Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea is currently mostly under water. It has rained about 14 inches in the last 2 weeks. You cannot get around on the trails. I walked down the paved ramp at the pumping station and took this video of the flooding around it. The electric repair crews shown in the video informed me I might want to vacate the area as there were tornado warning out. Sure nuff and few minutes later one came over. It did not touch the ground. I did not get to go to other places on the park to look at those places. Maybe can soon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bona Dea Update

Today, Thursday 04-14-11 I was able to go to Bona Dea. I noticed first off that the authorities or someone posted a sign by the parking lot to be aware of a Alligator. Someone had earlier told me that the sign was there. Oh well I hadn't fed the fish in a while and went to do that. I then made the rounds to where the alligator usually hangs out this time of year. Behold!! I saw it. Here are 3 of the photos taken today. Also a link here to the other photos I have of it over the years. And a few interesting stories.

Bona Dea/Disc Golf Course Update

Bona Dea and other park areas have gotten some much needed rainfall in the past week or so. The water pools at Bona Dea are filling up now. I have been going to the Disc Golf Course quite a bit lately as it compliments Bona Dea quite a bit. It is located a little over a mile as a crow flies and is on Lake Dardanelle also. The photos I have posted here are at the Course. The small solid yellow flower is a Early Buttercup-Ranunculus fascicularis-wildflower. The 4 petal opaque or transparent small flower is a Stemless Evening Primrose-Oenothera triloba-wildflower. It really is a pretty flower. The plant showing a white 5 petal flower is a Highbush or Common Blackberry vine-Rubus allegheniensis. This flower will turn into a delicious blackberry. They make wine and jellies out of it. Really a tart/sweet flavor with this wild variety. As I was leaving the Course on 04-10-11 I had my camera off and not ready for anything and when I approached the small bridge to the parking lot, this American Mink was running on one side and this suddenly crossed in front of me. I had to scramble to get the camera on and up for a unfocused shot. You can see it really is running. Then I got another shot of it in the water on the other side. It climbed on bank and was walking around and then disappeared. I thought it might have a den over there. The next day I went to that area and looked all over but could not find its den. Also on a recent day there were several of these pretty yellow Eastern Tiger Swallowtail-Papilio glaucus-butterflies on a very smelly shrubbery that was in the middle of the Course. Also while looking for the butterflies on the same shrubbery the next day I saw this larvae. A Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle or Lady Bug larvae-Harmonia axyridis. This worm like insect will actually turn into a LADY Bug soon. Really quite amazing. Look at those spines on that thing. There is really quite a bit of plant and animal wildlife in this particular area as also noted in very recent posts

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bona Dea Update

Last Wednesday I went to Bona Dea and took this photo of the currently numerous Common Blue Violet wildflowers. They were all along the Swinging Bridge Trail all the way down to Prairie Creek. I also went to the Springbeauty plants seen and photoed the day before, as shown in post below, and took another shot of the whole plant as shown below. On the trail between Waldon and Goose Ponds there was a Field Sparrow that was just singing away. I was surprised to see and hear it at that location. Took this photo of it. I had not fed the fish in quite a while so I went to the Spillway to do just that. Wow!!! they were waiting for me. There were several Flathead catfish. Some pretty good size. I took these 2 photos. The Bluegill Brim pan fish were larger than last year and plentiful. There were some small Musk Turtles rising from the bottom to the top to feed on the pellets. Also a large Red-eared turtle had to come for some feed. Saturday I went back to the Russellville Disc Golf Course and walked around seeing what was there and I saw this lizard running around and ended up on a tree trunk. It was a Prairie Lizard. I took these 2 photos and when enlarging them you can see the blue throat and belly. This means it is a male in breeding season. Also note that most of its tail is missing. They loose their tail very easily in getting away from prey etc.

Bona Dea Update

Last Tuesday Mr. Paul Ray made another visit to this part of the world to go on another field trip and take some photos. We again used his photo equipment. We began our rounds by going to the Russellville Disc Golf Course. That is really a small but beautiful area with water all around. And the land is on a hill and you look down on the water on 3 sides. It is just up the road from Bona Dea and has the same wildlife habit. It has woods and grassy areas making it ideal for various kinds of wildlife. Paul took these shots of a black American Crow taking off from the top of a tree and then took this really great photo of a black Double-crested Cormorant flying right over head with its large wing span. Its head looks really streamlined and serious in a closeup of this photo. In about the middle of the course there are some scrubby bushes and some small trees that are either dead or not leafed out yet. We were walking along looking at some butterflies when we heard a bird just singing away close up. I thought it was a mockingbird. It was a really big Brown Thrasher.We came upon it and Paul took this shot of the bird's rear. I was able to go around front and take a front shot. It has its mouth open in the middle of a note. Right from the start after parking and going across the small bridge to enter the Course, we were in the midst of a flock of Dark-eyed Junco birds. They are very skiddish and take off and hide really quick. Paul was able to get a front shot of one deep in the brush. The top half of the bird is a dark grey and bottom half is white. One of the descriptors of the bird is that when it flies it appears to be flashing white lights in its wings. Speaking of butterflies there were several real small ones yellow and white and then I got this shot of a Viceroy. The orange one. Then Paul got this shot of a Zebra Swallowtail. The one with the pigtails. We went down a old road and path into the deeper woods with really tall trees close to a water canal and high up in the tree canopies were flocks of noisy birds just flitting around and gleaning the new leaves and some catching insects in mid air. They were Yellow-rumped Warblers. Several of them were going through a spring molt and looked like they had a bad case of mites. This one photo here with a profile view shows one kinda like that and looks like a female and really shows the body striping and colors of this breed. The other photo shows what looks like a very pretty and mature male perched on a limp and showing its well built body and pretty colors. Solid white neck and black V chest and yellow on chest and yellow on the upper wings and under the tail. After this productive outing, we decided to go to Bona Dea. The same variety of Warblers were in the high tree canopies there too. We headed to the water pools to see about the ducks. On Goose Pond we saw these Blue-winged Teal ducks. 2 pairs of them. The males with the dark blue heads and white spots on rear end. Females plain brown all over. On Black Water Swamp from the old boy scout wildlife viewing blind, we saw several American Coots. I took this shot of a really big one standing on one leg. They rest or sleep in this position. We decided to look for wildflowers and I knew that this time last year they were starting to bloom down by the old Swinging Bridge area. We found several varieties. There were wild violets but we took no photos for some reason. I think because I had so many from last year. But we saw 2 Butterweed wildflowers in bloom. A photo here of one with many blooms in the head of the plant. While we were shooting this plant, a spider jumped up on the blooms. So we of course had to shoot it too. This was a Neon Nelli Jumping Spider. Photo here is a zoomed and cropped up version of the one we saw. Right next to this Butterweed plant was some Narrowleaf Springbeauty wildflowers. They are small white flowers with pinkish small stripes running through the petals that reminds me of peppermint candy. We got Pauls macro lens and equipment and started to shoot the photos. One of these photos shows the closeup of a bloom and the other showing the spiraling small long leaves and stems close to the ground. So we had a pretty productive outing as usual and good fellowship.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bona Dea and other Update

Bona Dea has been a little more active lately due to some rain in the past week. It had been getting pretty dry in the pools. About a week and a half ago there were several American Coot ducks that were congregating along the bank along the highway that runs between Lake Dardanelle and Bona Dea Park. I was able to get a shot of a pair of them that were below where I parked and was swimming away from me. They look like a cross between and duck and a chicken. They are all black with a white chicken, not duck, like beak. They actually look a little odd. Don't tell them I said so. They walk on land like a chicken and eat on land like a chicken. Go figure!!! Last Friday the 1st, Aprils Fools Day, I went to a new city park just down the road from Bona Dea. I was walking down by the water side and saw this very pretty, and unusual for me, wildflower. It is a Virginia Spiderwort-Tradescantia virginiana. It has very pretty blooms and horizontal heavily vained leaves as you can see by the photo. The next day I was out at the city Golf Disc course on the old strip pits north of Bona Dea. The pits were where they mined surface coal for years and can remember has a kid running around there up and down the mounds of coal shale. They have reclaimed the property and made a wonderful park and boatramp with the large pools of water and canals etc. I saw this Northern Flicker woodpecker just hanging around me for some reason. I had my camera and kept trying to photo it but it would move around and then decided to perch right on top of a dead topped out tree. I have enclosed 2 photos of it as one shows a small red patch on the back of the head. This identifies it has a Yellow- shafted variety of the bird. As it has yellow under the wings that can be seen when in flight. The other variety is a Red-shafted variety which shows the red patch on the front of the neck.Last Sunday I went to a local collage women's softball game and was walking on a narrow grassy area between the paved parking lot and the main highway running through the area. I saw a bird on the ground that looked like it was injured as it was laying on the ground sort of flat and had its feathers ruffled and mouth open and hissing at me. Daring me to come near it. I thought it had been ran over and started to walk away and then decided to go back and have another look. That is when I noticed this nest and eggs. The female was guarding her eggs. I did not have my camera but went back later in the day and shot his photo of the nest and eggs and one of the mother who was walking down the road by the parking lot just making a lot of noise. It was a Killdeer. Noticed in the local paper that they were going to do some work on the pumping station at Bona Dea and the last few days showing construction crews working making an addition to it.