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Archive for March, 2012

This is really unusually early (AVG = April 15th); these eggs were laid in early March. To say this is unusual is an understatement !!! If it stays warm; they should survive:

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This small warbler-like bird usually arrives here in mid-April; but he is here in the Boston Mountains today (about 3 weeks early) and  singing continuously while I work in the garden. I had to go inside to get my camera for this shy bird; but, when I got back he was still in a bush singing:

Adult Description

  • Small songbird.
  • Olive-green upperparts.
  • Yellow sides.
  • Yellow spectacles.
  • White throat.
  • Two white wing-

    White eyed Vireo

    bars.

  • Striking Eyes white.

Immature Description

Immature similar to adult, but with brown eyes.

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This is Saturday 3/24, 3 days after the storms:

 

Tributary of Little Buffalo on Murray rd.

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Todays rain wont amount to much !!  The the rains of the last few days remind me that yesterday morning I went over to Steel Creek near Ponca. Roark Bluff had a nice pour-off on it’s face (the bluff is low by Buffalo River standards; 125′) but the falling rain on 3/21/12 had created a pretty waterfall falling over 100′ from the water worn notch at the top of the cliff down to the river below. I stopped by the Low Gap Cafe for a burger  (really good) on my way back; 2 pictures taken with a Canon S95 Point and Shoot follow:

 

Roark Bluff (looK in the center for the pour-off)

 

Rainwater pouring off Roark Bluff below Ponca

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This morning, March 23rd, is cool, fresh, and beautiful, after another stormy night. It thundered and rained on and off last night until after midnight. But, I only recorded .51 inches of rain. It has cleared off this morning with low fast moving clouds and is cool; about 45F. Saw 7 turkeys flying along my drive into town in different locations; lots of gobbling at dawn. Jasper had its share of disappointed boaters (kayakers and canoeists) as all the area rivers are way too high to be safe yet. The redbud is past peak but still beautiful and the dogwood will be approaching peak this weekend; a full month ahead of last year.

A few shots from my drive back to Murray Road at 9 AM:

Image

Image

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Oh what a songster !!  Really screaming today in a rain shower. Taken with a 5DM2 and a EF600mm L f/4 lens.

Cool Facts

  • Different populations and subspecies of Red-winged Blackbirds vary markedly in size and proportions. An experiment was conducted that moved nestlings between populations and found that the chicks grew up to resemble their foster parents. This study indicated that much of the difference seen between populations is the result of different environments rather than different genetic makeups.
  • The Red-winged Blackbird is a highly polygynous species, meaning males have many female mates – up to 15 in some cases. In some populations 90 percent of territorial males have more than one female nesting on their territories. But all is not as it seems: one-quarter to one-half of nestlings turn out to have been sired by someone other than the territorial male.
  • Male Red-winged Blackbirds fiercely defend their territories during the breeding season, spending more than a quarter of daylight hours in territory defense. He chases other males out of the territory and attacks nest predators, sometimes going after much larger animals, including horses and people.
  • Red-winged Blackbirds roost in flocks in all months of the year. In summer small numbers roost in the wetlands where the birds breed. Winter flocks can be congregations of several million birds, including other blackbird species and starlings. Each morning the roosts spread out, traveling as far as 50 miles to feed, then re-forming at night.
  • One California subspecies of the Red-winged Blackbird lacks the yellow borders to the red shoulders (epaulets) and has been dubbed the “bicolored blackbird.” Some scientists think this plumage difference may help Red-winged Blackbirds recognize each other where their range overlaps with the similar Tricolored Blackbird.
  • The oldest recorded Red-winged Blackbird was 15 years 9 months old.

 

Red Winged Blackbird

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With 5-8 inches of rain forecasted by Accu-weather for NW Arkansas in the next 3 days, waterfalls should be at their peak by Thursday through Saturday. This is the last waterfall picture I took in mid-February 2012. It is Pam’s Grotto on the north side of highway 123 near Haw Creek Falls:

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