This morning the melody was intense. Mourning doves, robins, chickadees, starlings, titmouse, mockingbirds and a few crows were calling. A lovely orchestra which reminded me of the variety of bird life I saw in late January at Reelfoot State Park. The huge lake in west Tennessee is a bird refuge year-round but December through February migrating bald eagles rest a spell. There are lookout points where flocks of white ascend and descend in fluid movement. But the eagles pair up and rest in trees, football-shaped silhouettes watching from a distance. These birds are predators, no doubt, but amazing to watch in return.
The juveniles looked like punk-feathered scrawny chickens, the ugly duckling before the swan. I spied 13 eagles that day, about half youngsters and the others, majestic adults. A few were soaring, one was in a field, plucking at a gull he likely targeted. My first sighting was a large baldie in a tree near the highway. It was early in the morning and no other cars were roaring past. I slowed to a stop, grabbed the long lens of my Nikon and snapped a few photos before it took off. What a sight. The others I saw during a bus tour of like-minded eagle lovers. The park naturalist was a funny guy - his one-liners well used and his knowledge of the regional wildlife quite extensive. If you are ever in the Memphis area, head north to the lake - bring your binoculars and your fishing rod. You won't regret either!