Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

Screech Owl Heaven

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Mackenzie and Mackayla Parker

There was so much that happened last week that I didn't have room to tell it all. First of all, I want to thank God that Diana Bright was not electrocuted when she grabbed the electric outlet to unplug the crockpots. A surge of electricity went through her body, but the circuit breaker kicked off. This happened while rain was pouring down and it didn't help that she was wearing flip-flops.

Some of the campers that went on the last Fridays owl prowl came by where we were camping and told me how exciting the night before was. There are times that getting close to nature can give you a slight tingle. I invited them to come back and we would do it all over again.

Later that night, I thought that I would give it a shot at my campsite. My son, Jason Pope, along with his wife April and I had better mention my granddaughters, Kayla and Lauren, were sitting around after dinner doing nothing. I started my owl call and before it was finished, here came a Screech Owl buzzing us overhead. I felt like I had just set a new worlds record for getting an answer that fast. I hollared up to my new friends a couple of campsites away that the "Owls" were here. That was good that we would not have to treck through the tick infested overgrowth to call the owls. I did manage to capture the mother and one youngster in a picture together.

My camping neighbors soon arrived. Two young girls, Mackenzie and Mackayla Parker from Murfreesboro were very excited to find the owls so close to where they were camping. They took turns sharing a pair of binoculars getting a much closer look of these nocturnal phenoms. Their Grandmother, Michelle Kimbro, was the one that I had spoken to earlier.

The owls and other birds are attracted to calls of the same species because they think another bird has invaded their territories. I also have much luck calling members of the woodpecker families. I will be making plans to do another Owl Prowl at the Cedars of Lebanon State Park before camping season is over.

Anthony Gray and I finally got back to doing our usual Saturday morning birdwatching trip. Heading west, for a change, our first stop was at Bartons Creek boat ramp where we spotted a Great Blue Heron sitting on a dead snag, hoping breakfast would swim by. As we approached the boat ramp, we found a small family of Mallards swimming with their mother. Someone came and started running back and forth on a waverunner, which then put the duck family in panic mode, heading back into the cover of some type of water grass. When we were much younger, we associated this kind of aquatic vegetation with where water snakes lived. In reality, I still do.

Stopping at Tyree's Access, we found several fishermen trying to catch that elusive lunker that sits under every log on Old Hickory Lake. Swimming about fifty feet from shore, we saw a Double Crested Cormorant, diving , then surfacing with a small fish in it's beak. I kept my eyes open trying to locate a Fosters Tern flying above the surface of the lake. Its been several years since I saw my last one.

There was some medium size bird flying straight toward us, which turns out to be a Black-crowned Night Heron. He flies to where the Cormorant was feeding, then dives in and comes up with his own fish. A Great Blue Heron, gives chase, hoping to take the dinner away from the smaller Heron, which is a swifter flier and soon leaves the Great Blue in his wake. Disgruntled, the large Heron gives up the chase and settles on a boatdock to do his own fishing.

Leaving Wilson County in our rear view mirror, we head toward Gallatin to head east on highway 25. Driving through Castalian Springs, just about the only thing seen is the Vultures catching updrafts and circling higher and higher until they seem as a tiny speck in the bright blue sky.

Turning left on 231 at Paynes Store, we head north untill we come to Honeysuckle Lane, where we then head east. There is lots of open country side, where Eastern Bluebirds seem to be present at every home on the road. The calls of Indigo Buntings can be heard all along the lane, especially where small brooks meander back and forth along the road.

Coming out on Highway 141, north of Hartsville, we take the old road back to Lebanon. The new Hartsville Pike is very close to being finished, and will make the drive between our two cities much safer and quicker. It has also provided new homes for our Rough-winged Swallows, that are ever more present in the areas close by the bluffs. Of course, our Saturday morning ritual would not be complete without a visit to Peking Chinese Restuarant, our last stop before home.

Teresa Botts took a photo of a female Downy Woodpecker sitting on her Hummingbird feeder, drinking the sweet nectar from the hole. Several different species will partake of the sugary treat. Here at home, I also have House Finch and Carolina Chickadees that drink from my Hummer feeders.

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,

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