[Bristol-Birds] Pair of Bald Eagles near Phipps Bend; eagles nested 2010

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2012 23:54:29 -0400

Bends of the Holston
Holston River
Hawkins Co., TN
14 April 2012

I drove nearly a hundred miles roundtrip today to look
for the Bald Eagles nesting along the "Bends of the 
Holston."  This is one of the really nice places to
river bird in all of Upper East Tennessee.

It is a beautiful stretch of great river bends with sprawling
farms and few people downstream from Kingsport -- Smith Bend, 
Christian Bend, McPheeter Bend, Hords Bend and Long Bend.  

The purpose was to continue searching for a pair of Bald
Eagles found 5 April along the foot of Miller Bluff and 
across the river from Miller Island at Phipps Bend.  The
birds were reported by my friends Harold and Trudy Smith of 
Christian Bend.  They managed to get a photo of one eagle
which they sent me and I posted it to this list.  They have been 
subscribed to Bristol Birds Net for about three years and have 
found good birds.

Today, fishermen told me they had seen both eagles earlier
today just up the river from the TWRA boat ramp on Christian
Bend Road and perched at Hords Island, barely downstream 
from the mouth of Bradley Creek.

The fishermen said a monster Bald Eagle nest was located
there in 2010 and eagles could be seen standing on the
nest.  They said they saw eagles at the nest until early in
2011 when the nest was blown out by a storm.  They have
not seen another nest but the birds are still there.

We have had reliable reports of a pair of Bald Eagles in 
this stretch of the Holston since 2009.

Carolyn and I were in the "Bends" from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

We stopped in with the Smith's and got caught up on birds
in the area while enjoying the scenic beauty and nice 
birding in the yard.

Their house is on a towering, vertical, river bluff above 
Christian Islands.  They not only live in a beautiful house
but their three acres are so high above the Holston River
that you can see for miles around.  It is the kind of place
where they had several Sandhill Cranes regularly flying
over their house each morning in February of this year,
going to and from feeding areas.  We'll save their 
Red-headed Woodpeckers and other goodies for another 

Both of them grew up along the bends. Trudy has been a 
birder all of her life and Harold for about ten years.

Before going on about the eagles, it is of note that we
did get to look down off their backyard bluff at the
Great Blue Heron rookery which is on Christian Islands
below their house.  It was first reported on Bristol Birds
Net 28 March 2009 and appeared to have about seven 
nests.  It had been there for several years then.  It
appeared to be the same size today.

On 28 March 2009, Trudy told me they were regularly
seeing a pair of Bald Eagles fly along the river at their
house.  They have taken photos when the eagles
perched in their backyard along the edge of the bluff.

From their yard, Phipps Bend is just downstream a 
very short distance and Hords Island, where the 
fishermen saw the pair hanging out earlier today, is
just up river from their house.  So they live right in
the middle of where the eagles are being seen today
and on 6 April.  

Two fishermen, who live at Bristol, were also interviewed.
They have been seeing the eagles along the river but
not today.

Contact information was left with all the fishermen so
we can be notified if they again find an eagle's nest.

BBC member Roger Lemaster lives at Church Hill,
just up the river, and we talked by phone and text
while I was in the area today.  He has also been
searching for the eagles and nest.  Roger reports
that he saw the eagles soaring above the river 
while searching from the Phipps Bend side of the

Harold and Trudy are going to talk to a neighbor
or two and watch closely to see if a nest can be

Let's go birding . . . .

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN



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  • » [Bristol-Birds] Pair of Bald Eagles near Phipps Bend; eagles nested 2010 - Wallace Coffey