Currently loving: Common Yellowthroat

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Common Yellowthroat

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:

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Yellow-rumped Warbler3 BKNWR 040420
Yellow-Rumped Warbler
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Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and a Red-bellied Woodpecker
Double-Crested Cormorant BKNWR 040420
Double-crested Cormorant
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Eastern Bluebird

Walk it off

Pine Warbler3 032120 Bufflehead Bay
Pine Warbler

Recently, we took a walk at Bufflehead Bay near the Jolly Roger’s Marina to get out, enjoy the good weather and see what birds we could find. There were TONS of common loons as well as other little birds like the above Pine Warbler.

Just a note: We did practice social distancing. 🙂

Season of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on nest Bufflehead Bay 04052020
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

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.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on nest2 Bufflehead Bay 04052020
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher4 Bufflehead Bay 04052020
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Bufflehead Bay 04052020
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Photos: Ever Enough Birds?

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Black and White Warbler

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.

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Virginia Rail
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Tennessee Warbler
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Common Yellowthroat
Long-billed Dowitcher 042416 BKNWR
Long-billed Dowitcher
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Anhingas
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Killdeers

Photos: Birds of the Past

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Saw-Whet Owl

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:

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Horned Lark (Funny story – I was at my hometown’s Sonic with my parents one day when I looked out at the neighboring field and discovered Horned Larks all over the place. I was thrilled and it really tickled my Dad.
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Black-Crowned Night Heron
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Scarlet Tanager

Success: Trumpeter Swans

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On Saturday, some family members and I traveled to Heber Springs to see the trumpeter swans at Magness Lake and two nearby lakes. It was a success – we saw roughly 200 or more! Trumpeter swans, once endangered, are the largest waterfowl species in North America, according to allaboutbirds.org

Trumpter Swan4 011920 Magness Lake.JPG

All of the lakes we found trumpeter swans at are on private property. But, the property owners are kind enough to let people visit the lakes to see the swans and other ducks, geese, and birds that are there. Each lake had a gravel parking lot, and feeders or bags of corn out for people to feed the swans.

Magness Lake, itself, is owned and fully funded by the family of Larry Glenn and Patti Winemiller Eason. It is the easiest lake to find and the family has even placed out signs welcoming people to the lake as well as explaining the rules and history of the swans. According to the family, the swans were first reported in the area in winter 1992 and have since returned each year, bringing more each time. The original three swans have now grown to 200-300 swans visiting.

We wrapped up the trip with a stop at Peggy Sue’s Place for lunch. While they don’t accept debit/credit cards, they did serve a great meal! Of everyone’s lunches, I especially enjoyed the chicken fried steak, side salad, fried squash and all of the desserts!

Here are some another photo I like, as well as one of a Ross Goose.

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Ross Goose

Photos: Lake Saracen

Tropical Kingbird1 122219 Lake Saracen, Pine Bluff
Tropical Kingbird

This past weekend, I traveled to Saracen Lake in Pine Bluff to search for the Tropical Kingbird that’s been spotted there for roughly the past two weeks. It’s rare to Arkansas, and more common to South America. I saw my first Tropical Kingbird earlier this year on my birding trip to Costa Rica.

Pine Bluff is a 45-minute trip from Little Rock. My first attempt to find the Tropical Kingbird was around noon Saturday. I was there for about an hour with no luck. It was later spotted about an hour after I left. I tried again on Sunday, arriving around 2 p.m. – the same time it was spotted the day before. This time, I immediately found the Tropical Kingbird sitting on a chain link fence near the park’s entrance. While it never vocalized, the Tropical Kingbird was very accommodating in letting me park near it to take pictures.

Below are some other birds spotted during the two trips:

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Double-crested Cormorant
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Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck 122119 Lake Saracen, Pine Bluff
Ruddy Duck
Belted Kingfisher1 122219 Lake Saracen, Pine Bluff
Belted Kingfisher
American Pelican 122119 Lake Saracen, Pine Bluff
American Pelican
Great Blue Heron1 122219 Lake Saracen, Pine Bluff
Great Blue Heron
Double-crested Cormorant 122219 Lake Saracen, Pine Bluff
Double-crested Cormorant