Here's wishing you all a wonderful new year. Yesterday, who else, Anthony Gray picked me up for our normal Saturday feast and then headed out to the north east part of the county to see what was lurking there. Anthony was familiar with the piece of property, but to me, it could have been in another state.
I was amazed as to the huge amounts of birds there. I could easily count close to twenty pairs of Carolina Chickadees and the same amount of Tufted Titmouse. American Goldfinch was as numerous as bugs on a bumper during warm weather. I kept my ears open hoping to hear one of my favorites, singing the familiar, "nunck, nunck, nunck". It is hard to speak "Nuthatch", but I can get very close to the sound that they make. A couple of the White-breasted Nuthatches finally made an appearance at the feeders.
One could look closely at the ground and discover that Wild Turkey had been scratching all over the yard. Every now and then there was a Turkey feather laying underneath the many trees in the backyard. Along with the chickens there, I just had to crow a little, and that was all it took to get the male hormones stirred up a little. I raised a bunch, 19 in all, Easter chicks, with my old school buddy, Wayne Barnes, and they were all males. You should have heard them all crowing at the same time. Now that's a bit of country, back in the city.
Reflecting back on the year, I believe my favorite bird was the White Pelicans that stopped off around the Tyree Access just off of the Cumberland River down in the Laguardo community. Several people reported to me that there were large white birds in that area, but were not sure of what they were seeing. White Pelicans breed much farther north and though they feed on fish, they do not dive under water like the Brown Pelican does. Several years ago, I was fortunate to be able to fly down to Fort Lauderdale and then we drove to the end of highway 1 in Key West, where I was able to spot the White Pelican there. Wild roosters were also in abundance there in the Keys.
Another good bird seen was my pair of Tree Swallows, that permitted me the opportunity to take part in their courtship ritual. I had bought a small bag of white feathers, for the purpose at hand. While they were sitting on an overhead wire, I held up one of the feathers and released it where it slowly floated down to the ground. The male Swallow immediately flew down and retrieved the feather and flew up to about fifty feet in the air, where he released it into the wind. The female caught the feather in mid-flight and the bond was sealed. About a month later, there were two new Swallows chasing the flying insects in the large hay field behind my house.
Patti Watts and myself will take a trip, next week, along with several members of the Lebanon Senior Citizen Center to Reelfoot Lake in north west Tennessee, in hopes of spotting Bald Eagles which winter there. My first trip there back in 1974, was productive and we counted about 134 individual Bald Eagles. The lake is also home to thousands of other waterfowl during the winter months and I am in hopes of seeing a Common Goldeneye, a type of duck.
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