[TN-Bird] Weekend Birding - Long

  • From: olcoot1@xxxxxxx
  • To: tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 08:54:11 -0400

Aug. 10-11-12, 2007
Mississippi River, Ensley Bottoms,
Mud Lake -Shelby Co
Island !3. Reelfoot Area
Lake Co. TN 

Tommy Curtis wrote that they would be traveling to Memphis to bird, and were 
particularly interested in seeing a Buff-breasted in TN. After work Friday, I 
went down to see what the hot weather had done to the habitat and birds at 
Ensley. The pits are drying but still quite a few birds. After a while, I ran 
across a single adult Buffy, pretty lucky as the birds don't show up in numbers 
till later. Just as I was leaving Tommy drove up and I was able to relocate the 
bird for them. Another lucky stroke as I knew the bird would probably leave 
that evening as the birds were acting like quite a few would head south while 
some would head to roost.

Mike Todd met me at the Riverfront on Saturday morning and we were joined by 
Tommy and Virginia. A lot of birds were using the river and the sand bars as 
the river is dropping. There were 8 species of shorebirds and 4 species of 
terns. Tern wise we had 3 Caspian, a hundred plus Least with some still feeding 
young, 20 plus Black in various stages of molt and 3 sterna type that flew 
directly away from us going up river.

Just as suspected, there were way fewer Wind Birds at the "pits", the Buffy 
could not be found but we did get good looks at a Baird's in full basic plumage 
for a total of only 12 species. In the mix were a couple of Western, Semi 
Plovers, and a few Solitary Sandpipers; the northwest wind had done its job.
The wind did bring on a movement of raptors, I had had my first kettle of 
Broad-winged Hawks on Friday, 5 birds over the pits heading south. The 
shorebirds kept us looking up and we came up with a small kettle of a Red-tail, 
2 Broad-wings and a Red-shouldered Hawk drifting south and the singles of 
Mississippi Kites and other Broad-wings?plus a lone Cooper's high and traveling 
south. Seems a little early but definately a movement. We also had a lot of 
Turkey Vultures around all morning.?The immature Cooper's is still making 
strafing runs across the pits and keeping things honest. We dropped down to Mud 
Lake and found a lot of Great Egrets, a few immature Little Blue Herons, lots 
of?Wood Ducks and a single White Pelican but no prizes or surprises.

Mike and I decided to go to Island 13 for the late afternoon but this once 
Mecca for shorebirds still suffers from the sand build up and I don't think 
there was one square foot of sand on this mile wide 4 mile long area that did 
not have a 4 wheeler track on it. We ran into them everywhere and it was a sad 
experience. There were 4 Killdeer around the pool which was drying fast under a 
hot sun.

On the way up, we ran by a few ponds in MO that had a real nice collection of 
shorebirds, 12 species including 95 Black-necked Stilts (about half young of 
the year) and a Wilson's Phalarope. We also counted both Crow species, a single 
Snowy Egret and 193 Great Egrets at a barrow pit just south of White Lake 
Refuge off the Great River Road. An adult?Bald Eagle was walking around on 
Tiptonville Bar along with 4 Ring-billed Gulls and 3 Caspian Terns. Here we 
also had all the swalloows including a large number of Bank.?

At Reelfoot, the heat had swept the lake clean of fishermen, it was 100% 
deserted except for a hundred or so Great Egrets, a couple of Snowy, an Osprey 
giving a Great a chase, a few DC Cormorants and a few Least Terns. We split up 
at dusk and I was treated to a Great Horned that allowed photos on the Great 
River Road and I watched the hordes of Purple Martins going to the huge roost 
that is showing up in the morning on Nexrad Radar,?just south of 79 Highway on 
the Mississippi River. It was a long drive home..............

On Sunday, I spent some time with the left over shorebirds and trying for a 
photo of the basic plumaged Baird's but no luck. I searched the fields for 
Upies and Buffies but again, no luck. I ended the day on the Mississippi River 
at the Hatchie Bar in Tipton Co, with more terns, Least everywhere, 9 Black, 2 
Caspian (typical adult and begging young) , 2 Forester's and more 4 wheelers.

Jeff R. Wilson
Ol'coot / TLBA
Bartlett, TN
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