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On Wednesday, I made a trip to Pedestal Rocks in Arkansas. Even though it is quite a bit south of Parthenon, it looked like winter. There was very little green yet and very few windflowers. I did enjoy several Pine Warblers and Blue Gray Gnatcatchers, and a beautiful pair of  Yellow Throated Warblers. Using my Canon 50D and 400 and f/5.6 Lens I was able tot get 124 photographs of them:

Here are a few:

 

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While hiking Lost Valley in the Buffalo River Valley, (which is a paradise of trilliums) I came across a small patch of these white and pink flowers, not far from thousands of Red-maroon Trilliums. This is a variation of the large petalled white trillium. Photo taken by my sister 4/16/14:

 

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Easily, one of the hardest birds to photograph. The Blue Gray Gnatcatcher is a tiny, long-tailed bird of deciduous forests and scrublands, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher makes itself known by its soft but emphatic “spee” calls and its constant motion. By flicking its white-edged tail from side to side, the gnatcatcher may scare up hiding insects.

Feeds near tips of branches, constantly moving through foliage. Moves tail continuously, which may flush insects. Never stops moving; gleans insects from opening tree buds that are sappy and attract the insects. Drooping wings but 6.5 inches long, and a double white stripped tail.

The are slightly over 3.5 inches body length. One of our smallest birds.

Photos taken 4/11/14 with a Canon 50D and a EF400L f/5.6 from way over 100 feet:

 

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A couple photos from last May:

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Purple and Blue

Had a second pair of Purple Martins examine the house today; never had much luck with these birds. They’re are quite a lot of full Purple Martins on top of Shiloh and on top of Henderson Mountain. I am situated on a bench about 1000 feet below the mountain top and 200′ above the Little Buffalo River. I guess my house is hard to find ! The Bluebirds continue to incubate their eggs. One house, low enough for me to seen inside, has either 4 or 5 eggs. The other house I’m certain they are nesting in, is too tall for me to see inside.

Other pairs of Bluebirds continue to explore the newer house in the “house hunting” efforts. All photos here taken with a Canon 50D and a EF400L f/5.6 lens:

 

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This guy was really letting me have it  —  squawk, squawk, ……… squawk !!! We got 1.32 inches of rain last night and this morning and all the creeks, falls, and rivers are bank full. This on top of the 2.01 inches we received over the weekend. Photos taken with a a Canon 50D with a EF  400L:

 

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IMG_6650 f/5.6 Canon Lens:

I was doing yard work yesterday, when I noticed a White-breasted nuthatch entering and leaving the Screech Owl House I put up 3 years ago. It is 24 feet above the ground. It has been previously occupied by a Screech Owl (in the winter), and a Gray Squirrel. I stopped and sat down to watch; and soon it was apparent that there was more than one bird. I went to the house to get my camera and headed back out to watch and get a few photos. In the end, I got 250 photos using my Canon 50D and Canon 400 f/5.6 (which is quickly becoming my “GO TO” camera for moving and nesting birds.

After watching and shooting images for an hour, I realized how comical these birds are. I already knew the spent lots of time in an “up-side down” position; coming from top to bottom of trees. They continued to amaze me with the upside down antics yesterday. The female (alone) builds the nest, a multilayered cup, lays the eggs (of course), and incubates them with no help from the male. His job appears to be “Lookout or Guard” and he feeds the female while she is on the nest; neither of which he does with much enthusiasm.

After one 45 minute session without him showing up to feed her, she hung out at the doorway, looking for him, when he finally returned he was scolded badly. One time she finally left the nest and came back with him. (the last 2 photos are of the female leaving the nest box to find the male) – notice how dirty and rusty her tail section and breast are !

Here area few photos of my encounter with them yesterday 4/5/14:

 

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I was awakened by bright lightening and loud thunder at 4:05 AM today, really never went back to sleep. At dawn, I heard the first Purple Martin of 2014. I peered out the window at in the dim morning light  and saw two Male Rudy Throat Hummingbirds on one of my feeders; and, I just put the nectar out Wednesday morning. I got up and took my camera out on the porch and sat quietly hoping for either but instead had a beautiful male Red-bellied woodpecker land on the log pile next to me (he just did not see me) just inside the focal length of the 400mm f/5.6 lens (15.5 feet); so I quietly scooted back while he searched the logs and got a few closeups of him at ISO 1600 on my Canon 50D. It wasn’t long after that that another line of strong storms moved through:

 

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