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Archive for September, 2011

This photo taken on Monday 9/29/11 at noon. He was signing from a peach tree off Murray Road near Parthenon, AR. I was surprised to see so many still migrating here in northwest Arkansas.

he White-eyed VireoVireo griseus, is a small songbird. It breeds in the southeastern USA from New Jersey west to northern Missouri and south to Texas and Florida, and also in eastern Mexico, northern Central America, Cuba and the Bahamas.

Populations on the US Gulf coast and further south are resident, but most North Americanbirds migrate south in winter.

This vireo frequents bushes and shrubs in abandoned cultivation or overgrown pastures. The grass-lined nest is a neat cup shape, attached to a fork in a tree branch by spider webs. 3-5 dark-spotted white eggs are laid. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for 12 – 16 days. The young leave the nest 9 – 11 days after hatching.

The White-eyed Vireo is 13 – 15 cm in length. Its head and back are a greyish olive, and the underparts are white with yellow flanks. The wings and tail are dark, and there are two white wing bars on each wing. The eyes have white irises, and are surrounded by yellow spectacles. Sexes are similar.

The White-eyed Vireo’s song is a variable and rapid six to seven note phrase, starting and ending with a sharp chick.

During the breeding season, the diet of this species consists almost exclusively of insects, primarily caterpillars. In the autumn and winter it supplements its diet of insects with berries.

White eyed Vireo

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Taken on Sunday, on a cool and foggy day; the low clouds spitting rain drops. The pond was still for the moment I took this picture but the wind picked up before I left. The pond sits in a valley close to the Buffalo River and in the “old days” was used as a water source for a Mill at Boxley Arkansas; the pond is framed by the Boston Mountains on all four sides.

Boxley Mill Pond

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male wood duck on Boxley pond

Taken on a cold and dreary Sunday in September. There are several pairs, some were here all summer and a some moving through the area. The Wood Duck is one of the most stunningly pretty of all waterfowl. Males are iridescent chestnut and green, with ornate patterns on nearly every feather; the elegant females have a distinctive profile and delicate white pattern around the eye. These birds live in wooded swamps, where they nest in holes in trees or in nest boxes put up around lake margins. They are one of the few duck species equipped with strong claws that can grip bark and perch on branches.

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Common in the Boston Mountains. Fairly easy to find in the spring and fall when migrating and breeding.

  • Male Red-winged Blackbirds do everything they can to get noticed, sitting on high perches and belting out their conk-la-ree! song all day long. Females stay lower, skulking through vegetation for food and quietly weaving together their remarkable nests. In winter Red-winged Blackbirds gather in huge flocks to eat grains with other blackbird species and starlings.
  • Look for Red-winged Blackbirds in fresh and saltwater marshes, along watercourses, water hazards on golf courses, and wet roadsides, as well as drier meadows and old fields. In winter, you can find them at crop fields, feedlots, and pastures.

    Male red-winged blackbird

    Male red-winged blackbird

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A beautiful adult red tail hawk hiding in a large cedar tree on Murray Road. This is probably the most common hawk in North America. If you’ve got sharp eyes you’ll see several individuals on almost any long car ride, anywhere. Red-tailed Hawks soar above open fields, slowly turning circles on their broad, rounded wings. Other times you’ll see them atop telephone poles, eyes fixed on the ground to catch the movements of a vole or a rabbit, or simply waiting out cold weather before climbing a thermal updraft into the sky.

Red tail Hawk near Murray Road

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Arkansas has lots of these trees. The are turning bright red now; the third week of September. They are commonly the first tree to show a scarlet color; even prior to sumacs and the deeper red dogwood trees.

Nyssa sylvatica grows to 20–25 metres (66–82 ft) tall, rarely to 35 metres (115 ft), with a trunk diameter of 50–100 centimetres (20–39 in), rarely up to 170 centimetres (67 in). These trees typically have a straight trunk with the branches extending outward at right angles.[1] The bark is dark gray and flaky when young, but it becomes furrowed with age, resembling alligator hide on very old stems. The twigs of this tree are reddish-brown, usually hidden by a greyish skin. The pith is chambered with greenish partitions.

The leaves of this species are variable in size and shape. They can be oval, elliptical, or obovate, and 5–12 cm (2–5 in) long. They have lustrous upper surfaces, with entire, often wavy margins. The foliage turns purple in autumn, eventually becoming an intense bright scarlet.

The flowers are very small, in greenish-white in clusters at the top of a long stalk. The fruit is a black-blue, ovoid stone fruit, about 10 mm long with a thin, oily, bitter-to-sour tasting flesh. There are from one to three such fruit together on a long slender stalk.

 

Black gum in full fall color

 

Black gum in the spring of the year

 

Black gum closeup in autumn (late summer too)

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The Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) is a butterfly of theNymphalidae family. It reaches 2 1/8 to 3″ in wingspan. It is characterized by its orange color above with five black dashes near fore wing base and several iregualer black dashes at the base of the hind wing. In addition, two rows of black crescents run along the edges of the wings. Below, the fore wing is yellowish-orange with black marks similar to the upperside, with a few silver spots on the tip of the wing. The hind wing is reddish-brown with silver spots on the base and middle of the wing. A broad yellow band and silver triangles are the most notable qualities on the wing, next to the brown margin. Females tend to be darker than males and individuals from the western reaches of this species range tend to be brighter orange.Similar species include the Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite), the Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis) and the Northwestern Fritillary (Speyeria hesperis).It is distinguished from the Aphrodite and Atlantis Fritillaries by a wide light submarginal band on the hindwing and instead of black spots, black dashes form on the margins of the fore wing. This one photographed on CR20 near Henson Creek in Newton County, Arkansas.

Spangled Fritillary Butterfly

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