A few minutes later, we were watching the antics of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher who showed up to see what was going on in his world up in the tree tops. These small birds use spiderweb to glue lichen to a horizontal limb for their nest, much the same as a Ruby-throated Hummingbird does. The Gnatcatchers look like a Mockinbird, but scaled down to about 1/3rd the size.
At 7 O’clock Saturday morning I was met by my partner, Melissa Turrentine, president of the John W. Sellars chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society to lead a birdwalk around the area of the Dixon Merritt Nature Center and Jackson Cave. Melissa will send me the total list of birds seen on our walk and I will pass the information on to you, hopefully in next weeks article. A couple birds that I must mention on our walks was a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and a Red-shouldered Hawk. The Hawk has nested somewhere in the area for several years. Toots Willis got there a little late, but in time to see several birds. Toots, next year make sure to set your clock.
If you get a chance to visit the Dixon Merritt Nature Center, be sure to ask about the Prairie Kingsnake, in the office area. This is one beautiful snake. Natalie Janney is the seasonal in charge of the nature center and also a very good friend. I hope to get with her during the warm months to do some bird or owl programs in the park.
Mr. Grasshopper himself, Wayne (Buddy) Ingram was the driver for my Owl prowl during the late evening program. Buddy and me go back a long way as friends go. The first stop we tried to locate the Screech Owl behind Campground #1. Someone was shooting a gun over in a small subdivision and most likely had the Owls looking for a different place for the night.
We made our way up the hill to the Swimming pool parking lot where I tried the Barred Owl call. It didn’t take long before we were serenaded with the call, “ who cooks for you, who cooks for you all”. My bread and butter birds did not disappoint that night, even coming close enough for the 25 plus people to get a good look at it. All good things must come to an end and I am already looking forward to next years event. I really missed Karen Franklin this year but she was under the weather. Maybe we can make it later in the spring before all the good stuff goes north.
I would love to hear from you as to whats lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can write me at 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087 or call me at 547-7371 or e-mail me ar firstname.lastname@example.org