Another Saturday morning and another round of wet weather. There is an old saying down here in the south. "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few hours and it will change." We started our bird watching trip with rain, and before we got back home the rain had moved out and a hint of sunshine was trying to burn through the overcast.
This time we started out toward Coles Ferry Pike hoping to actually be able to roll down the windows and stay dry. At the "Y" in the road where Academy Road starts, we found our way headed toward the Cumberland River hoping to spot a few shore birds. At the Coles Ferry boat ramp, we could see many smaller birds flying around, just above the wind whipped waters evidently chasing after insects on the wing. These were Purple Martins, male and female that were feeding there. It seemed that most everything else had taken shelter from the strong wind that was blowing across the water, causing whitecaps, that eventually made some fishermen come back to shore in a small fourteen foot jonboat. I've been there before and didn't want no part of that.
Right here in my own backyard, there is an accumulative pile of black oil sunflower seed hulls that have developed over the past couple of years and seemed to be piled up to about a four inch depth. These hulls sure make for a rich soil that must give off some heat. I have noticed that when we had a light snow, if would melt first in this area, or not even stick at all, depending on the daytime temperatures.
I have a male Robin that has discovered the worm rich treasure trove. He will land in the middle and cock his head to one side, and in the next instance, he will be pulling a juicy worm from his home there. There is a female that will sometimes join him there, but let another member of the species show up and it's "Katie bar the door." I watched the other day as he ran off a rival male, with the agility of an American WWII flying ace. He locked in on the rivals tail and went through every imaginable twist and turn, doing his best to be rid of the interloper. Finally the bird being chased called it quits and headed off in the opposite direction.
Sunday, after church services, Anthony Gray came back over and asked me if I would run out to Sharon Rosser's home while he picked up his and his son's dog. Sharon runs a dog grooming service from her home, and also make house calls. There is an old trail that makes its way around her property, and it was a beautiful day to be out birdwatching. After stirring up her chickens with my Downy Woodpecker call, I decided to call something else. The way I figured it, they must have thought a chicken hawk was in their vicinity looking for a mid day snack.
Several birds flitted around the old rock fence that runs way back for several hundred yards. Most of these birds were Tufted Titmouse and even further out were Field Sparrows on toward the large pond on the next door property. The smell of the countryside was fresh in the air, especially where the cows were grazing on the tender shoots of grass in the field below.
Anthony motioned for me to check out the tree tops where he spotted several birds flitting around. It was hard to tell what species we were looking at because they were lurking within the shadows of the trees. I caught a glimpse of one of the birds and came to the conclusion that it could be a couple of different species that we were looking at. At first, I thought we might be looking at a Worm-eating Warbler. Then one of them flew up into the sunlight and I could see that it was definitely a Golden-crowned Kinglet. It has been many years since I have seen one of these. Earlier back around December, Anthony had spotted it's cousin, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, out by the gamefarm on the Cumberland River up from Misty Cove. That one sighting made my whole weekend complete.
I would like to thank Alice Deffendall for the nice card, telling me about some of her bird experiences at home. A large flock of Cedar Waxwings descended upon her bird pond during the day. Alice said that she had never seen that many thirsty birds in her life before.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org