Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was sunny and temps in the 80's and very windy. No Cormorants seen at Lake Dardanelle or Bona Dea today. Some Pied-billed Grebe ducks were in the lake. I found out that the construction work they are doing at the north edge of the park by Parkway Hwy is a new road. They are going to have another entrance into the pumping station area. This will also free up the vegatation growth around the power lines going to the pumping station as trees as fallen on the lines many times and power was lost on that part of town. Also heavy equipment will have an easier time getting in and out of that area. They really have chopped up the trees pretty bad that are left. Northern Cardinals were really singing away again all over the park. Basking turtles were out on the logs and snags in Prarie Creek and in the ponds. No woodpeckers seen or heard today and actually not many birds around at all. Many species of birds I have talked about in the last 3 months were either just wintering here or migrating through. They will still be some birds still mirgrating and coming around for about a month. I have a photo here of the male Canadian Goose that was standing in Swinging Bridge Trail as if to dare me to come near. I went up to him and he just moved a little. If there were baby ones around he would have flogged me. American Crows were still flying around but don't think I saw the Gulls today for the first time in months. They may have migrated on to where ever. They don't stay here in warm weather. I saw a Turkey Vulture flying but not groups or flocks like usual. I took some pics of Wild Yellow Violet wildflowers that were growing close to the Old Swinging Bridge. They are pretty don't you think? At the spillway I fed the fish again and this time I tried to take some pics of them. The sun wasn't right and the water was merky. I will post some here and maybe some tomorrow. These are Bluegill Brim. Well friends as always I save the best for last. At last I get to see my favorite forms of wildlife out here. Snakes and Turtles. This was the first time this year that I saw a snake, actually 2 of them, and a hugh really big Common American Snapping Turtle. I tried to get close enought to take a photo but it was crossing the trail at their usual crossing and was over and in the water before I could run fast enough to get the pic. But here is a photo of one. But this one was bigger. I have had them spit at me and raise up on their legs ready to attack. At the spillway while I was feeding the fish, I just happened to look down about 4 feet from me and this Watersnake was just moving along real slow and deliberate. The pics you see of one in the water is this one. The other pics of a snake on dry land is another one that came up to the spillway later apparently following the other one. Don't they look mean. They are not poisnous but probably could bite. Some people handle them. Not me. I will try to ID both of them later. They look like about 3 different varieties to me. They catch the fish like the kind I feed right there at the spillway. The one on dry land looks like it had eaten not too long ago as big as its midsection is. Maybe tomorrow will bring more goodies like this. I may post some more pics of today later on.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea today was mostly sunny and a lot warmer and no wind. There were 3 Cormorants on their perch in Lake Dardanelle and a few Pied-billed Grebe small ducks dabling around the lake. Gulls were over the lake and park flying everywhere. They are still working on the place by parkway hwy. They have got the trees trimmed down and removed and looks like they are dumping and spreading shale to make a road. It goes to the pumping station. They had a way in on the opposite side but this may give them a way to get heavier equipment in. Going toward Swinging Bridge Trail the red bud trees were now in full bloom. Will take a photo soon. Also some wildflowers of the wild violet type, purple and some yellow ones. At my neighbors house there is a very pretty Crabapple Tree starting to bloom. These photos are of the blossoms and full tree. No very good photos for some reason. At the spillway I have the Bluegill Brim fish a favorite treat. I soaked the hard feed pellets in water and when they got soft, I fed the fish. They were crazy over it. Overhead the sorta unusual site of the flock of Black Vultures were flying overhead. They are prettier than the Turkey Vultures. Several big black American Crow birds flew all over the park. Down at the old swinging bridge a Northern Flicker Woodpecker was heard calling for its mate and then the call changed indicating that it had found its mate. Basking turtles were out on the snags and logs in the ponds. I left that area and went to Old Shorty Trail and more birds were there. Robins were on the ground around the picnic tables and I noticed that one of the trees that was bent down low was now broken and hanging low over the trail. Apparently some kids had jumped on it for a ride and it couldn't take the weight. There were flocks of Fox Sparrows in the low ground cover and on the ground scratching away for food. A Mockingbird was heard and not seen in one of the big trees. Northern Cardinals were singing all over. I noticed an unusual site in that a group of 9 of those Cormorants seen in Lake Dardanelle were flying south which was the way into town. Hummm? Pairs of Canadian Geese few over. I am pretty sure I saw and heard singing away a Blue-headed Vireo Warbler bird. It few by pretty fast but then started to sing a sound I heard on All About Birds website. Link shown on the blog. Photo. Acadian Flycatchers were in this area hunting insects high in the trees.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was sunny and warmer but still cool. There were 3 Cormorants on the old snag on Lake Dardanelle by the park. On Swinging Bridge Trail there were a flock of Carolina Chickadee birds in the trees along the trail and making a lot of noise. At the old swinging bridge by the creek a Northern Flicker Woodpecker was flying from tree to tree. A pair of Pileated Woodpecks were flying following each other across the creek. Some Acadian Flycatchers were in the trees but not as many as seen before. The basking turtles were on their log in Goose Pond. I fed the Bluegill Brim fish and some were pretty good size and they were hungry today. The unusual site today was a flock of Black Vultures flying over Waldon Pond. They came over at least twice. Then one single Turkey Vulture flew over. Turkey Vultures are the most numerous there by far. The Black Vultures have black skin heads and Turkey ones have a redish skin head and both have no feathers on their heads. The Black ones flap their wings real often and have shorter wings with white wing tips. The Turkey ones soar more and flap their wings less. Northern Cardinals were calling out to each other all over the place. Gulls were still around and flying high overhead. Haven't seen the Great Blue Heron around Waldon Pond or spillway area in quite a while. They may be nesting somewhere. The female Goose on the island in Waldon Pond was still on her nest with the male mate on the west end of Waldon Pond keeping a look out. Here is a photo of a White-and-Black Warbler that I talked about in yesterday's post. Also when I left the park, I saw a beautiful great big orange moon coming up over the easter horizon. Just had to take this photo. The red and black paper wasps had found a nesting spot on one of the support beams on the old swinging bridge. They seem to be all over the place. Gnats were starting to swarm in the late afternoon sun. Saw some new wildflowers just starting to spring forth and will probably take some photos whene they grow more. One looke like a purple wild violet of some sort and the other small bright yellow flowers. May Apples talked about yesterday have started to spring up in this area today. The trees are now losing their buds and starting to leaf out. Starting to look more and more like Springtime.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Today was a lot cooler and very windy and partly cloudy after the cold front moved in last night. There was a single Double-crested Cormorant on the old snag in Lake Dardanelle. On Swinging Bridge Trail there were some more Toothwort wildflowers springing up. They are of the Mustard family. Photo in a recent post. There was an Acadian Flycatcher in the trees and in Goose Pond the male Canadian Goose was there by himself as his mate was still on her nest on the island in Waldon Pond. A couple of basking turtles were in their log in Goose Pond eventhough it was cold and windy. Nothing happening at the old swinging bridge. No ducks in the creek. Just Northern Cardinals singing away in the woods. Did not see the Eastern Phoebe flycatcher today that stays around Goose Pond. There was a Downy Woodpecker and actually a pair of them on the trees on the trail. Tried to feed the fish at the spillway but it was too windy. The spillway was still running from the recent rain. However a Pied-billed very small duck that I usually see in Lake Dardanelle was in Waldon Pond off the spillway. I have seen in there a few days ago. It was windy and cold there and left the park but came back and this time went to Old Shorty Trail by the east parking area. That was where the birds were. Also say some May Apple plants that have just came up in the last few days. Photos are of a closeup of some and then a group. There were several Acadian Flycatchers here on the very east end of the trail where all types of birds were bunched together. Photo here is of one in the distance without the topnot. The photo of the bird with the topnot is of a Tufted Titmouse. Also a photo of an American Crow. There were a pair of them in the trees. Robins were on the ground but not many and Northern Cardinals singing in the distance. Also Fox Sparrows were close to the ground in the bushes. The find of the day was a bird I had seen before but not very often. The photo here is of a Black-and-White Warbler. It sorta has the markings of the Downy Woodpecker. I have not mentioned it at the park on this blog before. Also a Gray Squirrel was climbing in the trees. There were several Squirrel nests around so maybe one of the nest belonged to it. Before leaving the park, I could not resist taking a photo of the setting sun behind the cooling tower and steam of the nucleur plant. I think is is very pretty.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bona Dea Update

The day was sunny and windy and warmer. Storm front was approaching. The first Spring thunderstorm with lightening of the season. This photo was taken of the approaching storm and showing the Nucleur Power Plant's black steam rising into the sky. There were some Cormorants and Pied-billed Grebe ducks on Lake Dardanelle. Some Turkey Vultures were flying around and just a few Gulls. American Crows flying over the lake and park. On Swinging Bridge Trail there was the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Woodpecker in the trees and a Tufted Titmouse close to it. It must have been to windy for the Flycatcher birds to be doing their thing, flying around catching insects. Speaking of insects. At the spillway there is a Wood Duck nest box on a tree. In the nest box there were Wasps making a nest. This photo is of one outside the box and 2 inside. They are Paper Wasps, Polistes fuscatus metricus for you scientific folks. They do sting pretty good if you disturb them. I did not. The gnats were swarming some. The basking turtles were out taking in the sun as the weather was some warmer. The female nesting goose is still on her nest with the mate in the water close by. Other pairs of Canadian Geese were flying and landing in Black Water Swamp and Waldon Pond. I have not seen the aligator this year but heard reports its was seen a couple of weeks ago somewhere in the park. When I got home there were Northern Cardinals and Robins flying around. They will be nesting in the area soon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was mostly sunny and windy and cool. Pools of water on the trails from the last rain yesterday. They are starting to do some heavy equipment work at the west end of the park parallel to Parkway Hwy. There is a track tree harvester machine that is taking down the trees by stipping them down from the top and grinding them up as it goes. Never seen that operation before. Just saw some youtube vidoes of this. Still don't know what they are doing it for. There was a Double-crested Cormorant on the old snag in Lake Dardanelle spreading its wings out. They look prehistoric and probably are. Gulls were flying over the lake and the park. American Crows doing the same thing and a few single Turkey Vultures. On Swinging Bridge trail a Great-blue Heron was flying over the area. Also the pair of Downy Woodpeckers were still in the area. Acadian Flycatchers were in the trees by the water's edge and the Eastern Phoebe Flycatcher was in Goose Pond. The female Canadian Goose was still on her nest on the island on Waldon Pond with the male standing guard close by. Since it was a sunny day the basking turtles were on their logs and snags in the water ponds and creek. Northern Cardinals were all over the park singing their usual songs. Fox Sparrows were flying low in the bushes and grounds by the old swinging bridge. Other pairs of Canadian Geese were flying over Waldon Pond. I fed the Blue Gill Brim fish today at the spillway and they were hungry. Yesterday I posted a photo of a Saucer Maganolia tree close to my house and I also took a photo of a flowering bush I could not ID but just found out it was a Camellia of the Coral Delight variety. It is very pretty and here are some photos.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bona Dea Update


Bona Dea was cloudy, wet and windy today. It had rained .80inches since this time yesterday. There were some Cormorants on the snag in Lake Dardanelle and one was spreading its wings out like they like to do. Also a very small brown Pied-billed Grebe duck was close to the parking area and I took a photo of it. In town down the road from my house there was a beautiful Saucer Maganolia tree with pink blooms and a pic of it here. In Waldon Pond by Swinging Bridge Trail on the small island the Canadian Geese pair I have been writing about finally decided to nest there. You have to click on the photo here to see the female on the nest. Also there were some Bradford Pear trees with their white blooms all over the park and photos here are of some of them. Due to the unusual weather today the birds were not out and around except for the Gulls flying overhead and some American Crows. No ducks were seen today but another pair of Geese had come into Waldon Pond and the male goose gaurding the nesting female was warning them not to come closer. The spillway was running pretty good and they were actually not pumping water today. So Prarie Creek was nice and full. It was too cold for the turtles to come out to bask in the sun had their been sun.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Video of Old Swinging Bridge Remains

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was warm and mostly sunny and a little windy today. There were flocks of Eastern Starling blackbirds all over town and close to the park today. Also Robins were now pretty much settled in the residential areas getting ready to nest. They leave the park for the urban areas for some reason to raise their young. Just a few remain in the park. Gulls were floating around in Lake Dardanelle across from the park and there was a Pied-billed Grebe duck swimming close to the parking area. Have taken pics of such before in these posts. Also a single Cormorant was on a small and different snag in the lake. American Crows were flying over the lake too. On Swinging Bridge Trail the Eastern Phoebe was flying around Goose Pond looking for insects. As said before they are there every year so they must nest close by. Acadian Flycatchers were flying around but one at a time and not in groups as earlier in the year. The pair of Geese were still around and back in Goose Pond. I took a great photo of this pair t oday. Also one of the Yellow-bellied, don't laugh, Woodpecker was around the spillway and I got a photo of it and showing the trademark red spot on its head and white stripe along the lower wing. In Prarie Creek up from the spillway a Redear Slider Turtle was basking on a log. Photo of it. Then in Goose Pond there were several basking tutles on the log as usual and a photo of them. Also a photo of the spillway as it was still running pretty good from the recent rains. Walking down the trail to the old swinging bridge I took a photo of a Toothwort weed/wildflower. The wildflowers are starting to bloom. At the old swinging bridge remains, I took a video of the frame and support. This can be seen on the Tube program at the bottom of this page and also in one of these post sections. Turkey Vultures were still flying around but not in groups as earlier in the year. Some woodland sparrows and maybe a Hermit Thrush was seen flying in the lower brush in the woods. Some people were walking ahead of me and scared up a flock of Blueteal Ducks. They have been in that area of swinging bridge a lot lately. In that area I heard a Tufted Titmouse bird but did not see it. Pairs of Geese were flying over Waldon Pond and some heard in Black Water Swamp. When I got back to the house I saw a Northern Flicker woodpecker fly in a tree in the yard. Do not see them too much there.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Today was very pleasant at Bona Dea. It was sunny and not windy and things were drying out from the rain the last few days but more expected shortly. On Parkway Hwy to the park there were no Cormorants on the snag in Lake Dardanelle but saw one flying overhead. Also in the lake was a Pied-billed Grebe which is a very small brown duck which dives very deep and comes up some distance away. The sea Gulls were flying in mass and making all kinds of noise all over the lake and Bona Dea. Saw a few single Turkey Vultures flying about. Did not see any ducks at all today. On Swinging Bridge Trail there were flocks of Carolina Chickadees. Saw a pair of Hermit Thrush birds in the bushes and then flying to the ground in the woods. They are a redish brown bird about the shape of a blackbird. Also around the Prarie Creek pumping station I heard a Northern Mockingbird. They are around my house also. Northern Cardinals were all over the park singing away. I saw and heard maybe the same Tufted Titmouse bird on Swinging Bridge trail that I saw and heard the other day. Acadian Flycatcher birds were in the trees by the trail and at the spillway. Also saw a Gray Squirrel beside the trail toward the pumping station. I went to Bullfrog Pond to see what was happening there and did not see anything but a small pretty White Dogwood tree that I hope to take a photo of soon before the blooms go away. Back at the spillway I crossed over to the other side on the deer trail and stayed over there quite a while. There was this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, don't laugh, woodpecker that flew from one tree to another and then back and forth to and from the same tree. I was standing in the middle of the 2 trees. It seemed to just want to stay in the same area and intertain me. And it did. Another one came in but left and the first one stayed until I left. They are pretty in that they have a spot of red on top of the head and a solid red throat and black and white body with a white stripe down the side of the lower part of the wings. Some Downy Woodpeckers flew into the area. As I was leaving down swinging bridge trail, I again saw some Downy Woodpeckers close to the spillway but farther down I saw a pair of larger woodpeckers that looked just like the Downy small woodpeckers but these were noticibly larger with same coloration and markings etc. They seem to have a larger bill also. Well these are Hairy Woodpeckers. They have a small red spot on the head and black and white markings on the body. The Eastern Phoebe Flycatcher was still on the trail and it seems to go from side to side of the trail on the trees and then in the bushes in Goose Pond to the east of the trail. It or they come to that area each year. I suppose they nest nearby. The pair of Canadian Geese I have been seeing in the area where there today but moved across the trail to Waldon Pond and stayed on the far or west end today. The basking turtles were all over the stumps and snaps in all the ponds and in Prarie Creek. American Crows, the big black birds, were flying all over the park. Over by the old swinging bridge there was a flock of Fox Sparrows scratching in the leaves for food. Across the creek from the spillway, I heard a Barred Owl. Some people in this part of the country call them a Hoot Owl. Don't really know why unless they don't give a hoot. Also the gnats were swarming above the spillway and in that area was the first time this year I saw the red Wasps. They are insects that have a pretty good sting to them. As a kid I used to shoot their nests with a bb gun and they would follow the shots right down to me and fly behind me and if I did not run fast enough they would get me somewhere. Usually where it hurt. They usually build nests in bushes over the ponds in the summer. But today was the day for the woodpeckers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was mostly sunny and pretty cold and windy. It was still wet on the grounds from the one inch and a third of rainfall over the past couple of days. There were 2 or 3 Cormorants on the snag on Lake Dardanelle and yesterday in the cold and wind and rain there were 6. Gulls were flying all over the place. A few Turkey Vultures were flying around. On Swinging Bridge Trail and surrounding areas several American Crows were around. More of them than I have seen so far this year. On Goose Pond the pair of Canadian Geese where still there and then crossed over the trail in Waldon Pond. They are still pondering where to nest. Hopefully there won't be flooding during nesting time as they have been flooded out many times in the past. At the spillway there were a pair of Downy Woodpecker who made love almost at the exact spot the Pileated Woodpeckers did the other day. This must be lovers lane or something. Carolina Chickadees were heard and seen in this area. Also some Acadian Flycatchers were flying about the trees. Also a Eastern Phoebe Flycatcher came in for a visit. A Northern Flicker Woodpecker landed in a tree close by and then flew across Waldon Pond. Blue-wing Teal Ducks flew over to Black Water Swamp and other Geese were heard over there. Right below the spillway on Prarie Creek a Belted Kingfisher flew real close to me and then flew downstream making its usual sounds. Photo is of one. Also this is a link to a page where you can click on the calls they make to hear what they sound like whenever they are flying: On the way out of Swinging Bridge Trail there were a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers eating the tree buds on a tree and a pair of Northern Cardinals were in there with the Warblers eating the buds too. Some woodland Sparrows flew around the bushes in that area. A single Tufted Titmouse landed in a tree on the water at the Spillway and really started singing. I have seen several this year and haven't heard them calling or singing. This is a link to that sound: This is the gray bird with the topnot on its head. Several flocks of Boattailed Grackles were flying over the park westward.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was very cold and windy and it was raining all day. I went to Old Shorty Trail and at the Gazebo there was no wildlife around so I walked the trail and did not see any birds or other wildlife until I got to the very east end of the park. There were Robins around and some bushtits on the ground and in the trees. Walking back to the parking around there were some flocks of various woodland Sparrows. It is supposed to clear up in the coming days. I suppose the cold and wind kept things in check. I did not venture out to Swinging Bridge trail but now I wish I had to at least look at the spillway to see how much water was going over. Will do that tomorrow for sure.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Today Bona Dea was under seige by rainfall and cold. I went to the Gazebo at the eastern parking area to stay dry. But I did not have to go out as the birds literally came to me. I was not there but less than an hour and I saw all varieties. A Northern Flicker woodpecker flew in to a tree close by. Then in the same general area a Downy Woodpecker flew in and not long after a Red-bellied Woodpecker landed in a tree. Quite a site to see these birds close together at one place. On the ground were Robins, Northern Cardinals and woodland sparrows consisting of: White-throated, Field and Fox Sparrows. All of them forging on the ground. The Fox Sparrows forge a little different in that they scratch continously on the ground looking for food. Also Black-eyed Juncos were flying around and landing all over the place looking for ground food. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher flew in with the Juncos at one point. I left and was going home when I passed by Lake Dardanelle and first saw a flight of 4 Double-crested Cormorants flying in a diamond formation. Very neat to see. Then I saw 3 of them on the old snag. I turned around and decided to go to the Swinging Bridge Trail area. Since it was raining, I thought I would see some ducks. Down by the old bridge I did run off a flock of Bluewinged Teal Ducks. Their wings are pretty when they are flying. I saw the same pair of Canadian Geese at the same spot I saw yesterday. They will be nesting someplace close soon. A bushtit or some similiar small grayish/white bird was flying around and some Acadian Flycatchers with it. They were getting into the heavy cover of a pine tree to get out of the rain. No turtles out sunning themselves today for sure. On the way out, I was looking up and around for more birds and I saw what I thought was an Owl of some kind perched in a tree in the woods. I got closer and saw that it was a Great-Blue Heron. This is a long-legged water bird that I have talked about before. But I don't think I have seen one actually perched high in a tree before. Last and maybe least I wanted to show what was happening in this area in the plants area since some trees and bushes and weeds are starting to flower. At Bona Dea and all over town there are the earliest weeds growing in yards and fields. They are Henbit. They have small purple flowers on spindly stalks and thick folage. These are what makes people start mowing their yards the first time of the year. See photo of some in my yard. Also all over town are beautiful flowering trees. I took pickures of the Bradford Pear Tree at a local Burger King Resturant shown here. There are some white flowering trees at Bona Dea but these are White Dogwoods and are smaller usually but the ones at Bona Dea are old and therefore bigger. Also in yards in town and at my house are Quince Bushes. These have small pretty red flowers and the photo here is one in my front yard. I have one in the back yard that is mixed with a yellow Forsythia Bush. They are growing together and look like the other photo here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was mostly sunny and mild. Rain expected in a day or two. It looks like they are moving some heavy equipment in on the west side of the park to do some serious digging. Interesting to see what they are up to. There wasn't a whole lot of wildlife activity but the Northern Cardinals were really singing the signs of spring. Robins were in the open areas of the park and not in the woods so much. The Acadian Flycatchers were around Swinging Bridge Trail and the spillway. While feeding the Blue Gill fish, one of the Pileated Woodpeckers flew in a tree close to me and then flew off after seeing me. Some Field Sparrows flew down below the spillway. They seem to like the muddy wet ground there to find something to eat. Carolina Chickadees were heard in the woods. I went on down to the old swinging bridge where it is damp and muddy and swarms of Mosquitos and Gnats decided I was a quick snack. One got my neck pretty good. These are photos of what they look like close up. First one is the Mosquito. The woods started to color a bit with White Flowering or budding trees. Maybe large White Dogwoods. Photo. A pair of Canadian Geese flew into Waldon Pond in front of me and they got out and walked over Swinging Bridge Trail into Goose Pond. They are now looking for a place to nest. Flocks of Blue-teal Geese flew over. Also the Gulls were flying very high today for some reason. A few Turkey Vultures were flying around. The basking turtles were out sunning themselves again today. Strange that there are no more Squirrels around since its getting warmer. The yellow Daffodil flowers that I took a photo of recently are gone. I took a closer look and someone decided to take some home apparently. You're not suppose to destroy any plants or wildlife at this park. Unfortunately you will see dead snakes on the trail where some people just have to kill for the enjoyment of it. There were some young aligators on the trail some time ago and someone had killed both of them. This time of year several people come out to walk or run or take there small kids and dogs for a stroll.

Bona Dea Update-News Report-Pileated Woodpecks make love

Bona Dea was mostly sunny and warmer today. On Lake Dardanelle across from the park there were Double-crested Cormorants on the snag and some on the water. Gulls were still flying around with an occasional Turkey Vulture. On Swinging Bridge Trail the Acadian Flycatchers were active in the trees as well as Carolina Chickadees. At the spillway a Eastern Phoebe flycatcher was flying around the trees. I fed the Blue-gill Brim fish and they were quite active in feeding. Canadian Geese were flying mostly in pairs over to Black Water Swamp and some actually landed in Waldon Pond close to me. Northern Cardinals were in the woods across Prarie Creek from the spillway and just singing away. One of the Cormorants was again flying circles over Waldon Pond. It did not land this time. While at the spillway a big Pileated Woodpecker landed in a tree not 20 feet from me. It started calling its mate and then shortley the mate arrive and landed on a limb next to the truck where the first one was. Then the first one climbed on the limb next to the other one and then they made love. I don't think too many people have seen that. Afterwards they went up higher on the tree trunk in parallel fashion opposite each other. Some sort of after ritual I suppose. Then one flew off to the north and then some minutes later the other one followed. Very interesting to say the least. I noticed that the authorities have placed plastic barriers along the trail beside Parkway Highway. They are gonna start doing some time of work. Bobcat tractors were working yesterday in the area moving dirt. Several months ago they had staked out a line beside the highway. Don't know what they are planning. The basking turtles were all over the logs and snags in the ponds and creek. Robins were around the east parking area and they are all over town. Noticed around my house that the House Sparrows are now here in force. They really eat all your bird feed. That is what the squirrels don't get.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was cloudy and cold today. This was a day for the blackbirds, flycatchers and nuthatches. On Parkway Hwy by Lake Dardanelle across from Bona Dea there were 3 Double-crested Cormorants on the old snag and some Pied-billed Grebe ducks swimming around. Also some Gulls flying about. On Swinging Bridge Trail there were the usual Acadian Flycatchers in the trees being pretty active catching insects. I did not see any ducks around but heard them on Black Water Swamp. Also saw the Tufted Titmouse birds mixing with the flycatchers. But one of the unusual things seen today was a Eastern Phoebe Flycatcher. I have seen this bird many times on this Trail and around Goose Pond to the east of the trail over the years but did not pay much attention to it. It is a greenish gray bird with a long tail and twitches its tail all the time. It flew from the trail away from me to a bush in Goose Pond. See photo. Carolina Chickadees were chirping away by the spillway. No basking turtles today as it was not sunny or warm. No snakes have appeared so far this year. They have not been plentiful the last few years probably due to the area flooding so much and they might have not survived their hybernation. I then drove over to the eastern parking area and went on Old Shorty Trail. There I saw another unusual sight eventhough I have seen them before. It was a Brown Creeper Nuthatch. These are brown very small birds that travel very fast over the tree trunks looking for insects. See photo. They have a white breast but usually cling so close to the trees that you miss the white breast. But I did see a very bright breasted bird doing the same thing on the tree trunks and this must be the White-breasted Nuthatch that I have seen in the same area earlier this year. At the far east end of the part on Old Shorty Trail were hundreds of Eastern Starling blackbirds and Boat-tailed Grackle blackbirds. Mixed in with these were American Crows. Don't know why they were just in this area. Acadian Flycatchers were in that area too and I saw 2 Gray Squirrels playing in the trees amongst the blackbirds. Male Northern Cardinals were on the ground around the picnick tables. Robins were there too.