[Bristol-Birds] Rankin - shorebird habitat

  • From: michael sledjeski <mbsledjeski@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2013 14:21:32 -0400

Rankin Bottoms is typically a shorebird hotspot starting in August and 
continuing through September, but the water level so far has been too high for 
suitable habitat.  Presumably because of unusually high summer inflow this 
year, Douglas Reservoir elevation has been held steady since mid-July at about 
991.5 ft.,  (TVA's flood guide standard). Mudflats don't appear in the Rankin 
WMA above 991 ft., but there are a few suitable locations on nearby private 
property that show up as the lake drops.  When elevation is held steady, those 
areas tend to dry out and revegetate.
Starting  9/1, the elevation is expected (80% likelihood) to decrease steadily 
through the month to about 980 ft. on 10/1.  Viewing possibilities from shore 
(scope recommended), and significant mudflat area, take off at about 986 ft. 
and are best for Rankin Bottoms at around 980.  That was the approximate 
elevation in 2011 when Ruff, Hudsonian Godwit and 2 dozen other shorebird 
species were present.  Also, shorebirds are often seen along the shoreline at 
Dutch Bottoms (Highway 25E) at 980 ft., but optimal level there is at about 970 

Birders should check Douglas Reservoir elevation before heading to Rankin; TVA 
reports current level, and forecasts 2 days ahead-  

Michael Sledjeski
Del Rio TN

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