Sunday, February 17, 2013

Robertson County, TN
Feb. 16, 2013

Eight hardy birders joined me yesterday as we explored the fields and farms of Robertson Co. We drove many miles and visited Cedar Hill, Youngville, Cross Plains and Springfield, making a number of stops along the way. One of our best encounters was also one of our first: we caught a glimpse of a Great Horned Owl flying from its roost on Carr Rd. while being harassed by crows. At the same stop we also saw a Red-shouldered Hawk, the first of 5 or 6 that we saw for the day. At Van Hook Rd. we found a nice flock of sparrows, with two Fox Sparrows making brief appearances alongside Field, White-crowned, and Song.

At the big field on W. Dunn Rd. we had good looks at a few Horned Larks (we would go on to see this species at several more stops along the way) as well as a couple of Savannah Sparrows. From there we went to W. Glover Rd. and added Swamp Sparrow to our list. On Mud Cat Rd. we tallied our first Red-headed Woodpecker of the day, and in the process satisfied at least of couple of birders who were especially interested in seeing that species.

Our visit to Carter Rd./Johnson's dairy farm/Cedar Hill Swamp was perhaps our most memorable simply because of the number and proximity of Rusty Blackbirds. We conservatively estimated there to be 100 mixed in with the big flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds, Cowbirds and Grackles, and they were pleasingly close by allowing for good looks. At the swamp we added several more Red-headed Woodpeckers to the total. Our search for Loggerhead Shrikes in the farm's hedgerows came up empty however, and we would go on to miss the species for the day. A drive over to Turns Rd. and Belt Rd. added a dozen or more Horned Larks, but not the American Pipits we'd hoped for, and we struck out on that species for the day as well.

A quick stop at Henry dairy farm (Swann Rd.) gave us a Wilson's Snipe and a short distance away on Simmons Rd. we watched about 40 Yellow-rumped Warblers and a few Cedar Waxwings feasting on cedar berries, a scene that was repeated later at another stop on Homer Worsham Rd. where we also found a couple of Golden-crowned Kinglets in a pine tree.

Our total species count for the day was 56.

Tony Lance