Today is Thursday, November 27, 2014

Return of the Water Witches

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It was another great looking Saturday morning with several birds at my feeders having a go at lunch, or it could be breakfast. Plans had already been made for a mid day safari, but I wasn't sure where we would go to. I asked Anthony Gray if it was alright if we headed toward Mt. Juliet on highway 70, then turn onto Nonaville Road and drive back to Old Hickory Lake to see what different shorebirds were lurking about. I got no negative answers from him so we were off to the Cedar Creek Recreation area.

During the time we were out and about, the most seen bird was the Great Blue Heron, which we found at all of our stops along the way. Ring-billed Gulls were far and few between, maybe because the baitfish that they feed on was somewhere else. I thought I may have seen a Fosters Tern, way out in the middle of the river. A Carolina Wren fussed at us as we approached his domain. A large barge caught our attention with a huge load of coal headed up river, probably going to the Gallatin Steam Plant. Scanning the many stumps and sawyers protruding from the shallow water close to the main channel, we found an Osprey enjoying the sunshine. It was possible that he had just had a fish for dinner and was letting it settle.

After about an eight mile trip we came to the Lone Branch Recreation area out on Bender's Ferry Road, which was about a half of a mile from our first stop mentioned above. I didn't put two and two together until I saw the small island with all of the Heron's nest that was built in just about every tree on the island.

As we pulled into the parking area, we saw several rafts of ducks feeding in the water there. After getting out of the car we could see that the ducks were American Coots, almost 400 of them. Other swimming birds in the area was a pair of Pied-bill Grebes, which are diving birds. Other names for these Grebes are, "water witch, and dabchicks." You can spook them and they will dive under water and then come up sometimes a hundred or more feet away.

Other birds seen at Lone Branch was a pair of Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse and several Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Walking around close to the boat ramp, I spotted something swinging from a branch in a tree. Anthony and myself threw several sticks up into the tree to try and knock the nest down. After many, many tries, if finally came to earth. When I examined it, I was totaly shocked to find that it had been woven completely of monofiliment fishing line. Most of the time these nest are woven from grasses. In all my times, this is the very first one made of fishing line, that I have ever heard of.

Our last productive stop was at Laguardo where the lake backs up behind Davis Corner Road in a large slew on the south side. There were at least six Great Egrets, and more than twentyfive Great Blue Herons in the shallow water there. Also, we saw a pair of Red-throated loons swimming in the deeper parts of the slew.

After Anthony dropped me off at home, I moved to the back yard in my sitting area to watch the birds at my feeders, where I saw a flock of about twentyfive Cedar Waxwings headed in a southerly direction. That was the first ones that I have seen here this fall.

I would love to hear from you as to whats lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can write me at 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or you can e-mail me at, rpope15@bellsouth.net

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