Sunday, November 15, 2015

Seven Islands State Birding Park

It was forecast to be a beautiful, warm day today, so Noelle, Sierra and I headed out for a hike. Our destination was the Seven Islands State Birding Park which is just outside of Sevierville. We had planned on doing this hike for my day off on Veteran's Day. However, we ended up getting a flat tire on Wednesday, and so by the time we had gotten it plugged it was too late to make the drive.

After a quick lunch in Kodak, we hopped back on the interstate and then into the new state park. It was dedicated just over a year ago. We parked, got Sierra into her backpack,
Sierra is ready to hike
and walked through the "bluebird barn" to begin our hike. We opted to hike the 1.33 mile Seven Islands Loop. It made its way through a field of goldenrods which had gone to seed
goldenrod seed
and then down to a wooded edge. There were a few Osage orange trees in the edge
osage orange
and Sierra enjoyed playing with the fragrant fruit. She played a round of Osage orange bowling
osage bowling
and then kicked and carried the weird looking green fruit around.

The best area for birds on this overcast late fall day, was in an area where the woods, field and small wetland converged.
Noelle birding
We saw American robins, cedar waxwings, tufted titmice, a ruby-crowned kinglet, and an Eastern phoebe in the short time we stopped to look for birds. Sierra is a bit impatient though, so after a quick stop, she insisted we move on.
two hikers
We passed the small wetland pond
and headed over to the French Broad River. The water was high and swift-moving.
French Broad River

The trail followed the river closely for a bit
Noelle and Sierra
and then veered away into some fields.
field and hills
We reached the paved Greenway trail and followed it to what is called the Green House.
farm house
Like the old homes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park it is open to the public to walk around inside and explore and so we did just that.
looking out
rocking chair
After checked out the old farmhouse we started to make our way back to the car. By this time Sierra was tired and so we put her back in the backpack for the walk back to the car.
Sierra in backpack

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