Thursday, May 19, 2011

Disc Golf Course Update

For the past few days I have been going to the Disc Golf Course again. The mosquitoes and gnats have been really bad at Bona Dea and also the Golf Course. So I have not been prowling around on the trails very much. Especially close to any water. So these photos were taken at the Disc Golf Course. I saw this man in a boat going under the iron bridge that I was walking on so I thought this would be a barber pole boat. Wonder why?? At Pleasant View park and the Golf Course there are several families of Canadian Geese and just had to take a cute shot of this gosling by itself. There were some pretty purple very small wildflowers growing in the turf of the Disc Golf Course. They are Common Venus' Looking-glass- Triodanis perfoliata. The one with 5 petals. There were several long tooth brush looking bluish lavender wildflowers growing from small tender vines. These are Cow Vetch-Vicia cracca. They are a different variety from that taken on a recent post. Then a group pic showng them close together in bunches. There was a group of real pretty tall yellow wildflowers growing together and no where else in the park that I saw. The are Large-flower Tickseed- Coreopsis grandiflora. Look at the pretty pattern on the large yellow bloom. Right close to the parking lot there was a bird at the edge of the water I saw while driving away. I had to stop and take a closer look at this wading bird. It was a Yellow-crowned Night Heron-Nyctanassa violacea. It looks pretty serious don't it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bona Dea Update

As mentioned in this blog recently, there was tremendous flooding at Bona Dea. I believe this was the worst I have ever seen and lasted longer. The spillway and most of the trails were completely under water to the extent that the various pools/ponds and all creeks were actually all meshed together. Only a few high spots were available for wildlife to go to. I know that there was a similar flood a few years back in the winter months and the number and kinds of mammals and amphibians have decreased. For instance, I used to see extremely large needle nose Smooth Softshell Turtles. Also used to see many large Copperhead snakes. I have been wanting to get photos of both of these for some time at Bona Dea. This photo shows a look from the spillway and downstream of Prairie Creek. You can see how high the water line was at the peak of flooding. This was between 8 and 10 feet. This was the creek and close to the lowest part of the park. The other photo shows the water line being about 4 to 5 feet on Waldon Pond at the other side of the spillway. While I was taking these photos, a Muskrat-Ondatra zibethicus came swimming up Prairie Creek. So I suppose it survived the flooding. Also as I was leaving this area, I saw a low spot on Swinging Bridge Trail that was under water the day before and then I was there and could not cross over put saw at this low spot, where the water was moving like something was there. I got as close as I could and decided it was fish going back and forth from Goose and Waldon Ponds. So I then figured out that the night before, Raccoons had been having a feast on the fish as they would be easy to catch. This photo is of the numerous Coon tracks just in that one area of the trail.I then went over to Beaver Trail. There I found the birds. I had just crossed over the bridge and saw this pretty yellow Prothonotary Warbler-Profonotaria citrea. These are the front and rear views. A little ways down the trail I heard this Red-bellied Woodpecker-Melanerpes carolinus, just pecking away. Don't know why it is red bellied but it is pretty with the big red splash on its head. When I left the park and was close to my vehicle, I just had to take this beautiful sunset to end the day.

Disc Golf Course Update

I have been going to the Disc Golf Course quite a bit in the past few weeks. This is a place not far from Bona Dea and offers some unique features as I have talked about before. The flooding that has occurred here in the past 2 weeks have not effected this property as much. These photos included here shows some of the last couple of weeks takes. There were a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds in a tree and this photo shows a closeup of one looking at me with the very brown head and neck and coal black body and looking at me. They actually don't usually build their own nests but rob the nests of other birds and lay their eggs right next to the other bird's eggs. There is a city baseball and softball park on the way to this area and I saw 4 or 5 Canadian Geese families. This is a photo of one of them. These small yellow butterflies were all over the place. They are Cloudless Sulphur-Phoebis sennae, this pic is of a female. Notice the bright green nodules or cheeks on the sides of the head. Click on all photos to enlarge. There was a group of daisy like wildflowers I only saw at this one particular spot by the waters edge. They were Common Fleabane. They got this name as a long time ago they were ground up and used to protect one from fleas. This photo is of the very small white blooms with yellow centers. This Green Heron water wading bird was in a thick foliage tree right on the water's edge. It was bent over preening itself. Very pretty brown neck and greenish blue back and wing feathers. This mean looking critter is a Green Lacewing insect Larvae-Neuroptera Chrysopidae. I saw this purple worm looking insect on some flower blooms. It actually eats all the bad bugs. So it is a goodie not a baddie. This insect was found on a commonYarrow-Achillea millefolium-Wildflower. You can see the closeup of the blooms with this very small insect in the middle. There was a Northern Mockingbird just singing away very loudly and heard all over the park. It was flying from the very highest part of the trees. This is the grey and white bird in top of the tree. It is the state bird of Arkansas. There are several pairs of these very pretty and impressive birds. They are Scissor-tailed Flycatcher-Tyrannus forficatus. They seem to have 2 very long tails. This one was on a limb with vehicles in the background. I had just walked over the narrow arched bridge off the parking lot to the course/park and saw a long green snake crawling along. Some young men were com ing toward me and they had been playing disc golf. One of them spotted this snake and ran and caught it by the tail. A no no. It turned to bite him and he used the other hand to catch it behind the head. He then held it up that way for everyone else to see and asked if anyone wanted to pet it. I won't say what some of them said to him. He then released it. It took off to the water and heavy brush before I could photo it. I walked just a few few further down and another one the exact same size was crawling toward where the other one was. I was able to get these photos of it. It is a Speckled Kingsnake-Lampropeltis holbrooki. They eat other snakes and especially like poisonous snakes just before bedtime. I have seen this vine like small flower plants all over the place and decided that it was a type of ground cover that the authorities had planted along with Wild Oats and Red Clover. All three were mixed and were growing together. This park is a land reclamation project which used to be coal strip mining property. It turns out to be Spring or Garden Vetch-Vicia sativa. It is a type of ground cover. It is the photo with the small redish pink bloom. It's seeds contain Cyanide and very toxic to humans and animals. I wonder if the many White Tailed Deer out there eat that stuff. Humm!! Speaking of the deer. The other day, I saw several grazing on the part of the park that was cut real low and full of Red Clover at the very far end. There were several real small fawns. Click on fawns to see a video of close to what I saw.