Today is Wednesday, August 16, 2017

This Weather is For the Ducks

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My Male Cardinal

This has been a very hard week for me and my brother and all of our children. My Mother passed away on the 10th of March. The funeral was not a sad situation, as many friends kept us in their thoughts and prayers. On the day of her funeral, the weather called for 100% rain, but during the time at her burial, I believed that God turned that off. I will miss her and so will her family. It is not easy to give up one's mother, but I know the kind of Godly life she lived and I would not call her back if I could. Move over Angels, Margie Pope wants to praise our Lord.

Anthony Gray and I headed out toward Cedars of Lebanon State Park after our usual Saturday Peking fix. My good friend, Wayne (Buddy) Ingram is now officially park manager at cedars. He has been employed there since 1975. If my math is correct, this makes 40 years. Buddy is perfect for this job and I believe the park will move forward because of his compassion and love of the park that has been home for all these years. Good luck my friend.

We traveled most of the county roads in the south part of Wilson County in a fine drizzle that kept most of the birds tight to cover. Turning right on Blue Well Road, just about all that was braving this weather was American Crows. Taking a right on Simmons Bluff Road, a large hay field had about thirty Crows there. Later when spring finally gets here, the field will be filled with Barn Swallows chasing after their favorite meal, flying insects.

Crossing over 840 we decide to stop at Bryant Grove Access, a part of Longhunter State Park. A fine mist is still falling and we give that area of J. Percy Priest Lake a quick look see. Nothing stirring! This weather is more suited for ducks than us humans.

Coming down Stewarts Ferry Pike we drive into the city of Gladeville to the four way stop. Looks almost like a ghost town. A left on Gladeville road takes us over to Central Pike where we take a left turn onto Franklin Road. This part is a rural setting with lots of old farms along the way. Driving over Highway 109, we continue on down Franklin Road until we come to the old Farm once owned by the late Bernie Bland, who used to own Bland's Casket Company.

There is a large spring fed pond, this is much larger than a regular pond, so I will call it a small lake. As we drove by, I could see a whole big bunch of ducks enjoying the water and the weather. Remember, this weather "is" suited for Ducks. Anthony, Stopppppppppp! He is looking at me like I have lost my ever loving mind. He is a good driver and watches the road more than what is around it. We pull off to the side close to the driveway and I hop out with my binoculars at the ready.

Of course, I find the usual birds, Mallards, drakes and suzies. Looking around the small group of Ducks, I see a slightly larger duck in the midst of the others. It has been several years since I have seen these. Canvasback Ducks, four pair of them intermingled with other species. Canvasbacks can be identified by the long ski jump shape of their heads. Males have chestnut colored heads, black bill and black chest and a whitish back, while the females wear a more plain set of feathers. Most female bird species are very dull as a defense against being seen on the nest.

Another duck species found on the lake there was Ring-necked Ducks. These birds have black heads and backs with white sides. Of all of the ducks seen today, most were diving ducks, except for the Mallards which are dabbling ducks. Thank goodness we finally did get to see something.

Closer to town, we come to the beautiful property of Curly Putman where another small lake resides. There were more ducks there, but all that I could see was more Mallards. Good weather for them.

I have a beautiful male Northern Cardinal that feeds out in my back yard. He seems so cheerful to see him out underneath my feeders, but I have noticed something is different with him. His feet do not work. I am not sure how this could have happened. He will lay on his belly to eat and flops his body forward to move to the next spot of seed. He can fly alright, but he can't land in a tree because his feet will not grip a limb. He must sleep on the ground, as the first time I saw him, it was after dark and right below my kitchen window. When he flew off he landed on the ground in a thicket behind my house. I want to feel sorry for him, but he acts like there is nothing at all wrong with him.

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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Our Feathered Friends
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Anthony Gray, Curly Putman, Ray Pope, Wayne Ingram
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