Archive for May, 2012

This is one crazy May !! The last day; maybe, June will bring better rainfall. I am a NWS, NOAA, WeatherLink, and Weather Underground reporting station.

Summary  5/29 70% chance of storms –  got .01 inches

Summary 5/30 60% chance of storms –  got .00 inches

Summary 5/31 80% chance of storms –  got .04 inches (so far)

If you want to view the current weather and forecast for Parthenon or Murray, follow this link (pretty good for Boxley and Ponca too):


OH, tons of lightning every morning around 3-5 AM.

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Found a couple of Blue Grosbeaks in the tall grass areas of Shiloh Mountain; taken with a Canon 50D with a 400mm f/5.6 lens:

They return to breed every summer but seemed late this year. They can be mistaken for an Indigo Bunting but are twice the size with orange streaks on the wing bars.

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized songbird.
  • Large silver-gray bill.
  • Male deep blue with two brown wingbars.
  • Female mostly brown with two brown wingbars.

Male Description

Black in front of eyes extending down to bill. Flight feathers dark brown to black, with blue edging. Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Blue all over, with brown wingbars. Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Body blue with brownish feather edges.

Blue Grosbeak (male)

Blue Grosbeak in natural habitat

Female Description

Brown all over, with some blue feathers on back. Flight feathers dark brown to black, with brown edging.

Immature Description

First-year female resembles adult female, with even less blue on the upperparts. First-year male, through the first full summer of life, shows plumage intermediate between that of adult female and adult male, with variable amounts of blue mixed with brown.

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This normally fire red Scarlet Tanager has started a molt in late May; an unusual sight. Most are already breeding and are in full scarlet colors; not this one (perhaps hot and dry spring weather ?):

Scarlet Tanager unusual MOLT

Scarlet Tanager feather molt 2

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With high temperatures hovering in the low-90’s, everyday, this past week; it felt like July-August in the Boston Mountains; fortunate the atmosphere was drying with dew points falling into the 50’s late Sunday (that only helps comfort), and does not supply rain.

The forecast today for the High Ozarks is HOT, but there is an increasing chance for rain through this Memorial Day week, as a cold front sags southward towards us. The chance for rain by Wednesday this week is 70% (at this time).

It is going to take in the neighborhood of 2 inches over several days to do much good now. The hay is burning up; wildflowers drying up, creek beds and river beds are dusty; as are the roads; even the wildlife seems lazy.

Of course, any rain is welcome but the situation has become serious now with virtually NO rain in May.

The sunset was really nice on Murray Road Sunday evening:


Looking West on Murray Road near Parthenon, AR

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Looking for annuals, perennials, fruit trees, shrubs, accessories, mulch, soil, pots, trellises, vegetables, berries, and more ??  They have it all, in a nicely kept and beautiful setting, with nice greenhouses; they obviously care about quality but have nice pricing also.

We purchased a good number of perennials for our home between Parthenon and Murray. Every plant was well potted and nicely rooted. Just 20 minutes north of Jasper on the south side of Harrison.

Call or visit Shirley at 3983 Highway 7 South; Harrison, Arkansas; 78601.

Call:  870-741-5875.

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Rain passed to the south and west; then northwest this early morning; now, storms have developed from roughly the MO-AR border northeastward towards St. Louis and are moving northeasterly. Just can’t win !!!  There is rain in western OK but thats a long way off:

Springfield, MO Radar

Down nearly 2-4 inches from average since for May so far.

  YESTERDAY        0.00          2.53 1960   0.14  -0.14     0.00
  MONTH TO DATE    0.23                      3.04  -2.81     3.96
  SINCE MAR 1      7.73                     11.15  -3.42    21.04
  SINCE JAN 1     13.13                     16.35  -3.22    25.72

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Sad state of affairs !!!!!  This is as of April 30, 2012; and I have registered only 0.41 inches of rain in all of May (our wettest month) through May 18th. Impacts: agriculture, water table, no boating on all upper sections of the Rivers; road dust; etc. I can’t remember the last time a float trip could not be made in the months of April-May from the put-in at Ponca on the Buffalo River ?

Drought Status

This is through April; and we have had 0.41 inches of rain in May on Murray Road.

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With their cheerful voices and iridescent plumage, they began arriving in mid-April. Now, in mid-May the valley is full of them. I took 2 photos; one in late April and one last week in May with my Canon 7D and a 400mm f/4.0 lens:


Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting with Insect


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Such a strange spring !!   No rain, warm temperatures, and continuous sunshine have moved us here in Newton County right into mid summer. The species of Monarda in bloom on a county road (CR20) bloomed last July 16th. The fritillaries are flocking to them now. Taken with a telephoto lens from about 30 feet.

Fritillary on Monarda

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Last summer the Red Mulberry Trees were left alone (not a berry picked) due to the hatch of periodical Cicadas, a very high energy food. This year the song-birds are focusing on the mulberries once again; dozens of species of songbirds. This photo taken Mothers Day with a Canon 50D and a 400mm f / 5.6 Canon lens.

Eastern Kingbird

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