Members of the Bristol Bird Club invite all of you to join us Saturday at our Quarry Bog Watch in Shady Valley, Tennessee as we help celebrate the 19th Annual Cranberry Festival and enjoy a good day of visiting and birding. We will hosts birders Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. until well into the afternoon.. Come loaf and bird with us in one of Tennessee's most 15 important biological areas, among pastoral scenery sure to satisfy that craving for a drive on a crisp fall day. This event has been very popular with our birders for many years. The Shady Valley Cranberry Festival has been termed "The Best Little Festival in Tennessee." The event name and the festival was first proposed by the Bristol Bird Club in October 1991. The first festival was held Sept. 1992. Rick Knight, Jacki Hinshaw, Carolyn Coffey and Wallace Coffey will lead birding walks and host birders for other outing activities Saturday. The weather bureau is calling for a sunny Saturday with the high in the upper 70's (forecast 76 and overnight Friday, leading into Saturday morning, is forecast for 43). We may eventually bird other exciting spots. We may show you some of the best birding habitat and locations you have visited in Shady -- possibly some you have never heard about or never visited. At least part of our birding will be in the best habitats we can reach, hanging out to enjoy the scenery and whatever fall color is coming to full flame. In addition, we plan to take in some of the more fun aspects of this small, rural, mountain festival. It will be a sideline event of the famous 19th Annual Cranberry Festival. The watch will be held at the same time and birders who come to Shady Valley will be able to enjoy both. The bog watch will feature regular walks along the trail, creek and in fields of the preserve which is owned and managed by the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. This is one of the best and more unusual birding habitats in East Tennessee. BBC hopes there is a nice turnout. Bring your folding chairs, bag lunch, snacks and birding gear. If you have any boots to keep your feet dry, drag them with you. If not, then you are grown people and know how to stay out of the water :-) It was tremendous fun in previous years. The birding has been good and the fellowship fabulous. In October the bog produces Le Conte's Sparrow, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrow. You can also search for the Virginia Rail which breeds there. Quarry Bog offers a chance to see a flock of Bobolinks, American Bittern, Sora, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Savannah Sparrow and Henslow's Sparrow. All have been found in Quarry Bog. The bog, located on TN Route 133, is easy to find. After you pass Shady Valley School (beautiful stone building) watch in a dip for a huge oak tree right beside a lane turning left as you head north from the crossroads and school. Go down that lane to the end and there you'll find BBC members. From Bristol, TN follow U.S. Hwy 421 south 20 miles to the crossroads and flashing light in Shady Valley and turn left to the school and bog. From Abingdon, VA follow U.S. Hwy 58 14 miles to Damascus, turn right on Shady Lane in the middle of the town's main street and go 14 miles to Shady. From Johnson City, Tenn. follow Hwy. 321 to Elizabethton, turn onto Hwy 91 north about 20 miles to the Shady crossroads. When you come on Saturday morning, the Cranberry Festival Parade will begin at 11 a.m. and tie up traffic for about 45 minutes for those coming from Tennessee. The Virginia route to the bog should be easy to access. Before and after the parade you will have no problem getting around. If you are visiting Shady for the first time, you may have expected to see cranberries like you would in Massachusetts or Wisconsin. We don't want to disappoint you, but cranberries are not cultivated as a crop in the valley. Their presence here is more subtle and has continued for thousands of years. So, we want to share with you the story of cranberries in the Southern Appalachians, how they got here, why they are still here, and what is being done to perpetuate them. We may pay a brief visit with the Tennessee Nature Conservancy and the Shady Valley Ruritan Club while they are hosting free cranberry nursery and bog tours at Orchard Bog. Lynn Eastin, Todd Eastin, Jamey Donaldson, Rick Foster, Charles McQueen and Gabby Call will be guiding the public around, as they have done for years. Come join us for this unique celebration of Shady Valley's natural history and fun and birding at Quarry Bog with the BBC.