Monday, January 16, 2012

Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge

Well a few days ago we made our way to the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge and it was a bit difficult in a semi and trailer. The roads were not meant for trucks with trailers so we headed back for the main highway to locate the truck stop we passed earlier in New Johnsonville. Then we made our way to Duck River Unit. As soon as we drove through the gate and down the path there were hundreds of ducks flying in the air, apparently they don't like the sound of a semi. We found a little parking spot and there was a Great Blue Heron to greet us and then it flew off as well! There was so many Canada Geese across the road we had to go visit them and I was hoping for a Barnacle Goose in the mix; but later on I discovered there was a flock of Great White-fronted Geese, a few Snow Geese and some Cackling Geese. As we were enjoying the geese a Red-tailed Hawk soared overhead. We were walking back to the truck when we saw an American Coot walking on the ice and we've never seen coot feet; pretty cool!
American Coot
Ducks Flying
We moved on to the next pond and as soon as they hear us coming, the  sky was full of ducks. What a beautiful sight.
Once again we parked the truck and walked over to a shelter belt of trees and we could hear some birds in the trees but couldn't locate them. Walking through the trees we came to the pond and got a glimpse of another lifer; Bufflehead. There were two males and four females swimming around. We saw lots of eagle's nest and saw a 2nd year Bald Eagle!
2nd Year Bald Eagle

Then we were looking for the birds singing in the trees and saw a Downy Woodpecker, female Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbirds and last but not least a group of American Tree Sparrows. We also saw some Eastern Meadowlark, Double-crested Cormorant, and Gadwall; we also saw plenty of Mallards. Unfortunately we only had a short time to go birding and we could have easily spent a whole day there. If you ever get a chance to go there I hope you have as good a time as we did and have more time to spend.
Later on in the day we were driving down Interstate 40 in Arkansas and we were seeing ducks sitting in about every spot with standing water; and saw some Northern Pintails, which is the prefect end to the day. The Pintails was one of the ducks that we wanted to see at Duck River Unit. Until next time happy birding!!
Northern Pintails

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