Archive for February, 2014

We had nearly 2.5 inches of rain on December 20 thru 21, 2013. I drove to Steel Creek and to Ponca on that day and took a few photos with a point and shoot Canon G15. There were quite a few pour-offs flowing off Roark Bluff, and it only got heavier. The Ponca Bridge is the last photo.









Ponca Low water bridge

Ponca Low water bridge

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I woke up to cold and snow showers this morning but as soon as the sun came out, I took a drive and fought the beautiful Red-shouldered Hawk hunting crawfish along the upper little Buffalo. This photo taken with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 300 f/2.8 IS:


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I have been feeding the American Goldfinches all winter long (since November 15) and I probably have about 150-200 finches at this time. Very few House and Purple finches have visited the feeders so far. I have 4 tube feeders with Nijer Seed and they are always full of hungry finches. This has cost me $120+ per month this year. There are 2 River Birches that they line up on; in a feeding queue, and wait their turn at the feeders. It becomes really chaotic at times.

Lately there has been more fights and and quarrels than in past weeks; they are also beginning to show some yellow from an ongoing molt. These birds do not nest until late summer; when the seeds are plentiful, but will take Nijer seed all year around. American Goldfinch males will turn bright yellow within 30-45 days and the females will stay an olive-yellow color. The males also have a completely black forehead after the molt is complete.






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I purchased this old PC on eBay about a year ago. I shows the old hotel in Jasper, Arkansas. This hotel has situated on the same street (on the corner of Court St. and Spring St.)  that the Movie Theater “Buffalo Theater” and the Chamber of Commerce, and a few other shops sit today. It was supposedly torn down in  1930s.


Scan 2

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One of the pairs of bluebirds in my yard, must be mated from last year; I believe they stayed all winter. They frequently spent in Cedar (juniper) trees pulling berries of and eating them during the coldest days. While the other Bluebirds are still house hunting, this pair has chosen the house they used last summer; I think !

The male enters the house, looks around, and wing waves to the female, she flies to the house or to a nearby perch and wing waves and then enters the house alone or with him. The waves plus loud singing, tells me they have selected that house again. I got a few photos of the female Bluebird’s wing waves; Taken with a  CANON 7D with a 600mm EF600L f/4.0 Lens.






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Its a very windy February morning here in the valley; I imagine worse winds in the higher elevations ! It was 68F at dawn this morning. We did not get the expected rain and storms last night, and I believe the chances are not as high today as last night and the energy has moved towards Tennessee and Mississippi.

The Pileated woodpecker is crow sized and is frequently spotted and heard around Arkansas. Many people have trouble getting close enough to get a good photograph. I have found that from February to June during the pairing and breeding season that they are often so preoccupied with their daily routine, that it is easy to sneak up on them, especially early in the day. This photo of a male (red stripe on his chin) Pileated Woodpecker was from yesterday, taken with a Canon 7D and a Canon 300 f/2.8 IS Lens handheld from 45-50 feet away. He was so busy drilling for termites and ants, his mate was tearing apart logs on the ground 50 feet further away, that I went unnoticed or they were not bothered with my presence for 20 minutes:



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It is 65F at 1:50 PM CST. I think it would have easily made it to 70F today if not for the overcast that covered the area around 11 AM. The Red-bellied was working of gathering food  in my back yard this morning, before the clouds rolled in. This photo taken with a 50D and a 400mm lens from about 40′. I think this is a young female; the males have an unbroken red stripe on their head:


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Went into Jasper this morning; saw 2 mature Bald Eagles and a Roadrunner. The Eagles were at the Shop Creek crossing of Highway 327, and the Roadrunner was closer to Jasper. Woke up to 19F this morning on its way to 55-60 (maybe); forecast changed for cooler weather.


Not long after I posted the bluebird houses on my trail yesterday, I did get photos of the male in a pair looking into the house under a big Sweet Gum Tree.  Only one photo was clear. The picture was taken with a Canon 50D with a Canon 400mm Lens:



Also there was a nice sunset on a clear cold evening in NW Arkansas:



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Temperature 60F Winds NW at 35.

We started out with rain showers this morning, and then it became sunny and warm this afternoon: kind of reminds me of spring. The daffodils and crocus are coming up now.

I started this trail with two house exactly 3 years ago and have now grown it to 6 houses. Each pair is territorial and needs and acre to themselves. Any closer, it seems not to work out ! I have used several types of houses. All have pole guards and entrance guards to protect them when incubating and to protect the hatchlings later on. Here are some examples; and the Eastern Bluebirds are house hunting today. They used 3 houses out of 5 last year and fledged 7 broods (avg: 4 birds per brood):

I started pre season cleanup today but because of the long cold winter, I am waiting to clean out the last year’s nesting material until after March 1. Also, Eastern Blue Birds  needs lots of low cut grass to forage in, so this grass needs to be cut very short:












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This time (at 5 PM) he/she landed in a tree in the backyard and I was able to sneak out the front door and around the house; he saw me as soon as I rounded the house; but, I did get a few capture photos before he was gone:



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