Archive for February, 2012

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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Ran out of battery, but not before getting this shot of the Little Buffalo at dawn in 8F degree temperatures; in the bitter cold but golden sunrise:

Little Buffalo River on 2/11/12 at dawn

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Very cold this morning !  I had 16F degrees here in the valley, but the mountain tops registered 8-9 degrees. Drove to Ponca and Boxley, and back to Murray. Saw two elk herds on the way, first at Ponca; I got there just as they jumped the fence along 43. Then I saw and expansive herd near the Boxley Tail Head about 12 miles up the road. There were several Trumpeter Swans at the mill pond at Boxley and I watched several flocks of Mallards take off and land. I have work to do on the property this afternoon.

Mallards in morning light at Boxley Mill Pond


Elk after jumping fence


Buffalo River downstream from 74 Bridge in Ponca

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These cute little birds are very hard to photograph as they keep moving to the opposite side of the tree whenever a camera is pointed at them, but, they a fairly common in the Boston Mountains.  I just took these pictures last Saturday and Sunday in the fog, with my Canon 7D and a 600mm f/4. Distinctive in habits and morphology, the Brown Creeper is a small, well-camouflaged bird of woodlands. It creeps along tree trunks, spiraling upward, picking invertebrates from the bark with its curved and pointed bill.

Cool Facts

  • The Brown Creeper bears an extremely close physical resemblance to the Eurasian Treecreeper and Short-toed Treecreeper, and was at one time considered the same species as the Eurasian Treecreeper. But studies of vocalizations, including experiments in which they do not respond to each other’s songs, support recognition of three separate species.
  • In Arizona, Brown Creeper nests often have two openings, one which serves as an entrance and the other as an exit. Entrances face downward and exits upward.
  • Adult Description

    • Small songbird.
    • Upperparts streaked brown and white.
    • Underparts whitish.
    • Long thin bill.
    • Long tail.
    • Creeps up tree trunks.

    Immature Description

    Similar to adult, but with light spotting on underparts and duller upper parts.

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A crocus poped out in my yard today; such an early one ! Just February 3rd.

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