Revisiting the Whooping Crane

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Whooping Crane at sunset

I recently traveled back to Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge after hearing reports that the Whooping Crane was roaming closer to the road, allowing birders a better view. That was not necessarily the case for my second visit to see it. However, I did get the chance to get a slightly better view as the sunset.  Along the way, I also spotted the below Red-tailed Hawk while a group of Northern Shovelers swam in water located just across the road from the Whooping Crane.

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Red-tailed Hawk Holla Bend WNR 111319.JPG
Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Shoveler Holla Bend WNR 111319.JPG
Northern Shovelers

Just a little rain

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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)

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


Wapanocca NWR I

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My aunt has lived in Marion since I was a little girl. My sister and I would stay with her to make cookies at Christmastime and to visit the Memphis Zoo. I have tons of memories of visiting her house, however, none of them include Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge in Turrell.

Wapanocca is about 15 minutes north of her house and, apparently has a long history with my family. My grandmother and dad both visited the refuge from time to time. I was just introduced this year.

Previously the site of the Wapanocca Outing Club (a hunting club), the 5,485-acre refuge was established in 1961 to provide habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl and consists of mainly agricultural land, bottomland hardwood forest, reforested hardwoods, open water and flooded cypress/willow swamp.

My first visit there was with fellow birders. I spent the night with my aunt and slowly made my way to the refuge to meet the others. I knew it was going to be a great trip when I spotted the below coyotes (oddly, my first viewing) just outside of the refuge.

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Here’s some more of my non-bird sighting:

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Photo essay: 1st CBC

Golden-Crowned Kinglet
Golden-Crowned Kinglet

I participated in my very first Christmas Bird Count (CBC) Saturday. It was pretty fun, especially since it allowed me to tour the restricted areas of the White River National Wildlife Refuge.

My group did not discover any rare or unusual birds, however, I was able to view two firsts for me: The Golden-Crowned Kinglet and Wild Turkeys. We also viewed thousands of Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Ruddy ducks, and geese in the refuge’s sanctuary.

Here’s some more pictures from the day:

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey
1-5 (3) Bamboo
Bamboo, an invasive species that is spreading on the refuge.
1-5 (4) Mallards, Ross, Snow and Speckled Bellies Geese2
There were plenty of Mallards as well as Ross, Snow and Speckled Bellied Geese.
1-5 (5) Mallards, Ross, Snow and Speckled Bellies Geese1
There were plenty of Mallards as well as Ross, Snow and Speckled Bellied Geese.
White-Throated Sparrow
White-Throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow — I saw plenty at the refuge, however, this particular one was at the Stuttgart airport late Saturday afternoon.

Photo essay: Enjoying fall.


I traveled to Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge earlier today to see how it looks in the fall before ending up at a nearby park’s swimming hole. Here’s some photos.

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A beautiful view.
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Saw randomly on way to Holla Bend.

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Holla Bend8 Hackberry Emperor
Hackberry Emperor
Holla Bend9-turkey vulture
Turkey Vulture

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Holla Bend12

Where we ended up to swim and float.