[TN-Bird] Laughing Gull, etc. Pace Point & vicinity

9/19/03
Big Sandy area , Britton Ford, and Paris Landing
Henry & Benton Co.

I spent the better part of the day with Barbara Wilbur of Clarksville,
exploring some of the less well-known locations in the above area, as
well as the old stand-by's.

We began the morning at the Danville area, looking largely for
passerines. It was a great morning to be out, but not too productive.
Our only warblers for the day were Black-and-white, Prairie, Pine, and
Common Yellowthroat, Vireos were represented only by White and Red-eyed,
but both Tanagers made the list.

The River has dropped enough to expose good flats in various locations,
letting us total 13 species of shorebirds for the day. Lick Creek had
Pec's and Least, as well as a Spotted, but we couldn't locate any of the
Snipe that usually call this area their winter home. Killdeer were the
most numerous shorebird on the day. Pace Point had only Killdeer in the
way of shorebirds (and it took awhile to find them in the grass), but
there was finally a juvenile LAUGHING GULL resting on the point  with
the many Ring-billed Gulls and Caspian Terns. This is a regular place
for Laughers, but I was beginning to wonder about this year, as several
trips had failed to turn one up. This bird appeared to be exhausted, as
it only picked up it's head a couple of times while we were there, and
finally sat down on the sand and went to sleep. A search of the areas
around Pace Point yielded no early Loons, or diving ducks.

The flats at the mouth of the Big Sandy River are exposing nicely, and
had a nice variety of (distant) shorebirds. There was a constant
movement of shorebirds, with several flocks of birds in the air at a
time. The only raptor we saw there was a Cooper's Hawk, but never while
the shorebirds were up. One nice mixed group of birds left heading south
while we were there. Among the Killdeer were:

Semi Plover; At least 1 and maybe more (hard to tell with the movement)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER; 1 calling fly-by headed south. We heard the bird
calling for some time before finally spotting it right as it came over,
it may have been on the flats.

Greater Yellowlegs- 1

Lesser Yellowlegs- 3

RUDDY TURNSTONE- 1 in tow with a flock of Pec's

SANDERLING- 1 in with a large flock of peeps (only seen in the air as
the flock repeatedly wheeled around the area)

Semi/Western Sandpiper- a few in flight with Least (once the birds came
down the shimmer made it very hard to ID distant birds)

Least Sandpiper- 100+

Pectoral Sandpiper- 50+

Britton Ford was slow, but the flats there added a couple of other
shorebird species. We flushed two Snipe, and also had a molting juvenile
Stilt Sandpiper here, in addition to Pec's and Killdeers. Pretty quiet
otherwise. The only ducks to be found were Mallard and Blue-winged Teal.

The island at Paris Landing is fairly substantial now, but only harbored
Ring-billed Gulls.

All in all, a very nice day to be out!

Mike Todd
McKenzie, TN
Carroll Co.
birder1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
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