Photo essay: A Jolly Rogers good time!

1-Bonaparte's Gulls w:Ring-Billed Gull w:fish
A Bonaparte’s Gull comes out of the water with a fish at Jolly Roger’s Marina while other Bonaparte’s Gulls and a Ring-Billed Gull circle above.
18-Yellow-rumped Warbler
A Yellow-rumped Warbler watched us eat at a park.
2-Bonaparte's Gull, first winter herring gull, Ring Billed Gull
A Bonaparte’s Gull (from left), a first winter Herring Gull, and a Ring Billed Gull flying. The Herring was being chased by the other two at one point.
3-Bonaparte's Gull
The Bonaparte’s Gulls were the most abundant.
4-Bonaparte's Gulls w:fish
Bonaparte’s Gulls dive for fish.
5-Bonaparte's gulls, common loon
Bonaparte’s Gulls fly above a Common Loon resurfacing with a fish.
6-Canada Goose3
We headed to the farthest point in the marina dock and was met with a pair of Canada Geese.
7-Canada Goose2
Eventually, the female laid down beside us. The next day, she laid three to four eggs in the same spot.
8-Canada Goose4
The male tolerated us in their area, but not other Canada Geese. He would chase them away and then swim back in the above place.
9-Common Loon2
A Common Loon was the first to bravely swim near us.
10-Common Loon, pacific loon
Later, we would spot a Pacific Loon with other Common Loons.
11-Common Loon, Red-breasted Mergansers
eventually Red-breasted Mergansers joined the Common Loon.
12-Red-breasted Mergansers
More Red-breasted Mergansers swam past us to where the boats were docked.
13-Red-breasted Mergansers2
The darn gulls wouldn’t leave the Red-breasted Mergansers alone.
14-Common Loon, Bufflehead
A Common Loon and a lone Bufflehead get scared off along with a Bonaparte’s Gull.
15-Red-breasted Mergansers, gulls-bonaparte's and herring
Near the end, the gulls went a little crazy with the Red-breasted Mergansers and the loons (not pictured) at the center.
16-Bufflehead Ducks1
Finally, the Bufflehead Ducks headed in.
We finally decided to leave our new Canada Geese friends and head home. I couldn’t resist this picture.
19-Eastern Phoebe
I had just called it quits when this Eastern Phoebe appeared as I was leaving a Little Rock birder’s home. A nice way to end the day.

Searching For Red Crossbills

Bird3-Red Crossbill

Arkansas’ latest rare birds are 15 Red Crossbills that are making the Fayetteville Country Club their home. A fellow birder and I decided to head that way today to find them.

We luckily ran into two experienced birders at the country club who let us tag along with them. One was great at calling birds and we ended up finding a native Red- Breasted Nuthatch and a Brown Creeper.

Red-Breasted Nuthatch
Red-Breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Brown Creeper

We mainly stayed near pine trees since Red Crossbills (found in northern and western United States) love to cling to pine cones and extract the cones’ seeds. We were only there for a short while before, luckily, other birders at the course found them for us. In the past, other birders said they searched for two-to-three hours before finally discovering them.

Anyway, we joined a small group to look at the three Red Crossbills that were noisily eating away. It was so fascinating that none of us figured out that there were 12 more Red Crossbills in the tree next to us.


We finally figured it out when all 15 — seven males and eight females — flew to a nearby tree. It was actually a better location since the tree had no leaves. They flew to a third tree that was even better to photograph them in before finally diving down to the pond for a drink of water.


It was definitely a sight worth seeing except for when they finally flew off after taking a drink. I thought two Red Crossbills were going to take me out as they flew past. Luckily, they just missed my face.

We didn’t stay in Fayetteville afterwards. We drove straight back home with a detour to Lake Dardenelle. A couple, who has birded for more than 20 years, invited us to their cabin to see all the birds that flock to the lake.

And, boy, did we get lucky. The couple pulled out their scope and we were able to view (and unfortunately not get pictures of) a Western Grebe, a Pacific Loon and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull, all rare.

We were also able to view the more common species like a Horned Grebe, a Common Loon, a Pied-Billed Grebe, a Common Golden-Eye, Snow Geese, Ring-Billed Gulls and American Pelicans.

The only picture I was able to take was of the Ring-Billed Gulls.

Ring-Billed Gulls
Ring-Billed Gulls