[TN-Bird] Horned Grebes & a dead Coot at Concord Park, west Knox County

Birded the Cove at Concord Park in west Knox County, TN from 11 a.m. to 1:05 
p.m. this morning.  Water birds observed were:

Horned Grebes ? 2
Pied-billed Grebe ? 1
Mallards ? 35
Ring-necked ducks ? 6
American Coots ? 241 living, 1 dead
Great Blue Herons ? 3
Ring-billed Gulls ? 3

Most of the waterfowl were on the pond to the right as you drive into the 
parking lot, but the Horned Grebes were in the southwest cove with a few of 
the coots.  They were very cooperative, swimming and diving at close range 
for at least half an hour.

This seems to be a banner year for coots.

The dead coot was on land near where I was standing scoping the 198 coots, 6 
ring-necked ducks, pied-billed grebe and 31 Mallards on the above-mentioned 
pond to the west of the parking lot.  I turned it over and except for an 
apparent broken wing it appeared in good shape except for being dead, of 
course.  As I was leaving about an hour later, I walked to that pond again, 
tromping on dead leaves in the woods, making a lot of noise, and as I got to 
within about 35 feet of the dead coot (I stepped off the distance later), I 
realized that it was not alone.  An adult red-tailed hawk was feeding on it. 
  I stopped in my tracks, slowly put down my scope and watched it tear that 
coot apart for at least 10-15 minutes.  I was amazed that it did not flush, 
even when I raised my binoculars to watch it.  It had to have heard and seen 
me.  Sometimes it looked right at me.  Even more surprising, along came two 
young boys from the picnic area, making even more noise than I must have.  
Surely, I thought, the hawk will fly off.  But, no.  When the boys got to 
about 35-40 feet of it the older one saw the hawk and reacted as I had.  He 
stopped, fell silent and the two of them back tracked and stood behind a 
large tree.  For another 5 minutes or so we all watched the red-tail 
continue its meal.  Then the hawk with the coot in its talons flew even 
close to me? now it was about 30 feet away.  It continued tearing the coot 
apart.  Another few minutes and it flew a short distance into the woods with 
the coot.  Another few minutes and it flew up into a tree and perched on a 
branch with the coot in its talons.  Finally, the hawk left, leaving it?s 
meal in the tree, perhaps to return and finish it off (what little was left) 
when there weren?t so many observers around.

Other birds present were Brown Headed Nuthatches, Cedar Waxwings, Robins, 
Carolina Wrens, American Goldfinches, Bluejays and Carolina Chickadees.

Carole Gobert, Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee

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