Menard Mounds

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One of the nine known mounds at Menard Mounds in southern Arkansas County.

I’m fascinated with the history of Arkansas County. It’s been a focal point for me in the recent months since the county is celebrating its bicentennial this year and Arkansas Post National Memorial has started work to open its Osotouy Unit up to the public.

The Osotouy Unit covers 400 acres just a quarter of a mile north of where the Quapaw village of Osotouy once sat (now known as Wallace Bottoms). It’s the village that Henri de Tonti established the original “Poste de Arkansea” near in 1686. Today, all that remains are nine known mounds (known as the Menard Mounds) that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a National Historic Landmark.
Arkansas Post has now started working on its document that would guide management of Osotouy Unit and allow the national park to receive funding to develop pedestrian trails and interpretive opportunities linking the two sites. It’s a project park officials say will take a while to complete.However, once done, it will be a fascinating place to visit. I simply couldn’t wait until then so Izzie and I traveled to the site with my visiting parents. I would have gotten lost if it weren’t for them.In past years, it was owned by a logging company so the roads were rough and it took me a while to find the nearest community — the unincorporated town of Nady. Here’s some pictures once I found it:

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We originally passed the gate to Menard Mounds and continued on driving down the logging road. We just happened to see the gate as we were returning.

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A not-so-unusual view.

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Lots of flowers.

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I love these.

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The drive down was beautiful just by itself.

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View by the mounds.

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More flowers in the field.

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Summer Tanager.

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Izzie was a mess by the time we left.


This raccoon flew past us.

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Back at home, this Red-Winged Blackbird greeted me at the feeder.

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Red-Winged Blackbird outburst.


Change of pace


My home for the past three years.

I moved to Stuttgart nearly three years ago. It’s been a great home, especially with Arkansas Post National Memorial, Bayou Meto, Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake and the White River National Wildlife Refuge being so close. However, it’s now time for me to leave Arkansas County and the Grand Prairie.

I have accepted a job with the same newspaper that I previously interned at for over three years. I’m nervous, yet excited to be able to call Jonesboro home once more.

The move is coming up — my last day in Stuttgart is the 10th. So … wish me luck and get ready to become reacquainted with the delta – NEA style. 🙂

Photo essay: Gigi & I

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

My grandmother, Gigi, and I share a love of birds. So, a hummingbird banding workshop was the perfecting outing for us to spend some time together. Luckily, the Saturday workshop was from 1-4 p.m. at the Potlatch Conservation Education Center in Casscoe, which gave me plenty of time to pick her up in Jonesboro and stop at Jack Ryan’s Convenience store to pick up some of their oh-so-good sandwiches for lunch.

I’ve been going to the workshop for three years now and I don’t think I’ll ever get bored with it. There were no little kids this time so Gigi and I were both able to release a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird after they were banded. It was a pretty neat experience since the hummingbirds sat for a moment before flying off. Later, we drove down to the dock to see how high the White River was.

Here’s pictures:

Banding the first Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

Banding the first Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

Gigi releasing the first hummingbird.

Gigi releasing the first hummingbird, a male.

I got to release the last.

I got to release the last, a female who was also the rowdiest.

Close up of mine.

Close up of mine.

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Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

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Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

This one was already banded.

This one was already banded.

Already banded.

Another look at the already-banded hummingbird.

Eastern Bluebird that posed as we headed down to the dock.

Eastern Bluebird that posed as we headed down to the dock.

The White River water level is pretty high right now.

The White River water level is pretty high right now.

The dock at the White River. We were still able to access the floating ramp.

The dock at the White River. We were still able to access the floating ramp.

We found this lady bug on the floating ramp along with ...

We found this lady bug on the floating ramp along with …

This Broad-headed Skink (lizard) and ...

This Broad-headed Skink (lizard) and …

This frog who jumped off the ramp as I approached.

This frog who jumped off the ramp as I approached.

We spent our trip back to Jonesboro look for any wildlife. We saw very few.

We spent our trip back to Jonesboro look for any wildlife. We saw very few.

It was a day well spent.


Photo: Its just a baby

Stuttgart-Baby Killdeer 6:23


I live just off of a busy highway so, when I walk, I typically head toward a nearby cemetery that neighbors a dirt road. The detour gets me away from the heavy traffic and is typically a peaceful route to walk. However, it has lately reminded me of a scene from The Birds with Killdeer replacing the blackbirds. I’ve noticed more Killdeer in this location this year than ever before and they definitely don’t like my presence.

I guess it’s a good thing I’ve been too lazy to walk lately. Last night, I ended up on the dirt road during my drive home and I passed the above baby Killdeer. His mother was just above the ditch and the baby just couldn’t find a way up. It was rejoined by a sibling just after I drove away.


Bursts of color

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Daylilies are finally blooming in my backyard. It’s the closest to gardening that I can get, although technically my only involvement is watching them bloom. The largest batch is centered just between my bird-watching window and my bird feeders. It’s where I snapped the above picture.


Drumroll … New bird visitor at my home

I’ve lived in Stuttgart for three years this August. During this time, my main feathered visitors have been house sparrows, cardinals, doves, American robins and blackbirds. And, of course, the occasional cedar waxwing.

Now, I love having these constant birds. Don’t get me wrong, but I decided late last summer I wanted for more variety. And I finally took action after months of just thinking about it. I actually kept my feeders full, switching to a more fruitier blend to attract another variety of birds (which my usual crowd still likes) and put up my first hummingbird feeder.

The results were slow. I received my first hummingbird late last summer. This spring, I woke up to a rose-breasted grosbeak singing at my feeder. And I recently discovered the below American goldfinch. Today, I finally had what I believe was a House finch.

I see most of the birds first thing in the morning, around 7 to 7:30. And honestly, the finds are a great energy boost for my day. So, hopefully the birds will keep on visiting.