Today is Thursday, August 21, 2014

Reelfoot Lake Final Chapter

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Reelfoot Lake Final Chapter

Checking out the menu at Lakeview Restaurant Photo by Patti Watts


Continued from last week.

After waking up on Thursday morning, several of us discovered an open patch of water directly behind the Blue Bank Resort, where a group of duck hunters had left at about four O'clock, blazing a path through the ice field that encompassed the entire lake. A huge flock Of Mallard Ducks took to the open water and were milling about. The sixty plus ducks, I lost count of the entire flock because they wouldn't be still long enough. With the swiftness of the ducks moving around, the water had a hard time freezing back. Thanks to the hunters, the birds now had a safe area where they could now feed without getting shot at.

We all piled into the van and headed over to the Lakeville Restaurant for a delicious breakfast, to warm our bellies. Bring on the hot coffee, we all seemed to be thinking. Most all of our group had what I would call, a standard breakfast, eggs, biscuits and gravy, bacon, and most every southerners delight, a bowl of grits. Grits are a southern staple and as you travel north, they are seen less and less, except at a Cracker Barrel. My appetite was calling for a different direction, so I ordered the western omelet and so did Gary Wilhoit. After breakfast was placed in front of us, we asked the blessing over the food, something I have been taught every since I can remember, by my mother.

Conversations started to quiet down a bit as we dug into the breakfast, and most of the noise came from the forks clicking onto the plates. Another round of coffee, please! We then made our plans for the rest of the day. With the Bald Eagles starting to mate, we thought it would be a good time to check out some of the nest that were used last year. One nest was at the spillway area, but there was no activity seen there at that time.

The spillway is a dam like feature that keeps the lake at a certain level and now had a new one built to replace the old aging one that was built a long time ago. This area is part of the Reelfoot Lake State Park and has boat rentals and several cabins for people to stay in. Many moons ago, me and my fellow members of the Lebanon chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, rented these cabins during one of our eagle trips. We also stayed there during the period when the lake was frozen and as I mentioned last week, that I walked out on the ice there.

We decided to head north out to the lake area that is called the air park Inn. There is an airplane runway that was next to another part of the state park, in which there were several rooms built over the water and a great restaurant there. Several years ago, there was a fire that occurred and it was never rebuilt. What a wonderful place to eat and stay, and a shame that it will never be rebuilt again. I made a huge bunch of memories there and maybe I can share them in some later article.

On the road to the inn, I had seen an eagle's nest, the day before and wanted to return there to see if something might be lurking around. The nest seemed to be empty, but just a couple hundred feet away, was a majestic Bald Eagle sitting in the top of one of the many cypress trees there. We pulled into the boat ramp there and I jumped out and quickly set up my spotting scope, hoping that everyone would get a close-up view of the eagle. It was now pouring down rain and everyone came out to get a good look at an eagle. After returning to the warm and dry interior of the van, we decided to call our trip finished and then made plans for the return to civilization, as we knew it.

Coming into Jackson, TN, Patti Watts had called in reservations at the Casey Jones Restaurant and what a buffet it was. As we sat with full bellies, Gloria Kirkland noticed an old piano sitting just off our table and asked one of the waitress if it would be alright if she played a little music. Gloria cut loose with her magical fingers and everyone within earshot of the piano seemed to be enjoying the sounds produced by her. Gloria along with her husband Jay, comes quiet often to the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center, to provide dance music for our little happy group of seniors. I never realized getting old could be so much fun. Hometown in sight, always a thrill to me when I have been away from Lebanon for even just one day.

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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