[TN-Bird] Re: Mossy Creek and Cherokee Dam - 2/21/2010

  • From: kde@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: Charles Nicholson <cpnichol@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2010 10:59:22 -0500 (EST)

As an interesting note to Chuck's gull report from Cherokee Dam,
this is same location and time of year where I had my largest gull
flock... and probably the largest group of birds I've ever seen
(except maybe for some of those long, seemingly-endless rivers of
migrating starlings many, many years ago).

On 20 Feb 1996, I stopped by the dam about 2 hrs before sunset and
found a massive number of gulls concentrated at the mouth of Mossy
Creek.  They were taking flight from this area and heading upstream
with some settling in huge rafts on the water but most continuing
NE out of sight (none were seen looping around).  The flow of birds
was still going when I left after sunset and never seemed to slow
nor did it seem to impact the mass of birds at Mossy Creek.  From the
dam, the cove at Mossy Creek looked completely white with birds on
the ground and water and in the air.  I estimated the various rafts of
birds on the lake held 10,000 to 50,000 birds with a few near 100,000.
My total estimate was up to 2 million gulls, mostly Ring-bills but
also 50,000+ Bonaparte's.  I did spot 4 large immature gulls which
were likely Herring Gulls but no other species could be picked out
of the streaming masses.

I returned early the next morning but the lake was completely empty.

Dean Edwards
Knoxville, TN

On Tue, 23 Feb 2010, Charles Nicholson wrote:

> Sunday morning, 2/21/2010
> Gulls - huge flock of about 4,500 in the embayment where Mossy Creek enters
> Cherokee Lake.  I estimated about 20% (900 birds) were Bonaparte's and 80%
> (3600 birds) were Ring-billed Gulls.  The gulls spent most of the time in
> rafts on the water or in flocks standing onthe shoreline.  Large groups were
> often actively feeding in the area.  There were also several fishermen in
> the area and I assume there was a lot of fish activity there.  This is one
> of the largest flocks of gulls I've seen in east TN.  Another 30 Bonaparte's
> and 150 Ring-bills were near the dam.
> Chuck Nicholson
> Norris, TN
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