Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Spring Has Sprung, Well Almost

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Blue Winged Teal

As I write this weeks article, the temperature has been pushing 60 degrees. Next week's will be in the 70's. I had a few snow flurries on the buttercups and now I am ready to start planting my summer flowers. I will plant a small butterfly garden along with a few species of milkweed, hoping to attract a few Monarch Butterflies.

At two minutes till eight Saturday morning, Anthony Gray pulled up ready to go. Where to? How about going north to the old blowed out bridge. It has been closed since November of last year as a wildlife refuge. It hasn't been open a week and people are already littering the area with beer cans and other trash. Wake up people!

As soon as we pulled up, we were greeted by a small flock of White-throated Sparrows. They were feeding on the ground and as we approached, they headed for the thick brush on the other side of the road. We found three people fishing off of the bridge, which was slightly covered by the lake. This is a very popular spot for fishing and I have also fished and birded there.

Across on the north side of the Little Cedar Creek, we find a pair of Great Blue Herons, probably preparing to nest there again. We watched last year as they gathered small sticks for their nest.

Leaving there, we drove west to the Hunters Point boat ramp on Orian Lane. This was the first time that I paid attention that this road had a name. Getting out of the car, we heard a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks conversing back and forth. We could see them up on the hill behind the boat ramp flying from tree to tree. Three or more Red-bellied Woodpeckers were fussing between themselves, probably over their property rights. As nesting time approaches family bonds come to an end and the younger birds have to find their own territories and a mate.

Driving down Canoe Branch road, we take a left onto Ramsey Road and drive down to where the old boat dock used to be. There are only a couple of trucks there where they have put their boats in the water. This place is in dire need of repairs where chunks of pavement have been torn up by all of the traffic there.

Coming back out, we head out to the end of Canoe Branch Road to where it terminates at the game farm. It probably has another name, but that is all that I have ever called it. We park and walk down toward the Cumberland River on an old gravel road. Some guy drives by and tells us that he is fixing to lock the gate. That doesn't matter because we can walk around it.

We find that the field is still flooded and there are a few ducks still swimming about there. Duck Hunting season is over and they feel safe since no one is trying to eat them. We find a few Mallards and several Blue-winged Teal milling about. Later in the season, these spots will be drained and planted with some type of grain that will be left for the ducks and other wildlife.

There are several small flocks of Field Sparrows just before you come to the parking area. Off to one side of the gravel goad, we hear the call note of a Rufous-sided Towhee. He stays in the dense thicket and finally comes out where we can see him after I make my "shusing" sound. That works like a charm sometimes.

Headed back toward Lebanon on the Old Hunters Point Pike, we take a right onto Burford Road. Mostly common birds are seen down this country road. We soon run into Belotes Ferry Road and are hoping to stop by the Spring Creek Bridge, but there are no spots to pull off at.

We come out on Coles Ferry Pike and head down to the Bartons Creek Boat Ramp. Eagles?? Still none. We get out and find three white domestic ducks near the water. They look like they are asleep and appear to only have one single leg. In fact, they have an amazing sense of balance and are tucking the other foot up into their feathers to keep it warm. (See Photo)

As we are returning to the car, we see a couple of people with binoculars looking for birds also. I started talking to them and find out that I was talking to Robin Nation and her son Justin Nation. This was my first time to meet them, but I ran a Bald Eagle Photo that Robin had taken in my January 20th 2015 article. She sent me an e-mail today telling me that her late mother Brenda Reynolds, really enjoyed reading our feathered friends. Thank you so much, Robin, you made my day.

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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Anthony Gray, Justin Nation, Ray Pope, Robin Nation
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