Today is Friday, August 18, 2017

Mutant Swan at Cherokee

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A Raft of American Coots

There is not a whole lot to brag on this week. Weather is starting to turn back colder and a possibility of the dreaded white fluff this past Sunday night. The only difference this week was the sighting of Randy and Teresa Botts at my favorite Chinese restaurant, which starts my usual Saturday proceedings. After a plate of Moo Goo, and Yushang, we hopped in the car and headed toward Mt. Juliet on Highway 70.

We turned north, headed back toward Lone Branch recreation area in hopes of finding something note worthy to write about. The small island in a southerly direction where all of the big nest were located, seemed to be occupied by a huge lot of squatters looking to hold their positions in line for the up-coming nesting season. Every visible nest contained at least a single Double Crested Cormorant, holding firm, even though breeding season is still a couple of months away. One might guess that the phrase, "you snooze, you lose", might just apply in this sense of the season.

The temperature was holding in the mid 40's because of the lack of strong sunshine. That didn't keep several brave anglers at home in front of the telly, watching last years version of the Bassmasters Classic. It would have been too chilly for me to be out in the cool weather, but Anthony Gray and myself did suck it up and tried to find a few of our feathered friends. There was a large raft of waterbirds headed our direction, but too far away to be identified at that distance. A single white domestic duck and a female Mallard, called a "Suzie" did everything they could to get Anthony to toss a few scraps of bread in their general direction. It seemed as if old Scrooge tried to ignore them all together, but vowed to bring something for them the next visit.

On around the bend in the backwater area we found a single Great Blue Heron at the waters edge, trying to find his next meal. The closer we got the further he walked, away from us. Anthony tried to sneak up on him by keeping a tree between him and the view of Anthony. If it had been a larger tree, it might have worked. Just maybe, the Heron thought the tree had grown human limbs and decided not to trust what he was looking at. Coming back toward where the car was parked, the other birds, now closer was seen to be a huge flock of American Coots.

We headed back east along Davis Corner Road and stopped back in the Laguardo area which didn't have much to see. More fishermen there and it seemed to be a boat on every point and stump in Spencer Creek, looking for bass. We headed up to Cherokee Steak house for a quick look see. Anthony spotted his old buddy, the knot-headed mutant swan looking critter, that almost took off half of his face several years earlier at a Hartmann Luggage Christmas dinner. Anthony was down on one knee, feeding the ducks, when he turned around and was staring into the eyes of this vicious bird. He always said that I should have warned him about the danger lurking about at his rear. It was too funny to say anything. I wished that I had brought my camera to savor the moment and give myself a good chuckle back then.

Well, over the river and through the woods, we came out in downtown Cairo, a once thriving community on the Cumberland River, and across from where we were last week. Still nothing to brag about, except when we spotted a small herd of female deer at the Bledsoe Creek State Park. Immediate plans were eventually scrapped to return later in the warmer months to do a little camping, when Anthony got to thinking about snakes close to the tents. He hates snakes! With the weather headed toward a more normal pattern, we should have something better to report. There were more birds in my own backyard than we counted all day long on our excursion.

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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