May 19, 2013
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I desire to enjoy more than the physical exercise component of hiking, so am inclined to seek hike venues in terms of potential for stimulating sightings of flowers, birds, architecture, vistas, or their role in important historical events.
Nine "urban hikers" hikers braved the storm-loaded clouds to do a walk-about at the Seven Islands Refuge, part of the Knox County Parks network. This 360-acre wildlife refuge is well known to local birders. Unfortunately, it started raining as soon as we started our hike, and continued to rain steadily for at least an hour. The "silver lining" was that, when the rain finally stopped, the clouds stayed on and gave us a nice cool June day to enjoy the remainder of our hike. Though we saw only a few birds during the showers, once the rain stopped, our list of species expanded to 20, including: bob white, brown thrasher, eastern bluebird, eastern towhee, field sparrow, indigo bunting, American kestrel, common yellowthroat warbler, yellow-breasted chat, great blue heron, and black-crowned night heron. Other treats included a great blue heron rookery, some very nice wildflower displays, and of course, a few nice views of the mountains in the distance and the French Broad River up close.