The helmet look.

Hooded Merganser

I absolutely love Hooded Mergansers. The ducks appear on my grandparents’ pond about Christmas time each year and I always have to head out to look at them. Here’s some more pictures of them and some other birds I saw around home. 🙂

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Snow Goose
Snow Goose
Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture

The moon’s ring!

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Tonight’s moon had a gorgeous ring around it, separating it from the bright stars surrounding it. According to the local TV station, the moon ring is also called a “winter halo” and “is usually caused by ice crystals that form high in the upper atmosphere.”

My grandparents’ pond

Canvasbacks and a Redhead Duck on my grandparents' pond.
Canvasbacks and a Redhead Duck on my grandparents’ pond.

I wasn’t back home in Wynne long before my parents told me there were ducks on my grandparents’ pond. My grandparents live just a mile down the road from us so, of course, my parents had to drive down to show me.

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It was pretty cool — I am pretty sure they are Canvasbacks and a Redhead in the above picture while the below picture has Redheads with a Lesser Scaup.

Redheads Ducks with Lesser Scaup Duck.
Redheads Ducks with Lesser Scaup Duck.

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.

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! 🙂

A failed attack

For three days straight, the above Northern Mockingbird attacked my family’s one-eyed cat, Kit, as he roamed the yard and drive way. I watched the bird chase other birds away as well but the main focus was on Kit. Kit was basically apathetic to the ordeal. By Sunday, I think it was more traumatizing to the bird.

A happy grandmother

My grandmother has cancer so whenever I visit I try to make the most of the time I spend with her. Recently, I happened to catch her on a “good” day and we spent a while outside so she could show my mother and I the flowers and peach tree in her front yard. We love flowers, especially irises, so I think we all agreed the above flower was our favorite blooming at the time. What else made our trip outside great?