Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

To The South

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Prothonotary Warbler

It looks like we finally caught a break with the weather this weekend. The humidity moved out and we started out with a temperature of 72 degrees. Some of you may wonder why I start my articles talking about the weather. Weather has a great bearing on what birds may be doing at any point in time.

I have been freezing since my time at the hospital and have since found out why. Dr. Gary Gallant checked me for a blood count and has found me to be anemic, with low blood. It seemed like every few minutes a nurse would come and get a sample of my blood. I am now taking strong iron pills daily to build my blood back up.

Anthony Gray was running a bit late and finally showed up at a quarter past eight. After picking up his granddaughter and one of her friends, we dropped them off at Anthony's home so they could go to the chicken sale out to the fair grounds. We head down the Old Murfreesboro Road and take a left on Hobbs Lane.

This seems to be a very special place where we can find several different birds. There is a hay field that borders both north and south sides of the road. Singing overhead, we hear the song of the Indigo Bunting. This is really our true blue looking bird. Over to our left we find a common Yellowthroat. If you remember in last weeks, The Wilson Post, we had a picture of the Common Yellowthroat. He looks like a small yellow "robber" with its black mask on.

Chipping Sparrows are singing a little bit farther down the road. A plethora of field sparrows are found all up and down the road. Of course many of the more common birds are seen and heard and sometimes we do not mention them at all. These might include the Northern Cardinal, American Robin, House Finch, Common Grackle and everyones favorite the nasty starling. It wouldn't hurt my feelings at all if the starling was placed on the endangered list.

Before we left Hobbs Lane a pair of Eastern Kingbirds seemed to have a property dispute. These birds are the tough guys of the bird world. Their sceintific name even suggest "badness," if that is even a word. Their Latin name is "Tyrannus tyrannus" which translate into tyrant, ruler, monarch, or just plain old bad, bad, bad. We finally left them behind and their squabbling.

Crossing over Highway 231 we come onto Rocky Valley Road. On up around the right turn in the road, we stop for a quick listen. Singing almost inside our car was a Rufous Sided Towhee. Their signature song goes like this, "drink your tea" and their call is a whistled, "cherwink." They are a very beautiful bird with a red eye. You will usually find them in thick underbrush.

Up on the hillside in a thick mixture of hardwoods we hear the call of the Eastern Wood Peewee. This is a small plain colored bird which only lives and breeds here in the summer months. One bright bird we find eating on the thistle plants is the Eastern Goldfinch. Over to our left in the large hay field is another Common Yellowthroat. We find these colorful birds all over Wilson County. Just drive out to some open property and listen for their "witchety, witchety, witchety" call.

Just over the fence down the road a piece, we found several wild turkey hens with a few chicks in tow. Swooping over the grassy fields we find several different groups of Barn Swallows. Eastern Bluebirds were present all over the road, as were Indigo Buntings.

Driving on down to the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, we stop by the park office. There we are greeted by Diane Oliver and Glenda Oakley who can tell us everything that is going on in the park. This weekend it is mostly quiet. Driving through campground #2, we hear the flute like song of a Wood Thrush. He is up in a thicket next to the bath house.

We head on out toward Norene and make a quick stop where the Sue Warren Trail ends. The loudest sounds are comming from a Tufted Titmouse singing, "peter peter peter". I start my "shushing" and before long we get an answer from our resident White-eyed Vireo. I don't know how to explain how I make the sound, but is sounds like a bird fussing about something. It really works and I have been able to get birds to come out and investigate the noise. Up in the hardwoods we hear the call of the White-breasted Nuthatch.

We cross over Cainsville Road onto Sherrilltown Road and follow it up a couple of large hills over to Watertown. Our stomach were starting to growl so we drove south to the Alexandria Drive In for burgers and fries. Leaving there we drove south to Dry Creek Road where we heard the call of the Prothonotary Warbler. This is one of our brightest birds that come around here. You will always find them close to water.

I have been pretty excited with my Bluebirds here on my small piece of property. The first brood consisted of six babies. The second brood hatched out four and now they have laid four more eggs and all of these were in different houses. The first house had a family House Wrens nesting there. The last house had a family of Tree Swallows earlier in the season. I have been very lucky this year.

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, Diane Oliver, Dr. Gary Gallant, Glenda Oakley, Ray Pope
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