An easy day birding the waterways around South Holston Lake and River. We will bird reliable hotspots as we search for waterfowl, wintering songbirds, and some uncommon winter visitors. The terrain is very mild, but there will be some walking involved. A few locations might be muddy, so bring comfortable shoes you don’t mind getting dirty.
Just west of the Blue Ridge Mountains is Tennessee’s Ridge and Valley region, characterized by wide valleys and rolling hills interrupted by modest mountain ridges. These wider valleys are home to large Tennessee Valley Authority lakes, agricultural ponds, and rivers that provide great habitat for wintering waterfowl.
We will begin our day at Osceola Island just below South Holston dam. We will see many of the expected dabbling and diving ducks that winter in the region like Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallard, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Redhead, and scaups. This spot is also good for winter songbirds like Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, kinglets, and Brown Creeper. From there, we will bird various locations around South Holston Lake. We will likely find Ring-billed Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, and more. Musick’s Campground, a gated camper community, specially welcomes birders to their lake shore. We will look for White-crowned Sparrows here and some uncommon species such as Long-tailed Duck, scoters, and Eared Grebe. We will then work our way to a small farm pond which often has close views of a good mix of waterfowl like Northern Shoveler and Northern Pintail. If time allows, we will also visit ponds in nearby neighborhoods and parks.