Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bona Dea and Holla Bend Parks Update

The weather has been from cool to cold in this area. Still in need of a lot of rain. The migratory birds are coming in pretty good now. Got a chance to see a White-breasted Nuthatch. This is a good look at one. Also yesterday, Tuesday, I was at the Spillway at Bona Dea and looked around and saw the water rippling like something was in the water. I noticed on the other side a really big beaver and was feeding on the bank. Did not have a camera but this is what it looked almost exactly looked like. Last week I saw 6 white tailed deer at the same visit. One was at Bullfrog pond and the other 5 were across Prairie Creek by the pumping station just down from Bullfrog pond. But it was after dark and one of the 5 came to the water's edge as it saw me but could not make me out as it was in the light of a close by nightwatcher light and I was in the dark. It started stomping its front feet and grunting. So I started doing the same thing. It got all excited and started doing it more and more and finally jumping around. The other 4 deer just were standing around watching the show. Finally it ran into the woods and the others followed. Which I had a video of that show. The mallard ducks are really coming into Bona Dea for the winter. Even though the water level is really low. The Canadian Geese are coming in just before dark to Black Water Swamp as they do each day in the winter months. Lots of pretty cardinal birds flocking up and moving around. But last Wednesday I left Bona Dea to take on a nearby National Wildlife Refuge called Holla Bend close to the town of Dardanelle, Arkansas. A friend came from out of town to take some pictures. I will post some here but this is a link to the relevant ones I saved on album. We saw a pair of Nine Banded Armadillos. I thought one was there but another one was hid and jumped up close to me and I jumped too. The other one stayed around and this is a pretty good closeup. It needs a shave don't you think? Also a Red- Shouldered Hawk sitting in a tree. Also a shot of a Double-crested Cormorant taking off over the water and showing it skipping its feet in the water. A flock of American White Pelicans. Click on the photo for a closeup showing their weird large beaks that seem to hold their heads down. One funny thing happened on this field trip. We were driving down a road parallel to the Arkansas River and was driving real slow looking for wildlife. Up ahead there was something up high in a tree right close to the road. It looked like something with a white head and I thought of the Bald Eagle first thing. So I get out of the vehicle and start walking very deliberately as not to scare it away. It was sorta behind some limbs and I could not get a good shot of it from far away. So I kept slipping up on it hoping all the time that it would not fly off. So I just got closer and closer and wondering why it had not flown away and finally after getting almost completely underneath it I saw what it was. It was a Bald-faced Hornet nest. They are big wasps that really can sting you. This photo is of the big nest hanging from the tree limbs. Of course it is winter hear so the insects have left. But here is a link to what they look like.

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