Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bona Dea Update

I suppose we will leave the best for last. The Famous Alligator, or one of them, has arrived for the first time in 2011. As Paul and I were out a about on the trails, several people saw us with camera equipment and asked if we were going to see the alligator. They said several people had seen it and had taken some photos. In fact for the past 2 days, the local newspaper had photos and comments of the gator from people who had sent in pictures. This may not necessarily be a good thing. It was about 7 to 8 feet long and appeared to be one of the smaller ones. It was said last year as posted on this blog that the authorities had taken out the larger one. So this would be a very lonely creature now days. These are 4 photos of it as seen on 03-23-11.The link highlighted above will take you to other pictures of this one and a bigger one. The earliest photos in the album are of the bigger one.

Bona Dea Update

In the afternoon of 03-23-11, Mr. Paul Ray and myself went to the Russellville, AR Golf Disc Course where the Illinois Bayou and Lake Dardanelle Converge. I had a few days earlier took a photo of a real pretty wildflower and we went back to check it out and to see other things. These are 2 photos of a Thalictrum thalictroides (Rue-anemone)-buttercup (wildflower family). We experimented with this equipment and then went over to Bona Dea for the rest of our photo trip. Paul took these photos shown here with his equipment and one was this Parrot's Feather-water plant-on Black Water Swamp. This is the green spidery plant with the top layer above water and the rest below. It shows a very pretty pattern. It was a day for the turtles with this photo showing a group of basking type turtles on a log in Black Water Swamp. And then he spied a Red-eared Slider Turtle on a log at the same pond. You can see why it is called Red-eared. In this same area a female Downy Woodpecker flew on a tree trunk and we shot it live. We noticed a male Canadian Goose right close to the trail in between Waldon Pond and Black Water Swamp. Then I remembered that its mate was setting on its nest on the island in Waldon Pond. So he was guarding the nest as he was watching people coming and going on the trail close by. Some of them with dogs etc. One of these photos looks like a painting as shot through dense vegetation. On same pond there was a pair of Gadwall ducks. Photo with the 2 small ducks together. The photo showing the numerous ducks together was shot in same pond with identification as follows from left to right: Male Northern Shoveler, Male Blue-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Male Northern Shoveler dabbing under water, 2 male Green-winged Teals together, female Greens behind duck dabbing, black American Coot, 2 male Northern Shovelers together(look at their shovel beaks), female Northern Shoveler and behind another black American Coot. this was really a variety of ducks all together at one place with the Gadwall's close by and the geese and probably some others around also. A surprise as most ducks have migrated out of the area or had mated in pairs and left the groups by now.

Holla Bend Wildlife Refuge Update

This is a departure from Bona Dea Park. But on 11-23-11 Mr. Paul Ray made a visit from Van Buren, AR to again make use of his camera equipment. Holla Bend was actually in a transition stage from Winter into Spring. The winter wildlife residents had moved out and the spring ones not yet arrived in force. We saw some very small yellow and black and blue and white butterflies that were fluttering around and being too skittish to photograph. We did get some shots of a Mourning Dove that flew in a tree. It was one of a pair that was apparently looking for a nesting place. This is the time of year for them to to this. Also we saw a Turkey Vulture on the ground. One shot shows it with its wings spread some from the body and the other looking around over its back. This was close to the observation tower on the refuge. A really big Red-tailed Hawk was flying low to the ground apparently looking for some poor critter to catch to eat. It would dive very low to the ground and then go up high into the air. It is noted that it was very warm and windy and sunny on this day. These are 2 shots of it close to the ground and up high in the air soaring like an eagle. We had looked for a pair of Whooping Cranes but did not see them. It also has been very dry and the pools and ponds on the property with either dry or very low.The officials at the refuge showed us where they were seen just recently. So after this visit we went to the Russellville Golf Disc course on Lake Dardanelle and then to Bona Dea Park.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bona Dea Update

It's been a while since I have posted. Have been slow to get around so have been taking it easy. However I have managed to get around the park a few times in the past weeks. The latest thing is that there are some signs on Waldon Way and Swinging Bridge Trails that note that the authorities are trapping. Don't know what but presume it is Beavers. But I haven't seen any real new damage of the trees. I noticed that at the recent snow the a couple of weeks ago that someone had walked around the edges of Prairie Creek and Waldon Pond. Then a few days later the signs and markers went up. But I looked all around and could not find any traps or chains attached to trees and traps. Actually some of the markers are now gone. So don't know what is going on. I have some photos here of the snow that we had in this area on 02-09-11. These are from home and was around 8 inches. More than this around some parts of the state especially in the NW part of the state. However the last few weeks have been spring like and the trees and flowering shrubs and early flower bulbs have been doing their thing. Also the Canadian Geese have been thinking that enough winter is enough and have started feeling a little romantic. They have begun separating from the flocks and looking for their nesting places. Various woodpeckers birds have been coming in and the Turkey and Black Vultures have been flying in numbers around the park. The ducks are moving out on their migration routes. Not all as Wood ducks and a few others stay here in the spring and summer months. Also down on Prairie Creek I put out some cracked corn today and saw numerous raccoon tracks right in the spot where I feed. You can see at the tracks link the front and rear footprints. They look like human baby hands I think. I also jumped a pair of Redhead Ducks a few weeks back at this same area. Also the Double-crested Cormorants and Pied-bill Grebe ducks have been in Lake Dardanelle close to Bona Dea. These are also one of the earliest forms of wildlife to come around in the spring each year.