Close up

This red-tailed hawk hung out at my parents’ house Christmas Day. At one point, it was sitting directly above the road on a power line. My dad had the bright idea of opening his truck’s sunroof so I could get a picture as we drove underneath the hawk. The hawk kind of seemed scandalized by the ordeal but it still remained nearby for the rest of the day.

A kinglet for Grandpa

Golden-Crowned Kinglet 02 toned

I recently visited my grandma at the farm in Wynne. And anytime I visit, I have to walk to the pond to see what I can find. This trip’s golden find was a golden-crowned kinglet, which always reminds me of my late grandpa.

A foxy sparrow

Fox Sparrow.120017.CBC Craighead

Today, I participated in my first Christmas Bird Count in years. I was even able to bring along my Aunt Cindy and Gigi for the ride. We had the northwest section of Craighead County. My favorite find was this Fox Sparrow, which was in a tree near Bono Lake.

Office visit

"Oregon" Dark-eyed Junco1
This “Oregon” Dark-eyed Junco visited my work this week during a cold wave in Northeast Arkansas. The junco seemed unfazed as a gust of wind would ruffle its feathers every so often.

"Oregon" Dark-eyed Junco2

An icy weekend

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American Robin

Our first winter storm blew into Arkansas early Thursday afternoon keeping me at home this past weekend. I’m not complaining — I enjoyed it. Outside ice-covered everything and we had few visitors except for cardinals, a finch, an American Robin and dozens of White-Throated Sparrows.

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White-Throated Sparrow

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Finch

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White-Throated Sparrow

Photo bomb!

rsz_1img_6136

I was taking pictures of a new building under construction when I noticed a falcon weaving in and out of the building through the building’s fourth floor empty window frames.

It was an American Kestrel, my first to see in Jonesboro.

Wapanocca NWR II

Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting

My trek to Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge was a complete success in bird-terms. I have always wanted to see a Painted Bunting to see if they were as gorgeous as the Indigo Buntings. They are.

We started at the visitor’s center where an Indigo Bunting and a Prothonotary Warbler greeted us separately and walked down the gravel road for about a mile before half of us went back to get our cars. We ended up driving the rest of the way with plenty of stops to see the Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, Palm Warblers, and a Pied-billed Grebe as we heard/saw the birds.

We ended up in an open field with a lot of tall grass and shrubbery where we saw the Painted Buntings and eventually at the observatory outlook to look at a Western Grebe through a scope. Not bad for a morning tour.

I ended up leaving at lunch to race back for a family function. Here’s another picture of the Indigo Bunting as well as pictures of other birds we saw:

Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting
Solitary Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Pied-billed grebe
Pied-billed grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Swamp Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher
Western Grebe
Western Grebe (a crappy picture, I know)
Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler

 

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.
Cooks Lake-hummingbird3 6-15
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Cooks Lake-hummingbird1 6-15
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 essay: Last meal

Bald Knob-Great Blue Heron1 4-6This Great Blue Heron looked tickled pink while feeding at Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge in April — not surprising since it was having plenty of success at finding dinner. I found these pictures and more while clearing up my computer’s desktop. So FYI, I’m about to go on a posting frenzy of my pictures from April to  June. 🙂

Bald Knob-Great Blue Heron3 4-6

Bald Knob-Great Blue Heron3 4-6

Bald Knob-Great Blue Heron4 4-6

Bald Knob-Great Blue Heron5 4-6

Bald Knob-Great Blue Heron6 4-6

Bald Knob-Great Blue Heron7 4-6

Bald Knob-Great Blue Heron8 4-6

Photo: Its just a baby

Stuttgart-Baby Killdeer 6:23
Killdeer

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.