Sunday, February 27, 2011

Taking a walk at Armstrong Bend

Stay with me, folks! I have a lot of backlogged thoughts that I just need time to write up.

Tonight, I took a brief run/ exploration walk around Armstrong Bend: the place I stay while I'm tracking birds in Tennessee.

I mapped out my route for you. It was SO AMAZINGLY beautiful that I had to take pictures so I could share it with you. Sorry, they're just pictures from my phone.

First, I ran (purposefully avoiding running in a straight line) down from the refuge along Armstrong Ferry Road.

I was distracted by the beautiful shoreline near an RV campsite. I sat down on culvert to enjoy the view.

After I stood up, I realized that the culvert was built to allow water flow from a little inlet... or slough. I walked in along the slough, enjoying the sunset over the west side of the peninsula.
 There were all sorts of shells washed up in the slough (for those unfamiliar with this term, it's pronounced "slew").

It was getting dark, so I started heading back to the farmhouse, but I was sidetracked again by the gorgeous sunset over the hills of the farm. It was such a gentle warmth and the light breeze smelled so fresh it felt like summer evening!

 Thanks for taking a walk with me, I'll talk to you again soon!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Happy Scientist

I met Robert, the other day at Payenes Prairie Preserve State Park in Florida. What a jovial guy!

I always enjoy meeting fellow science nerds. Check out his blog! He updates DAILY with a fun photo and a quick question.

He was even kind enough to feature me in his Feb. 25th entry.

I wish him all the best in his quest to inspire inquiring minds!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Intro to Hiwassee and Armstrong Bend

This area of Tennessee is so BEAUTIFUL!!! I look forward to waking up with the dawn everyday because the views are so breathtaking.

The first place I look for birds is off the Highway 60 Bridge. Upper image is the view to the North, and dead center of the shot is the Hiwassee Island landmass where the birds usually spend the night. All those sandbars in the river are usually COVERED with sandhill cranes, and the occasional whooper. Lower Image is the south view from the bridge, I haven't seen any whoopers that way, but it's worth a photo.

The next place I check is the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park. After a brief walk through rocky-bottomed woods, you arrive at the viewing platform. Those of us who are avid craniacs avoid the platform, walk around it, and up the natural steps made of stone. We have a wonderful view of the sandbars and Hiwassee Island from between the tree trunks.

If there are no cranes at the CRMP, I head down to the official Hiwassee Refuge Viewing Pavilion. Thousands of cranes will flock to this point, and sometimes a lone whooper or maybe a pair of whoopers will descend on this little pond, too.

Lastly, I head back to Armstrong bend (just north of the Hiwassee Island along the river where it bends around a peninsula). On the way, I might find trees full of Turkey Vultures, another one of my FAVORITE birds... right next to the corvid family.

At Armstrong Bend, Charles and I were lucky enough to spot ALL 7 cranes in the area congregating there. Charles has been a true friend here in Tennessee, and I consider myself lucky to have met such an avid craniac and wonderful person.