the early morning sun. Just maybe he will find a nice juicy rabbit out and about. Most Hawk that we find seem to be plump and fit. We turn right onto Taylorsville road and stop on the bridge over Cedar Creek. This is about the least amount of waterflow that we have ever seen there. This drought is taking a toll on more than us humans.

Over to the right we find a Little Green Heron, hoping to catch something to eat. If we don't get some rain soon, several of our creeks may go dry. Pray for rain people. As soon as we leave the bridge, we find a Great Blue Heron headed back from where we came. Off to the south, we find a large funnel of Vultures, Turkeys and Blacks. Most of the time they are catching thermals, but this time they are circling toward the ground. Something has died.

Headed on out Goshen Road, we take a feft on N.E. Young Road and then a right onto Centerhill Road. This drive is pure Eastern Bluebird paradise, more than you can shake a stick at. A Brown Thrasher flies across the road, right in front of us. I have had these beautiful birds for years at my home. Since the construction of the appartments behind my home has started, my former tenants, Mr. and Mrs. Brown Thrasher has moved on. I also have to take a "hosepipe" to wash off the dirt from my car windows two or three times a week, because the big equiptment really stirs up the dust.

An American Kestral has taken up an advantage point on a telephone wire overlooking a large hay field. This is an excellent looking place for Meadow Mice and Voles. Up next to the small creek an old, old tractor sits idle, probably where it was parked many years ago. Atop the tractor, a Northern Mocking bird sits on the exhaust pipe. This antique must be his favorite sitting spot from where he ambushes insects unaware of his presence.

Up around the next curve, an old cemetery is watched over by a large tall Fir Tree. An old log cabin house used to sit here. In the early spring the whole front yard was covered in beautiful yellow buttercups. The old house was bulldozed, but you will still find a few patches of the buttercups still there.

On down the road, it comes to a fork and we head left onto Spar Mine Road. This will take us over to the Hiwassee Road. We find old century farms in this area just loaded with cattle. Eastern Bluebirds are here thicker than bugs on a bumper. Most likely these farmers have been placing out nesting boxes for their little blue friends.

Another Kestral takes to the wing as we approach his roosting place. Up ahead we find a plethora of Field Sparrows feeding in the thicket that runs alongside the road. Several Crows are starting a ruckus up ahead, more hunters? In a shallow stream we find one lonely Kingfisher, just a chattering away. He had better be carefull not to dive on some minnow in these shallow waters, for fear of breaking his neck. A pair of Northern Flickers fly across the road just in front of us with their white tail patch just a shining.

Off to the north we get a closeup look at the old cooling tower from the now defunct Hartsville Nuclear Plant. Millions of Dollars just flushed down the drain. We take a left on Providence Road and then a right onto Riadon Road where we find another American Kestral and some stupid starlings, yuck. We take this road over to the Old Hartsville Pike and head toward Hartsville.

Over the bridge of the Cumberland River we take a right on Old Ferry Road and Cemetery Road until we come to the boat ramp. Off in the distance we find another Great Blue Herons and a few Ring-billed Gulls. We back-track and drive through Hartsville and head east toward Carthage. I don't remember much of this drive as I was cat napping along the way.

Leaving Carthage we come up to Conatsers Road and here we find Chipping Sparrows and one solitary Coopers Hawk. On Phillips Road we find Bluejays, Field Sparrows and Northern Cardinals. Its been a good morning and time for our Peking fix.

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,

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Our Feathered Friends
Anthony Gray, Ray Pope
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