Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Where Did Spring Go?

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Indigo Bunting
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Someone left the heater on this past Saturday. Where did all of the comfortable temps go to. We do need rain for our plants. I am having to drag out the hosepipe to give my flowers a cool refreshing drink. This is also a good time to make sure our feathered friends have fresh water.

Anthony Gray picked me up bright, very bright and early Saturday morning for our foray out into Wilson County. Headed south down the old Murfreesboro Road, we take a left on Hobbs Lane. I pull my electronic ear out and listen to the bird songs that are going on. Over to the left we hear the song of a Field Sparrow and off in the distance the call note, "cherwink" of a Rufous-sided Towhee comes drifting to us on the wind.

Just my luck, the battery has gone dead. This happened to me last year also and I told myself that I would be prepared for the next time. That was a part of my Boy Scout training back when I was a young squirt.

Pulling over Anthony pulled out his trusty knife and I reached down deep into my camera bag and found the spare battery for emergency use only. Sitting on the ground in front of us was a Chipping Sparrow searching amongst the gravel for bits of food.

With my parabolic microphone back to full power we head down Rocky Valley Road. There is a small wooded area around the first turn in the road where we pull over to take a listen. Also there we hear another Field Sparrow and one very happy cricket. Amplified the cricket sounded to be the size of an opossum, I believe that is the correct spelling for that critter.

We make a stop at every small branch to see what is lurking about. When water starts getting in short supply, animals and birds will be found along streams and ponds. The next stop produced another cricket and a family of Eastern Bluebirds. Up on an overhead wire we found an American Kestral scanning beneath for some movement of his future dinner.

Anytime we stop to visit the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, we have to check in at the park office to chat with Glenda Oakley and Diane Oliver. Diane has a very small Snapping Turtle in a bowl that park manager Wayne (Buddy) Ingram (picked up out of the middle of the road. Diane feeds him some dried turtle food and Glenda buys it fresh fishing worms, which it prefers.

Stopping at the Dixon Merritt Nature Center, singing overhead we hear the song of a Summer Tanager. You can find them all during the summer and if you are having a picnic, toss some bread out and sometimes you'll get lucky and they will come down for a morsel. I did this one time at one of our bird club meetings and not only did I get a Tanager to come down, he was joined by a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Driving through the campgrounds we didn't find too many campfires burning because it was starting to get warm. Overhead the calls of the Bluejays could be heard. You have to be careful if you leave bread out on the picnic table. Squirrels and Bluejays will take advantage of a back turned for just a moment.

On out Cedar Forest Road we make a stop where the Sue Warren Trail intersects. The old field there has been bush hogged and it makes for a completely different territory. Now, we hear the song of an Indigo Bunting, a solid blue bird. Eastern Bluebirds have a breast of red and white, while the Bunting is solid blue in color. Also in this area we hear the song of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Many of the older farming community called them "Rain Crows." Not today fellow.

Stopping in my favorite section of deciduous woods, the call of a Red-eyed Vireo is ringing through the forest. Just before we move on, we hear the call of a Pileated Woodpecker. This is our largest Woodpecker here in the United States.

Running to the junction of Cainsville Road, we head right toward a small church just over the county line. This used to be a great spot to find nesting Lark Sparrows back in the old days. Birders from all over the state would come here to Lebanon, just to see one. Maybe I'll get lucky and find them here again.

Driving back toward Lebanon, we take a right on Jug Creek Road. This is another beautiful drive out into the countryside. Jug Creek Road turns into Rocky Branch Road which terminates on Statesville Road. Here we find a plethora of Barn Swallows drifting back and forth over the newly cut hay fields. Over a small bridge we have an Eastern Phoebe sitting on a small branch. Most of the time they will be wagging their tail up and down. It really makes a difference, Temperature wise on this stretch of road. One minute we are at 88 degrees and traveling through a tunnel of trees next to a small stream it drops down to 76 degrees. It would sure feel good to live around there.

It's starting to get close to our time for our Peking lunch so we make a quick trip through Watertown. Not too much going on there. Many people living in larger cities have moved there because of the similarity to Mayberry North Carolina, a fictitious town. Watertown is real and the people there are great.

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,

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Our Feathered Friends
Anthony Gray, Diane Oliver, Glenda Oakley, Ray Pope, Wayne Ingram
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