[TN-Bird] Common Yellowthroat, Peregrine Falcon, waterfowl, etc. (Greene Co., TN)

  • From: Alice Loftin / Don Miller <pandion@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: TN-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, butternuts@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2010 22:51:45 -0500 (EST)

March 6, 2010 

Greene County: Wal-Mart Distribution Center (WMDC), Joachim Bible Refuge unit 
of Lick Creek Bottoms Wildlife Management Area (JBR), and miscellaneous other 

A productive early spring day-- 

Gadwall (50 JBR, WMDC, Gravel Woods Road, Guinn Drive) 
American Wigeon (4 Gravel Woods Road) 
American Black Duck (15 JBR--a higher than usual total) 
Mallard (110) 
Northern Pintail (12--10 WMDC, 2 JBR) 
Green-winged Teal (18 JBR, WMDC, Gravel Woods Road) 
Redhead (Guinn Drive) 
Ring-necked Duck (57 JBR, Gravel Woods Road, Guinn Drive) 
Northern Harrier (2 JBR) 
Cooper's Hawk (JBR) 
Peregrine Falcon (JBR) 
Wilson's Snipe (2) 
American Woodcock (2 behind Italian Village Restaurant on North Rufe Taylor 
Road, Greeneville) 
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Unaka Drive, Mosheim) 
Barn Owl (JBR) 
Great Horned Owl (behind Italian Village Restaurant on North Rufe Taylor Road, 
Red-headed Woodpecker (2 Green Road) 
Common Raven (Blue Springs Parkway at Guinn Drive) 
American Pipit (56) 
Common Yellowthroat (WMDC, adjacent to second pond) 
Chipping Sparrow (9 Green Road) 
Savannah Sparrow (13 JBR, WMDC) 
Swamp Sparrow (13 JBR, WMDC) 
White-crowned Sparrow (JBR) 
Purple Finch (Greeneville) 

The Common Yellowthroat at WMDC appeared to be an immature male, and I found it 
very close to where I had observed a similarly plumaged bird twice back in 
November. I suspect that my observations were of the same bird, and that it 
overwintered at WMDC. It's considerably earlier than I would expect the species 
to be here. Most arrival dates for the county occur around mid-April. 

An amazing thing happened at JBR involving the Peregrine Falcon and a flock of 
Ring-necked Ducks. 

I first noticed the Ring-necked Ducks as I slowly approached the large pond at 
the western end of the refuge. I managed to count forty-five, and then most of 
them flushed. I noticed, though, that seven remained on the water. This seemed 
odd. I watched the other thirty-eight wheeling over the refuge in a tight 
flock, then diverted my attention back to the pond. A short while later, I was 
inundated by a wave of sound--a combination of high-pitched wing-whistling, a 
low pulsing sound, and the rush of air over wings. The flock had turned and 
descended rapidly toward me and the pond. It sounded as if I was standing in a 
tornado of ducks. That the flock had come back also struck me as odd, and then 
I looked to my left and saw the Peregrine Falcon. 

Apparently the flock had been engaged in evasive maneuvers, and its dive back 
toward the pond was a move calculated to throw off the predator. Perhaps the 
seven ducks that steadfastly refused to fly had chosen a different strategy. 
Whatever the case, as it turned out, every Ring-necked Duck had chosen wisely. 
The falcon was unable to dislodge any bird from the airborne flock or the loose 
flock on the water. A few minutes later, I watched it fly slowly away, toward 
the eastern end of the refuge. 

Don Miller 
Greeneville, Greene Co., TN 

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  • » [TN-Bird] Common Yellowthroat, Peregrine Falcon, waterfowl, etc. (Greene Co., TN) - Alice Loftin / Don Miller