A Journal Of
Fishing and Farming
 Along with other good times and interesting discoveries

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Winter 2009-2010

Richard Loller

February 5-March 20

Well, we got a lot of snow and really cold weeks this year.  Hard to get out fishing when the lakes and even the smaller rivers and streams are frozen.  Still, when the last of winter finally came we got a few beautiful sunny shirtsleeve days, even if the wind and water were still cold as a jilted spinster's heart.

February was coooold.  The birds stayed close to the feeder.

The red bellied woodpecker seemed to like the cracked corn and spent many hours hogging the top perch.

When she got a chance Mama Downy made a fast trip in for a mouthful.

One of the three or four snows we got.  This one was pretty light.  One of them was a 4 incher and lasted a week.

The pond at Shelby Bottoms was frozen hard enough to walk on.  Not that I tried, but I could see the tracks of braver, or dumber, souls.

A hazy sun burns through the fog to sparkle on the icy lake.

Just inside the entrance to SB parking lot a family of blue birds has a favorite hunting ground.  They won't let me get too close, however.

A murder of crows up to no good.  They were upset by....

...a pair of Cooper's Hawks which were ignoring them as best they could.

A family of at least five and maybe more Flickers was hanging out near the shallow end of the pond where it flooded the young grove of mostly sycamores.

This cold little mocking bird let me get within a few feet for this shot after the sun broke through.  Just too cold to give a damn, no doubt.

Sign of the coming Spring on February 18th.  The first of the Red wing Blackbirds were showing off and giving out the love croaks.

Mom and Pop Mallard are locals because they showed little fear in their flooded ditch beside the walking path.

These geese were passing through. however.  Obvious from their wary ways.

What's left of a limb after Mr. Beaver got through with his meal.

A job the beavers left 2/3 done.  On the next visit only the stump remained.

March 6th.  Cold and cloudy with misting rain, but the backwaters at Brush Creek were unfrozen and this young bass tried for my crappie jig.

Only two that day, but they were nice ones and tasted great.

Sunday, March 7th.  Harry and I went up to Creek J and enjoyed a beautiful day.  This turtle was trying to climb a steep bank, so we gave him a boost.

On the way back to the take-out I was way across the bay and could see much further across the top of the bluff and discovered this A-Frame that can't be seen closer in to the bluff and not at all when the leaves are out.

Also got some better shots of the mysterious open pavilion near the house.

I'd love to get up there sometime to see just what this is and what it's for.

Earlier that morning I watched this squirrel try to defend the woodpecker built cavity in our big sycamore tree from...

...this pair of home hunting wood ducks.  The female eventually flew over to the entrance and went in.  The male flew off and only time will tell who will end up nesting in this prime real estate.  We've had Screech Owls, Palliated Woodpeckers, Squirrels, and Wood Ducks.  We will see...

Very early and pretty dark yet, but I got this shot of this bird which I don't recognize.   Friend Judy from Audubon thought it might be a hermit thrush.

Mid-March and I nearly wrecked my elbow trying to get this little tiller started.  Jim Taft gave it to me last year and it always started easily, but evidently I didn't do something, or something went wrong because even ether shot into the firing chamber wouldn't keep it going long.  Maybe a bad fuel pump.  Hell.

I did get the lawnmower going finally and chopped up the deep layer of leaves in my little garden.  Now to borrow Dave's tiller and plant some potatoes.  I've got them waiting with little buds at every eye.  Yum. 

March 17th, St. Patrick's Day.  Some ingenious persons unknown decorated the naked giant Musica figures with Celtic kilts, swords, necklaces and blouses.  It was really well done and the size of the figures made it plain that a lot of hard work went into making the perfectly fitted costumes.  Artist LeQuire had no comment.  Everyone else loved it.

Lucky me.  Saw this Barred Owl (?) in the trees in the slough with the zig zag bridge over it.  It was pretty dark and the owl was nervous and far off.  Only shot I got that was halfway decent. 

Saturday March 20.  Last day of Winter or first day of Spring?  I don't remember, but I do know it was nice and sunny and I fished my tail off for five hours for three crappie.  At least the turtles were enjoying the sun.  So was I, after all is said and done.  Don't you love Spring?  Whoopee!

January 4-February 4

Well, we have had more cold weather and snow than I remember for a long time back.  Too cold to do much fishing, or at least for me now that I'm getting a bit older and maybe wiser, or maybe only a bit less hearty.  Still, got to go out and watch the turkeys and I did try fishing one day when it warmed up above freezing.  Guess what!  All my fishing holes were frozen up--even the Harpeth River!

Ed's ponds are frozen solid except for the overflow that provides water for the turkeys and other critters.

Whoa!  Turkey tracks!  Must be around somewhere.

Actually, they were in the near field close to the barn getting warmed up in the bright sunshine.

When they finally saw me they were in no hurry, but took a slow hike to a farther field where a bit more privacy was available.

This is another flock altogether on their way up the hill and into the woods.

These were part of a smaller flock of 30-35 that seemed to be all Toms.

Giving me a hint that if I got much closer they could be gone in a second.

Back home I saw Hootie in the owl house shortly after I got home from work.

The slough at SB was frozen hard enough for walking so I got to visit some new areas.

The pond was also, but I didn't want to venture out and maybe end up dead.

The little male Downy Woodpecker likes our suet feeder.

So does Mama Downy.

So it finally warms up a bit and I take the boat out and Brush Creek and Priest are frozen so I go down to Doziers and I'll be a blue racer if the Harpeth River wasn't frozen right down to the Cumberland. 

Went home and unloaded and set up the spotting scope and got a nice shot of this little purple finch.

See the red on the breast and belly of this red bellied woodpecker?

The red birds have figured out how to hang on to the short perches long enough to get a bite or two.

A couple of red wing blackbirds usually indicate Spring is near, but I think these two jumped the gun.

Got this shot of a spike buck and three others, probably two does and a yearling.

Even the sunrise looks cold.

This is new, so we know the beavers are still at the pond.

Except for these hearty young women I've been the only visitor most mornings.

Sun is rising earlier now, so the path is clear.  Can't wait for Spring.


December 22 - January 3

Well, Winter came in easy and then got tough.  We had warm days at first with mild rain.  After that we got nights in the teens or below and days in the 20's.  It's been below freezing for two weeks (today is the 9th).  I looked up averages and 46 is the average January high and 28 the average low.  Record high was 78 and record low was -17, so I guess we should be grateful not to be making a new downside record!

First day of winter started red as the suburbs of hell.  I remembered "Red sky at night, sailor's delight.  Red sky at morning, sailor take warning."

As the sun got higher the hellish light got really nice.  But rain was on the way.

I keep trying to spot a beaver.  I've seen them very early in previous years, but so far no luck.

They have a lodge under the dam and have built this upper story.  Lots of the saplings are new.

Across the pond you can see the stumps and one tree they are working on.

This is a buck with a large spread of antlers, but he was way across the field, so I didn't get much of a shot.  I watched him with the binocs quite a while though.

On Sunday, January 3rd, I went out to Ed's farm, bundled up pretty well.  His daughter, Karen, has goats and chickens.  These three little kids were too cute.
How could you eat one?  Oh well, they aren't so pretty when they grow up.

Not far beyond the barns I saw these turkeys in the cedar woods, just where Ed said he had seen them a few days before.

The flock got nervous and began to move out into the field in single file.

Then the spooked and flew about 200 yards away.

I got out the binocs and counted 40 birds.  They gradually fed up the hill...

...toward the woods.  They weren't much worried about me as long as I kept my distance over 50 yards--just out of shotgun range.

They gradually faded into the woods and up the hill.

I tried to figure out their route and moved around to set up ahead of them.

I thought they might come to one of the ponds which were frozen, but had little runoff streams draining.  They didn't, so I moved on, eyes open and camera ready.  But saw no more turkeys that day.

In the cedar thickets every weed had a scalloped clump of snow at its base.  It was hard and looked like Styrofoam. 

Lots of blue birds flitting about.  They seemed to be feeding on something they found in the cedar trees.  They would fly into the cedar branches,  not landing but fluttering in mid air,  catch something, and then go back to an open limb.

On the way back past the barn, one of the little goats was sunning against the barn wall and held still long enough for me to get a pretty good shot.  Good day to get out and walk the farm.  Too cold to fish.

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