Thursday, April 19, 2018

Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge

We’re spending a few days in Natchez Trace State Park in Tennessee.  We stayed here previously on our way to Maine in 2011 (See 2011 Blog of April 28, 2011).

It’s a very nice park.  We’ve had all kinds of weather from lows of 34 degrees to highs of 78.  High winds, no wind, cloudy, sunny.  A little bit of everything. 

We finally were expecting a nice day and decided to drive to the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, about an hours drive.

Tennessee NWR is 51,000 acres and consists of three units, Big Sandy, Duck River, and Busseltown.  The refuge was established in 1945 and was created as an area for migratory birds.  It is a major wintering area for migrating waterfowl.

Red-winged Blackbird

We were in the Duck River Unit. 


We saw several sub-adult Bald Eagles flying. They take four years to get their well-know white heads and tails, and until then are various shades of brown and white. 

Bald Eagle - Two year old

Bald Eagle - Adult

There has been a lot of rain and flooding in this area, and we saw a few shorebirds.

Pectoral Sandpiper

American Golden-Plover

We were watching this plover when all of the sudden it dropped into a seated position. At that moment a raptor was passing overhead. Good camouflage!

They have very cute informative signs.

We were in the refuge for about 3 1/2 hours and saw lots of birds.  Even with all the flooding the road was in great shape.

We saw a few migratory birds in the wooded areas that told us Spring is slowly, but surely, on the way.

Palm Warbler

Chimney Swift

Black-and-white Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

As we left the Refuge we saw a chubby Groundhog (Woodchuck) on a path. He headed the other direction so here is a look at his behind!


Birds seen today:  Red-bellied Woodpecker, Brown-headed Cowbird, American Crow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Tufted Titmouse, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, White Pelican, Blue-winged Teal, Red-winged Blackbird, Canada Goose, Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee, Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, Pileated Woodpecker, Tree Swallow, American Golden-Plover, Common Grackle, Turkey Vulture, Blue Jay, Common Yellowthroat, Red-headed Woodpecker, Bald Eagle, Greater Yellowlegs, Cliff Swallow, Barred Owl (H), Pied-billed Grebe, Belted Kingfisher, Louisiana Waterthrush, Chimney Swift, Swamp Sparrow, Double-crested Cormorant, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Eastern Towhee, Osprey, Downey Woodpecker, Palm Warbler, Eastern Bluebird, Killdeer, Savannah Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird, American Robin, American Goldfinch, Bufflehead, Eastern Kingbird.


  1. I am interested in going along the whole Natchez Trace some time. I don't know much about that part of the country so I look forward to it - someday.

    1. It is a pretty (and historic) part of the country.