Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Return To Yesteryear

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L to R Ray Pope and Wayne Barnes With Large Snapping Turtle

I believe Summer has arrived a few days earlier than my calendar said it would. Flowers are looking great and I finally planted me three hills of watermelons. It may be late, but I did the same thing last year and still got to enjoy the sweet treat, though a little later in the year.

As usual, Anthony Gray picked me up for our weekly adventure into the back roads of Wilson County. This trip, we visited Trousdale and Sumner Counties too.

Our first stop, besides the one at Speedway for a "drank" and some other snacks was to begin at the old Blown Out Bridge. Anthony decided to take the long way around by heading out Old Hartsville Pike. Before I could ask any questions we caught a left onto Rutledge Lane.

Several areas there had Eastern Bluebirds sitting in the morning sun on the overhead wires. Also in certain spots, we could hear the melodious calls of the Eastern Meadowlark. These birds, I hate to tell you are kin to the stinking Starlings. Just look at the posture of the birds where they sit on powerlines. It is a very Lazy look indeed.

After all of the twists and turns, we finally make it to South Dickerson Road and the old bridge. Several empty boat trailers let us know that people are trying to catch some fish. Early morning is always the best time. Another fisher thing has voiced his displeasure at us and flys away from it's favorite perch above the water. This is the oversized head, Belted Kingfisher. Most of the time we hear them instead of seeing them.

A fishing boat heads our direction and scares up a pair plus one of Double Crested Cormorants. These slim black birds seen to have a longer neck while flying than our Canada Geese do. The boat has stopped out past the bridge and the Cormorants fly back in the direction from where they came.

Off to the right in the overgrown hay field, we find a Common Yellowthroat sitting on a low limb, sing it's little heart out. This member of the Wood Warbler family is one of my favorite summer birds. They are small songbirds that have an olive green back, wings, and tails, yellow throats and chest and white bellies. Adult males have a black face masks which stretch from the sides on the neck across the eyes and forehead. If you are lucky, you might hear them singing their song, "wichety, wichety, wichety," very sofely whistled.

Also at the bridge area we find Eastern Wood Peewee, Indigo Buntings, Field Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse and one ticked off Great Blue Heron. The boat that was mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago has started fishing. The fisherman lets the rod and reel fly and chunks his lure right in front of the heron, sitting there minding its own business. The Heron lets out a shriek that will make the hair stand up on your neck, and then flys away with a disgusted look on it's face.

We make a stop at the small church at the junction of Beasley's Bend Road and Johnson Road. In this one area we find Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Phoebes, Chipping Sparrows, Rufous Sided Towhees, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a plethora of Barn swallows.Over in the un-cut field we see several stands of the dreaded thistle plants. This is an important food source for our American Goldfinches. I don't see how it is possible for this bird to land on the prickley plant. Just brushing against it give me the shivers.

Back on the Old Hartsville Pike, State Route 141, we pass through Hartsville and continue north untill we hit Honeysuckle Lane. This is a beautiful drive, especially with the deep woods on the northside. Here we find Eastern Phoebes, a Red-tailed Hawk sitting on the telephone line and one White-eyed Vireo. This road turns into Templow Road which terminated on Highway 231. Headed to the crossroads we take Highway 25 toward Gallatin.

After passing Bledsoe Creek, we take a left turn on Zieglers Fort Road. This will take us south to Bledsoe Creek State Park. This park is on my radar to do some camping there by the Cumberland River. Here we find Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Bluebirds, Canada Geese, Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse, and some tame Muscovey Ducks that wander around the various campsites hoping for a morsel of bread. Wild Deer are everywhere.

Leaving the park, we come to the small town of Cairo, pronounced like the capitol city in the country of Egypt, not the syrup. When I was about 15 years old, I used to spend a lot of Sundays here with my best friend, Wayne, "Barney" Barnes. We would go fishing at Boosters pond and catch turtles at an old hog pond down a dead road. Wayne brought me an old picture of the two of us made at his aunts house. Just for the heck of it, I am sharing this picture of Wayne and I with my readers. I am the blond headed one on the left side. Yes, I did have a head full of hair back then. The photo was taken back in 1966.

Over at the Cairo boat ramp, we found a Baltimore Oriole and a Yellow-breasted Chat, a member of the Warbler family. Closer to home at the Bartons Creek boat ramp we found another Baltimore Oriole and a Brown Thrasher.

I received several nice pictures taken by Randy Ferron of Mt. Juliet who has turned his back yard into a bird sanctuary. Not only does he keep out different seeds, he also provides bits of yarn for nesting materials.

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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