Adventures in Arkansas Blog Series: Post # 5
On the 2nd anniversary of my sibling’s translocation from California to Fairfield Bay, Greers Ferry Lake, Arkansas, I lastly entered “The Natural State” to pay her and the rest of the household a long-overdue check out. Arkansas is a state with a varied and abundant natural heritage when it comes to its bird life. The state’s area in the south-central United States, in addition to its diverse environments, such as forests, wetlands, fields, and mountains, make it a hotspot for birdwatching and preservation.
First Stop: Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge
We left early and drove to the town of Bald Knob to capture breakfast at McDonald’s and after that on to check out the Number 1 ranked eBird hotspot, Bald Knob NWR, in Arkansas. With nearly 300 types observed, it appeared the very best location to concentrate on for birding today.
Acquired as part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, this sanctuary offers a winter season house for big concentrations of lots of types of geese and ducks. Bald Knob NWR is a random sample of cypress tupelo brakes, oxbow lakes, bottomland woods, and farming fields. This range of environments supports a remarkable selection of plants and animals throughout the year.
Loop One– Fields North of Silos
For the very first half hour we drove gradually towards and around the cells north of the Silos. We missed out on the finest shorebird environment by about a week as the flooded fields were no longer flooded. A few of the periphery ditches had water and a number of the fields had a percentage of standing water which brought in an excellent variety of egrets and herons.
As we were stopped at an area listening, I heard the chatter of a Marsh Wren. I got one remote shot and after that heard another wren. I psychologically inspected it off as another Marsh Wren and didn’t provide it much idea. As we continued to sneak along I heard another wren, and after that another and another. I went to upgrade my eBird list and when I went into 5 “Marsh Wrens” it flagged that number as Rare. I looked at my Merlin App and observed SEDGE WREN lighting up over and over. I pulled up my field glasses and recognized that we were surrounded my a wren that I did not have a single picture of. I had actually come across one, when prior to in Texas, however that was my only ever sighting of one. As is common of lots of birds that are the topic of a professional photographers attention, I began with a long-distance “Record Shot” and after that sneaked progressively better and better constantly pursuing the Perfect 10 image. Not exactly sure if I actually got a “Perfect 10” shot, however I did score a number of 9’s.
We strolled along the roadway delighting in the consistent serenade of buntings, cardinals, chickadees, wrens, catbirds and titmice. One White-eyed Vireo can reasonably near to the roadway, followed by another. I presumed (I understand you should not presume …) they were both White-eyed Vireos. As I have lots of excellent White-eyed Vireo pictures, they didn’t get my attention much. I snapped numerous pictures of both birds and they ultimately worked their method back into the forest.
Once I returned into the automobile to take a fast examine my LCD back panel, I right away observed the gray cap, strong eyeline and yellow-colored stubborn belly of a PHILADELPHIA VIREO.
Loop Two– Over Flow creek loop south of Huntsman Rd.
After a stop at the Administrative workplaces for a washroom break and to collect details from the sanctuary personel, we headed back to the Silos, however this time to take a southern loop along Over Flow Creek. Simply as I began a brand-new eBird list, I observed motion out the side of my window (south) and found a Wilson’s Snipe simply above the edge of the water. I called it out to Gary and Jan, and after that the real Snipe Hunt began. Due to their charming camouflage, it took a couple of nervous minutes to get both of them on the bird. Or I must state, “the birds” as we detected a 2nd close-by.
A brief range ahead of the snipe a Sora, got out of the deep shadows and postured for us quickly. In amongest a flock of Turkey Vultures was a roosting Black Vulture.
Third Stop– Natural Bridge of Arkansas
After taking a trip down an extremely intriguing roadway you reach a parking area at the bottom. At one end there is a log cabin integrated in 1871, according to an indication above the door. The cabin is the entryway to the bridge location and likewise consists of a present store. Make certain to take a look at the covered wagon and old well sitting there. Keep in mind the natural developments along the method.
The primary piece, supported by 2 buttresses of stone, has to do with 120 feet long and over twelve feet off the ground. Positioned in a peaceful forest location (hazelwood, birch, pine), it is a quite location to check out, hear some bird calls, smell the forest duff and plant, and leave the roadway for half an hour approximately.
LOS LOCOS MEXICAN RESTAURANT— CLINTON, AR
Probably the very best Mexican Food I’ve had beyond Mexico and California!
At the end of the day back at the Hartley Wildlife Center, we had more of the typical suspects; Indigo Buntings (female), Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Chipping Sparrows and White-breasted Nuthatches.
… with one unforeseen surprise, a RED-EYED VIREO!
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