Friday, April 16, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea today, Thursday, was mostly sunny and warm. The park had a lot of people out walking, running and riding bikes. American Crows were flying around Lake Dardanelle and perching on the dead trees along the bank. The duck I saw yesterday that had long loose feathers on the back of his head and neck was a female Hooded Merganser. This was at the spillway and she would spread those feathers straight out and up when she would make a turn or move fast. Small brownish color. Photo of one here. I went with a friend again today and we went down Swinging Bridge Trail. Over at the old swinging bridge we saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler bird. Photo here shows it in the trees and you can see it yellowish underside. Also back on the trail I took this photo of a male Northern Cardinal in a tree and it looked sorta orange instead of bright red due to the sun shinning on it brightly. Also high in the trees in this area were several Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Flycatcher birds. They are small bodied with really long tails for their small body size. On the deer trail from the spillway we saw a medium sized Bullfrog in the shallow water by the bank. Photo. My friend saw the infamous Alligator in this area on the bank the other day. We looked all over and did not see it. On this deer trail were a lot of Poison Oak and Poison Ivy plants. Photo of the Ivy Plant. Poison Oak is a vine that climbs the trees and Poison are ground plants both with 3 leaves. The other photo here with the red seed or flower pods is a Red Buckeye plant. These grow quite large and are all over the place. At the spillway I showed my friend how I fed the Blue-gill Brim fish and then took a photo of the bark of a River Birch tree. It looks real wrinkled and rough. On down the deer trail close to the far end there were breeding and nesting beds of the Redear and sometimes in this area called a Shellcracker Brim fish. They were spawning and the females were laying their eggs in their nest that they make by swimming in circles very fast and by fanning their tails to make a nest about the size of a skillet. The photo here shows a female guarding her nest. You can see in this fuzzy photo the side of her head a orange or red spot as their name implies. Also these Redear Brim are bottom feeders and don't feed on top of the water or in the middle of the body of water. They forge on the bottom only. When they mix with the Bluegill Brim I feed, they will not eat the top water food pellets I feed them. But just before I took this photo, this same fish actually stood up straight in the water with head out of the water and squirmed around depositing her eggs in the nest. We left that area and went down Waldon Way and saw a Red-wing Blackbird. I haven't seen one in awhile there. We were looking for a Pine Warbler that is sorta yellow in color and streaked. They sound a lot like the Red-wing blackbird. We did not see one. Robin birds were around more than usual in the woods today. But the surprise was seeing and hearing a Brown Thrasher bird which is from the Thrush family and it was sitting high in the trees and sounding exacting like a Mockingbird as it would mimic other bird calls. The guy with me had not heard of this before and he learned that they do this sometimes but not often. It was really singing away not stop. But the usually stay close to the ground as they feed on the ground and don't fly in trees too much and especially high up in the trees. Also saw a Muskrat swimming in Black Water Swamp but did not get a photo. They are like a regular rat but long brown fur and stay in the water. The basking turtles were out on the logs and snags in the water pools. Also a flock of Pelican birds flew over. They were the American-white variety. They are white with black wing tips. Photo.

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