Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was very cloudy and cold today, Wednesday. It was also the day for the water birds for sure. There is a private pond right next to the south border of the park and in it were several Mallard Ducks and American Coots and some Great Blue Herons and Double-crested Cormorants. Overhead were hundreds of Herring Gulls flying about and some diving down close to the water. What a sight to see and I stayed there a long time watching it all. Before that visit, I went to a new boat launching site on Lake Dardanelle not far from Bona Dea. There I viewed more of the Double-crested Cormorants than I have seen in a long time. Looked like hundreds of them. They were landing on the electric high line towers in the lake and swimming in the water and flying overhead. There were hundreds of the Herring Gulls flying and landing on the water. On the causeway coming back, there were several American Coots actually walking on the highway and the shoulder. Don't know what that was all about unless they were looking for grit. The other day I saw at the park and saw a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker woodpecker birds. They were in the trees on the East end of the Big Bridge over Prairie Creek. They seem to stay just in that one area flying from tree to tree. Have seen them there for several days now. Today I also saw 6 White Tail Deer. They were just standing close together and were watching me for a few minutes until one ran off and the others followed. They were at the bottom of Bullfrog Pond. The pond is almost completely dry due to the drought in this part of the country. I saw some very pretty bright orange berries on a shrub that had lost its leaves for the winter. It turned out to be a Possumhaw or winterberry holly tree, Llex dedicua, on Swinging Bridge Trail. Three photos here of the berries and tree. Also there are several of these evergreen shrubs in the park and actually all over this part of the USA. It is a Chinese Common Privet shrub-Ligustrum sinense-on trail by the Pumping Station. Photo of the leaves and one of the plant. I have been starting to feed the deer and ducks and mourning doves. The deer have been eating and then covering up the remainder that is left. Not going to make this a full time thing like feeding the fish in the summer.

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