Friday, February 4, 2011
Intro to Hiwassee and Armstrong Bend
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.