Island 13 & Reelfoot Lake (Lake County, TN)
Macedonia Bottoms Heronry (Gibson County, TN)
Tennessee summers are horrible - hot, and even worse, overly humid. But when you're birding and having fun, you hardly notice it. And that's how it was today.
Ruben Stoll, Victor Stoll, Alan Troyer, my dad (he wasn't birding), my brother Nolan, and I spent the morning at Island 13 at the Northwest corner of the state. Bank Swallows and American White Pelicans were by the hundreds, and Mississippi Kites - by the dozens. I definitely did not expect to find myself driving a four-wheeler while we were out there, but well, that's what happened. It was my first time to drive one (and bird from one), and I honestly could have driven it all day! However, when my brother started driving, I pretty much started screaming. :0
Shorebirds were our main target for the day, and we flushed several peeps as we rode along the river. It was only on the main island (Island 13) that we were able to give them a positive ID. Our eyes immediately landed on the larger-headed bird - a Western Sandpiper - then checked the other birds - both Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers. They were very close and wonderful to observe. We continued and found an adult Sanderling with some hints of previous breeding plumage. Nearby, a Spotted Sandpiper in complete breeding plumage bobbed on the shore. And of course, I can't forget to mention the noisy Least Terns which continuously fished in the mirky water.
Next we went to a section of Reelfoot Lake in search of Least Bitterns. Here I rode in a kayak for the first time (by myself, actually), all the while praying that I wouldn't flip into the water! But despite our efforts, we never heard or saw any Least Bitterns.
Our final stop as a group was at the Macedonia Bottoms Heronry in Gibson County. Anhingas had been reported here previously, and it would be a lifer for Nolan and I. We parked along the road, waiting for them to fly over, and we would have waited for hours had Victor and Alan not gotten in the kayaks and found one actually visible from land. So we drove over to where they were, and sure enough, a female Anhinga was perched in a bare Bald Cypress preening.
We parted ways, and Dad, Nolan, and I went to the Tennessee NWR - Duck River Unit to look for a previously reported Wood Stork. We were pretty much on a race to beat the dark and unfortunately came up empty.
But overall, we had an incredibly long, fun, and hot day! So fun that I forgot to take photos! Oh well...
View my eBird checklist for Island 13 here.
View my eBird checklist for Reelfoot Lake here.
View my eBird checklist for Macedonia Bottoms Heronry here.
View my eBird checklist for Duck River here.