Bona Dea still had a lot of snow on the ground. At the trail by the spillway there were more deer tracks from yesterday. There were people all around the Snowman couple taking pictures of themselves as shown in the previous post. It seems that the Crow birds are now coming in. I saw some in town also. From this time on there will be migration of all types of birds coming through. Can't wait to see. There has been a male Protronatary Warbler coming by the spillway area the last 2 years. This bird is beautiful. A bright yellow. See photo of one here. I hope to see some big needle nose Softshell turtles and Snaper turtles. I feed the fish and small musk turtles come to eat. Have to run the fish off to let the turtles feed. Hope to take some pics of that. On my way down Swinging Bridge trail my old friend the Great Blue Heron was in Goose Pond right next to me on the trail. At one point he was wading up to his breast. I shot this photo of him or her. Also the ducks and most of the geese will be migrating out north and the The Turkey Vulchers will be leaving their roosting spots and going to parts unknown to their nesting grounds. I will miss them as I see them every day in the winter. Except some of the Vulchers will fly in from time to time to forge on any dead wildlife. Also in late February the daffadil flowers will start to bloom here and some bushes will start to flower. Hope to get some friends help me identify the plants. There are also wild roses all over the place as well as formosa trees and red buds. The crape myrtles are all over the parking area but they don't bloom until the summer months.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Bona Dea was snow covered today. Very beautiful. Someone had made a Mr. and Mrs. Snowman in the parking area. This is a photo. I walked down Swinging Bridge trail to the spillway area. There were deer tracks all over. The only tracks in that area were the deer and mine. Several spots showing where they had rooted thru the snow looking for roots to eat. Woodland Sparrows were scratching through the snow finding something to eat. Several Black-eyed Junco birds doing the same. The Turkey Vulchers were on their usual roost and not flying around too much. I jumped several dozen Mallard Ducks who flew from the creek to Black Water Swamp. Some of them were standing around on the bank. I then walked over to the boyscout bird blind on Black Water Swamp, see photo of blind, and saw several Teal and Mallard ducks. It was a site to watch others fly in and land and all would just chatter away welcoming them in. Or maybe threatening them to not mess with their spouses. All ponds were lightly iced over except of Waldon Pond for some reason. The spillway was running pretty good and it looked like the deer did not want to walk in the spillway and walked around below on the bank. The air just seems so fresh and clean after a snowfall.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Bona Dea had snow on the ground. By late afternoon it was about 2 inches. See photos. It was beautiful to see the bright red male Cardinal birds hopping in the trees with Black-eyed Junco birds hopping on the ground underneath them with the white snow in the background. The various woodland sparrows, mostly White Throated, and big black Crackels on the ground trying to scratch through the snow for food. There were literally thousands of the Crackels migrating from SW to NE. Quite a site. One year I watched them fly due West for 30 minutes and they were still going when I quit watching. Other folks were out there taking photos too. As of this post, it is still snowing and accumulation about 3 inches. Did not go to the area where the Ducks and Geese reside. They were no doubt enjoying the weather.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Bona Dea was very overcast and cloudy in anticipation of the incoming ice and snow event tonight. However this day was the most productive in terms of viewing wildlife this winter. Photos showing White Tailed Deer, Mockingbird, Winter Wren and Barred Owl. The trip started out seeing a pair of Canadian Geese and a Great Blue Heron on a private pond right next to the park on the southeast side. Shortly thereafter the Mockingbird that stays in his very own cedar tree was hopping on the ground next to the trail. Very numerous flocks of Robins were all over the park. Mallard Ducks were in Black Water Swamp and Prarie Creek. There were hundreds of Turkey Vulcher flying high and low over the park and Lake Dardanelle. Never have seen that many anywhere before. They must like the worst of days to fly. A Great Blue Heron also flew off from Goose Pond. Also all over the park were groups of White Troated Sparrows and other woodland Sparrow types and the quaint Winter Wren. The Wrens and Sparrows seem to group together. Also heard a Black-capped Chickadee. Two supprises was a White Tailed Deer just looking at me and not moving beside Bullfrog Pond. I got real close to it. The last thing was a Barred Owl that was calling for its mate. Hope they got together cause its gonna get cold tonight. It was in the woods close to the parking lot. Flocks of Canada Geese where flying to their overnight spot as usual. Squirrls for some reason or other were not seen. They must have enough acorns packed away for the bad weather. Photos of the creatures mentioned here not seen in the post are found in recent previous posts. Also saw some Black-eyed Junco birds.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Bona Dea was mostly sunny until late in the afternoon and clouds rolled in. Ice and Snow expected in next 48 hours. I learned from a bird expert that the white headed duck I saw yesterday was more than likely a wild/domestic mix. If they have large spots of white in a mixed pattern or on the entire head this is likely. The Turkey Vulchers were at their roost for awhile then found another spot further east. Several flocks of Canadian Geese went over head to their overnight spot as usual this time of year along with some Blue Teal and Mallard Ducks but not as many as usual. Saw a group of Black-eyed Junco birds, photo in a previous recent post, and a group of Black-capped Chickadees. Both type birds looked like they were moving around together. See photo of Chickadee.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Bona Dea was nice today. Mostly sunny. I thought the Turkey Vulchers had left the area but some time later they returned to their roosting spot in numbers and flew overhead. They later left to another roosting spot. I supprised several Mallard ducks in the creek and they supprised me as they suddenly flew away. Late in the evening flocks of Canadian Geese and Mallard Ducks flew in to Black Water Swamp to overnight. Another supprise was a lone smallish duck flew in to Waldon Pond and landed at the other end from me. It had a solid white head and a dark body. It was too late in the evening to see other details. Tried to I.D. it but cannot find anything so far. Have sent e-mails for help in doing this. If anyone has ideas let me know on comments. Looked kinda like a Clark or Western Grebe but these are found in the western U.S. Photo of Mallard Duck.
Bona Dea was a lot colder today, Monday. It was quite windy. So there was not much movement in wildlife. Of course the ducks love this kind of weather and in the Prarie Creek and Black Water Swamp they would splash themselves and the males would chase either other around. Trying to protect their spouses. Turkey Vulchers out as usual and loved flying in the wind as they did not have to flap wings too much today. The waves on Lake Dardanelle across the dike from the park were really rolling. This is a photo of this area of the lake taken earlier this month with gulls on the ice.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Bona Dea was cloudy until late afternoon. The water ponds were full due to the recent rain. The spillway was running well and Prarie Creek was high below the spillway. The Great Blue Heron was at the spillway and few off when I arrived on the scene. He had markings all over showing he was there when the spillway was full and he was looking for a fish to eat. He flew over to his perch across Waldon Pond. See photo. I have never seen so many Turkey Vulchers roosting and flying over their roosting spot. Well over 100. See photo. Very many Mallard ducks were flying high overhead and then land in their overnight spot on Black Water Swamp. A few big Gulls were flying over going toward Lake Dardanelle. Tried to feed the fish but did not see any take any food. Water was too cold. Some kids on bikes came down the trail and decided the spillway was too full for them to cross.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Bona Dea was cloudy early part of day and late in afternoon turned mostly sunny. A good bit of water was pouring off the spillway. Prarie Creek was still high and the pumping station was in operation. Late in the afternoon several flocks of geese were flying to their overnight spot on Black Water Swamp and the Mallard ducks in Prarie Creek were also doing the same. Pin Tail or Blue Teal ducks were in the group also. Turkey Vulchers were on their roost as usual and flying overhead. The Robins were still in the area flying all over. Photo. 2 folks were fishing in Lake Dardanelle across from the Park where the pumping station was pumping water into the lake in the boiling water.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Bona Dea was warmer today than before. It was really like a mild summer day. The Turkey Vulchers were back on their old roost and flying overhead and the Gulls were flying in number. The area and town were covered in flocks of Boat-Tailed Grackels. See photo of the black bird. A Great Blue Herron was flying over Goose Pond. Several Mallard Duck pairs were in Prarie Creek by the spillway. A lone Canadian Goose flew over and landed in Waldon Pond. It just kept calling out as if it had lost its way or trying to attract the rest of the flock. About the same time a lone Red Bat started flying over the same pond. The first bat I had seen there is some time. See Photo. It is interesting that a few years back some students from Ark Tech were doing research on bats and they had several bat traps made from Badminton nets and strung them across some of the park trails. They had several bats caught. One Bat related story was one time I was out at a cemetery in the country late at night and was walking along the tombstones. I suddenly felt something hit me in the side of the head. I looked up to see a bat flying away. It left a scratch. Glad it didn't have rabies. Dont's ask about the cemetry.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Bona Dea was mostly cloudy. The Turkey Vulchers had moved their roosting spot across the creek apparently to get away from all the onlookers on the trail below. Flocks of Mourning Doves flew very fast overhead. Mallard Ducks were still in the creek and Black Water Swamp. Small Vireo type birds were around the spillway. A large Grey Squirrl was down by the old Swinging Bridge. Gulls were still flying high. The Brim fish were feeding better today. The water has stayed warmer now for a few days in a row. Rain is expected for the next couple of days. The Turtles must have gone into a hiberation of sorts as they were not out on the logs in this warmer weather. There are flaging markers on the Parkway road dike along the bottom from the West end to the pumping station. Looks like they must be going to put in a utility line of some sort. Photo is of a Mourning Dove.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Bona Dea had the warmest day in this streak of warm days. Was partly cloudy. Gulls and Turkey Vuchers were flying about. Gray Squirrls were hopping around. Robins were out. Saw a Northern Shoveler duck flying out of Goose Pond. Photo here. All areas of the ponds were clear of ice except around the shaded banks of Goose Pond. Fed the Brim fish at Waldon Pond. They were a little slow as water was still cold.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Bona Dea was sunny for most of the day. Took some more photos. I saw a Tufted Titmouse on the dike by the spillway. This is a small gray bird. See Photo from allabout birds.com. Also saw a flock of Geese flying in the V formation overhead. See photo. Also went to the overlook at Washburn Park to the West of Bona Dea. Took a photo of the Geese as they had landed in Black Water Swamp. Gulls were again flying high overhead. Counted at least 60 Turkey Vulchers on their usual roosting spots. See previous post with photo.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Bona Dea was drizzling rain by the afternoon. The ponds continued to thaw out. The usual birds from the recent posts were flittering about. There were still Mallard Ducks in the upper end of Prarie Creek. Both ducks and geese flew in late to Black Water Swamp. This is the only pond in the Sanctuary where they go for the night. See Photo.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Bona Dea was cloudy by late afternoon. The ponds were thawing out from the recent freeze. Not many ducks on the creek and ponds. Several large flocks of Canadian Geese were flying from their forage areas during the day to their overnight spot on Black Water Swamp by the cliffs. Several Turkey Vulchers were on their roosting spot by the Big Bridge over Prarie Creek. Photo showing them at the roosting spot.
I did not get to Bona Dea until late almost dark and then after dark. Did not see any night creatures. Did not stay long. It was warmer today and it had rained a little and was drizzling while I was there. Saw the Ark. Tech cross country runners and their coach running the trails. Saw the men's and women's basketball teams stay undefeated as they beat Henderson State. What's this got to do with Bona Dea???? The pic is of the Gazebo at the Park. Kinda neat Huh!!!!!!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Bona Dea was somewhat warmer today. An interesting sight was a Killdeer hopping around on the ground by Burger King Resturant close to the Park. Also several flocks of White Throated Sparrows all over the ground at the Old Shortie Trail. Pics of the birds from allaboutbirds.com. Flocks of Boattailed Crackels flew high overhead. Several male Cardinals were grouped together by the picnick tables and were very pretty with all that much red hopping around. Robins were in number. Gulls flying overhead. One Grey Squirrl kept feeding on the ground around me.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Bona Dea was colder today. Finished up taking photos of the various features of the Park. They can be found on the photo link in the right column. Saw several more Cardinals than usual. Robins had left the trees and flying about to keeping close to the ground. Gray Squirrls were out again. Saw a Mocking Bird in a Cedar tree eating the berries. It was chatting away. Prarie Creek by the pumping station was still frozen over. See Pic. Great Blue Herons were on the private ponds south of the Park. Gulls were out flying about.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Bona Dea was warmer today, Monday. The wildlife was really responding. Check out the photos by clicking on the My Photos link to the right. The newest ones added today the 11th. There was a hugh flock of Gulls on the ice in Lake Dardanelle across the dike from Bona Dea. The gray squirrls were in the trees. The Cardnals were out as well as Robins. Boattail Crackel black birds were grouped in the trees. And the largest flock of Turkey Vulchers I ever saw were roosting in 3 different places and flying over their roost spots. Olive and gray Vireos and Blackcapped Chickadees and Nuthatches were hopping from tree to tree. Also Woodland Sparrows and maybe a Warbler or two. They must be ready for Spring. More people were out walking/running. The pics also contain some more features of the Park.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Bona Dea was still frozen over in the ponds. The ice looked to have buckled and then refroze. The middle of the creek was running somewhat as well as the spillway. Lake Dardanelle across the dike from Bona Dea was frozen solid. People had thrown large rocks on the ice without breaking it. My friend the Great Blue Heron was below the spillway and in the creek that was running trying to find supper. He was all ruffled up due to the cold. Also saw 2 of his buddies flying around. Robins were out again as well as the high flying Gulls. A delight was seeing a Neotropic Cormorant in a tree and then watching it fly off. They fly with rapid wing beats in more or less a straight line. I have seen them there from time to time. Pic of one from allabout birds.org.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Bona Dea was again cold today, Friday. This was the first time I have seen the creek and ponds completely frozen over. However the spillway was running believe it or not. Must be enough water running underneath the ice to overflow. Threw a large rock on the ice in the creek and it just bounced. There were numerous flocks of Robins and the dreadful Starlings. They are also all over town too. Also saw the lonely Great Blue Heron flying. Only a few people brave enough to jog in the cold. Except 3 runners from the local running club, but for a change, they had no shorts or t-shirts. They looked like Eskimos. It was still a little windy. Supposed to warm up later next week. Maybe will take some pics then.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Bona Dea was very cold today. Wind chill at 5 degrees expected to get down to -10 tonight. Gulls were out flying. The Blue Teal and Mallard ducks seemed to enjoy the cold water splashing themselves all the time. Sparrows were flying all over the place. Ice more prevalent in the creek and ponds. However the afternoon was sunny. This is a pic of a Black Scoter duck behind the pumping station in the creek.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Bona Dea was quite today. Ducks still on the creeks and ponds. Nothing unusual to report. Maybe if it snows more will happen. Signs around the dirt paths where deer roamed in the night. Water levels in the ponds are still high. The creek has been pumped to low levels.
Got out to Bona Dea late. In was again very cold in the upper twenties. Just took old shorty trail. Did not see any wildlife other than the folks jogging. Pools of water were iced over in places. Suppose to snow in the next 24hrs. Maybe enough to take pics of.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Bona Dea was very cold today. Patches of snow lay on the ground and ice had formed around the edges of the creek and ponds. Mallard ducks seemed to enjoy the cold. The Gulls were flying high and about. Same Cardinal bird seen at the same place at the head of Swinging Bridge trail to the north. Unusual creature seen jogging with shorts and t-shirt. The holly bush on old shorty trail by the east parking lot still had its red berries and bright green folage. Looks Christmasy for sure. Strange as I did not see the numerous Turkey Vulchers today. Been a few days since the Great Blue Heron was at its usual area. Probably staying by the fire.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Bona Dea woods by the east parking lot was full of Robins eating on the ground. The Prarie Creek areas had several Mallard ducks. As well as most of the water pools. Blue Wing Teal ducks few overhead and several Canadian Geese flew in formation to their dusk destination. Pretty male Cardinal at head of swinging bridge trail. Also several woodland sparrows in same location. The Turkey Vulchers were in number and flying over their roosting area on the hillside. It really started turning cold and cloudy. Looking at little bit snowy. Believe it or not but there were people jogging/running in shorts and tank tops. Burrrr!!!! It has been too cold to try to feed the fish. They must be staying by the fire.
Bona Dea had a few more visitors today. I saw a Swainson's Warbler hopping about but it stayed in the thick brush and couldn't get a clear shot for photo. Blue Wing Teal ducks flew overhead. Mallard ducks still staying around. Woodland type sparrows were out in force. Saw where deer had dug for roots over night on the less traveled paths. Don't know where the squirrls went.