Today is Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Snow Birds In The Snow

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Partial Albino Cardinal

I awoke too early this past Saturday morning and peeked out the window, expecting to see rain. It was dry and I decided to go back to bed because it would be another couple of hours sleep that I could get before Anthony Gray shows up for our birdwatching excursion. When I woke up later, the ground was almost white with snow. Looking out my kitchen window, I could see that I must be the only one feeding the birds here in my neighborhood.

We head out Highway 70 towards Watertown, planning to run one of our favorite routes in reverse. Crows are very plentiful in the Shop Springs community as we pass through.Right as we approach the railroad tracks on East Main street, we find a small flock of House Finch. With all of the snow covering the ground, streets and roads remains clear and the birds have found a little something to eat along side of it.

Turning left puts us on Holmes Gap Road where we had a tornado touch down a couple of Wednesdays ago. A good friend of mine, Kimberly Underwood owns and operates a produce truck farm along with her husband Eddie and son Ethan. The tornado touched down and destroyed quite a bit of their property. When vegtables are in season, you can find them almost daily at our Farmers Market here on South Maple Street in Lebanon. Please keep them in your prayers.

American Robins are seen everywhere out on the road. Rounding the corner where the railroad tracks run parallel with the road, we find a flock of Dark-eyed Juncos. These birds are known by another name that Ann Murray made famous in a song, "Snowbirds." They are feeding next to the road which is clear from the snow. Other birds found here include Northern Cardinals, Eastern Bluebirds and Field Sparrows.

Coming out close to Alexandria, we head back to Watertown and take a left onto Beech Log Road. Snow is still falling and the temperature is 30 degrees outside. Someplaces the snow is falling so fast that it creates a whiteout condition. We take a left turn onto Sherrilltown Road and head up Porterfield hill. There are spots in the road that doesn't get any sun and the snow is sticking to the road in this area. Off to the right is a small ravine leading down to a small creek.

We eventually come out in Norene and cross over to Cedar Forrest Road. The snow has let up a little and we halfway expect to see some sunshine. Up ahead we find a Fox Sparrow, our largest Sparrow, feeding next to a small flock of Juncos and Cardinals.

At the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, we find one lonesome Hermit Thrush and a Brown Thrasher. The Hermit Thrush is the only spotted Thrush we have here in the winter. American Robins and Eastern Bluebirds are also members of the Thrush family and only show the speckled breast while they are juveniles. Back around the campground we find a Brown Thrasher.

Coming back toward Lebanon, the temperature has risen to 35 degrees and most of the snow has dissappeared. Running Rocky Valley Road in reverse we find American Crows, Bluebirds and American Kestrals. We even found an early blooming redbud tree along side of the road.

We needed to kill about 30 minutes before the Snow White opened so we decided to head out Coles Ferry Pike. A quick stop at the Barton's Creek Boat Ramp found a pair of Great Blue Herons feeding around the slew. There was another Brown Thrasher feeding in the underbrush next to the waters edge. The call of the Pileated Woodpecker was coming to us from across the water, while a Red-bellied Woodpecker moved around on this side.

A Pied Billed Grebe was swimming out in the middle of the creek, but dove under as soon as he spotted us. Other birds of interest were the Carolina Wren, Blue Jays and Mourning Doves. As we were leaving, hawk eye Anthony said that he saw a white looking bird up in the tree on his side of the car. With binoculars in hand, I got a great look at a partial Albino Cardinal. It was mostly white, but had a few red feathers in it. We will have to go back and see if we can shoot some video of it.

A quick stop in front of the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center's gazebo gave us a great back drop for our weekly video. Catch our weekly videos on my Facebook page.

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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