Archive for October, 2013


The storm passed us by ! Just 1/3 inch of rain so far. Not enough for canoeing or kayaking. Winds to 40 MPH expected this evening. Took a few photos taken today:





Buffalo River at Ozark

Buffalo River at Ozark in the rain




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The first peak is near (maybe today or tomorrow); but it is beautiful !! We are expecting 2-3 inches of rain in the next 36 hours and that will possibly make the Buffalo River from Boxley to Pruitt floatable by weeks end and through the weekend and maybe next week. There should still be a good amount of color left in some trees; making this the ideal canoe or kayak float for fall colors; A FLASH FLOOD WATCH was just issued !!


Top of Sherman Mountain looking down

Top of Sherman Mountain looking down


Driving down the 3 mile grade to the River.

Driving down the 3 mile grade to the River.


The Buffalo National  River at the bottom of the mountain.

The Buffalo National River at the bottom of the mountain.

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I have a good bunch to post, but here is Newton County Road #20 along Henson Creek inn yesterday’s rain, about 2 miles west of Highway 327:




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After 2.2 inches of rain since my last POST, it has cooled off quite a bit. We had 35F yesterday and 33F this Sunday morning. I had to scrape (thick ice) the windows at dawn today before I could drive – hadn’t had to do that since last March. It has actually been colder in some of the lower locations. Under 30F. These heavy frosts are going to get the color change, which seems on hold, going again. At this time, I think next weekend and the following week are the first color peak. Usually 7-10 days later is the second peak, just as pretty, but with a lot more oranges, yellows, and rusts, mixed in with green Shortleaf pines. That can be as late as November 10th. I drove down to Kyles Landing on Saturday, yesterday, and the color is beginning but has a way to go yet.

Kyle's Landing of the Buffalo River

Kyle’s Landing of the Buffalo River

One of my alarms - a Carolina Chickadee

One of my alarms – a Carolina Chickadee

I usually put sunflower seed on a stump outside my front window. The birds have not paid much attention to it until three days ago. I have had about 6 cardinals, titmice, and now 2 pairs of Chickadees. When the stump is empty they let me know. I just love those birds. The fawn I have watched grow up this year and are young adults now and are showing some fear of me now. Good Thing ! No spots left on these fawns.


A fawn takes of at the sight of me now

A fawn takes of at the sight of me now

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This photo taken 10 minutes ago (8:25 AM CDT) as the fog lifts in the backyard:


Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 8.27.21 AM

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This August, September, and October (so far) I have seen only 4-5 Monarchs; I have seen 6 Black Bears in the same time frame. That is a huge change from lat year and from 2011 when I saw maybe 10,000 on week in September. There may be a problem !

These are photos from 2 days ago, October 14th, that I snapped of 1 Monarch on a butterfly bush in  my front yard here in the Boston Mountains, west southwest of Parthenon, Arkansas. Anyone that knows Black Bears knows there is a healthy population in this part of Arkansas; but that it is very rare to see them. They are highly nocturnal





From USA Today:

GREENVILLE, N.Y. — Spotting a monarch butterfly this summer may be difficult, according to some experts who fear the population of the orange-and-black butterfly is crashing.

The butterflies are known for their long-distance migration, a feat made even more amazing because the fluttering insects heading south each fall are about four generations descended from the ones that left Mexico the previous spring.

They also serve as an important part of the food chain for birds.

Illegal logging in the Mexican forests where they spend the winter, new climate patterns and the disappearance of milkweed — the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs and on which their caterpillars feed — are being blamed for their shrinking numbers.

Brooke Beebe, former director of the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, N.Y., collects monarch eggs, raises them from caterpillar to butterfly and releases them.

“I do that when they’re here. They’re not here,” she said.

The alarm over disappearing monarchs intensified this spring when conservation organizations reported that the amount of Mexican forest the butterflies occupied was at its lowest in 20 years. The World Wildlife Fund, in partnership with a Mexican wireless company and Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Areas, found nine hibernating colonies occupied almost 3 acres during the 2012-13 winter, a 59% decrease from the previous winter.

Because the insects can’t be counted individually, the colonies’ total size is used. Almost 20 years ago, the colonies covered about 45 acres. A couple of acres contains millions of monarchs.

“The monarch population is pretty strong, except it’s not as strong as it used to be and we find out it keeps getting smaller and smaller,” said Travis Brady, the education director at the Greenburgh Nature Center here.

Monarchs arrived at the nature center later this year and in fewer numbers, Brady said.

The nature center’s butterfly house this summer was aflutter with red admirals, giant swallowtails, painted ladies and monarchs, among others. But the last were difficult to obtain because collectors supplying the center had trouble finding monarch eggs in the wild, he said.

No one is suggesting monarchs will become extinct. The concern is whether the annual migration will remain sustainable, said Jeffrey Glassberg, the North American Butterfly Association’s president.

The record low shouldn’t set off a panic, said Marianna T. Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center in Texas, a project of the butterfly association.

“It should certainly get some attention,” she said. “I do think the disappearance of milkweed nationwide needs to be addressed. If you want to have monarchs, you have to have milkweed.”

Milkweed is often not part of suburban landscape, succumbing to lawn mowers and weed whackers, monarch advocates point out. Without it, monarch eggs aren’t laid and monarch caterpillars can’t feed and develop into winged adults.

“Many people know milkweed, and many people like it,” said Brady at the nature center. “And a lot of people actively try to destroy it. The health of the monarch population is solely dependent on the milkweed plant.”

The widespread use of herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans, which has resulted in the loss of more than 80 million acres of monarch habitat in recent years, also threatens the plant, according to the website Monarch Watch. In spraying fields to eradicate unwanted plants, Midwest farmers also eliminate butterflies’ habitat.

The 2012 drought and wildfires in Texas also made butterfly life difficult. All monarchs heading to or from the eastern two-thirds of the country pass through the state.

Monarchs have been absent from the Hudson River Audubon Society’s butterfly garden at Lenoir Preserve in Yonkers, N.Y., said society President Saul Scheinbach.

The only good thing is that monarchs, like other insects, reproduce rapidly and most likely will recover if left alone, he said.

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We got 2.01 inches of rain in the past 24 hours. I took these yesterday at the Ponca bridges. Adds Creek was running muddy, so the water above the low-water bridge was clear, and below the high bridge was murky to cloudy. It appears the first color peak will be in 7-10  days if the forecast for clear cooler weather for 7 days holds. The day was rainy, cloudy, and not much light getting through the clouds – that type of day tends to highly saturate the colors:




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I put some water out and the local Bluebirds jumped right in. Four at a time and one point !  They continued the splashing until dark:





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They say NO. Nearly extinct and live only on the North Carolina coast and islands. They inhabited Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas until the 1930’s. They were all  killed off by trapping and poisoning. By 1960 there were only a few scattered individuals left in their former ranged in the US and still here in the remote areas of the Arkansas mountains.

They do mate with and hybridize with Coyotes and occasionally wild dogs; that complicated the process of trying to re-introduce them into their former range; as a pure species.

Last evening, just before dark, I saw a small pack of 4-5 coyotes but one was much larger (by far) and darker and had, as I could tell from 50 yards, huge paws ands some orange or reddish orange on his head, breast, and ears. Not bright red but more of a brown rust color. He/she may have weighed 60-65 pounds, maybe more; compared to the 30-40 pound large coyotes I see frequently around here.

Could that have been a “left over” hybrid coyote-Red Wolf cross ?

To top that off, the coyotes were very loud with there howling and barking last night. Some packs seemed to have 8-10 individual howling voices.

Just wondering ?

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There are ripe Fox Grapes everywhere, and they pick the dried grapes; but I admire them so much:



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