Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was sunny early and turned partly cloudy by late afternoon and was quite windy. I started the day off at Old Shorty Trail by the east parking area. On the back side or South end of the trail it was bird heaven. I was surprised. You have to understand that this is no more than 100 yards from the vehicles, joggers, runners, dogs etc. But you would think you were in the middle of a large wilderness area. I should have taken notes of all the species of birds I saw today because I will forget some. I will start off with 2 that I have not spoken of here before and one that I have paid no attention to or not seen before. This would be a Marsh Wren. This is a small brownish bird that keeps its tail straight up. It looks like a House Wren or Carolina Wren or Winter Wren except its tail stays straight up most of the time and it stays close to vegetation that is in or near water. The wooded area where I was is low and stays wet for a good while after a rain. As was the case the last 2 days. The other new bird was a Blue-gray Knatcatcher. I saw it first flying about the trees and on the trucks and limbs and first thought of a Nuthatch of some kind. It just kept very active and fly back and forth between the trees and bushes which are very thick in there. A lot of dead debris on the ground. I walked on the trail some more and looked back into the sun and saw just millions of knats flying all over the place. This bird was really having a feast. Of course there were others in there doing the same thing. I again saw a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker woodpecker. I think they will be migrating out soon. They mostly winter here. There were black Grackles and probably some Brewer Blackbirds down in the shallow water in all that dirty debris and leaves etc. They were probably getting worms and bugs in the wet sludge. They were the common Grackles and not the Boat-tailed variety. I saw them at Swinging Bridge trail later on. Also saw some more same type of Sapsuckers there also. Robins were all over the parking area and Northern Cardinal chirping away. Carolina Chickedees were around pretty close to the Knatcatchers. I left the park and came back later in the afternoon and went to Swinging Bridge Trail. I wasn't disappointed there either. Robins and Cardinals were numerous and the Chickedees around. Pairs of Canadian Geese were flying over and saw a few Mallards and Blue-teal Ducks flying. I have not seen any Geese trying to nest in the area yet. There are usually a few nesting pairs every year. No snakes seen so far but some basking turtles but not like there will be later on. At the previous trip to the park stated above I did also hear some bullfrogs croaking. And this was in the trees in swallow swampy water. Hmmm. But off of Goose Pond by swinging bridge, they were croaking there too but sounded like bigger ones. I heard the big Pileated Woodpecker shot out for its mate. I stopped at the spillway and fed the Blue-gill fish. They were feeding better this time as the water is warmer even though the wind and waves were high. A surprise at Waldon Pond by the spillway was our old friend the Double-crested Cormorant. This is really funny. It would fly against the west wind with all its might and it would be just slowing moving along. Then after it progressed a little bit it would sorta give up and let the wind move it back going with the wind and going really fast. Then it would turn around and go agains the wind again then give up and go back. I watched it do this several times. It finally let the wind take it back east toward its old stomping ground on Lake Dardanelle where I usually see it. Also on Swinging Bridge trail the Daffidils were just starting to bloom. They will be a pretty shade of yellow when they emerge. Some of the trees were already budding out and will be leafing real soon. Same way all over town. There were some single American Crows and both ends of the park flying and making their usual sounds as they fly. On lake Dardanelle by the Cormorant snag there were several Gulls floating on the water and hundreds flying overhead. Don't know why they haven't left yet. There was a single Pied-billed Grebe close to where I had parked on Lake Dardanelle and it dived under water and did not come up until it was about 10 yards away. They are fun to watch because you never know where they will come up. They go down to the bottom of the lake to get their food. Also several very high flying Turkey Vultures were seen. When the wind is high as today they can go really high and soar forever without having to flap their wings. You could tell they were enjoying the free rides. I saw a Great Blue Heron wading bird actually in the woods but not too far from the water. They may be trying to find a place to nest. Well, as you can see today was really for the birds.

No comments: