It's a shame that this past weekend was not groundhog day. There was no chance that he would have seen his shadow with all of the rain in our area. It would have been nice if it were only six weeks till spring.
Anthony Gray picked me up a little after eight Saturday morning and we thought we might head west this weekend. It seem that most everywhere else we have been, has been devoid of birds. Driving down Highway 109, we turn onto East Laugardo Road, past the home with over two million Christmas lights on the property. Back last spring, we found a beautiful Great Blue Heron wading the pond there. No shore birds this time.
Driving on north, some poor pitiful squirrel ran straight under Anthony's back tire. I don't see how in the world it would dart toward the vehicle, instead away.
Coming onto Burton road, nothing but fishermen were at the Davis Corner boat ramp. Out in the middle of Spencer Creek, one lone Pied-bill Grebe was scooting across the water. Over in the shallow slew to the south, only two Great Blue Herons stood sentinel against the slight mist that was beginning to fall.
At the end of the road, across Benders Ferry Road, we make a stop at the Lone Branch Recreation area. Another Grebe is swimming along, but soon dives underwater when a fishing boat comes too close for comfort. There is a small group of Mallard Ducks feeding in the shallows across the way.
We decide to check the trees there for old Orchard Oriole nest, since you could now see without leaves on the trees. Two years ago, we discovered an old Oriole nest that was made entirely out of discarded fishing line. This nest is now on display in the Dixon Merritt Nature Center at the Cedars of Lebanon State Park. It is unusual.
Also at Lone Branch, we find about a dozen American Coot, feeding in the dying water weeds on the east part of the slew. They can be easily identified by their white bills. I don't much think that duck hunters shoot them.
We head south in Mt. Juliet, past the busy Provident area and continue on out to the Longhunter State Park. My old friend Jeff Buchanan in now the park manager since another old friend, Thurman Mullins retired.
Driving through the park, we catch the first right turn and walk the path down to the shores of J. Percy Priest Lake. The lake has been drawn down to it's winter pool, with lots of sandbars and jagged rocks showing. We listen to the mournful cry of the Common Loon coming from the middle of the lake. It doesn't take too long before we spot the source. A Common Loon sits very low in the water as it swims along.
Driving on around to the Couchville Lake, it of course has dropped down to the same level as the main lake. These two bodies of water are connected through underground caves and cracks in the limestone. Over across from the boat dock area, we find a small group of Hooded Mergansers. This is one of the most beautiful Ducks that migrate here in the winter. It is still misting, so we head back toward the car.
Just before we left, we discovered a small flock of Wild Turkeys, not the 101 proof type, feeding just off the parking lot in the tree line. Lucky me. It just so happens that I had brought my video camera so I could do a remote video for the Wilson Post in Motion segment that Anthony and I do each week. The Wild Turkeys didn't pay any attention at us at all, just twenty feet away. Watch this weeks Wilson Post in Motion to view this video. It is getting close to time for our Peking feast, so we head for Lebanon.
With the Black Friday sales going on, I had to stop at TSC to check out the specials on birdseed. One guy that I was talking to, bought ten forty pound bags of Black Oil Sunflower seed for his grandmother who lived in the Rome community. That might last till next year. I only purchased one bag.
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, email@example.com