It’s been a fun several weeks watching birds. We’ve had both Baltimore Orioles and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at our feeders – and each time one appears we fangirl over them like it’s the first time they’ve appeared. I was excited to find a few others out in the area, such as the below Red-eyed Vireo.
There were few birds found recently on Pinnacle Mountain State Park’s Arboretum Trail (and only 1 other person – we stayed far away from each other), but the ones I definitely made the trip taken between rain showers count. I found a Carolina Wren feeding its babies, a Carolina Chickadee (not pictured) gathering food and a Swanson’s Thrush. A native Red Columbine flower also grew near the trail – a perfect celebration of this being Native Plant Week.
This weekend, I visited Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge and, OH MY GOSH, it was a FANTASTIC weekend. I recorded a record number of birds in eBird that included some firsts for me. Here are my highlights:
Two Eastern Bluebirds have been feeding their young right outside of my front window for the past few days. Tonight, they sat in a feeder filled with mealworms and fed the youngster.
Did you know what an American Bird Grasshopper looked like close up? I didn’t before I photographed one this past weekend. I also found 2 more butterflies to add to my butterfly photography collection: Pearl Crescent and Eastern tailed-blue.
On Saturday, we were going a little stir crazy at home so we decided to take advantage of the warm weather to grab some drinks at a nearby Starbucks and then visit local parks (while practicing social distancing of course and other guidelines advised by health officials).
The trip got off to a great start! Starbucks’ drive-thru line was long but there was a native Possum Haw tree/shrub that had about 15 Cedar Waxwings eating the berries on it.
We eventually visited Bufflehead Bay, the flower garden near Pinnacle Mountain State Park’s Visitor Center and Two Rivers Park. The clear winners of the day were the many butterflies we saw as well as a Northern Diamondback Watersnake that was sunbathing. Here’s a little of what we saw:
I stumbled across a Common Yellowthroat during a recent trip to Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge. Not going to lie, it took me a good 20-ish minutes to finally spot/identify this little guy. I could see two birds sprinting around in the shrubs across a huge ditch from me, but they were moving too fast for me to see clearly at first. I finally caught the one pictured above just resting in a bush.
This morning trip fielded about 28 different species of birds for me. Some of my highlights are below:
During yesterday’s walk at Bufflehead Bay just west of Little Rock, I discovered a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on a nest. I’m pretty excited since the nest overlooks the main trail. I seem to be spotting a lot of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers this season. Thank goodness they are so darn cute. Another cool sighting: an Easter Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.