[TN-Bird] More Great Horned Owls

So now I am a professional Owl hunter or better yet locater.  
I headed out today to do some birding as my husband decided that scouting 
turkeys with his brother was more important than laundry or any of the other 
husbandly duties that a wife expects some help with.  That left me with some 
time to myself which can be quite nice.

I dropped by the heron rookery below the Patrick Henry Dam.  Momma Great Horned 
was hanging out on the nest.  Again today she was sitting in an upright 
position and from more than one angle I swear I saw a second head bobbing 
around and a touch of fluff.  It is hard to say for sure as the nest is so far 
away and I have no scope.  I noted the mass gathering of Great Blues in the 
next tree over.  I counted 21 birds at 13 different nests with a total of 39 
nests.  Herons were swooping in and out working hard to build their nests.  I 
think they look absolutely out of place 50 feet up in a tree swaying back and 
forth.  

As I sat and watched and tried to get an accurate count I detected a pair of 
Downy Woodpeckers working the trees near the dumpster.  The male was in hot 
pursuit while the female acted as if she couldn't possibly be less interested.  
There were also several Yellow rumped warblers working those same trees.

After checking in on that crew I headed back toward the house in Blountville.  
I decided to swing through the airport area.  Several Eastern Bluebirds were 
working the fence top that surrounds the airport.  Down by the wetland area at 
the end of the runway I ran across several Red-winged Blackbirds and one 
Eastern Meadowlark.  On the back side of the airport I flushed several White 
Throated Sparrows and one Juvenile Red-tail Hawk that was catching an easy meal 
from a deer carcass.  One male kestrel was spotted on a wire near Muddy Creek 
Rd.  After coming back out on to Muddy Creek I did check the fields for Snipe 
but with our little dry spell there is no water standing in the usual spots.  

There was one other nest I wanted to check before I called it a day and the 
trip paid off.  Two years ago a pair of Red-tail Hawks built a nest high a top 
a tree in the middle of a pasture.  The nest stuck out like a sore thumb.  I 
watched her raise two young out of that nest.  Last year the nest was not used. 
 By the end of the summer it was fairly dilapidated with portions of the nest 
hanging from the supporting limbs.  I did not notice a new nest I guess because 
I was so busy checking the old nest for activity.  Several weeks ago when I was 
riding shotgun and therefore had more time to look around I noted another large 
nest closer to the road.  Today I parked and walked up the road to the edge of 
the woodlot and there they were!  Momma Great Horned Owl and two owlets.  The 
young were eating something from the middle of the nest.  Mom flew off when I 
got close and I quickly took a peek through my binocs and left her to her job.  
This nest is also in Sullivan County.  For those of you familiar with Muddy 
Creek Rd in Blountville TN it makes a large winding horseshoe meeting up at 
both ends with Airport Rd(hwy 75).  If you enter from the Airport and Northeast 
State end you would travel to where Muddy Creek and DeVault Bridge meet (about 
1.5 miles).  Veer to the right on to DeVault Bridge Rd.  About a 1/4 of a mile 
up DeVault Bridge Rd there is a little church called Hulls Chapel UMC.  I 
parked there and walked up the road to the nest as there is no where to pull 
off the road.  The bird is in the woodlot on the left side of the road at the 
edge of the tree line.  This wood lot ends where the large pasture begins.  The 
tree sits on the opposite side of the woodlot from the road almost lined up 
with the second power pole from the church parking lot.  The nest tree is about 
50 feet from the road edge.  The nest is large and pretty obvious.  Babies look 
like they are starting to develop some pin feathers.  The bird closest to the 
road side of the nest was very curious about what I might be.  Perhaps what a 
great meal I would make if only he could fly.  

Sorry so long winded but it is energizing to take the time to get out and enjoy 
nature.  Hope everyone has a great week.  

Michelle King
Blountville TN
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