Today is Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Noisy Little Buggers

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Spring Peeper

Back to February, need I say more. This weather has been something else this whole month. Yesterday, Friday, it was a balmy 80 degrees and Saturday morning we awoke to temperatures in the low 40's. We will most likely finish this month where we should have been already.

Anthony Gray was just a tad late because of having to get some blood work done. We tried to go in different directions than what we had gone in the past. I am afraid that you, the reader might get tired of the same old places that we go to. There is only so many roads here in this county that we can cover.

We head down the Old Murfreesboro Road and then take a right turn onto Bartons Creek Road. Here we find an American Kestral swooping above a just plowed and disked field. I am not sure where the mice and voles were, but I am sure that their lives had been disrupted by the farmer. Over in another fenced lot were a few llamas or alpacas, not sure of which species, but one of the other.

We turn onto the Old Shannon Road and head south. There are hundreds of American Robins all over the place. It's a shame, but the starlings outnumber the Robins at least in this area, ten to one. Several of you that love to shoot their shotguns could have a field day popping several starlings at a time. They are not protected and there is a limit of ten thousand a day, if you can afford the shells. Just trying to be funny. Shoot all you like.

We turn onto Pinhook Drive and drive past a few Eastern Bluebirds families along the way. Another right turn puts us back on the Old Murfreesboro Road, headed south once more. We stop on a small bridge over a small creek to listen for birds. We don't find any birds calling here, but we do find a bunch of Spring Peepers singing in the edges of the stream.

Spring Peepers are a small Chorus Frog one inch in size, some smaller and some larger. They have a vocal sac that they fill with air and then deflated like a balloon to make their calls. You will hear them when the weather starts to warm up in early spring or before.

We travel south on McCreary Road which soon passes underneath Interstate 840 where we come out in front of the Superspeedway. Here we find several funnels of both Black and Turkey Vultures catching some good thermals which carry them higher and higher, almost out of sight.

Headed east on Highway 452 takes us over into Rutherford county for a while before we turn onto Powells Chapel Road. This is another Eastern Bluebird heaven. We see several Purple Martin houses placed out in some good areas. It's a little early for the Martins, but the middle of March might find them here as long as we have flying insect activity.

It seems that we are doing more driving than bird watching. This cold spell could be the reason that the birds are hunkered down instead of flying about. Powells Chapel road becomes Fall Creek Road and soon comes out on Highway 231, where we head south over the county line to turn left onto Alsup Mill Road. We drive to the conclusion of Alsup Mill Road which becomes Spain Hill road then east on St. Johns Road. This would be a good drive around the first of May when our spring migration starts.

Crossing over Cainsville Road onto Dillon Road we find a small flock of Field Sparrows feeding alongside a small stream. We continue on up Dillon and then take a right onto Charles Smith Road. The first part of this drive is pure Bluebird territory. This runs out on Oregon Road which takes us out to North Milton Road. To make a long story short we wind up on Greenvale Road which runs by Florida Creek. Here we find White-throated Sparrows. This drive has brought us back to Cainsville Road that takes us back to Lebanon.

It is time to eat so we head to the Snow White Restaurant for burgers, fries, and sweet tea. Our Waitress, Nichole Wainscott, already knows exactly what I want for dinner and waste no time getting our meals to us. Anthony drives around looking for a place to film our weekly video, not wanting to repeat ourselves too often. We wind up at the small round white building on the Castle Heights campus. The wind is blowing so hard, you can't hear what we are saying for the first twenty minutes. Next week, the boat ramp at the Blowed Out Bridge will be open so we might just do our video there.

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.net

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Anthony Gray, Ray Pope
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