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Seasonal Happenings

The heat of summer is on. The birds aren't singing as much as they raise their young and molt before the fall migration begins. In spite of the heat, there are some good places to visit in summer where you can find wildlife.

Shorebirds are starting to head south in late June, so find some wet areas and mud flats and you might see birds that have already been to the Arctic, reproduced, and are heading back south already!

West Tennessee

Ernest Rice WMA in Dyer Co is a big patch of woods in the sea of ag fields in west Tennessee, but this is an excellent place to find Mississippi Kites in large groups. In June, July, and August, the kites are often seen over the fields and forests of Ernest Rice. The best place to view them is from the fields in the middle of the "J" that is the WMA. You will also find blackbirds, grasshopper sparrows, and dickcissels.

Moss Island WMA, also in Dyer Co, is also a nice place to visit in summer. If there is water in any of the ag fields, there will be wading birds (which can be conveniently watched from the inside of an air conditioned car).

The Ensley Bottoms area (Memphis) can be great for shorebirds starting in late June as southbound migrants are starting to come through. Least Terns are around, as are Black-necked Stilts.

Middle Tennessee

Vesta Cedar Glade State Natural Area is a ncie place to visit in summer. Hawks are often seen soaring and Common Nighthawks may be flying around in the middle of the day. Grassland and shrub birds like Prairie Warblers will be singing. Just bring tick repellent as the overgrown fields (and sometimes trails) are often tick infested.

Beaman Park, in Nashville, is a good place to go to get out of the summer sun. Several miles of hiking trails wind through mature forest and along streams, providing a nice getaway from the baking sun.

East Tennessee

The Big South Fork area (link goes to one of 3 access areas) is a beautiful place to visit in summer. Many miles of hiking trails through forests, crossing ravines, and railroad tressels. Camping is available too.

Smoky Mountains National Park is a great place in summer because of the cooler temps at higher elevations. Hiking and camping can be done and vistas can be taken in. Wildlife abounds, so check it out!

Roan Mountain and Carver's Gap is one of the best places in mid-June through early July. The azaleas and rhododendrons are blooming, it gets down to the 50's and 60's in the mornings and evenings, and provides arguably the best view in the state.