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Archive for March, 2013

It is a beautiful day; the rain fizzled out and we are stuck with just 0.25 inch of the 2.0 + forecast. I noticed that a pair of Belted Kingfishers was beginning to nest at the Little Buffalo Crossing down the hill. They make lots of continuous racket and are fun to watch as they rattle around. Photo taken with a 7D and a 300 mm f/2.8 lens. They have chosen a high mud bank about 10′ above the river; hope it’s high enough to protect from spring floods. The bird was in a willow tree next to the river for this photo.

  • Size & Shape

    Belted Kingfishers are stocky, large-headed birds with a shaggy crest on the top and back of the head and a straight, thick, pointed bill. Their legs are short and their tails are medium length and square-tipped.

  • Color Pattern

    These kingfishers are powder blue above with fine, white spotting on the wings and tail. The underparts are white with a broad, blue breast band. Females also have a broad rusty band on their bellies. Juveniles show irregular rusty spotting in the breast band.

  • Behavior

    Belted Kingfishers spend much of their time perched alone along the edges of streams, lakes, and estuaries, searching for small fish. They also fly quickly up and down rivers and shorelines giving loud rattling calls. They hunt either by plunging directly from a perch, or by hovering over the water, bill downward, before diving after a fish they’ve spotted.

  • Habitat

    Kingfishers live near streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and estuaries. They nest in burrows that they dig into soft earthen banks, usually adjacent to or directly over water. Kingfishers spend winters in areas where the water doesn’t freeze so that they have continual access to their aquatic foods.

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A pretty picture for an early spring day; rain in the forecast today:

 

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the Serviceberry tress are coming into bloom just now. They are also known as “popcorn” trees; they look, when they are 1/2 open, like strings of popcorn dangling in the tree: the redbuds should start to open this next week after the rains and warmer weather on the way. We had light thunderstorms at 5:30AM this mornng, that dropped a little over a tenth of an inch of rain with much more coming later today and Saturday:

serviceberry (popcorn trees)

serviceberry (popcorn trees)

 

 

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It was spring, then winter, now spring again (taken today early); it’s still cold, but the blooms are waitintg to POP:

 

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This past two weeks has been two of the coldest in NW Arkansas late March history. Today it is sunny and supposed to reach the mid-40’s; possibly the 60s by Friday. I sincerely hope this is the beginning of spring. I lost most of my peaches this past weeka and my green “winter wheat” has gone back to a winter looking color. Here is a photo of a Red Shouldered Hawk down along the Little Buffalo River hiding in the brushy cover in the sun trying to stay warm:

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Im in St. Louis this week. We got 11 to 16 inches of snow Sunday; varies by location; a new March record; 4th biggest snowfall of all time in St. Louis. Needless to say, its a mess trying to get around today. It’s still snowing (expecting 2 more inches). Can’t wait to get back to Arkansas.

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The high temperature Thursday was 34F, the low was 34F. A storm is coming this weekend; probably later today. Need the water badly; but my mood needs sunshine. Took this photo of a Northern Cardinal thursday afternoon — this says it all about our very late Arkansas spring:

 

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