Highlight text to annotate itX
[NatureScene program open]
Jim Welch: Hello, I'm Jim Welch with naturalist Rudy Mancke, and we're at Reelfoot Lake in the Northwest corner of Tennessee - a lake that was created by a violent series of earthquakes
in the Winter of 1811, 1812. Today, a beautiful refuge for birds and animals, and, Rudy, some
magnificent trees, all created by the violent series of earthquakes.
Rudy Mancke: Yeah, it really is interesting, because whenever I think of Reelfoot Lake,
I can almost call this "Earthquake Lake" because it was formed, we know, in 1811, 1812, by
the New Madrid earthquake, which was, again, as you said, a series of earthquakes that,
uh, were really the most severe of any earthquakes that have occurred in this part of the world.
They lasted for the longest period of time of any earthquake series that we know about,
and it affected people all over the United States. Luckily there weren't many people
here, so there were not many lives lost, but it caused land to slump down, and, of course,
that's what formed this lake. There were a couple of bodies of water flowing through
here before that. The land was depressed, and now we've got a shallow lake, and, as
you say, warm shallow water brings all sorts of interesting things, too.
JW: Close to the Mississippi River, so, some of the river water actually came back and
filled it as well. RM: That's right, and-and, oxbow lakes form
every now and then along rivers, but this is not a curved oxbow lake - this is a straight
lake that, again, was formed by that earthquake, and one of the plants that comes in and just
dominates here, boy, look at that tree! JW: That Cypress Tree, one of the largest
in the, in the-uh, East, as far as that species. RM: Bald Cypress! Frilly leaves on that, just
out, we're here at the right time of the year: it's Spring!, and, uh, lots of interesting
sounds behind us, too! But that's one of the conifers, strange, because it sheds all of
its leaves at one time, and that's not really typical of the conifers! Boy, that's a nice
tree! JW: Magnificent, and they grow to some, to
be some of the oldest trees (RM: Oh yeah, yeah . . .) in the East as well.
RM: . . . Yeah. This is a perfect situation for them. I see another one that I think of
when I think of, sort-of, bottom-land along the Mississippi River, one of the Hickorys,
commonly called, uh, Pecan or Pecan, sometimes it's pronounced; but you can see early leaves
on it. And look at the flowers dangling down - those are male flowers, the catkins that
are dangling down on that tree. Again, very common here, there's plenty of nutrients in
the soil, and, of course, plenty of moisture, and that's a perfect set-up for these, uh,
interesting hardwoods. And I see another one right here - the state tree of the State of
Tennessee - Tulip Tree! - look at the flowers on that tree, and you see why it's called
Tulip Tree! JW: Also Yellow Poplar, I guess.
RM: Yellow Poplar, uh, is another name for it. Not really a poplar, uh, the shape of
those leaves, though, do look like tulip shapes, and supposedly the flowers resemble tulips,
so the Tulip Tree, a pretty good name. But that's one of the early kinds of flowers,
the earliest fossil flowers we-we find are members of that same group of plants. You
see how big flowers were when they started off in large numbers of parts. That's beautiful!
JW: And the tree over here, Rudy, that's a bit endangered at times, the American Elm.
RM: American Elm - this is the right place, though, to see them, uh, Dutch Elm disease
has, uh, limited their distribution and their life, uh, for a long time, but wet places
like this, boy that's perfect!, and you can see again the-the-the uh, jagged edges on
those leaves, typical of the, uh, American Elm. And, uh, here with the State Park and
area opened up just a little bit, and grassy, look at the bird box down there, that's a
Bluebird box, no doubt, and look at the, uh, male Bluebird sitting on it with the caterpillars
in his beak! So there are young birds in that nest that are being fed! (JW: Beautiful . . .) That's
gorgeous! JW: . . . blue backs and the rusty . . . (RM:
Oooh!) . . . rusty chest . . . RM: That iridescent blue, and then almost
looks like a Robin's, uh, (JW: Mmmhmm.) uh, breast, red breast. And this is the season
of the year for nesting, and of course that's a bird that you, uh, find here basically year-round.
There are other birds that are migrating through this time of year. Now just look out all around
us and, uh, we may hear some human sounds as we walk mixed in with the natural sounds,
but Starlings out there just moseying across the grass! See that? Heh-heh-heh! (JW: That's
an import.) That's a nonnative species that's done well all over the United States, widespread,
see the kind-of the speckles on back, again, looking for a meal. I bet it's got a nest
here, that's another bird that, uh, that nests, uh, in this part of the United States. And
then look at the other box over here, look at the bird going in the box! - Prothonotary
Warbler! Now that's one that I always associate with places like this, River-bottom Forest
areas. Maybe we can get a closer look in a minute. But I bet it's just building it's
nest right now - they're just migrating back from Central and South America, and they'll
be nesting here, as we, uh, see. Oh, that's nice.
JW: And so much color, Rudy, in the Spring plumage of-of all the Warblers and Bluebirds
and all the birds we-we might see this time of year.
RM: Yeah. Look at the color up in the Pecan Tree! Look at the, uh, a Northern Oriole working
. . . (JW: Oh, wow!) . . . working in those little, uh, flowers that we were mentioning
a moment ago. And he's catching something, I see a little insect larvae that he's got
in his beak, and he's gonna change that into Northern Oriole. And they also nest here,
so that's kind-of interesting to have them right close to us.
JW: Size-wise, that bird's about twice as big as the Warbler.
RM: And orange, I mean, brilliant orange and some black on it. And I also see, down here
at the base of the tree, Jim, look at the, uh, Cardinal, male Cardinal. (JW: Another
Grosbeak.) Obvious, yeah. Big old large beak on that bird, little black around it and then
brilliant red. Uh, and that's, again, a common bird, it also nests here. Now, close to it,
I see a bird that does not nest here, but here it is, coming almost right toward us
. . . (JW: Another Warbler.) . . . Palm Warbler! Look at the little brown cap on it. Yellowish
on the underside, a little bit of streaking on the breast, but that's a Palm Warbler that
is migrating through, nesting further North, just here for a short time. And I can see
it working all over the place there, it's gonna get some food!
JW: And wagging it's tail, Rudy! RM: Wag - heh-heh-heh! - wagging it's tail,
and that's typical of that species. Boy, you don't usually get them walking towards you
like that, but that one is doing, uh, doing just fine.
JW: Well over 220 species listed here, different birds at the Refuge.
RM: Yeah, yeah, we're going to able to see a lot of them. Look right over here, look
right over here, the little, uh, Yellow-rump Warbler! Now that one doesn't nest here, either,
but you can see the-the white on the front, and a lot of black, and then a little bit
of yellow - front of the wings - there's a little yellow on the front of the wings and
when he turns around, look at him, the yellow rump. So Yellow-rumped Warbler, common name
for that bird. That's common, but again, not one that's gonna stay here. It's just migrating
through, heading in another direction. JW: So much to see, and a great boardwalk,
Rudy, that's waiting for us, so let's head on!
RM: Yeah, let's get started!