[Bristol-Birds] Nesting success at Joachim Bible Refuge (Greene Co., TN)

  • From: Alice Loftin / Don Miller <pandion@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: TN-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, butternuts@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2012 19:27:30 -0400 (EDT)

April 8, 2012 

Greene County: Joachim Bible Refuge unit of Lick Creek Bottoms Wildlife 
Management Area (JBR) 

I visited JBR this afternoon for a couple of hours, fortuitously meeting Eric 
Bodker, a birder from Knoxville. 

Eric had been at the refuge since late morning and had located some shorebirds, 
waterfowl, and a mated pair of Barn Owls with two accompanying downy young. He 
and I also viewed the owls together shortly after I arrived. They were present 
in the large barn beyond the gate at the end of Matthews Lane (the western 
entrance to the refuge). 

After Eric and I observed the owls, we walked from the barn to the far western 
border of the refuge to check the ponds at that end. Along the way, as we 
walked under trees at the edge of a wet wooded area near the pond at the corner 
of the refuge, we saw about eight ducklings swimming behind a female that we 
could not at first see clearly. As we waited, she came into view, at least for 
me, and I was astonished to see that she was not a Wood Duck, as I had 
expected, but a Hooded Merganser. I clearly saw the characteristic merganser 
silhouette, which distinguished her at a glance from a Wood Duck, and the full, 
"puffy," brownish crest distinguished her from any other mergansers. The young 
were dark-bodied with prominent brownish-rufus on the head, their coloration 
suggestive of female Hooded Mergansers. The appearance was very different from 
that of Wood Duck ducklings, which I have often seen. 

The size of the young led us to think that they might have been several days 
old, maybe a week. They were about four to five inches long and quite active 
and alert. Mother and brood swam quickly beyond our view in the dense, flooded 

The area where we observed the birds is about a tenth of a mile from the 
tree-lined creek at the back of the refuge. Because the area was flooded, it in 
effect had become part of the pond nearby. At its nearest point to the creek, 
the western edge of the pond is probably not more than a hundred feet away. 

Barn Owl has been a confirmed breeder in Greene County for many years. Today's 
observation offers the only confirmed nesting evidence in the county for Hooded 
Merganser and represents one of only a tiny number of records for East 
Tennessee. However, it is interesting to note that Chuck Nicholson's Atlas of 
the Breeding Birds of Tennessee shows Hooded Merganser as a possible breeder in 
one survey block in Greene County. 

Other species of note at the refuge today (my count; Eric's may differ): 

Blue-winged Teal (21) 
Northern Shoveler (9) 
Green-winged Teal (36) 
Hooded Merganser (12 females in addition to the breeder) 
Pied-billed Grebe (3) 
Great Egret (1) 
Black-crowned Night-Heron (2) 
American Coot (22) 
Greater Yellowlegs (19) 
Lesser Yellowlegs (5) 
Wilson's Snipe (4) 
Savannah Sparrow (2) 

Don Miller 
Greeneville, Greene Co., TN 

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  • » [Bristol-Birds] Nesting success at Joachim Bible Refuge (Greene Co., TN) - Alice Loftin / Don Miller