Wednesday, September 01, 2010

September is Here

This is football weather. When I hike across campus, the air smells like it can only smell in the fall. I keep wanting to hear the Bucs marching band out practicing. The air is getting chrisp. The daily highs are not quite as brutal as in early August. The overnight lows are in the upper 50s. I'm having to close the window over the bed now, because it's too chilly by morning. I have to take in my orchids when the overnights reach 55 degrees or so. The alamnac says that should happen about mid-September. Sadly, I feel like I barely got my orchids out!

Douglas Lake, a prime fall shore bird stop over, is now below 985-feet pool elevation. So, by a few inches, the mud flats at Rankin Bottom ought to be visible. Migratory shore-birds should arrive soon if they are not already here as I write this. The migrations may have started and we might have missed some visitors already. The web has not yet lit up with sightings from there. Go to google maps and enter "rankin bottoms tennessee." The route into Rankin Bottoms from the interstate is part of the challenge but the reward is worth the ride. (In an earlier post I used "leadvale tennessee" which will work but you have to know Rankin Bottoms is southeasterly across the bridge from there.)

The best point of reference is the coal tipple which you'll see about the same time as you run into a bunch of other bird watchers. The mud flats are across the lake to the east from the coal tipple and then also to the south back the way you came. The rivers are actually on the other side beyond the flats. The bottoms are mostly back water for the lake. And quite shallow, of course.

By this time of year the rivers are down to a trickle but we've had some crazy rains that refill the lake. It took forever to drop the critical foot-and-a-half to expose the mud flats. There must not have been enough for power (despite a lot heat two or three weeks ago) so the level just didn't want to drop. One or two feet of water over the side of Douglas Lake dam is a lot of water.



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