Saturday, September 06, 2014

Rankin Bottoms 2014

Several of us from the Herndon Chapter visited Rankin Bottoms on Saturday, August 31. Rankin Bottoms is in Cocke County, Tennessee, just up US25 from the county seat of Newport. It is at the confluence of the French Broad and the Nolichuckey Rivers  which form Douglas Lake and this time of year when the TVA lowers the to below 985-feet, mud flats appear and then, if the timing is good, the shorebirds gather here.

As evidenced by Rick Knight’s list below the shorebirds were in abundance this year! Black-bellied Plover - Am. Golden-Plover - Semipalmated Plover - Killdeer - Spotted Sandpiper -Solitary Sandpiper - Greater Yellowlegs - Lesser Yellowlegs - Sanderling -Semipalmated Sandpiper - Western Sandpiper - Least Sandpiper - Baird's Sandpiper - Pectoral Sandpiper -Stilt Sandpiper -Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Short-billed Dowitcher. Seventeen different species.

Saturday was hot. The temperature was at least 90 degrees. Standing along side the lake where the humidity was about as high as it can get, little breeze, even with some shade, we cooked for a couple of hours. We drove down in the afternoon because the mud flats are east of the parking which meant we’d have the sun at our backs. The mud flats are three-quarters of a mile away. You’ll need a scope for the smaller birds.

The egret, geese, and heron are in huge abundance. We had several flights of geese come in over our spot and you could hear the wing wash! Very cool! Eventually, the sky clouded and we had a sprinkle and buy seven o’clock the light was getting a bit too dim for such far-away sighting.

Write me at and I’ll see if I can get you some directions to Rankin Bottoms.

Our crew: Rick Knight, Charles Moore, John Whinery, Neal and Jean Henson, Brookie and Jean Potter, Chris Soto,  David Hall, Lois Cox, Wilma Boy, and Roy Knispel.