Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Our Feathered Friends

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Black Billed Cuckoo
Blue Grosbeak

I am not sure how many storms we've had in the past week, but everywhere I look I see tree damage. When I went to Publix this past Thursday, there were blue skies with a few big clouds up above. After about 10 minutes inside, when we were ready to leave, it was raining cats and dogs. On the way home there were new trees down in the yards, and on Edgewood Drive the road was completely blocked by a large tree that had fallen in the last few minutes.

After Anthony Gray picked me up on Saturday morning, we headed north and stopped at the Hunters Point boat ramp on the Cumberland River. There was a swift currunt with lots of trash floating towards the dam. A lot of this garbage will eventually makes it's way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Just about all we could find there was a bunch of noisy Bluejays. They don't need too much to set them off. Across the way we could see a single Canada Goose. On the near side, there was what looked like a Snow Goose that had mated with a common domestic white goose. The slightly smaller Gooslings seemed to carry the genetic traits of both parents. Many domestic birds like this lack the ability to fly.

Leaving there we headed out Canoe Branch Road and then beared left onto Ramsey Road. Pulling into the boat launch area we noticed a large pile of trash tossed around a full garbage can. Some people are so stupid when it comes to trashing certain places. Take it with you and throw it where it belongs.

At Misty Cove we heard the call of the White-eyed Vireo somewhere up in the trees on the hill. I love to hear their song, "chick-per-chick-a-ria-chick." There are certain places out at Cedars of Lebanon State Park where we can almost guarantee that you will hear them singing. One Great Blue Heron let out a scream or maybe a growl that makes the hair stand up on your neck. Other birds seen or heard in the area was Carolina Chickadees, Carolina Wrens and a Summer Tanager, also up on the hill. Remember the Summer Tanager is our only solid red bird that resides here during the summer. A Northern Cardinal has a black mask.

On our way back, we turned right on Burford Road to catch a shortcut. Up around the large curb we find a Blue Grosbeak sitting on a fence enjoying the sunshine. These birds are slightly larger than our Indigo Buntings. While they have the bright blue feathers, they also have chestnut colored wing bars. Up ahead next to a heavily wooded spot, we hear the song of the Red-eyed Vireo. Other birds seen on Burford Road was the Carolina Wren and a plethora of Field Sparrows. Anthony just loves the word "plethora" for some reason or other.

Most of the times while we are out in the country, we kind of shy away from deadend roads. Many property owners don't want you turning around in their driveways and often look at you as if you are waiting to break in to their houses. We did turn onto Shipper Road that goes back about two or three miles before it stops at a residents driveway. Sorry about that. While down there we spotted a small flock of Wild Turkeys. On the way out we found Cowbirds, White-eyed Vireos, Bluejays and more Field Sparrows.

Out Mann Road we found Indigo Buntings, Rufous Sided Towhees, Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse and many, many Barn Swallows. Driving on out Coles Ferry Pike, we turned right on Cairo Bend Road and stopped at the Sandy Chapel boat ramp. Again we found White-eyed Vireos and a single Great Crested Flycatcher up in the woods. Out on the water we found a Double Crested Cormorant. Off in the distance we heard the call of the Black-billed Cuckoo. Sure was good to hear from him. Before we left we also heard the call of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, or as farmers used to call him, the "Rain Crow."

This trip took us a total of 73 miles with the final temperature pushing 85 degrees. Mornings are the best time for birding unless you are looking for Owls.

I would love to hear from you as to whats lurking about in your neighborhood or 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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