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:

Double-crested Cormorant2 122119 Lake Saracen, Pine Bluff
Double-crested Cormorant
Bufflehead3 122219 Lake Saracen, Pine Bluff
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

Photos: Little Rock CBC

White-eyed Vireo1 121419 LR CBC_Russenberger Road
White-eyed Vireo (Russenberger Road)

This past Saturday, I participated in my first Christmas Bird Count held in Little Rock. It was pretty fun, and awesome in the fact that I got paired with one of the state’s best birders. I also visited some birding areas that I’ve never been to before. We found 59 different species in the eastern section of Little Rock that included the Arkansas Audubon Center and the nearby Gilliam Park. Here’s a few of the birds we saw:

Winter Wren 121419 LR CBC_Fourche Bottoms_Borrow Ponds
Winter Wren (Fourche Bottoms – Borrow Ponds)
House Wren 121419 LR CBC_Audubon Center
House Wren (Arkansas Audubon Center)
American Kestrel, Pileated Woodpecker 121419 LR CBC_Russenberger Road
Pileated Woodpecker, American Kestrel (Russenberger Road)
Brown-headed Nuthatch1 121419 LR CBC_Russenberger Road
Brown-headed Nuthatch (Russenberger Road)
Orange-crowned Warbler1 121419 LR CBC_Benny Craig Park
Orange-crowned Warbler (Benny Craig Park)
Tufted Titmouse2 121419 LR CBC_Russenberger Road
Tufted Titmouse (Russenberger Road)
Swamp Sparrow 121419 LR CBC_Russenberger Road
Swamp Sparrow (Russenberger Road)
Pine Warbler 121419 LR CBC_Fourche Bottoms_Borrow Ponds
Pine Warbler (Fourche Bottoms – Borrow Ponds)
Eastern Towhee 121419 LR CBC_Russenberger Road
Eastern Towhee (Russenberger Road)
Green-winged Teal 121419 LR CBC_Fourche Bottoms_Borrow Ponds
Green-winged Teal (Fourche Bottoms – Borrow Ponds)
Eastern Bluebird, Pine Warbler 121419 LR CBC_Russenberger Road
Eastern Bluebird, Pine Warbler (Russenberger Road)
Double-crested Cormorant 121419 LR CBC_Fourche Bottoms_Borrow Ponds
Double-crested Cormorant (Fourche Bottoms – Borrow Ponds)

 

Overtime = Owl.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

Overtime. It’s a great word, especially since it allowed me to get out of the office early Thursday afternoon. Izzie and I headed to the Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area to see what we could find. We got pretty lucky — the highlight of the trip was a Barred Owl (above). It was my first time to see one and, I must admit, March is turning out to be a great month for spotting owls!

Besides the owl, we also spotted Blue-winged Teal, Double-crested Cormorants, snow geese, sparrows, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinals and plenty of Wood Ducks. Here’s some pictures:

Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks
Double-crested Cormorant1
Double-crested Cormorant
Snow Geese
Snow Geese
Tufted Titmouse1
Tufted Titmouse
IMG_1316
I just love the color!
I also saw plenty of nutria. It's definitely mating season for these guys.
I also saw plenty of nutria. It’s definitely mating season for these guys. That’s all I’m going to say.

 

Holla Bend eagle search


January is Eagle Awareness Month in Arkansas. To celebrate, I attended the Eagle Awareness Weekend at Petit Jean State Park. Bald Eagle numbers in the lower 48 states have now increased from 417 nesting pairs in 1967 to more than 10,000 nesting pairs in recent years. However, this still hasn’t helped me reach my goal of seeing an adult Bald Eagle.

The Bald Eagle gained federal protection in 1940 and its population was severely threatened by the widespread use of the pesticide DDT after World War II. DDT caused Bald eagles to lay eggs with weakened shells.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed the Bald Eagle’s status from endangered to threatened in 1995. In 2007, the Bald Eagle was taken off the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

One of the two juvenile Bald Eagles spotted within feet of each other.
The second of two juvenile Bald Eagles that we saw. I was unable to get closer.

To accomplish my goal, Petit Jean park rangers took a group including my aunt and I to nearby Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge, a 7,055 acre refuge that was established in 1957 as a result of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation and flood control project. Continue reading “Holla Bend eagle search”