Colorful view

Flower2 (winter vetch) 051119 BKNWR.JPG

The good thing about visiting Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge is that I can usually find something for each member of my party (which typically includes family members). For my aunt, that means flowers. So, you can imagine we were happy to find these flowers this past May.

Flower3 (winter vetch) 051119 BKNWR.JPG

Just a little rain

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks1 051119 BKNWR.JPG

It seems Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (above) are the ducks this year. They were among the birds found during a recent rainy trip to Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge. My most exciting find, though: Bobolinks.

(Click on the photo to see name of bird)

Bald Knob NWR

Prothonotary Warbler 2 042819 BKNWR
Prothonotary Warbler

I visited the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge on April 28, and luckily got my first snapshots of a Prothonotary Warbler, Bobolink and Field Sparrow.

Photos: Killdeer (top, right), Field Sparrow (center right), Common Grackle (center, left), female Bobolink (bottom, left), and Barn Swallow (bottom, right).

 

A walk outside

Crystal Bridges 21

March 20 is in 17 days. It is the start of spring and my favorite months of the year. I love flowers, the wildlife and burst of activity that happens. I’m already looking for things to do, which includes visiting Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. I was going through photos today, and stumbled across these photos from my first visit to Crystal Bridges in July 2017.

Hollywood Plantation

img_1193

For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I traveled to Tillar, Ark., with my aunt to visit the Dr. John Martin Taylor House (also known as the Hollywood Plantation). The Arkansas Archeological Survey – University of Arkansas Monticello (UAM) Research Station was hosting a cemetery clean up of the Taylor family cemetery and Valley Farm cemetery, the nearby African American cemetery.

The two-story, dog-trot log house was built in 1846 alongside Bayou Bartholomew (which by the way is the world’s longest bayou). The 11,000-acre plantation was inhabited until the 1940s, and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It has since been donated to UAM and is being restored as an education site for people to visit to learn the history of one of Arkansas’ earliest major cotton plantations.

The Taylors were from Kentucky. According to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP), the Hollywood Plantation got its name from all the native holly trees on the property. The family brought over slaves from its Kentucky plantation — there were 83 slaves according to the 1850 Census and 101 slaves by 1860. After the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, those slaves were given the option to stay on as tenant labor or travel back to the Kentucky plantation with the owner’s wife. That trip in fall 1863 was documented, according to AHPP.

We did get to tour the old Taylor house before work began. The house was built with slave labor, and our tour guide showed us a handprint that remains in the wall of a second-floor bedroom. I just want to know the story behind it — the upper story is the most original to the 1840s.

Our work for the day was primarily cleaning up the land in the Valley Farm cemetery. This is also believed to be the site of the plantation’s original slave burying grounds. According to staff, there are about 18 known graves (ranging from 1906 to 1926) there, and not all of the headstones for those graves could be found. See below for more pictures from the day:

img_1208img_1232img_1183img_1201img_1175img_1229img_1211

Bald Knob NWR

American Golden-Plover.042118.BKNWR
American Golden-Plover

I love Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge. It’s halfway between my house and the Jonesboro/Wynne area so it’s an AWESOME place for me to take a break from interstate driving and have some fun. There’s different birds to see year-round, and I’ve gotten pretty lucky in the past several weeks. I’ve visited a lot more these past few months — especially since I finally purchased a 600mm lens.

The refuge is best known for migrating waterfowl, and I can usually find shorebirds there year-round. So far, my best finds have been an out-of-season American Golden-Plover, a White-faced Ibis and a Yellow-headed blackbird.

blue-gray gnatcatcher.042118.BKNWR
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
american golden plover.061018.BKNWR
American Golden-Plover
yellow-headed blackbird.042118.BKNWR
Yellow-headed Blackbird
nutria.042118.BKNWR
Nutria
Northern Rough-winged Swallow.062418.BKNWR
Northern Rough-winged swallow
dickcissel.062418.bknwr
Dickcissel
Yellow-breasted Chat.062418.BKNWR
Yellow-breasted Chat
eastern towhee.042118.BKNWR
Eastern Towhee
swamp sparrow.042118.BKNWR
Swamp Sparrow
white-faced ibis.042118.BKNWR
White-faced Ibis
great blue heron.062418.bknwr
Great Blue Heron

Birding around

 

Sunday’s find: A yellow-billed cuckoo (L) and a barred owl. Sunday marked the first time I’ve ever seen a yellow-billed cuckoo at the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge.