There's always a lot of interest in fall color updates in the Chattanooga area, so Tennessee Aquarium naturalist John Dever will be assisting leaf peepers with reports from aboard the Tennessee River Gorge Explorer. According to Dever, hints of color are on schedule, there are some interesting bird sightings and one environmental concern. Here's his first update for the week of October 4th, 2010.
"As of Sunday, October 3rd, we are still around 5% in terms of color, with tulip poplars showing a little yellow. Some maples are in red, but mostly at the higher elevations and oriented along north facing slopes. Migrant bird species visible along the river include the double crested cormorant and great egret. Hawks species like the broad-winged have been spotted in large numbers while our summer Osprey will be leaving the area through the end of the month. In the woods, the smaller bird species such as warblers, thrushes, grosbeaks etc., have been moving along the Cumberland Plateau flyway. Unfortunately, as reported in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Wooly Adelgid has been spotted in Chickamauga, GA and the spectacular hemlock stands of the River Gorge will soon be in jeopardy as well. Hemlock education and awareness is a must!"