[TN-Bird] Airboat Invasion; waterbirds

  • From: "michael sledjeski" <mtnsylva@xxxxxxx>
  • To: TN-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, doneil@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2007 22:25:41 -0400

The Ten Islands area of Douglas Lake, in Cocke county between Leadvale and 
Walters Bridge, has proved to be an extraordinary ecological niche for 
waders and shorebirds.   The broad mudflats and shallows off the main river 
channel are fertile foraging grounds, inaccessible for conventional boats.

Today, as we were finishing a survey of birds in the area, we heard a loud 
deep drone approaching from  Dutch Bottoms.  A big airboat came around the 
bend, swung out of the main channel and along the shallow eastern shore up 
into the mudflats. It proceeded to rip and roar back and forth, up and down 
the wetlands for 10 minutes, sometimes heading straight into clusters of 
shorebirds. When it left, there were no birds remaining where it had 
traveled.  Just before it arrived there were about 250 waterfowl,  more than 
100 wading birds, and about 350 shorebirds.  When we left about 20 minutes 
later, about 2 dozen birds had returned.

I got the registration of the boat, and intend to report the incident to TVA 
and TWRA.

Seen today (1:00 to 4:00 PM) in the greater Ten Islands area, and the lower 
end of Rankin Bottoms:

Canada Goose (350)
Wood duck (21)
Mallard (45)
Double-crested cormorant (15)
Great blue heron (34)
Great egret (124)
Green heron (8)
Black-crowned night-heron (5)
Osprey (2)
Seimpalmated plover (3)*
Killdeer (245)
Lesser yellowlegs (4)
Solitary sandpiper*
Spotted sandpiper (3)
Semipalmated sandpiper (5)
Western sandpiper*
Least sandpiper (76, including some juveniles)
"peeps", about 20, too far to i.d.
Pectoral sandpiper (121, some juveniles)
Stilt sandpiper (4)

*first-of-season for us

Also, at Dutch Bottoms, seen from along the road around noon:

D-c cormorant (18)
Great blue heron (17)
Great egret (42)
Green heron (10)
Osprey (2)
Killdeer (28)
Spotted sandpiper
Least sandpiper (4)

Michael Sledjeski & Leslie Gibbens
Cocke county TN

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