Photos: Revisiting Old Stomping Grounds

Vesper Sparrow

On Monday, I got up early to visit the Stuttgart Municipal Airport in hopes of seeing Barn Owls. I didn’t spot the Barn Owls by their known roost, but I did find this Vesper Sparrow that was singing from a hiding spot within tall brush. I was searching for a while before I got lucky: the sparrow flew up to a nearby power line where I was able to get a good look at it.

Vesper Sparrows are typically found in Arkansas from late September through mid-May, according to eBird. According to All About Birds, they are often hidden from sight in grasslands and fields. There are two unique features on the streaky brown sparrow: a thin white eyeing and flashes white tail feathers inflight. It also has a small chestnut patch on the shoulder.

I also spotted a Say’s Phoebe, a rare find in Arkansas, although many have been spotted in the state recently. Another birder had spotted this bird at the airport a few days before me so I was curious to see if it was still hanging around. It was.

Say’s Phoebes are typically found more west of Arkansas. They differ from the common Eastern Phoebe in having a cinnamon-colored belly. Both phoebes are brownish gray above, although the Eastern Phoebe has a pale belly.

Besides visiting the airport, I also traveled to the nearby Bayo Meto Wildlife Management Area. Here are a few other birds I saw:

Ross Goose (left) and Snow 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:

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

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Olive-sided Flycatcher 092819PM BKNWR

So…when I took this photo on Sept. 28 at Bald Knob National Wildlife, I thought it was another species of bird. I recently realized I never went through these photos so I began taking a look. Yep, it’s an Olive-sided Flycatcher.

Below is another photo taken that day of a Great Blue Heron that I just like.

Great Blue Heron 092819PM BKNWR

Bald Knob NWR: Recent Finds

Pectoral Sandpiper1 BKNWR 090819.jpg
Pectoral Sandpiper

Recently, I found several firsts at Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge: the above Pectoral Sandpiper and the below Least Flycatcher.

Least Flycatcher BKNWR 090819.JPG
Least Flycatcher

However, these weren’t my only finds. See more below. πŸ™‚

American Avocet2 090119 BKNWR
American Avocet

Blue Grosbeak 090119 BKNWR
Blue Grosbeak

Great Blue Heron 090119 BKNWR
Great Blue Heron

Duck 090119 BKNWR
Ducks at Sunset

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Great Blue Heron

 

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

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 β€” 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.

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

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American Golden-Plover

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Yellow-headed Blackbird

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Nutria

Northern Rough-winged Swallow.062418.BKNWR
Northern Rough-winged swallow

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Dickcissel

Yellow-breasted Chat.062418.BKNWR
Yellow-breasted Chat

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Eastern Towhee

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Swamp Sparrow

white-faced ibis.042118.BKNWR
White-faced Ibis

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Great Blue Heron

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 β€” 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 toΒ  June. πŸ™‚

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

Looking for ducks

Ruddy Duck
Ruddy Duck

Gadwall1
Gadwall Duck

I’ve finally added two more ducks to my list of photographed birds. I headed to Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area’s Halowell Reservoir earlier this month to see what was there and found both of the above Ruddy and Gadwall ducks. I was also in luck for plenty of other bird sightings as well.

1-Loggerhead Shrike1
Loggerhead Shrike

3-American Kestrel1
American Kestrel

4-Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Meadowlark

5-flowers

7-sky

8-great blue heron
Great Blue Heron

9Mallards
Mallards

10-Rusty blackbird1
Rusty Blackbird

Photo essay: Hunting Blue-winged Teal

DUCKS1-Blue-winged Teal1
Male and Female Blue-Winged Teal

My goal this winter was to photograph a Blue-Winged Teal duck. I finally got lucky in this quest during a trip to Bayou Meto’s Halowell Reservoir. I was pretty excited to see the ducks as well as a pair of Gadwells. The trip was bird-filled with a few favorites. Here’s some of what I saw:

DUCKS2-Gadwell male and female
Male and Female Gadwell ducks

DUCKS3-Mallards
Mallards

DUCKS4-Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

DUCKS5-Mallards2

DUCKS6-American Coot
American Coot

DUCKS7-Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow

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Song Sparrow

DUCKS9-Killdeer1
Killdeer

Red-tailed hawk
Red-tailed hawk