[TN-Bird] Reelfoot Lake Area

  • From: "Ken Leggett" <kcleggett@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 21:44:21 -0500

Since Monday night, the Lake and Dyer County area has received from 4 to 6 
inches of rain reviving most of the mud flats which had gone dry and giving us 
reason to believe that August could be a good shorebird month.

We do not know how many young Black-necked Stilts survived in our area but do 
know that quite a few have been present at mile marker 18.5 on Great River Road 
(where Jeff Wilson reported two broods of young there back on 6/29).  On 
Sunday, Nancy Moore and I had 5 adults and 9 young there.  During the past two 
weeks Glen Criswell and I have had various numbers but never more than 9 young 
that we could locate at the same time.

During the last week shorebirds have been down as the habitat has gradually 
disappeared with the very dry weather.  Today, Nancy, Glen and I birded Island 
13, Great River Road and White Lake.  Our best find was 1 Piping Plover at 
Island 13.  We also had 1 Sanderling, 10 Semi-palmated Sandpipers, 1 Western 
Sandpiper along with 6 Spotted Sandpipers, 20 Least and 3 Semi-palmated Plovers.

There were a few Spotted Sandpipers and Pectorals at mile marker 18.5 but water 
had risen so high up that it covered a number of acres.  There was no sign of 
any Black-necked Stilts but there is so much water around since the rain that 
they could be anywhere.

The water level at White Lake was VERY high.  The TWRA, in preparation for an 
optimum shorebird habitat toward the end of August,  began pumping water  there 
and at Bogata TWRA Unit early last week.  With the addition of some 5 inches of 
rain, there is plenty of water.  We had 16 Solitary Sandpipers, 3 Spotted 
Sandpipers and 145 Mallards today at White Lake on the north side of the levee. 

As some of you know, Kenneth Jones, a professor of biology at Dyersburg State 
Community College, has done the annual Corps of Engineers Least Tern Breeding 
Survey every year since 1985 that covers all sandbars on the Mississippi River  
from Cape Girardeau, MO to Vicksburg, MS.  This year's survey was done earlier 
this month and they recorded a total of 8082 birds.  The most in any previous 
year was less than 7000.  Any birder that would be interested in participating 
in this survey would be welcome.  He has a fairly large well equipped boat and 
they now spend each night of the five or six day survey in a motel. (Past years 
involved sleeping on sandbars).   I will give anyone interested his email 

Ken Leggett
Dyersburg, TN

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