iJams quarries in Maryville, Tennessee, USA

iJams quarries in Maryville, Tennessee, USA
Let’s go see the iJams Bird Sanctuary , the weather is not too cold, said my son on Sunday.So we piled into the car and off we went. As we parked our car two large cages -- one with a Turkey Vulture and the other with a huge horned Owl caught our attention and we took time staring at the big, beautiful birds in large cages.

As we walked into the Sanctuary we noticed a large group of kids around a messy looking pond. No one was touching anything and that was great as there was a large notice to say STOP! Leave us amphibians ( frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and tadpoles) alone as we dislike anyone disturbing us. We stood and watched the little salamanders swimming around to the excited shrieks of the kids.Showed us how clean the water was, as the presence of salamanders means the water was pristine.

“It’s going to be a decently long trail on which we plan to walk,” said Andrew. “Can’t go very far with the stroller as the path was steep and rocky in areas.” Walking along we looked at the plants on the way on either side. The trees were beginning to bud and the woodland flowers were out in glorious clumps. The Bloodroot, a wildflower that grows in the eastern parts of the United States seemed to be everywhere. Its stem, called the rhizome, secretes a bright red latex compound when cut. Bloodroot's scientific name is Sanguinaria canadensis.and was used by the Red Indians for its medicinal compounds. Since the plant prefers a rich moist soil that is well drained with high organic matter content, it was obvious that it was growing well in the woodland.Its natural habitat,is in deep shaded woodland areas.

As we walked we could hear woodpeckers rat -a-tat-tatting high up on the barks of massive trees. Some of the trees around were well over 150 years old. The Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) is native to the area.The Red-bellied Woodpecker is easily identified by the black and white barred pattern on its back and the red patch on the back of the head.Males have a red crown and throat. Females only have a red crown. I was excited when I saw it arrive at our bird feeder once.It’s a really good looking bird.

There were also the black and white small Downy and Hairy woodpeckers, which are common across the United States. When we bring suet home and put it up separately, the little Downy woodpeckers are the most common, besides the other species.

Heaps of plants were beginning to poke themselves out of the ground, as it was warming up.And it was lovely to see so many young families taking the kids out to walk in the 20 acre property which has been gifted to the state of Tennessee by the iJam family. Lots of little boards along the path taught even beginners to spot plants and wildlife and caution against touching any of it, which we seriously need in India.

Later we walked towards the lawns and squatted on them while we watched the kids roll down the grassy slopes, screaming and enjoying themselves.

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