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Photo by Edbo23/Pixabay.com • The yellow-rumped warbler is one of the few warblers that attempts to reside in the region during the winter months. Switching from a diet of insects to one of fruit and seeds helps the birds manage to find enough to eat during the lean months. This species is particularly fond of poison ivy berries.
November and December are bleak months for birders as we experience a bit of a letdown after the joys of fall migration. Many of the favorite birds that spend the summer months with us have departed and will not return until spring. Hummingbirds, tanagers, vireos and most warblers, despite a few lingering individuals, have left the scene.
I really feel the pinch since warblers are one of my favorite families of birds. In northeast Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina, there are only three warblers that bird enthusiasts are likely to…
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Photo by RetyiRetyi/Pixabay.com • Carolina wrens are small, inquisitive and hardy songbirds. The recent Elizabethton Christmas Bird Count found a record number of this wren during its annual survey of bird populations.
I participated in the 76th consecutive Elizabethton Christmas Bird Count, which was held Saturday, Dec. 15. This annual count is one of the oldest Christmas Bird Counts in the region, as well as in Tennessee.
I was one of twenty-eight observers in six parties. Together, we tallied 77 species, which is above the recent 30-year average of 72 species. The all-time high was set last year when 85 species were counted on this annual survey.
Photo by Bryan Stevens • An osprey perches in a tree along the Watauga River in Elizabethton, Tennessee. These fish-eating raptors are rare in winter in Northeast Tennessee.
Two species — osprey and orange-crowned warbler — were found on this CBC for the…
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Usually I offer the bungled photos of the year in a blooper reel to start the New Year. As I reviewed the year’s photos, however, it became clear that there weren’t enough qualifying photos. Which suggests either an uptick in selective shooting or a lack of studio clowns. Either way I have no photos for you this year.
So I’ll share a story instead.
On New Year’s Day I rode out on my bike to our local volcanically active mountain, Mt. Hood. I should qualify that by saying I rode towards Mt. Hood, as it’s too far away for a part-time bike commuter like me to reach and hope to return in the same day. On the way there I was leapfrogging with another rider, with the lead often changing during road crossings where we had to slow down. I was tailing him most of the time and assumed he’d…
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