Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Our Feathered Friends

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Chestnut sided Warbler
Northern Bobwhite Quail

It's hard to believe that I have reached a slight milestone in my bird articles. This one is number 400, and I certainly hope to make it for several more years, good Lord willing. It's not easy coming up with things to write about each week. Anthony Gray has been a great help to me and a great friend first of all. He wasn't able to make it this weekend because his wife Linda Gray had taken ill and had to go to the hospital. I really hope she is feeling better.

Diana Bright and I headed out to the Cedars of Lebanon State Park after our lunch at Peking. We were in hopes of talking to Diane Oliver about our cabin reservation. She was somewhere in the park having her lunch and we never crossed paths.

Driving through the campgrounds we found it to be full. Singing in the treetops we heard the song of a Summer Tanager. This bright red bird, the only solid red bird we can find during the summer months, can be heard up in the canopy on any given day. More common birds are also found at Cedars. Blue Jays wait patiently above picnic tables, waiting to sneak down and steal a quick meal from unsuspecting campers.

Driving on out Cedar Forest Road, we made a stop where the Sue Warren Trail enters. Taking my parabolic microphone, I could hear bird calls that would not register with the naked ears. I heard an old familiar song off in the distance. It was the song of the Chestnut-sided Warbler. It is a soft whistled, "sweet sweet sweet, I'll switch you." This is one of the first warbler songs that I learned.

Diana was intrigued with the super ears and quickly started a conversation with a Tufted Titmouse. She would whistle at it and it would return the song back to her. Driving on down to Norene, we stopped by the general store there to purchase a couple of drinks and of course a Powerball ticket. You know, $90 million would buy a great pair of binoculars and plenty property to birdwatch on. Evidently, I didn't win.

On Cedar Forest Road we pulled up next to a young tom Turkey. It didn't seem too scared of us as we could have reached out the window and touched it. Diana decided to use her best turkey imitation and stuck her head out the window and started gobbling at it. The poor bird was practically scared out of it's wit, and instead of flying off it took off running, tearing the weeds all to pieces as it got the heck out of Dodge. I can't say that I blame it for tearing out.

Headed back toward Lebanon, we took a right on Beech Log Road. This is one of the best scenic drives in Wilson County with a low valley then climbing up onto one of the highest points around before running into Sparta Pike. There was another wild Turkey up by the creek there, and we had the same results as we did with the first one. I then had to make a quick stop at a plant vendor to get a few more flowers for my garden. I was lucky as it was their last day and I was able to purchase them BOGO.

Leaving there we headed toward Watertown and took a left on Holmes Gap Road. This follows the railroad tracks for several miles until we heard a very familiar call right outside our car. It was the call of the Northern Bobwhite Quail. The Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus) has all but disappeared from our area, mostly because of declining territories. Lots of old farmland is being cleared and sold to make rooms for subdivisions, where the land is now neatly manicured lawns.

We caught a left on Cedar Hill Road which took us on over to the small community of Commerce. We stopped at one point to watch a pair of Northern Mockingbirds tried to put a whupping on a crow that had ventured too close to one of it's babies. Mockers can really get riled up and will even harass a cat if they take a notion to.

There was one cat that lived next door to me and it's life was a living heck because of the birds. One of them would land in front of the cat, just a few feet away. When the cat tried to sneak up, the other would come in from the back and peck the cat in the back of the head. This cat evidently took it upon itself to move on.

We drove up Big Springs road on the northeast part of the county. There along the creek, we used to find a plethora of wading birds in the creek. I do not know the property owners now, but would surely love to get permission to bird along their creek.

We came out on Old Hartsville Pike and skedaddled on up to Beasleys Bend Road. Many Eastern Bluebirds were out hunting for their little ones. While in the neighborhood, we stopped at the "blown out bridge." There were about 20 people fishing there and it made me want to go also.

Headed back home we made a quick stop at Al's Foodland for some hamburger and hotdog buns for a cookout later that evening. I was tickled to see Vidalia onions already here and at a low price. Dinner outside was a complete success, with only one fly making an appearance.

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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