[Bristol-Birds] Middlebrook Lake Waterfowl Habitat May Be Changing

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2010 22:37:30 -0400

Middlebrook Lake Waterfowl Habitat May Be Changing

During the last two or three winters, there seems to be visual evidence that the
diversity of waterfowl visiting Middlebrook Lake in east Bristol Tennessee has
decreased and that the impoundment does not attract the same numbers of
wintering Hooded Mergansers and maybe other species.  It also appears that the 
once-useful food supply is not available in late winter.   (continued below 

 The lake shown just above the words Edgefield and Redstone, is a neighborhood 
 impoundment which was intended to enhance the Middlebrook subdivision for the 
purpose of
 real estate value and such when built about 40 years ago.

In late 2002, much of the land to the northeast of Middlbrook Lake changed 
and since has been developing into a beautiful, upscale and gracious-living, 
access and gated residential area between the Bristol country club and Kingmill 
Pike in
the Shakesville community just outside Bristol Virginia. This farmland is 
roughly indicated by
the red lines in the photo.  It is not based on well-documented descriptions of 
maps of the

Sinking Creek is the primary stream flowing thru the new development and the 
main source of water
entering Middlebrook Lake.  All of the area along Sinking Creek has been under 
in some form for many years and the housing growth along the stream appear to 
be increasing.

The main message here is that development has been steadily increasing along 
Lake's watershed flowing to Sinking Creek and to the lake.  Many aspects of 
landuse can
change the characteristics of the water and thus change the aquatic life that 
serves as
waterfowl food and it abundance in the lake.  

But we would first be wise to remind ourselves that, had it not been for the 
development of a the large Carmack farm and the construction of the Middlebrook 
to impound Sinking Creek as part of that development, there would be no lake 
here and no habitat for waterfowl during the past many years.

We need to continue careful monitoring of the winter waterfowl and their coming 
and going.

We need to know this for no other reason than to simply understand the changing 
of our region.  Middlebrook Lake has been a significant source of waterbird 
species and 
numbers for the Bristol Christmas Bird Count during the past three or four 
decades.  That
may be partially changing the diversity of waterbirds on this count.  

We study and count birds to understand our region's avifauna and its constant 
changes as
well as for the recreational and social enjoyment of birders and other 
naturalist, including
residents of the Middlebrook subdivision.

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN 


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