This weekend, I visited Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge and, OH MY GOSH, it was a FANTASTIC weekend. I recorded a record number of birds in eBird that included some firsts for me. Here are my highlights:
Two Eastern Bluebirds have been feeding their young right outside of my front window for the past few days. Tonight, they sat in a feeder filled with mealworms and fed the youngster.
Did you know what an American Bird Grasshopper looked like close up? I didn’t before I photographed one this past weekend. I also found 2 more butterflies to add to my butterfly photography collection: Pearl Crescent and Eastern tailed-blue.
On Saturday, we were going a little stir crazy at home so we decided to take advantage of the warm weather to grab some drinks at a nearby Starbucks and then visit local parks (while practicing social distancing of course and other guidelines advised by health officials).
The trip got off to a great start! Starbucks’ drive-thru line was long but there was a native Possum Haw tree/shrub that had about 15 Cedar Waxwings eating the berries on it.
We eventually visited Bufflehead Bay, the flower garden near Pinnacle Mountain State Park’s Visitor Center and Two Rivers Park. The clear winners of the day were the many butterflies we saw as well as a Northern Diamondback Watersnake that was sunbathing. Here’s a little of what we saw:
I stumbled across a Common Yellowthroat during a recent trip to Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge. Not going to lie, it took me a good 20-ish minutes to finally spot/identify this little guy. I could see two birds sprinting around in the shrubs across a huge ditch from me, but they were moving too fast for me to see clearly at first. I finally caught the one pictured above just resting in a bush.
This morning trip fielded about 28 different species of birds for me. Some of my highlights are below:
During yesterday’s walk at Bufflehead Bay just west of Little Rock, I discovered a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on a nest. I’m pretty excited since the nest overlooks the main trail. I seem to be spotting a lot of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers this season. Thank goodness they are so darn cute. Another cool sighting: an Easter Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.
I’ve been singing all day like this pine warbler because we’ve FINALLY had our first bloom of the season at the house! Yay!
Earlier today, friends asked me at separate times about what birds I’ve seen lately and what pictures I’ve taken lately because they haven’t seen me post anything on social media. Well…I had to say none lately, which is depressing. So, here’s a few I’ve found over the past few years.
I was off work today (yay!), although my family still kept me busy most of the day. In my downtime, I continued going through photos on my computer to cut down the numbers. Here’s a few gems that I found and realized were not marked off my bird list as found.
Just FYI, the above one of a Saw-Whet Owl is my favorite. In 2015, I went to a banding workshop where a University of Arkansas student put out nets to catch and band Saw-Whet Owls. I was lucky – he caught and banded one the first night I went. I went to another banding workshop a few years later, although unfortunately no birds were caught that night. His work is pretty incredible. Saw whet owls are one of the smallest owl species in North America, and are one of the most common (and seldom seen) owls in forests across northern U.S. Arkansas is in the Saw-Whet Owl’s non-breeding range (although sightings are scarce). In Arkansas, only a dozen sightings were reported between 1959 and 2010 before the UA student and his professor captured and documented one in 2015.
Here’s some more finds from over the past few years: