Archive for February, 2012

A pair of Carolina chickadees has just started nesting in my back yard in a old stunted sassafras tree with a hole 8 feet up from the ground; they had been carrying nesting material over thee weekend. Here is one keeping a sharp eye on my activity (Canon 7D and 400 DO IS lens):

Carolina Chickadee starting to nest

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One of my favorite signs of spring; and spring peepers in the pond across the road !!! Saw and heard some American Woodcocks mating spiral over the weekend also AND Bluets by the thousands:

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I had a great dinner, as usual, at Low Gap Cafe, and bought a picture right off the wall there. It was by Michael Dougherty, a fantastic local photographer, and Elk expert. The picture now hangs in my Living-room in Murray Valley, Arkansas.

Tried the chicken fettucini this time and it was outstanding.

Michael lives with his wife Mandy, cat, ducks and chickens in the
Upper Buffalo River area. He can be seen taking pictures in
Boxley Valley near Ponca on most days. He also hikes the various
trails in the region to capture pictures of wildlife and landscapes.
Go see his work in Jasper, several locations, or at the Low Gap Cafe; prints are available for purchase there or from his websites.
To see some of his work, follow these links:


Print I bought:

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I saw about 20 morning cloak butterflies at Erbie, AR. on Monday. Mourning cloak butterflies are some of the very few that can survive our winters here in the American Midwest. This specimen has awakened from its winter diapause and is tapping an energy source, tree sap, which is available before any of the flowering plants have started operations. They were beautiful and this may have been their first day out in 2012.

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Sunday 2/19, made a 3.6 mile hike to Bee Bluff above Steel Creek on the Buffalo River. A few floaters and a few fishermen were out in today’s sunshine. Temperature was about 60F degrees with a light north breeze. The Buffalo is in perfect shape for fishing, especially for smallmouth bass; which are plentiful today. The following pictures are from the 3.6 mile hike from the Buffalo to the top to Bee Bluff. Bee Bluff is located below Ponca and above Steel Creek. It is well known locally for the 2 boys in the 1920’s that dynamited out a huge bee hive in a cave high on the bluff; honey running down the face of the bluff like onyx in a cave:

Looking upstream from Roark Bluff towards Bee Bluff

fresh beaver activity on the trees below Bee Bluff

Smallmouth Bass Hole

Head of a hole on the Buffalo River

Looking upstream from the top of Bee Bluff

Looking down from Bee Bluff towards Roark Bluff

Bee Bluff from the River

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Yesterday included a drive through Johnson County (south of Newton County to Haw Creek, but the NFS had close the area for repairs; so we drove and hiked up Haw Creek way above the Campground. We found a series of smaller waterfalls on the upper creek. One is pictured below surrounded bt a carpet of orange Beech Tree leaves:

Today Saturday is reserved for working with the motor generator; and just now at 3:30 the sun came out.

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Adult Bald Eagle on the Mulberry near Oark, AR.

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Went down south about 30-35 miles to Turners Bend on the Mulberry River; then east to Oark, AR. to have lunch at the 120 year old Oark Cafe and General Store. Had the catfish special lunch and some pie. This store is Arkansas’s oldest continuous business and just happens to be northwest of Clarksville and south of Ponca and Parthenon, in the Ozark National Forest.

You can get almost anything there; from car and bike repair parts, food, canned goods; and you will feel like you just stepped back into the 1930’s. The old wood floor is a classic. They also do make some of the finest pies and cakes and meals in all Arkansas; and they are really, all, the nicest people.

Oark is in the Mulberry River headwaters. The Mulberry provides fine kayaking and canoeing and fanatic fishing for smallmouth bass, goggleye, and channel catfish. During March to May the river runs Class II – a low III.

If you are floating the Buffalo River, slip down south for Lunch or Dinner to the Oark Cafe and General Store; its about 45 minutes south of Boxley on the upper River.

Mulberry River at Oark

Oark General Store and Cafe

Oark Pie Counter

Part of the General Store section

Oark Cooking area

The Owner and his neighbor during Lunch

Catfish, Hush puppies, fries, and home-made slaw

Link to AETN:


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Took this today with the Canon 7D and a 600mm f/4 with a 1.4 TC III totals 1344mm from 80 feet.

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Saw some Downey woodpeckers; then I saw a much larger bird. Was it a Hairy Woodpecker ?  Yes. I saw the female, then the male flew in right in front of me. In my experience they are very nervous and hard to photograph; but I got them squawking back and forth at each other for a minute:

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