[TN-Bird] Dickcissel pair with nest evidence in Cumberland County, July 3-4 2010

Following up on the July 1 observation of a male Dickcissel in Cumberland 
County (see below), I went back yesterday and today (July 3 & 4) and found a 
female Dickcissel with the male and watched as she carried food to the 
presumed nest site. Twice today I could see her leaving the site with a 
fecal sac.

I spent over an hour and a half each morning watching. The female was rarely 
visible (usually just seen in flight between visits to and from the nest). 
The male was visible most of the time, perched on ironweeds that were taller 
than the uncut fescue. He called every few seconds for much of the time that 
he was perched (I suspect to reassure the female, which didn't have a good 
view of her surroundings down in the grass), and he only rarely sang. 
Occasionally he would follow her on her forays, tending to stay visible and 
calling frequently.

I avoided trying to find the nest. I'm a bit concerned that the mowing 
operation may come before the nesting is complete. All of the adjacent 
hayfields have been cut several weeks ago.

Ed LeGrand
Crossville, Cumberland Co.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "LeGrand Family" <elegrand@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "tn bird" <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2010 5:19 PM
Subject: [TN-Bird] Dickcissel in Cumberland County, July 1 2010 (finally!)


>I found a male Dickcissel singing in southern Cumberland County at Shadow 
>Mt. Estates this morning (July 1, 2010), my first for the county. It was in 
>the exact territory where I could have sworn I heard one sing (only once) a 
>month ago (on the south side of the cul-de-sac at the top of the ridge). 
>Also nearby was a foraging Savannah Sparrow, lots of Grasshopper Sparrows 
>(13 for the morning, with 10 being at Shadow Mt. Estates, including singers 
>and juveniles), and a Willow Flycatcher singing from willows along Dunbar 
>Rd. halfway between the entrance of Shadow Mt. Estates and Hillendale Rd. 
>A pair of Horned Larks was also along the ridge top this morning. There 
>have been fewer Savannah Sparrows this summer than last; and unlike last 
>year, I'm not sure if there was any successful nesting.
> This has been a great grassland area (several miles south of Lake Tansi, 
> south of Crossville) over the past few years, but a couple more houses are 
> going up, to add to the one already there. I can't really complain because 
> the development meant it has stayed mowed and access has been easy.
>
> Ed LeGrand
> Crossville, Cumberland Co., TN
>

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