Photos: A Morning Hike

Osprey

Earlier this week, I took advantage of a free morning to take a hike on a new, roughly 2.5-mile trail off Lake Maumelle. Not only was the hike relaxing, there were tons of birds singing along the way. My most exciting find wasn’t actually on the trail but soaring above it. I happened to look up just as the above pictured Osprey was circling above. I’ve never actually seen an Osprey in Arkansas, although these hawks are pretty common in central part of the state. I actually thought this one was a Mississippi Kite until I took a photograph and zoomed in closer to take a better look.

While the Osprey was a first for me, I also enjoyed practicing my bird call recognition. I’ve started using the sound ID section of the Cornell Lab’s Merlin Bird ID app. While it has listed a few birds as calling that I know are not found in Arkansas, the sound ID app has correctly ID’d quite a few birds that I didn’t recognize the calls of. Two such birds on this trip were the White-eyed Vireo and Yellow-throated Vireo.

White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo

The above-pictured Yellow-throated Vireo is actually the third one of its species that I have seen period. I found all three Yellow-throated Vireos within the past week – all thanks to the app’s Sound ID. I would record bird calls, the app would ID the bird call correctly as the Yellow-throated Vireo, and the bird would then respond when I played callbacks (each one has come out in the open, allowing me to get a picture). It’s pretty exciting. The Yellow-throated Vireo may be one of the most colorful members of the vireo family, but it can blend it pretty darn well.

Here’s a few other birds I saw along the trail:

White-breasted Nuthatch
Summer Tanager
Red-headed Woodpecker
juvenile Red-Headed Woodpecker
Pine Warbler

The grey-headed woodpecker

A woodpecker with a gray head!?! What?
A woodpecker with a gray head!?! What?

I was thrown off recently when I spotted this gray-headed woodpecker. I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on, although I knew it looked like a Red-Headed Woodpecker. I also took the picture where I’ve previously seen several other Red-Headed Woodpeckers.

Puzzled, I pulled out my bird book to learn that it’s a juvenile Red-Headed Woodpecker. Pretty neat!

 

Strolling the boardwalk

Red-Headed Woodpecker

I had a stalker on Saturday. The above Red-Headed Woodpecker kept landing on trees near me as I traveled down the boardwalk near the White River National Wildlife Refuge. It was a gorgeous day full of birds and fall leaves.

Is there life out there?

I’ve always wanted to see a black bear and a bald eagle in their native settings. I guess I have this dream of going to the White River National Wildlife Refuge and just naturally seeing one of these two animals.

I’m so busy scoping the area for bears and eagles, as well as other larger creatures, that I sometimes forget that the refuge is home to some smaller residents.

This past weekend, I would frequently hear the local woodpeckers in the trees surrounding me and I finally spotted two of the birds near the end of my walk (see below). Continue reading “Is there life out there?”