[tn-bird] Weekend Sightings / Soap Box

  • From: OLCOOT1@xxxxxxx
  • To: tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2002 08:50:43 EDT

July 6-7, 2002
Shelby, Dyer, Lake,
Obion and Lauderdale Co.

I few other species worth mentioning seen this weekend: 

An impressive 460 American White Pelicans were seen off the Tiptonville 
Landing Bar along with a single Caspian Tern. Only one DC Cormorant was seen 
all weekend, a bird flying over White Lake Refuge. Black-crown and 
Yellow-crowned Night-Herons adult and immature were seen at White Lake and 
Black Bayou. A single Ringed-neck Duck still holding on at White Lake and it 
has molted back into breeding plumage. The single Lesser Scaup and 5 Ruddy 
Ducks are still at Champy's Pocket on Reelfoot Lake. A cooper's Hawk still 
plies its trade in stealth mode at White Lake Refuge. Large groups of mixed 
aged Mississippi Kites can be found through out the area.  I found an 
unexpected Least Bittern nest along a back road in Dyer Co. a fledged bird 
was skulking nearby. A pair of young fawns were bedded down at Black Bayou 
and I took photos of the spotted pair. 

The after effects of the drought are being seen more and more in the area. 
The dry soil allowed farmers to ditch into areas that had not been accessible 
for years. The water runs off faster and trees were felled and dragged out of 
sloughs and low areas opening up previously water retaining vaults. In doing 
so many reliable wet spots that have produced in years past are now dry. Time 
and again this long weekend I visited small holes that have produced 
shorebirds over the years only to find cracking earth or fresh plowed areas. 
With the rain we have had water would normally hold in these small holes up 
into early fall. Of course they might refill if regular rain returned in the 
next few years but most areas are lost for good. Now there is little left for 
my wind birds to do but keep flying. Last week we met a farmer going into an 
area to unplug a beaver dam and in one week the same area that we had 
hundreds of egrets and herons on is now plowed and sown. I can't blame the 
farmers but there is no shorebird habitat being developed to take up the 
slack. Where shorebirds fed last week at Phillippy Pits the ground is dry. 
This location before ditching was prime habitat up into September, a natural 
oasis but this year instead of Chironomidaes it will produce soybeans.

Good Birding!!!

Jeff R. Wilson
Bartlett Tenn.

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