Friday, May 8, 2009

Tennessee Birds - common species

While investigating the forest, I focused a while on the birds. This is a time consuming task, to photograph birds that is. Most of the birds viewed there were the same species as here in The Woodlands, with a few slight twists. The bird above is the Cedar Waxwing. It is migratory and was in the trees in an apparent migration north. They were stripping the trees of seed pods. It was a feeding frenzy!

This little guy is a Kinglet but not sure of exact identity.

This colorful little fellow is a Rufus-sided Towhee.

Another colorful bird I saw plenty of but got few photos, was this Red Breasted Nuthatch above. It was nesting near the cabin. in the BBQ pit. Notice the food it brought to feed its babies.

Here was one of the brightest Cardinals one can ever find. You can see that it was nesting time. Already the birds here in The Woodlands are looking a bit shabby from raising their young.
We have seen this bird time after time in the piney forest. They are also common in Tennessee - the Carolina Wren. This was found near the cabin, feeding in the front yard.
This is a nest of three nuthatch chicks (one flew out). They other two flew out when the flash went off but returned to the nest the next morning.

Tennessee Forest has character and wildlife

I know, this is not supposed to be here in this blog. I confess, I love more forests than that found here in southeast Texas, so this is placed here to remind us of the many sites we can go to appreciate nature in these United States. I got an opportunity to experience my second early spring of the year. Early Spring was long gone in southeast Texas in late April. Here, the land was in full bloom.

Like most forests, one can find some incredible character in the Tennessee forests. Although there is limited and diminishing space containing natural virgin forest, we find many small connected tracts of land sustaining wildlife and ancient timber. Wildlife, as we know it in America, requires considerable space to thrive. Deer, antelope, turkey, and many other creatures will naturally move about seeking mates, food and water, in different seasons of the year. They can't be constrained to a small farm space. I was fortunate recently to stay a couple of nights on a 40 acre private tract near the Kentucky border, connected to other private tracts where the wildlife is highly valued. My observations were from the eyes of a lover of forests, wildlife and trees.
Unlike our pine forests in Texas, this is definitely hardwood country. It has a smattering of oaks, hickory and many other species to form a canopy. Underneath that canopy is a diverse life of trees and bushes, some of which we are familiar with here, such as the Flowering Dogwood. The dominant Dogwood is the white bloomer, but the pink is also found among its canopy trees.
A casual visit to this land is just not enough time to soak it in. Each time I ventured out to photograph, I would see something totally new. From a photographer's view, what you see has everything to do with the light - angle, intensity, color. Early morning is dramatically different than late evening and mid-day with the sun shining, presents the forest "in a totally different light". At times, I ran across varied bird species that I wanted to photograph but could not, because they usually were too shy and elusive to capture with any quality.

This waxwing was one of hundreds feeding on fresh spring seeds in this tree.

Configurations of trees in the forest make interesting scenes. This one caught my eye as I was looking for birds. This place was full of birds, but my eyes met up with the tangled limbs and fauna on the trees and the ground.

To get to these little farms, one often must find the small lanes through the countryside. However, be warned. Everyone participates in informal neighborhood watches. Land owners all have guns and are willing to use them on trespassers.

Deer are plentiful and often large, much larger than our little ones. These were grazing behind the cabin and I photographed them through a window of the cabin.

Turkey are also plentiful. This was during hunting season and we were watching four hens and a gobbler on the slope of this hill.