William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park

I ended a recent visit to Little Rock with a stop at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. The park is a later addition to the center, which opened in 2004. It was my first time to walk the park and I was pretty impressed.

The center and park are located next to the Arkansas River and includes a bridge that spans the river. Clinton Presidential Park Bridge, formerly known as the Rock Island Railroad Bridge, is a ramped pedestrian walkway and bicycle path that was completed in September 2011 and now closes the loop on the 15-mile Arkansas River Trail. The trail runs along the river’s banks on the both the north and south side. I was just a little too tired to walk the bridge on this visit, however, I hope to correct this soon.

The neat thing about the park is that includes the Bill Clark Wetlands project, a restored 13-acres wetland habitat that will eventually allow urban fishing. According to the center’s website, it’s designed to showcase wildlife and river life and is named for Clark because he was an “avid outdoorsman and strong business, civic, charitable and political leader in Arkansas for over three decades.” Here’s some pictures from my trip.

Mourning Dove who refused to move from its spot near the statue.

Hanging out in Little Rock

Two Rivers Park

I’ve found two new favorite places around Little Rock: Pinnacle State Mountain and Two Rivers Park. Lately, I’ve taken to the half-mile Kingfisher Trail at Pinnacle. I love that its more quiet and peaceful. The Two Rivers Park is longer, but more populated with people.

Graffiti near the Kingfisher Trail.
Two Rivers Park

Woodpeckers: Downy vs. Hairy

Downy Woodpecker

I finally saw my first Downy Woodpecker at my aunt’s house in Little Rock. OK, I might have seen it before but its hard to distinguish from the Hairy Woodpecker. Both are the only common woodpeckers to have vertical white strips on the back. They also have black and white wings with a comma-shaped black mark, although the mark is more obvious on the Hairy.

According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch, the easiest way to tell which one you are looking at is by the size — the Downy has a short, about one-third long bill and is smaller at about 6.5″ long while the Hairy has a long, chisel-like bill about the size of its head and is about the size of a robin, 9-13″ long.

It also helps that Downys are more likely to be found in suburban areas. The Downys have weaker, squeakier  calls with a slower drum than the Hairys, which have louder, more powerful calls and a faster drum.


Strolling the boardwalk

Red-Headed Woodpecker

I had a stalker on Saturday. The above Red-Headed Woodpecker kept landing on trees near me as I traveled down the boardwalk near the White River National Wildlife Refuge. It was a gorgeous day full of birds and fall leaves.

Photo essay: Last day of fall

Lake Ouachita1

We took full advantage of one of the final days of fall weather with a kayak trip on Lake Ouachita. We paddled to one of the many small islands and set up camp. We swam, ate lunch and generally enjoyed the good weather. In the spring or summer, I wouldn’t mind going back and spending the night. They even have a grill on the island for us to use. Not bad.

Lake Ouachita2

Lake Ouachita3

Lake Ouachita4

Lake Ouachita5

Lake Ouachita6

Lake Ouachita7

Not a comforting sight.

In late July, there was a horrific accident on Hwy. 165 when a vehicle crossed the center line, striking another vehicle head-on. Both vehicles caught fire with the occupants trapped inside.

This stretch of road has been the location of more than a few fatal accidents. So, naturally, my imagination got a little carried away the day I had to stare at the below sight the entire time I was on Hwy. 165. Wouldn’t you be a little jumpy?

It’s carrying a classic metal vault.

Mushrooms galore

I visited Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock for the very first time recently, and fell in love. It was peaceful, beautiful and had plenty of activities to do. During my visit, I walked the park’s Arkansas Arboretum trail. It’s an easy trail with plenty of audio sign panels to learn about the various plants and trees lining the trail. There was also a good variety of mushrooms as well. Here’s a few mushrooms that I saw.