A white-winged Scoter was the first rare bird I have ever found. White-winged Scoters are large sea ducks that can hold their breath for a minute or more as they dive deep underwater for food. In the winter, they are found along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. They are typically found in the upmost part of the United States and most of northern Canada and Alaska.
My bird was found on February 9, 2014, at Craighead Forest Park. Interestingly, it was not the first white-winged scoter found in Arkansas that year. Several others were found across the state in Northwest Arkansas.
I recently participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count in Jonesboro where another birder informed the group she had found an Eastern Screech Owl roosting in a tree just past the entrance of Lake Frierson State Park. Well, I had already left Jonesboro when I saw her email informing us of her find and the other birds she spotted so I couldn’t go take a look that day.
When I arrived back in town for Christmas Eve, I couldn’t resist heading to the state park to see if I could spot the owl. I didn’t think I would and I was actually leaving the park when I just happened to see the owl – right before I arrived back at the park’s entrance. Yay! The owl was very cooperative and in a tree just off the road.
It definitely helped kick off a great Christmas Eve.
I got to attend a bird banding station at Arkansas State University. They put up misting nets to catch various birds, then worked to measure and weigh the birds caught. There were several cool finds: American Redstart, Gray Catbird, Magnolia Warbler and Wilson’s Warbler.
I was excited to find my first Magnolia Warbler today at the nature center in Jonesboro. Also found: a Grey Catbird. I also visited Craighead Forest where there’s plenty of baby Canada Geese right now. So cute!
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.