John Grego, 02/10/2007
I have been scouting Red Bluff Road the past couple weekends to see if I could put together a nice hike--this is mostly a report on my February 10 trip. Starting out on the firebreak, I ran into a fire crew from Cumberland Gap and Great Smokies who were making plans for a controlled burn sometime soon. I continued down the firebreak to the fourth obvious logging road (this is the first one marked on John Cely's map heading from South Cedar Creek Road) and turned south to a grassy landing on Cedar Creek. From there, I've made two attempts to follow Cedar Creek downstream, but got turned back last weekend by high water, and ran out of time today. The small guts and drainages on John Cely's map can turn out to be major obstacles!
On the way back, I followed the south side of the gut to Clear Lake; I noted the cypress on Cely's map, and also saw another substantial cypress a bit farther northeast. I flushed some turkey vultures from the ground--they were feeding on a small pig (I have a picture, but it's nothing you'd want to feature on a webpage). Later on, I was investigating a slough that had some Wood Ducks in it, and flushed black vultures off another dead pig.
There was no shortage of birds--I must have seen over 20 Winter Wrens, with at least two singing their full songs. I also saw three Black-and-white Warblers, two Blue-headed Vireos, lots of Pileated Woodpeckers, many Hermit Thrush and 4 Barred Owls (and heard at least 6 more). In addition, I also saw a Hooded Merganser on both this trip and my earlier trip.
I have included photos of some wonderful bark beetle patterns, the large cypress I observed, and a beaver stump (I actually saw another stump just like this one--I had to check to make sure it wasn't the same tree).
May 11, 2008 by Edward Kujawski
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