|Our Feathered Friends|
|Wednesday, August 11, 2010|
By RAY POPE
I am really looking forward to this year’s Wilson County Fair, which begins this Friday, Aug. 13 and runs through the Aug. 21. Come visit me at the large white tent behind the main exhibit hall at the main entrance. Just look for The Wilson Post logo hanging on the wall behind me. There should be a special introductory price for a 3-month subscription to our fine newspaper and hopefully a prize to be given away to some lucky person who fills out an entry slip.
Last year there were several of my readers who stopped by to shake and howdy with me. It’s always a great pleasure to finally put a face to a person’s name who has been sending e-mails. This year, I believe that I will enter some of my home-grown vegetables into the competition at the fair.
I have put a lot of work into them and thought it would be fun to try and maybe, just maybe, win a ribbon. Who knows, maybe a blue one.
Last Thursday morning I was waiting on the Publix store in Gallatin to open, when I spotted a big fat, long juicy Praying Mantis sitting on the top of a sign proclaiming handicap parking only. It was about seven inches in length and seemed to defy anything from removing him from his elevated perch. Within a few minutes, it caught the attention of a hungry female House Sparrow, which landed on the sign right in front of the huge Mantis. House Sparrows always seem to be near starving to death when you look at them. The small female started to reach over to catch the big bug when it reared its large frame, towering above the bird. And I guess the bird wasn’t as hungry as it looked. Fearing for its life, the House Sparrow finally figured that flying away was the better part of valor and she left. I don’t believe the Mantis would have done her any harm, but she wasn’t going to stick around to find out. I found a large brown Mantis several years ago and I caught a big Grasshopper and handed it to the Mantis, which took it from me and proceeded to eat it. Most people thought it was poisonous and referred the name Devil’s Horse to it. In reality they are an awesome predator to keep in your garden to take care of any insect pests that may stay there.
This past Saturday, Carole Young invited me to her home for a little bird watching. Carole had several small birds living on her property that flitted along the half-,mile driveway to her home and she was curious as to what was lurking there. It didn’t take too long before a couple of them flew up onto a weed stalk and proceeded to eat the seeds hanging from the ends. A quick look told me that they were Field Sparrows, like I wrote about a few weeks ago. There were probably at least 25 of them flying in front of the vehicle as we drove down the drive. She usually has a couple of Bobwhite Quails that venture out into the driveway. It was hard to get my whistler working properly, but I gave it a try, but to no avail. Usually, I can whistle just like a Bobwhite and sometimes they will answer me back. There are a few bird calls I can do justice to when trying to imitate them. Eurasian-Collared Doves and Mourning Doves are a couple of species that readily call me back when I try hard enough. In the future, I need to write about the Bobwhite Quail which is on the threatened list as its habitat is slowly being cleared for more housing in the country.
Sitting on Carole’s back deck, I listened to see what was there from the bird kingdom. About the only movement came from a family of Blue jays as they flew over making all kinds of racket. Squirrel hunters really hate the Blue jays when they are out and about trying to hunt the squirrels. When a Blue jay spots a hunter in the woods, everything within ear shot hears the loud warning from the Jays. We were visited by a couple of Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds who wanted us to get out of the way so they could get a drink. Carole has the perfect bird watching area because she has a large parcel of grassland growing all the way up to a small creek and then there are woods. Lots of Shagbark Hickories, Red Oak Trees, and also Black Walnuts. Squirrel heaven in a nut shell!
Again, let me remind you to come visit our award winning, Wilson County Fair. Everyone, please pray for good weather with milder temperatures for the duration of the fair and remember, there is something there for everyone regardless of age. I will be looking forward to seeing you there at The Wilson Post booth and taking your picture to go into our “Seen at the fair “ page in The Wilson Post.