Today is Wednesday, August 23, 2017

To The Lake And Back

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White-breasted Nuthatch

Time is slowly counting down to a vacation of a life time where just maybe, I can stick my toes in the sand. But before I go, there are many things that need to be done here at home. My flower garden looks very good, but there is plenty weeds that needs to be pulled. The recent rains have really put everything into overdrive, especially the unwanted things.

Diana Bright and I started our bird excursion in reverse from my usual ritual. We started at Peking Chinese Restuarant and after having lunch we headed north to the South Dickerson Road at the Blown Out Bridge. There were only a few fishermen braving the hot sun in the little Cedar Creek. The water level covered the top of the bridge and only the sides remained above water.

Flying over the surface of the creek, we found several Rough-winged Swallows catching flying insects. By now their little ones have learned the fine art of catching bugs on the wing and are now helping to reduce the population. Over past the snake grass I find a solitary Great Blue Heron, knee deep in the back water patiently waiting for some dinner. Off to our right the song of an Indigo Bunting pierces the silence.

Leaving the bridge behind we come out on Philadelphia Road and head east to Beasley's Bend Road where we head north. Stopping at the Cedar Creek Baptist Church we pull into the parking lot to have a listen. Diana is using the parabolic microphone and then hands me the ear phones so I can identify the sounds she is hearing.

It is another Indigo Bunting singing in the tree tops to our right. Right across the road, an old barn sits in the pasture. If you have old barns, then you will have Barn Swallows. These birds have adapted to life close to us humans and are one species that appreciates mankind. After flying all over the field, they come to rest on the overhead powerlines. I count six individuals, two adults along with four youngsters, who have recently fledged.

Driving south we head down Lovers Lane so we can get back on Sparta Pike. Ever wonder how some of these roads get their names? Traveling toward Watertown we take a left on Popular Hill Road. This will take you past the Sellars Farm State Archaeological Area located along Spring Creek. Here we find a Kingfisher waiting for his lunch.

There is one spot where the road bears off to the right and then circles back onto the main road. It is called Popular Hill Circle and it is a nice area with trees forming a tunnel over the road there. We found Goldfinch there as well as a Chipping Sparrow. There is always something of interest on this stretch of road.

We head on down the road looking for Popular Hill Cemetary, where some of Diana's family is buried. So many graves go neglected as family members die off. We brought flowers to go on her Aunt B's grave.

In the midst of the cemetary, there stands a beautiful Catalba tree, with spreading branches that send an invitation to any youngster to climb aboard. I had a couple of these trees at my old home where people would stop and ask if they could collect a few Catalba worms so they could go fishing. As years went by, the worms finally disappeared and I don't know where you might find them now.

While walking amongst the headstones, I find a young Mockingbird sitting atop one grave marker, waiting for mom or dad to thrust something into it's mouth. Up in the treetops we hear the song of a White-breasted Nuthatch, almost sounding like the Three Stooges, "Nuck, nuck, nuck." Other birds found there were, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, and Barn Swallows.

Leaving the serenity of the cemetary behind, we head further out Popular Hill road where we find an abundance of Eastern Bluebirds sitting on telephone lines. There is nothing here but large farms dotted with a few houses as we go along, no subdivisions. Here next to a wet weather stream, we find a plethora of Red-wing Blackbirds, young and old.

We finally come to the terminus and then take a left on Roberts Road. Here we find, "Road Closed" signs, stating that the bridge is out. Instead of backtracking, I move forward and then, to my delight, the bridge has been repaired and we head on into Watertown. Time to stop for a drink at Three Forks Market. From here we head to Alexandria and take Highway 53 back to the interstate and decide to drive the old Highway 141 road back to Tuckers Cross Road.

Not to bore you to death and to make a long story short, we drive back to the Blowed Out Bridge once more. To the right, we spot a monster Buck, sporting a rack with probably ten points. This is the largest white-tailed deer that I have ever found. While looking out over the lake area, we find an Osprey flying around. Time now to head back to the house after a quick stop at Al's Foodland.

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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Diana Bright, Ray Pope
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