It’s a girl!

Rose-Tu has finally given birth to a 300-pound calf at the Oregon Zoo! It’s great news, but you must be asking “why am I, an Arkansas girl, so excited about this?”

It’s easy: I’ll be heading to Portland in less than a week and I really want to see the baby Asian elephant. This is the second birth for 18-year-old Rose-Tu.

She first gave first four years ago and, despite difficulty adjusting, that baby was introduced to the public within a week. I’m hoping for a similar, if not quicker, time-frame for the new baby.

Rose-Tu gave birth to her second calf at 2:17 a.m. today. The Oregon Zoo announced the birth on its blog earlier today, releasing this adorable picture!
Rose-Tu gave birth to her second calf at 2:17 a.m. today. The Oregon Zoo announced the birth on its blog earlier today, releasing this adorable picture!

It’s actually a pretty fascinating event. The birth came after more than 30 hours of labor and 22 months of pregnancy. Yikes!

The new addition is the 28th baby elephant born at the Oregon Zoo, which is recognized for its successful breeding program for Asian elephants. According to the zoo, Asian elephants are considered highly endangered in their range countries due to habitat loss and conflict with humans. It’s estimated that fewer than 40,000 elephants remain from India to Borneo.


200-year anniversary

In 2013, Arkansas County will celebrate its 200th anniversary. It was named a county in 1813 by the Territorial Legislature of Missouri after an American Indian settlement, the Arkansas. Yes, it’s older than the state. According to, the Arkansas Territory was organized in 1819 and Arkansas was admitted to the Union as a state in 1836.

To celebrate, I decided to look back at pictures from my visit to the Arkansas Post Museum. This year marked my first visit to the museum, although I frequently visit the nearby Arkansas Post National Memorial. The museum, established in 1960, is the first county museum in Arkansas.

It focuses on the Arkansas Delta cultural and biological heritage with an emphasis on the Grand Prairie. I’m fascinated with the gallows — the iron piece was built in 1908 and stored in the Arkansas County Jail’s rafters in DeWitt to use as needed for capital punishment. It was never used since the electric chair was invented in 1913.

I also love the historical and cultural artifacts that the museum has displayed, especially the below dollhouse. The dollhouse was built in 1933 for Harriet Jane Carnes Bonner and is life-size. It even has the original toys and furniture as well as a fire place, electric lights and a screened porch.

Nearby are:

WWI clothing worn by an Arkansas County resident
The main house actually had three pianos/organs in a room. The pieces were gorgeous with great details.

The museum, as the above pictures show, is filled to the brim with fascinating objects relating to the county’s history. It’s worth stopping by to help kickoff the county’s anniversary with a lesson on its history.

If you do go, don’t forget the Refeld-Hinman Log House! It was built for Amelia Haller Refield in 1877 and the widow actually went on to marry one of the men who helped build it. The house was eventually sold to Curtis Hinman in 1884 and was later restored in the 1930s to serve as the headquarters for the Arkansas Post State Park. The house was moved to the museum once the state park became a national memorial.


In search of the “F” Hawk

My parents joined me as I searched for the Ferruginous Hawk the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I showed them pictures of the hawk taken by other Arkansas birders and we headed out to Newport. It was an interesting experience.

My Mom kept exclaiming “I can’t even find a Black Bird in the sky” while I kept saying “That’s OK, you’re looking for a hawk.” I had a hard time seeing the hawks before we passed them and, even when we saw them in time to stop, my Dad barely slowed down enough for a picture.

I can’t pronounce the name of the Ferruginous Hawk so I basically call it the “F” Hawk. I might need to come up with a new nickname since I feel like I’m cursing the hawk.

Despite these setbacks, we enjoyed the trip together and I did get pictures of one of the hawks we passed, a Krider’s Redtailed Hawk. It might not be the “F” Hawk, but it’s still a beautiful bird.

Vermilion Flycatcher

A rare bird to Arkansas has been spotted in Arkansas County. I met up with a fellow birder late this morning to go see the female Vermilion Flycatcher. The flycatcher is presently living on the 18th hole (which doubles as the 9th hole) at the Oak Hill Country Club in DeWitt.

Luckily, we found it although we weren’t too sure of ourselves at the time. Unfortunately, the pictures are kind of out-of-focused. Still here’s two more shots of the bird.

Day dreaming

Today has been one of those days where I’ve stayed cranky despite the day turning out to be pretty decent (even if it’s a Monday). I spent the weekend and today sick and wishing for warmer weather. I finally decided to go through pictures to help cheer myself back up. It worked because who wouldn’t smile when looking at a fawn, wildflowers or other wildlife. 🙂


A long way to go…

Short-Billed Dowitchers off of Hwy. 306 near Wynne

I shot this picture of Short-billed Dowitchers in a flooded field last Sunday. It was overshadowed when I went on to see Bald Eagles, mallards and Cooper’s Hawk in the following 48 hours. I began attempting to identify the Short-Billed Dowitchers this week and remembered I had similar looking birds in an Aug. 25 picture.

Silly me. I found the August picture and, well, the birds in both pictures really looked the same to me.  They’re not, although I was somewhat right in my assessment that they were sandpipers. I successfully begged for help on the Arkansas Bird Listserv today to learn that the below picture is apparently of Buff-Breasted Sandpipers.

Buff-Breasted Sandpipers at the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge

Overall, I learned two key things today. The first is that I’m horrible at identifying birds if its not absolutely obvious (re: me thinking the birds in the above pictures were the same). The final fact is, well, I’ve photographed two new birds in Arkansas for my state bird list. Yay for me! 🙂


Travelling to the Bald Knob refuge

A few months ago, I found myself heading west of Wynne towards the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge. I will gladly admit that the highlight of that trip was stopping at Jack Ryan’s Country Store just about a mile outside of Fair Oaks. The Hwy. 64 store has the absolute best sandwiches.

Here’s some more pictures from my trip:


Chilling in the fields …

Bald Eagles

Right now is the perfect time to capture waterfowl in the flooded fields between Wynne and Stuttgart. I was headed back home one morning last week when I passed four birds (one flew away) sitting in a field. I grabbed my camera, grumbling that I needed new contacts and snapped a few pictures. Boy, was I surprised to zoom in on the pictures and learn that the birds were Bald Eagles, juveniles and adults. It basically made my week — yes, I’m easy to please! 🙂