I visited the Stuttgart Municipal Airport recently with a group of birders with the hope of finding Short-eared Owls, Smith’s Longspurs, Lapland Longspurs and possibly even a Barn Owl. While we missed the Lapland Longspurs, we did get lucky on the bird front. Our checklist for the day included four Short-eared Owls, a juvenile Bald Eagle and 77 Smith’s Longspurs.
It actually turned out to be a great birding weekend. I traveled to Wynne to visit family and returned to Little Rock via Hwy. 64 through Bald Knob. The route had me stumbling across a birds such as the below Black Vulture, Fox Sparrow, Hooded Mergansers and Mallards. I even spotted a tree that had a hole that eerily looked like a face. What do you think – do you see the face?
On Monday, I got up early to visit the Stuttgart Municipal Airport in hopes of seeing Barn Owls. I didn’t spot the Barn Owls by their known roost, but I did find this Vesper Sparrow that was singing from a hiding spot within tall brush. I was searching for a while before I got lucky: the sparrow flew up to a nearby power line where I was able to get a good look at it.
Vesper Sparrows are typically found in Arkansas from late September through mid-May, according to eBird. According to All About Birds, they are often hidden from sight in grasslands and fields. There are two unique features on the streaky brown sparrow: a thin white eyeing and flashes white tail feathers inflight. It also has a small chestnut patch on the shoulder.
I also spotted a Say’s Phoebe, a rare find in Arkansas, although many have been spotted in the state recently. Another birder had spotted this bird at the airport a few days before me so I was curious to see if it was still hanging around. It was.
Say’s Phoebes are typically found more west of Arkansas. They differ from the common Eastern Phoebe in having a cinnamon-colored belly. Both phoebes are brownish gray above, although the Eastern Phoebe has a pale belly.
Besides visiting the airport, I also traveled to the nearby Bayo Meto Wildlife Management Area. Here are a few other birds I saw:
Meet Thomas. I came across this 10-year-old Shih Tzu through a Facebook post by a local humane society shelter. It was love at first sight, and I went to the shelter two days later to meet him. I knew when they brought him out that he was going home with me.
Thomas is a fantastic companion. He’s sweet, loving, gets along with everyone and listens so well. He would have gotten along well with Izzie.
I saw my first Blue-winged Warbler today at Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge in Saint Charles.
The Blue-winged Warbler migrates through Arkansas each year. Cool fact per All About Birds: the oldest recorded Blue-winged Warbler was a male that lived at least 9 years and 11 months. The data was collected during banding operations in Ontario that had the captured, banded, and released.
Today’s a state holiday and we’re snowed in. So, it was the perfect day to birdwatch. We had 23 total bird species visit our feeders today – and that doesn’t include some birds we typically see like the American Crow and White-breasted Nuthatch (both were present yesterday but not today 🤷🏼♀️). Here’s a few of my favorite visitors today:
No, I didn’t spend all day simply watching my feeders. There was also tax work and a walk around the neighborhood. I’ll let you guess which one was my favorite.
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:
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. 🙂
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.
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.
I previously worked as a news and sports photographer. Recently I have been enjoying wildlife photography. My approach toward bird photos is similar to sports photography. I attempt to capture mostly action and hopefully a unique perspective.