Bona Dea was sunny early and then cloudy late and very light wind and warmer. There were the usual Robins all over the place. On the way to the parking area along Lake Dardanelle, there was a lone Double-crested Cormorant sitting in the water. Photos in recent previous posts. Farther down to the parking spot there was a single Pied-billed Grebe. This photo is the best one yet of them I have taken at this same spot. It is the small brown duck. On Swinging Bridge Trail there were Turkey Vulchers and Gulls flying all over. I jumped a Pilieated Woodpecker who flew off. He kept making his loud sounds all over that part of the park. Also another smaller woodpecker was heard from time to time. A pair of Mourning Doves few down Prarie Creek to the same tree I had seen a few times before. Don't know why they like to fly to the same spots so often. Flocks of ducks also few overhead. And flocks of the black Grackles were migrating west again. You could hear the Canadian Geese cackeling over on Black Water Swamp. On Goose Pond off swinging bridge trail there were 2 basking turtles on a snag. See photo. Probably either a red-eared slider or common map turtle. Several Bustits were hopping around high in the trees. I took a photo of a racoon footprint on the bank of Prarie Creek under the old Swinging Bridge. I saw old bridge because they have dismantled the bridge. It was getting old and dangerous. Don't know if they plan to replace it or not. Also a photo of a racoon here too. The racoons take their food and wash it in the water. I guess they want it to be clean. On the way out I saw several woodland sparrows either White-throated or Fox Sparrows. The fish were moving around at the top of the water some and would have eaten if I had brought the food.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Bona Dea was sunny and warmer but very windy today. No too many birds fluttering around. There were no Cormorants at Lake Dardanelle. I am beginning to miss them. On Swinging Bridge trail, I saw an American Crow. These are quite common around these parts but haven't been seen in the Park much this winter. But this bird was sitting on a limb in a tree that was beside Goose Pond. It looked as if it might be sick as it was ruffled and I did not spook it. They usually don't let you get that close. After a while it flew up higher in another close by tree. Another Crow flew by and that might have caused it to move. These birds are large in size and totally black with shiney shades of green and purple. They can be quite noisy at times. They will chase hawks away if one come close by their nests and most of the time when they just see one. The are quite intelligent birds and some in captivity have been trained to talk by humans. It was too windy to try to feed the fish and I did not stay at the park very long as I had to leave earlier than usual.
Bona Dea was mostly cloudy and cold. No precipation as expected. I would like to see a little more snow. I went to Old Shorty Trail first off. There was a single flock of Bushtit birds flying around and landing on the ground searching for food. Several pretty red male Cardinal birds were flying about. The Robins were all over the park and in town. Also some Starling black birds were around the same area. I then went to the other end of the park and down the highway, I did not see any Cormorants as usual. On Waldon Pond close to the small island, there was the trusty Great Blue Heron. He stayed there awhile and then flew off. At the spillway you could see a few Turkey Vulchers on their roosting spot but not as many as most of the time. When warmer weather comes they will not longer roost in the park but will occasionally fly over year round looking for something dead to eat. There were some Sparrows by the swinging bridge. I believe these were Fox Sparrows or White-throated Sparrows. I did not get close enough to see. Also more male Cardinals at the trail head. A Small flock, 4 or 5, Canadian Geese flew over head. Probably to Black Water Swamp. The interesting thing today was seeing either a Beaver or Muskrat swimming across Waldon Pond. It stopped a few feet from bank and disappeared underwater. Did not see him again and could not get close enough to I.D. for sure. For those of you that haven't seen either one of these critters, check the link at the right under mammals and put their names in the search box to see pictures and discriptions. I will be taking photos later on when they come out in mass when warmer weather appears. This February will be one of the coldest February's in this area in recorded history. Don't know what this will mean for the wildlife here. I suppose it depends on what happens weather wise this spring and summer.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Bona Dea was sunny and then cloudy later on and cold. No precip yet but some expected tonight and tomorrow. Maybe some snow. There were Robins all about town and the park as usual. At the head of Swinging Bridge Trail the male Northern Cardinal was on the ground looking for food. It must be the same one that seems to stay around there all the time. I suppose they are territorial to a great extent. The Pileated Woodpecker was sounding off across Prarie Creek to the south. Also at the bridge were several Swamp Sparrows. They were the ones I saw yesterday at the spillway that kept landing on vegatation in the water and jumping into shallow water looking for seeds. Descriptions shows this bird lands on low branches of bushes and trees and tries to knock at seeds from pods and then jumps to the ground to eat them. This is what they were doing today at swinging bridge. Photo of one. They winter in this area and then move north to breed and nest. Some Turkey Vulchers and Gulls were flying about and several ducks, Teals and Mallards were flying over for the night at Black Water Swamp. Also just a few Canadian Geese did the same. In the swamp area under the swinging bridge there were several single Mourning Doves flying over the creek to the same tree down stream. It seems that the Northern Flicker woodpecker I mentioned in recent previous posts are trying to make the swinging bridge area their home. They are still around there flying from tree to tree. I suppose trying to find a nesting spot. Was disappointed not to see the White Tailed deer that I saw yesterday. But I did not mention yesterday about hearing a lot thrashing sound right across the creek from where I stood on the bank. I saw some cane bushes moving after the sound. This indicates it was a deer running through. I did not see the deer but the vegetation was thick and it was probably standing still as they usually do after running and stopping so fast.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Bona Dea was sunny and cold and windy. However there was no shortage of wildlife today. It all started with a drive down Lakefront Drive and seeing 5 Double-crested Cormorants on the snag in Lake Dardanelle. Then after parking at the pulloff, I saw at least 3 Pied-billed Grebe ducks. These ducks as mentioned in a previous recent post are really small and brownish all over. They duck under the water and swim quite a ways before surfacing. I got 2 way off pics of one of them here. One just shows its head in the waves and the other and back view. Going on down to the swinging bridge, I went down by Prarie Creek and stood there for quite a while. I did not see any ducks as I had hoped but I looked down the creek and on my side of the creek I saw a White tailed Deer walking toward me on the bank. Then right behind it were 3 others peering around at the one walking. I never could get a photo of this group. Behind me I heard some birds talking to each other and looked around and saw a pair of Northern Flicker woodpeckers in a tree. The pic here. Also toward where the deer were was a pretty bright red male Northern Cardinal and pic here. After a little bit I heard the sounds of Mourning Doves and a Barred Owl calling out for its mate. Here are the sounds of the Doves, Owl and Flicker woodpecker. Click on the links and then click on the sound tabs on the pages. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Mourning_Dove/sounds http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Flicker/sounds http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barred_Owl/sounds
Sounds of the Chickedees and Cardinals were all around. Flying high over head and in abundance were the usual graceful Gulls. Also a few Turkey Vulchers flying about. Flocks of Grackles and Starlings, blackbirds, were flying every which way. At the spillway there were some woodland type Sparrows and Bushtits. They were on the back on the muddy banks scratching for food. Of course Robins were hopping all over the grounds doing the same. I heard Canadian Geese calling out over on Black Water Swamp. So quite a bit was happening at the Sanctuary today.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Bona Dea was mostly cloudy today. Cold and a little wind early. A single Double-crested Cormorant was at the snag in Lake Dardanelle again. I got a pic of it sitting on the snag then flying off and then landing in the lake. At the swinging bridge there were ducks and geese flying overhead to Black Water Swamp. I heard Chickedees and Northern Cardinals chirping not too far off. White-throated sparrows were flying around some. I saw the Gray Squirrel again but did not get a shot of it as it ran off to parts unknown. Close to Prarie Creek on top of a dead tree was a Northern Flicker. See pic. The spillway was running pretty fast again as you can see by the pic. On up the creek from the spillway was the Turkey Vulcher roosting spot I have talked a lot about. You can see in the pics of them sitting in the trees and others flying about ready to land and take off. I got a pretty good shot of the moon over Bona Dea. Also a very pretty sunset with reflection off the water. In case some of you have never seen a Gray Squirrel's nest in a tree. Here's one made of leaves and small limbs. The Gulls were all over the place again and at a close by resturant, they were landing close to the garbage cans looking for food.
Monday, February 22, 2010
It was cloudy and colder and more wind than yesterday at the Park. However, it seems on these type of days the birds come out more than the previous days that have been warmer and sunny. Go figure. The Gulls were again on the ground at the Tech University farm pastures. Also they were flying all around Lake Dardanelle and Bona Dea. The Turkey Vulchers were flying about. Flocks of blackbirds, probably Grackles, were flying West. At the old swinging bridge, the gray squirrl was high in a tree and trying to find nuts or acorns and then scampered down to the ground close to me as if I had something for it to eat. Sorry!!! White-throated Sparrows and Bushtit birds were out doing their thing. I heard woodpeckers off in the distance pecking away. Also several Northern Cardinals were singing the same familiar songs. If they keep practicing, they will learn how some day. Robins were all about on the ground. The spillway was really running in force. You could hear it before you got close. Prarie Creek was low due to the pumping station running all day. It had quit pumping before I left. Several flocks of Mallard ducks were flying over to Black Water Swamp. I walked on over to Bullfrog pond. Hadn't been there in a while. I was hoping to maybe see a White-tailed Deer there. No such luck this time. But guess what I heard. You guessed it. Bullfrogs. The first time this year. Really makes you think of Spring. I hope to take pics of some really big ones this year. They sorta scare you when you walk along real quite like and they jump in the water. This is a link to a really good bullfrog photo: http://www.duke.edu/~jspippen/herps/bullfrog060504-1428caswellglz.jpg Now go to this link to see another photo and several sounds they make: http://www.californiaherps.com/frogs/pages/r.catesbeiana.sounds.html
Sunday, February 21, 2010
It had rained 1.13 inches in about 4 hours today. They had not started to pump the water out of Prarie Creek. Since the city of Russellville drains into this area it fill up pretty fast. The creek had backed up into the woods on the south side of the spillway and was up into the spillway. Surprised to not see the Great Blue Heron fishing there as usual when the water is that way. However, the ducks really enjoyed the high water. I saw a flash to my left and looked around and saw a pair of wood ducks land in the creek nearby. The male Wood Duck is probably the prettiest duck around here. They nest in trees. They find a hole in the trunk and hatch their young there. Then the young have to be pushed out by the parents when its time to start swimming. There used to be several wood duck nests put out by people but most have fallen down. A flock of Mallard Ducks took off from the creek to parts unknown. Also flocks of Blue-Teal ducks. I described earlier how fast they fly. They also make a high pitch sound one after the other when they start flying. First photo is of a pair of Wood Ducks and the other is of the Blue Teal pair. This link will let you hear the sound of the Blue Teal in flight. The first part of this sound clip in what they sounded like today. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue-winged_Teal/sounds All over the park there were the familiar sounds of the Northern Cardinal calling out to their mates since it is about springtime here. Here is what they sound like: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Cardinal/sounds While at the spillway some White-throated Sparrows, photo in previous posts, started flying about me. Just real close. I could see several Turkey Vulchers at their roosting post. They were not flying around it as usual but just staying in place. Probably because of so much rain and dampness. On the way to the Park by the local university, in the cow pasture on Hwy 7, there were hundreds of Herring Gulls. Quite a site. Photo of them in another school pasture in a previous post. Some Robins were fluttering around on the ground in the open spaces. While walking on down the Swinging Bridge Trail you could see where Whitetailed Deer had been digging in the ground looking for tender roots. That has to have been the night before. At this spot, a large Gray Squirrl was on the ground hopping about. He did not seem to scared of me. Supprised to see no Cormorants at the snag in Lake Dardanelle for a change.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Bona Dea was a lot warmer today and turned mostly cloudy by late afternoon. At the spillway, I finally got the fish to feed. They were all over the place. Blue Gill Brim. Pic in previous post. I heard the Pileated Woodpeckers calling out to each other over across Prarie Creek from the spillway. On the way to the park I saw a single Double-crested Cormorant again. They must like that perching spot on the old snag in Lake Dardanelle. For the first time this winter I saw a basking type turtle on a small snag in Waldon Pond. In warmer weather they are all over the snags in the creeks and ponds. I could not I.D. but it probably was a Red-eared Slider or a Common Map turtle. The birds were not active today but some Turkey Vulchers were flying about. Also heard some Robins chirping in the distance.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Bona Dea was sunny until late in the evening when it turned cloudy in anticipation of rain. It was quite a bit warmer and more people were out excercising and just doing their thing. On the way to the park, the Cormorants were still on the old snag in Lake Dardanelle. Their were 3 of them and then one flew off and actually flew beside me as I was driving. I went down Swinging Bridge Trail first and it was unusual not to see much wildlife at all. No Ducks and no Geese. I suppose the weather was too good for them. I once again tried to feed the fish but no takers again. When the water warms up they will start to feed. I hope the Musk turtles come back to the feeding area again this year. They are fun to watch and feed. They are small water turtles and really have a strong bite. They don't like competition and will bite each other when they get close to each other. An interesting fact about them is that when they get scared or threatened, they release a fowl odor from glands underneath their shells. I have picked them up and played with them but never smelled that odor. I suppose since they stay on the very bottom all the time, that is the reason algae grows on the shells. That is that green slimy stuff you see in the water. The brim.Blue Gill, fish are a lot quicker and will steal the food from the turtles. So I have to scare the fish off with a stick so the slower turtles can get the food pellets. Photo of a Musk Turtle and Blue Gill Brim fish. I later when over to Old Shorty Trail and the birds were out there. More people are out there but that didn't matter to the birds. I saw a woodpecker that I could not get a good look at. It probably was a Red-bellied Woodpecker the way it flew and pecked away. Photo of one in previous post. The Bushtits were all over the place and this time staying high in the trees. Photo in previous posts. The Robins and some Cardinals were fluttering about. I kept hearing sounds in the trees and found blocks of the black Grackle birds just sitting in the tree limbs and singing or talking or whatever they do. This is also a sign that spring is about to sprang. Some Gulls were out on the water in Lake Dardanelle across from the park close to the Comorants. They, gulls, will be leaving out pretty soon to their vacation spots on the coasts.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Bona Dea was sunny and warmer. Not very much wind. I went down Swinging Bridge Trail for a short visit today. While at the spillway I tried to feed the fish but they were not hungry. Did not see any take the food. While there I heard a critter coming down the dirt path. When I turned to look, I found that is was a rather rare one at that. It was a former co-worker and still friend who had his camera and was coming to check out things. We then went along together to see what we could find. We saw several different flights of mainly Teal ducks flying in circles overhead and some of them landing in Black Water Swamp. They really fly fast with rapid wing beats. Also some larger and slower Mallard Ducks flying too. The Gulls were out flying over and some on the water in Lake Dardanelle across from the park. Also the lonely Double-crested Cormorant was stretching its wings out in the sun. His buddies have left it all alone. We sent on down the the old Swinging Bridge and walked down to Prarie Creek. For some reason they were back to pumping water and the creek was low again. We saw the Teal Ducks take off from up the creek and fly around like the others were. The Bushtits were around but not in great number today. The surprise of the trip was seeing a Red-shouldered Hawk flying East over Goose Pond and making its famous short screaming sounds. The pic shown is what this one looked like flying and another pic of one on a limb up close. Also on the way back in, we saw a Tufted Titmouse and then right on the other side of the trail a Hermit Thrush. It is a brownish bird as pic shows. I have enclosed a link to a page where you can click on the sound button that says ,captive, and just hear what the Hawk exactly sounded like as it was flying today. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-shouldered_Hawk/sounds I thought as first it was a Red-tailed Hawk but it was the Red-shouldered Hawk. They like to hang around woods where there is a lot of water. I have seen one swoop down and grab and duck and hold it under water to drown it. This was at the pumping station a few years back. I ran down to the edge of the water and scared the hawk off. It let go of the duck under water and the duck came up swimming a few yards away. It was happy I did that. I really don't like to see that sort of stuff even though that is in the chain of life.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Bona Dea was sunny today. But it was a little windy. On the Hwy by the park, I saw a dead Opposum on the road as it had been hit by a vehicle. For those who have never seen one a photo is here. Passing the old snag in Lake Darkanelle, I saw again the lonely Double-crested Cormorant. On the Swinging Bridge trail, I saw Black-capped Chickedees and Bushtits as I did yesterday. Also heard a male Northern Cardinal just singing away in the top of a tree but could not find him. Robins were on the ground around the park as usual. On the north end of Waldon Pond a Great Blue Heron was flying over and started to land behind some trees and then suddenly 2 of them fly straight up and few off together. They either were mates are one was chasing the other off. The spillway was running pretty good and Prarie Creek was getting back to normal levels after the Corps of Engineers had completed their cleaning out process mentioned in previous posts. At the spillway 3 of 4 Blue Teal ducks landed in the creek. They fly really low and fast and they land very fast. The Turkey Vulchers and Gulls were flying overhead as usual. At the spillway a gray squirrl saw me and made every effort to avoid me by staying as close to the creek as it could to pass by. I have added a YouTube feature at the bottom of this page for videos I have taken at the park and others to add later on. This saves having to use the complicated procedure I had set up before. A pair of Canadian Geese flew over and landed in Waldon Pond instead of Black Water Swamp for a change. I think it is getting the time of year where the pairs are starting to divide from the group for mating and nesting purposes. Spring is almost here.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Bona Dea started out mostly sunny and turned mostly cloudy. It was still windy but not so cold. Goose Pond on the south side next to a high bank for shade was still icy. This was out swinging bridge trail. I saw a new woodpecker today. It had a noticible big red spot on the back of this head and a splashed black and white body. It was a Red-bellied Woodpecker. They are very active and their call is very short and rapid. It flew all over the place and the last time I saw it was at the spillway where in landed on a limb and just pecked away at the same spot for several minutes. In this same area were several Bushtits. These are small and bluish/gray birds with a tail about as long as their very small body. They were mixed with a group of Black-capped Chickedees. Also by the swinging bridge I saw a Northern wren on the ground by a large tree truck. It scampered away pretty fast. Pic in a recent post. A flock of the brown speckeled Mourning Doves flew overhead. It must be nearing Springtime when they start coming around like that. Robins were around on the ground as usual and flocks of blackbirds were starting to migrate heading west. The Gulls were out in force as usual flying high overhead. Numerous Turkey Vulchers were flying in a tight squad in difference places and flying low. Also at the old snag in Lake Dardanelle that I have been mentioning lately, there was a lone Double-crested Comorant. It was spreading its wings outstreached all the way and then flapping them. The pic in a recent post in just like the pose I saw today. The Blue Birds were still in the area and I suppose this means they are scouting out a nesting place. There used to be bird houses for them all around but they have rotted and fell off their posts. Shame some nature groups don't install them around the park again. Same way with the Wood Duck boxes. There are more of these but most have disappeared. I have attached a pic of the daffidils at my house that have sprung up already. In case you didn't believe me before. They have for weeks now and snow still on the ground in places. Also a Great Blue Heron was flying over the trail to parts unknown. They are about through with cleaning out the pumping station area but still pumping water out so that the creek is so low the ducks are not staying in the creek very much. Will be happy when this process is over. They have moved the big crane machine off the premises.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Bona Dea was cloudy most of day and started to clear by late afternoon. It was cold and still windy. The adventure started on the way to the park when I passed by the old snag in Lake Dardanelle where I previously saw the 3 Double-crested Cormorants. This time their number had increased to 10. See photo of the 3. On down a few yards, I saw a duck that looked a little weird. So I pulled over and took a closer look. Usually I see them in the spring/summer months but this was a Pied-billed Grebe. See pic. This duck would swim a little bit and then dive under water for a few seconds and then emerge farther down the lake. I watched it do that several times. They do that when they are scared and when searching for fish under water. Then on down close to the park parking lot there were thousands of the dreaded Starlings. They are really nuisance birds around here. They build nests in my house gutters. Eat all my bird food etc. As a kid I used to shoot them with a BB gun. Oh, I didn't say that. See pic. I then made my way to Swinging Bridge Trail and the spillway area. There were the Black-eyed Juncos all over the place and when they fly, they have white on the ends of their wings that flash. See photos in recent previous posts. I saw a single Turkey Vulcher flying and several Gulls flying higher. When I got to Prarie Creek the Mallard ducks flew off as usual. At the spillway, the trusty Great Blue Heron was wading in the creek looking for supper. The water was very shallow as the authorites are still cleaning out the pumping station area and leaving the pumps on longer than usual. He was cold and all shrivled up but flew away after a bit. See pic. Also several flocks of blackbirds, probably Grackles, were flying westward. On my way back in, I saw a couple of pairs of Northern Cardinals with their mates and some Robins. At my house there were some White-throated Sparrows and a Blue Jay eating some sunflower seeds. I heard that Blue Jay by the bedroom outside before I got up today. It was singing away. Also the daffidil flowers in the back and front yard have emerged from their winter hibernation. Will be blooming soon. The flowering shrubs in front and back of the house will too.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Bona Dea was cloudy all day. It had rained 1.05 inches in past 24 hours. It was very cold and windy. I started the adventure by walking Old Shorty Trail. There I saw Tufted Titmouse and White-throated Sparrows all over the place. Also a male Cardinal. Close to the bridge I saw a Brown Thrasher for the first time in a long time. Don't see them much in winter. See photo of one. Also there were a flock of blackbirds on the ground. They were either the Common Grackle or Brewers Blackbirds. They look a lot alike. But usually when the Grackles or scattered, they make a crackeling sound. These birds flew quitely with no voice sound. A photo of a Brewers Blackbird. A gray squirrl was out doing its thing at the same place where the Brown Thrasher was. A very small bird staying very close to the ground when it few was either a Kinglet or Bushtit. Photos of such in recent posts. I could hear but did not see the Chickedees. There were a pair of Eastern Blue Birds real close to the parking lot. In the same exact location there was the Northern Flicker woodpecker hammering on a tree and making a vocal sound. After there I went over on Swinging Bridge Trail. There were Gulls and Turkey Vulchers flying overhead and also flocks of some type of blackbirds. In Goose Pond I scared off some Northern Sholvers and Mallard ducks. Also heard some Canaidian Geese over in Black Water Swamp. The spillway was running well. I was a little surprised to not see flocks of the smaller birds at the old Swinging Bridge that I saw the other day. But it was really windy in that area. Check out the photos and I.D. info. at the All About Birds link to the right for these birds.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Bona Dea was sunny in the afternoon. I went to Old Shorty Trail by the East parking lot. There were Tufted Titmouse and Chickedee birds with the common White-throated Sparrows scratching the ground for food. Also a male Northern Cardinal and a big Blue-Jay. Not too far down the trail was a type of bird I did not know about and not sure I have seen before. After researching a bit, I found it was a White-breasted Nuthatch. It was very active in that it is a climber type bird. It clings to tree trunks and limbs and picks up food along the way. It did not stay too long in one tree and kept flying from tree to tree. Photos of this bird and a Blue Jay here. The snow has really melted a lot and 40% chance of rain is expected tomorrow. I did not stay at the park long as it was time to go and see the Arkansas Tech University basketball teams both win. Yea!!!!!!!!
Friday, February 12, 2010
The skies at Bona Dea started out the day cloudy and then mostly sunny by late afternoon. The snow continued to melt and you could get hit by melting snow if you were under a tree limb just at the right time. I saw a few different birds this time out. I took a few photos and one is showing Prarie Creek just off the spillway. This creek has been drawn down drastically as the Corps Of Engineers have been pumping most of the water out in order to clean out the holding area at the pumping station of all of the City of Russellville's trash. You can see the bare and muddy ground on both sides of the creek. This area extends up to the old swinging bridge area and makes for a perfect feeding ground for the forging birds. At this area I took the above photo of a White-Throated Sparrow I have talked about a lot lately. Also a few feet away I took the photo of the black and white downy woodpecker as it looked for food in a tree. And without making a move I took the photo of a a female red Northern Cardinal. Also saw a Male Cardinal which seems to stay close to the same location each time at the head of the Swinging Bridge trail. There were the Gulls flying over head and the Turkey Vulchers at their roosting spot and flying overhead. I spooked a pair of Blue Winged Teal ducks on the creek. Canadian Geese flew over to Black Water Swamp. Off the bridge trail on the way back I saw a Tufted Titmouse. It is a gray bird with a top knot or called a crest. It was here that I got a surprise and have either not seen or identified an Eastern Phoebe. It was on a bush in Goose Pond. I could not get a good shot of it so a link of a photo is below. Another surprise was a Hermit Thrush. It is a medium size brown bird that is the only Thrasher type bird to winter here. I got close to one by where I saw the male cardinal but ran out of photo time so a link to one is below. After I left the swinging bridge area I went over to Black Water Swamp at the birding blind and then another surprise. But first I saw one over at swinging bridge but it kept playing hide and seek. This bird is a very, very tiny olive bird with a red spot on his head, a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet. They leave out of here in the spring. You cannot see the red spot unless you are on top of it. And at the birding blind I had one come within 2 feet. I saw one a few years back at Bullfrog Pond at it just hopped back and forth over my feet. They are not scared of humans for sure. A linked photo below. You can click on the links showing maps at the right and see the map of this sanctuary showing all the trails and ponds and bridges etc. that I talk about. Also, when you click on a link in this post below here, you need to click on the first arrow on the left side of the page at the very top and it will bring you back here to click on the next link. Double click on the above photos to see them larger.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Bona Dea was very cloudy today. Snow was expected later. After climbing down the dike and getting on the trail, the first thing I saw was the most interesting. It was a flock of Eastern Bluebirds. I don't think I have seen them there in the winter. But resources say they are here in this area year around. They were cold and shriveled up but flew all over the place. Photo of a Bluebird. Also, I have been talking a lot about the numerious Gulls that are all over the place and fly by the hundreds. They are seen in parking lots here of fast food places as they look for scraps. These are Ring-billed Gulls. They are mixed with Herring Gulls that fly in hugh numbers overhead. See photo examples with the one with the black ring on the bill. At the old swinging bridge area, I saw numbers White-throated Sparrow and photos in recent past posts and then the tiny Fox Sparrows. See photo. The sparrows reallyscratch the ground feeding. They have to find a bare spot in the snow. Also saw the Northern Flicker woodpecker again. It is noisy when it flies off. The Turkey Vulchers, photos is previous recent posts, were at their usual roosting spot and just a few flying close by it. The Spillway was still running and quite a bit of old snow and ice on the ground and in the bare trees. When I got close to Prarie Creek, I spooked a flock of Mallard Ducks. They spooked me too. On the way out I saw a pretty male Northern Cardinal. I think the prettiest bird around here. I like red anyway. On the previous post I mentioned the sound of the Pileated Woodpecker. I have enclosed the direct link to this sound. Just click on the sound box at the white arrow.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Bona Dea was bright and sunny and no wind and not as cold as before. I parked along one of the cutouts on Parkway Hwy close to where I was going to go. The photo here,taken as I left the vehicle, is of a place used to be called 40 acre rock. As a kid I would go there and we could just run and jump on the hugh rocks that made a high platform for I suppose 40 acres. Now as you can see it has been developed with several hugh homes. Boooooooo. Anyway, I left the vehicle and sliped and slided all the way down the dike to the Serpendipity trail, because snow was still on the ground, to swinging bridge trail. You might say that this day had gone to the birds, literally. I did not take a camera as I did not think there would be much out as had not been in the past few days. WRONG. Don't ever think that because it is winter in this part of the country that there are no birds. Mercy, this was bird paradise on this day. I only went from the start of swinging bridge trail to Prarie Creek which is less than a quarter mile. And this is what I saw. 1. 2 gray squirrls 2. Turkey Vulcers flying overhead 3. Hundreds of Gulls flying overhead 4. Downy Woodpecker 5. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker woodpecker 6. A Northern Flicker woodpecker 7. Dozens of Bushtit, very small gray birds 8. Kinglets, olive colored very small birds, maybe orange or red spotted types 9. Carolina Chickedees 10.Woodland Sparrows, for sure the White-throated variety 11. Northern Cardinal 12. Hugh flocks of black Grackels flying overhead. 13. Blue Teal ducks, a pair flew right by me to the creek close by 14. Tufted Titmouse, these smaller birds above were pretty much bunched together. 15. Ok the most gratifying and therefore saving the best for last is the biggest woodpecker in North American since supposedly the Ivory Billed is extinct, last supposedly seen here in Arkansas a few years back, the Pileated Woodpecker. Actually there were a pair of them. They flew on a limb in a tree in Goose Pond. Looked like they were gonna make love but one was not in the mood and flew off to a lower tree a few yards away. And boy did it start to peck away. Sounded like someone building a house. Then the one left by itself few off in the woods. Then they started calling for each other. Just screaming bloody murder. They do those sort of things. I would strongly encourage you to use the ALL ABOUT BIRDS link at the right and look up all the listed critters mentioned above. If you don't have time, take time to look at the Pileated Woodpecker. If fact I am going to put that link in this post. Then scroll down to this woodpecker and you will see at the right a place to click to here their sound called typical voice. Just multiply that sound by 3 and you will hear what I heard. I have enclosed a photo of one here too. But go there to hear that unmistakeable horrific sound.