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Posts Tagged ‘Newton’

Two words I’d use to describe this spring 2014 here in Newton County, Arkansas, are RAIN and WARBLERS. Last night, June 20th, at 6 PM we got  3.10 inches of rain in 1 and 1/2 hours. Then more rain later in the evening. April, May, and June were all  wetter than normal.

Also, I started photographing Warblers in early April and have had to stop because of my injury. There is a real advantage with these ever moving birds before leaf out here in Arkansas. In April and May the male warbler typically sings from his favorite branch, and is easier to spot without leaves. Later in June when nesting is underway, the singing is way less and I have to rely on finding nests; a insect and arachnid laden experience.

The following are warblers that I photographed this spring. How many can you name ?

 

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I drove over to the expansive fields on the Vendor Valley, on the east side of Mt. Judea, south of Jasper, Arkansas. I saw a female Dickcissel feeding her fledglings there. A Dickcissel is a sparrow-like bird of the prairie grasslands of the United States, the Dickcissel congregates in huge flocks in migration and on its tropical grassland wintering grounds. The breeding male is colored like a tiny meadowlark, with a black “V” on a yellow chest.

Adult Description

Small songbird.
Stout, pointed bill.
Rusty patch on shoulders.
Yellow or yellowish on chest.
Breeding male has large black “V” on yellow chest.
Male Description
Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Streaked grayish head. Yellow stripe above eyes. Chin white. Thin black stripes at sides of throat. Black throat patch extending onto breast in a point. Chest bright yellow. Belly light gray. Back brown with black streaks. Tail and wings blackish. Chestnut shoulder patch.
Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Black bib partly concealed by pale whitish to yellowish feather tips.

Female Description
Duller face and head pattern, with light yellow stripe over eyes. Throat whitish, with faint, thin dark stripes at sides. Breast dull yellow. Belly light gray. Thin dark streaks on flanks. Back brown with black streaks. Wings and tail blackish. Pale chestnut shoulder patch.
Immature Description

Immature similar to adult female, but duller. Yearling male with little black on chest.

 

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Just a photo taken on Easter weekend, but should be pretty all week long:

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Just a photo:

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Just a photo; caught him (it’s a male) flying from a ring of sap holes in a Hickory tree. Taken with a Canon 7D with a Canon EF 300 f/2.8 IS at 75 feet; just off Murray Road near Parthenon, Arkansas. They are beautiful birds ! They drink sap from a ring of hole they dig around a tree (look at the tree to the left).

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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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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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