Archive for March, 2014

The photos I posted on this Blog yesterday were taken at 100 yards and did not show much detail. This phoot show the female Eastern Bluebird with a spider; with  more detail. Taken with a EF600L f/4.0 IS and a 1.4 TC yielding 840mm; attached to a Canon 1DS Mark III:



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Everything is late this spring; flowering trees, wildflowers, general green up, etc. The Eastern Bluebirds got a late start paring up and attracting each other and they are just now working diligently on nest construction. They usually work on this early in the day but it has been in the low 20s each morning. It was 45F by 9:30 this morning and they began working.

They worked non-stopped for an hour. The female leaving the box to gather grass and pine needles. The male accompanies her in flight but does no nest building himself; after she places the grass in the box, he flies down to check out the progress. He often stands on the nest box while she is inside.

The following photos taken today show about 3 nest building trips. They were taken with a Canon 50D with a Canon EF400 f/5.6 Lens at 1/2000th of a second in good light with a thin overcast …….about 25 photos follow:































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Should be a great day to see the upper river by boat;





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Today I was watching a Red-bellied woodpecker. He seems to prefer working and looking for food UPSIDE-DOWN. I watched him for an hour and he always looks under bark in this silly fashion !



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He arrived about 8 AM on Tuesday 3/18 on my gatepost. It was warm for 8 Am and he/she did spend some time grabbibg insects from midair. I wonder if ths Phoebe will stay all summer or move on: Taken with a Canon 1DS Mark III with a Canon 300 f/2.8 IS. We’ll see ?

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 9.25.34 AM

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I took these on Friday, one week ago, along Murray Road with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF400L Lens. The Male looks a little beaten up and the fmale is beautiful.I only get to see these wonderful birds in the very early spring while they migrate north to their breeding grounds:

Male (first), then Female (second) Yellow Bellied Sapsucker



From Cornell Labs:

On a walk through the forest you might spot rows of shallow holes in tree bark. In the East, this is the work of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, an enterprising woodpecker that laps up the leaking sap and any trapped insects with its specialized, brush-tipped tongue. Attired sharply in barred black-and-white, with a red cap and (in males) throat, they sit still on tree trunks for long intervals while feeding. To find one, listen for their loud mewing calls or stuttered drumming.

Cool Facts

  • The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker makes two kinds of holes in trees to harvest sap. Round holes extend deep in the tree and are not enlarged. The sapsucker inserts its bill into the hole to probe for sap. Rectangular holes are shallower, and must be maintained continually for the sap to flow. The sapsucker licks the sap from these holes, and eats the cambium of the tree too. New holes usually are made in a line with old holes, or in a new line above the old.
  • The sapwells made by Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers attract hummingbirds, which also feed off the sap flowing from the tree. In some parts of Canada, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds rely so much on sapwells that they time their spring migration with the arrival of sapsuckers. Other birds as well as bats and porcupines also visit sapsucker sapwells.
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been found drilling sapwells in more than 1,000 species of trees and woody plants, though they have a strong preference for birches and maples.
  • The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker frequently uses human-produced materials to help in its territorial drumming. Street signs and metal chimney flashing amplify the irregular tapping of a territorial sapsucker. The sapsucker seems to suffer no ill effects of whacking its bill on metal, and a bird will return to a favorite sign day after day to pound out its Morse code-like message.
  • The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is the only woodpecker in eastern North America that is completely migratory. Although a few individuals remain throughout much of the winter in the southern part of the breeding range, most head farther south, going as far south as Panama. Females tend to migrate farther south than do males.
  • The oldest known Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was 7 years, 9 months old. It was banded in New Jersey and found 6 years later in South Carolina.

In spring and summer, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers favor young forests and edge habitat, especially areas regenerating from timber harvesting. There they find lots of fast-growing trees ripe for sapwells (and since they can spend half their time or more tending to or feeding from their sapwells, sapsuckers needs lots of trees for tapping). So unlike most woodpecker species, sapsuckers don’t rely on dead trees for feeding, although they do search for trees with decayed heartwood or dead limbs for their cavity nests. On their wintering grounds, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers aren’t as selective in habitat, as they’re found from bottomland hardwood forests to as high as 10,000 feet, though never in pure conifer stands. In winter, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers can be found in forests of hickory or pines and oaks.


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Photographed this dimmunitive bird, last week, working around the base of a tree holding a suet feeder looking for seed scraps. Iv’e seen them before but forgot just how small they are. At first I throught it was a mouse but after further inspection I realized it was a Brown Creeper. I believe only the Ruby Throated Hummingbird is smaller in Arkansas: taken with a Canon 7D with a Canon EF300 f/2.8 IS lens and a 1.4 TC:

  • Size & Shape

    Brown Creepers are tiny yet lanky songbirds. They have long, spine-tipped tails, slim bodies, and slender, decurved bills.

  • Color Pattern

    Streaked brown and buff above, with their white underparts usually hidden against a tree trunk, Brown Creepers blend easily into bark. Their brownish heads show a broad, buffy stripe over the eye (supercilium).

  • Behavior

    Brown Creepers search for small insects and spiders by hitching upward in a spiral around tree trunks and limbs. They move with short, jerky motions using their stiff tails for support. To move to a new tree, they fly weakly to its base and resume climbing up. Brown Creepers sing a high, warbling song; they also give a high, wavering call note that sounds similar to that of a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

  • Habitat

    Brown Creepers breed primarily in mature evergreen or mixed evergreen-deciduous forests. You can find them at many elevations, even as high as 11,000 feet at treeline in the West. In the winter season, the species moves into a broader variety of forests and becomes much easier to find in deciduous woodlands.

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

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Just a photo:




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The storm center passed right over this Arkansas County; Newton. We first received, as posted yesterday, almost 3″ of rain; then it starting around noon to a quick changeover; it began first a higher elevations of the Boston Mountains and finally down to ~1000 feet.  It was a wet snow with big flakes but was first we got an hour of ice and sleet. I drove out this morning around 8 AM to get a few photos, using a Canon 1DS Mark III Full Frame and a 17-40 Canon f/4 at f/4 zoom:









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