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Friday, April 30, 2010

Bona Dea Update



Bona Dea was sunny and warmer today. Storms are expected in a day or so. Fed the Blue-gill Brim again today and saw a big Bass looking them over for supper. There were 2 Red-eared Slider turtles trying to get some of the food pellets. Did not see any wildlife down by old swinging bridge today. However the Poison Ivy and Oak is really growing up now. Think I got some on my arm. Gotta be careful. By the Swinging Bridge Trail there was a Crested Flycatcher doing its thing. It was flying back and forth between the Willow trees and at times it would fly down to the water and flutter above it. I suppose it was getting a drink. It would then fly back into the trees and make and single note sound. It did this 4 or 5 times in a row. It flew off before I could video it with all its maneuvers.It had a real pretty yellow breast. Photo of one. Basking turtles were on their logs in the ponds. A gray squirrel was trying to find a way past me while feeding the fish. It is funny to watch them see me and then turn around and either go up and over in the trees or cling close to the bank of Prairie Creek. Was unable to see the Alligator today. On the trail back to the pumping station, I saw some pretty Blue-eyed Grass Wildflowers. Photo. Also I believe I heard the Brown Thrasher bird in the same area that we heard it a few weeks ago. It acts like a Mockingbird in mimicking other birds sounds. But they don't do it often and most of the time they stay close to the ground as they forage on the ground. Also saw a Mourning Dove on the electric lines by the parking spot. Haven't seen too many of them this year for some reason. An interesting sideline is birds, I think Robins, were trying to build a nest right on top of my front door light. They try to do this every year. On more than one occasion Mourning Doves have done the same thing. That is a mess so I took the nest down and put a cover on the light. Shame on me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bona Dea Update










Bona Dea was sunny and warmer today. The American Crows were all over the place. Carolina Chickadees were chirping as well as Tufted Titmice birds. Northern Cardinals doing the same and flying about. The Basking Turtles were out on their bogs. The Alligator was sunning and napping when I went to visit with it. Photos. On Prairie Creek by the old swinging bridge there was a trio, 2 males and a female, of Wood Ducks. The males are very pretty and in one of the pics you can see the detail of the female too. The warbler birds were singing in the trees in the distance and also the Red Wing Blackbirds. The Scissor Tail Flycatcher bird was around the pumping station where it usually stays. No Canadian Geese seen or heard at the park today. The Pileated Woodpeckers must have a nest in a tree across the creek from the swinging bridge as they are heard over there almost every day. On the way back from the park I took some photos of wildflowers. The photo of the one with 4 yellow petals is a Lyre-Leaved Rock Cress and the photos of the small white and lavender flowers is a Southern Fleabane and both were very close to the pumping station. They are making progress on the new access road to the pumping station.

Bona Dea Update






Today, Tuesday, Bona Dea was mostly sunny and a little windy and cool. There were several American Crows flying around the dead wood on Lake Dardanelle by the park. The fish were fed at the spillway along with a small Musk Turtle and the same Red Eared Slider Turtle. Down by old swinging bridge on Prairie Creek there were a pair of Wood Ducks. They seem to hang out there. Bill Bullfrogs were Croaking along swinging bridge trail. Northern Cardinals and a few Blue Jay birds were chirping in the woods and I also heard a Woodpecker hammering away. Did not see any Geese today. But by the pumping station I saw some newly blooming plants and had to take some photos. The 2 showing the larger white flowers are White Wild Rose vines and the 2 photos with the smaller white flowers are Common White Yarrow wildflowers. At the spillway a Green Heron flew by. This is a wading bird that catches fish. Photo. Also a Prairie Warbler landing in the tree tops and was really singing away. It is a small yellow bird. Photo. Also while feeding the fish, I saw a really big Bass fish. They feed on the smaller Brim that I feed but it did not bother them while I was there. I have seen them attack the smaller fish before. There was a gray squirrel hopping on the ground nearby. The trees are really getting to be fully leafed out and that makes it hard to see the birds now. The basking turtles were on the logs in Goose Pond and Waldon Pond. Haven't seen snakes in some time now or any Soft-Shell Turtles this year. Maybe that will come later.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bona Dea Update


Bona Dea was mostly sunny this afternoon and very windy. It had rained 1.84 inches in past 24 hours. The authorities had not been pumping the water from Prairie Creek and it was really full. The water ponds at the park were full. The Blue-gill Brim fish in the creek were trying to swim up the small waterfall at the spillway. They made noise splashing the water with their tails as they tried it. None were successful. The fish were hungry today and took the hard feed pellets more often than usual. The low land area at the old swinging bridge was flooded all the way to the upper trail. No wildlife seen in this area. I moved from that area to the western end of the park and on Beaver Trail. There the birds were around. There were some swallow type birds either Purple Martins, Chimney Swifts or Cliff Swallows. They would dive down and touch the water. Red Wing Blackbirds were all over Black Water Swamp. A lot of males and one really pretty one and females. Northern Cardinal were all over that area. The Alligator was not at its regular place for the past week. But bingo, a friend of mine who was with me was looking at a Muskrat swimming and accidentally caught a glimpse of an Alligator tail. Then we looked through his binoculars and saw the entire Alligator. Here is the photo. I suppose the high water and caused it to move to another location. There were Wood Ducks in the back water of Prairie Creek up toward the Big Bridge. Others were seen flying over Black Water Swamp. There were a very young Canadian Goose pair at the swamp. On the way back in, I saw a Fox Sparrow who took off before I could take its photo. It was scratching away in the ground like a chicken looking for food.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bona Dea Update




Bona Dea was stormy and raining hard while I was there. Therefore I stayed around inside the gazebo close to the parking lot. I heard some Red Wing blackbirds chirping away and saw some American Crows. While there I noticed that the yellow Meadow or Tall Buttercup flowers were really starting to look like a carpet on the dike by the Highway. Photo of one of the blooms close up and one of the carpet like area of yellow buttercups and the purple Lyre-Leaf Sage in the background. The other photo is of the common White Clover plants all over the park.
This video clip is the Gator after finishing its meal. It is swimming off to its overnight location as it was getting late.
video
This is a video clip of the Gator coming over for a visit. It had just finished its nap and sun tan. It was actually hungry and looking for something to eat. But it decided I was not what it wanted today and after landing at my feet it attacked some bedding Blue-gill fish about 4 feet from me and swallowed them. You can see the dirty water from the action in photos below.
video




These are the photos of the squirrel, woodpecker and fish and mentioned in the later post.

Bona Dea Update













Bona Dea was sunny and a little warmer today, Thursday. The American Crows were flying about the park. Northern Cardinals were singing all over. Also were the Tufted Titmouse birds. Woodpeckers were heard pecking away in the distance. The Belted Kingfisher bird was on Waldon Pond trying to catch fish. Bullfrogs were out and jumping into the water when you went by. I fed the fish at the fish again and here is a photo of several of them going after the food. Also up the deer trail, there were Blue-gill fish spawning on their beds and a photo of a couple of them in their nest. In this area a Pileated Woodpecker pair flew close by and a photo of one on a dead tree. These are really big woodpeckers. Down by the old swinging bridge there was the family of Canadian Geese with 6 little ones. Then behind them was a family with of little one. This was the family that started out with 5. The funny thing is, when lone baby saw the babies of the other pair, it took off like crazy to join them and one of the parents of the 6 babies started pecking it. Then it stopped and let that lone baby join their babies. The parents of the lone baby just stood by and watched. Maybe the parents of the 6 now have 7. Did not see any snapper turtles there today. Will hope to see a big one on land there one of these days. But this was another Alligator day. It was at its sunning and sleeping location and some photos here of it on dry land. Then I went back to that area later and it had gone to the water and I went to my visiting location and it came over to visit me. A video in a later post of it coming over for the visit. It kept coming over and finally ended up at my feet. A photo here of me shooting straight down at it. Then it moved about 4 or 5 feet away and attacked some bedding Blue-gill fish and started swallowing them. A photo here showing the muddy water as it stirred up the water catching the fish. Then the other photos are of it taking off to its overnight spot as it was getting very late. A video showing sun on the water and it swimming over for the night. Also took a photo of a Dragonfly a female Common Baskettail.Then I finally had a chance to take a good photo of a Gray Squirrel that happened up on me not knowing I was there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bona Dea Update













Bona Dea was mostly sunny and mild today, Tuesday. The American Crows were really flying over Lake Dardanelle and the park. Woodpeckers were pecking away on the trees down by the old swinging bridge. Of course the Northern Cardinals were chirping away as well as some Tufted Titmouse birds. I fed the fish again at the spillway and while doing so I saw a wading bird of some sort fly over me to the island on Waldon Pond. It landed over there and I grabbed my camera and just then it few back toward me and I took a shot of it flying toward me. It landed in a tree real close to me. I think they are a little rare around here but have seen them around before. I also went over to see about the Alligator and sure enough it was there again today and these photos are of it today. They show its teeth real well as its mouth was open. These are better shots than posted yesterday. I went over to old swinging bridge and saw a Common American Snapper Turtle again in Prairie Creek. It was over on the other side of the creek and this shot is not very good. It may be the same turtle that I saw the other day at the same location but on my side of the creek. On the trail by the bridge were some wild Crossvine flowers as these 2 photos show. These vines are all over the park.

Bona Dea Alligator Video-04-18-10

video

Bona Dea Update








Bona Dea was mostly sunny today and cool. At the spillway there was a Belted Kingfisher bird trying to find its supper. Tufted Titmouse birds and Northern Cardinals were singing away. I fed the fish and a Red-eared Slider turtle. Also a couple of small Musk turtles swam up to the top of the water and had something to eat. I really did not get into anything else today as I finally got what I have been waiting years for. That is to see the Alligator totally out of the water and to take my own photos of it. So this was the day. This was supposed to be the smaller of the 2 adult gators at the park. But it was larger than it was last year for sure. I took several photos and also a video. The photos will be shown with this post and then the video in the next post. Enjoy, not too many people get to see this animal like this.