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Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

View from east side of Moss Mountain just NE of Parthenon:

 

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It starts today. It’s been a nice summer here the mountains in 2013. Hot in June, Wet in July, Wet and cool in August, A dry but near average September. We did get over and inch of rain on Friday and had cool and pleasant temperatures yesterday (47F — 74F) and trend will continue for a few more days. I did a lot of needed yard work and general outside chores yesterday and with a dew point of 34 it was comfortable all day long. Never saw even one cloud. I am feeling the pain today in my legs and arms.

When my friend gets here we are going on a hike. Not sure where yet; maybe a section of the BRT ? I have the netting face masks out and ready for the gnats and no-see-ums which can ruin a nice hike in September. Saw another Scissor-tail Flycatcher yesterday; this time in an open field. Lots of quail and doves in every old field.  I got one shot a 100 yards  but did capture him; they are majestic and patient:

 

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View East from Base of Round Mountain

View East from Base of Round Mountain

Just a photo of the sun Rising:

 

 

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I drove south today, at dawn, on Parker Ridge Road (nothing but forest, hills, and ravines the whole way). Beautiful. I was sure i’d see another bear, but did not. Saw two Cinnamon Black Bears together, out of Limestone yesterday. This is a must do side trip for anyone. Coming off of Parker Ridge is beautiful as it drops through the switchbacks to the Piney Creek; I’d say 2 miles of sharp switchbacks; finally down; you make the last drop to the Piney Creek. Did see 2 roadrunners today. Thats is 6 roadrunners this week. I came back on back on the river roads to Pelsor, Included a crossing of the river (no bridge) at it’s junction with Hurricane Creek, then back up Highway 7 to home. What a cool, sunny, but pleasant morning out. Notice, some species of trees are starting to turn yellow along the rivers and the Goldenrod is just now coming into blossom.

 

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switchbacks on Parker Ridge Road

switchbacks on Parker Ridge Road

 

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This morning was foggy and cool again (57 degrees) and the serenity of the Buffalo River was indescribable:

 

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I\ve been sleeping the the A/C OFF and the Windows open for morn than a week now. It feels so good to listen to the QUIET.  Just a few coyotes yipping at the moon last night, a Great Horned Owl after midnight, several Barred Owls at 4 AM, and a Screech Owl returns and proclaims his territory at dawn at 5:40 AM. Even the insects seemed quieter. The birds have almost quit singing at first light. The 50 degree air and fog make it hard to get out of bed and get going. As soon as I drive out of the valley and up 1000′, I break into the sunshine and can view the fog below.

 

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Lots of pastel pinks and tangerines looking Eastward. So far this August we have received almost 9 inches of rain (compared to 1.09) for all August last year. The rivers are running full and the river valleys in the mornings are full of fog just like two years ago:

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No.  Not Barn swallows; which are common in all the old dry barns of NW Arkansas. They are similar in appearance though. The Cliff swallow has a white forehead and a stubby tail compared to the long forked tail barn swallow.

The gregarious Cliff Swallow nests in large colonies on buildings, cliffs, and under bridges. The gourd-shaped mud nests can number up to several hundred or thousand in a single location.

 

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Adult Description

  • Small, long-winged stocky songbird.
  • Small bill.
  • Wings long and pointed.
  • Throat dark.
  • Tail square.
  • Rump pale.

Immature Description

Juvenile looks similar to adult, but has brown, not blue-black, on the crown and back, and variable dark or pale throat and forehead.

Cool Facts

  • When a Cliff Swallow has had a hard time finding food, it will watch its neighbors in the nesting colony and follow one to food when it leaves. Although sharing of information about food at the colony seems unintentional, when a swallow finds food away from the colony during poor weather conditions it may give a specific call that alerts other Cliff Swallows that food is available. By alerting other swallows to a large insect swarm an individual may ensure that the swarm is tracked and that it can follow the swarm effectively.
  • Although the Cliff Swallow can nest solitarily, it usually nests in colonies. Colonies tend to be small in the East, but further west they can number up to 3,700 nests in one spot.
  • Within a Cliff Swallow colony some swallows lay eggs in another swallow’s nest. Sometimes the swallow may lay eggs in its own nest and then carry one of its eggs in its bill and put it in another female’s nest.
  • When young Cliff Swallows leave their nests they congregate in large groups called creches. A pair of swallows can find its own young in the creche primarily by voice. Cliff Swallows have one of the most variable juvenal plumages, and the distinctive facial markings may help the parents recognize their chicks by sight too.

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Drove over to Boxley on Monday and spent an hour at the mill pond. Watched ducks, catbirds, red-winged blackbirds, Vireos, and a few warblers including Common Yellow Throated, and Louisiana waterthrushes. It was nice an cool, after the thundershowers. The mill pond is full of grass and the rains of the week (3 inches) have added needed water to it. I was thinking how much Common Yellowthroats and Carolina Wrens are the same. They both spend their time along brushy fencerows; both seems to be on a constant hunt for spiders and other flying insects, they are nearly the same size; and their song is much the same. Both species are curious and will come to see “whats up” when you stop near them. The big difference is their appearance ! The photos below were taken Monday morning with a Canon 50D and a 400mm lens; handheld.

 

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At 5:45 AM there was is not much light yet; however the Eastern Bluebirds are busy feeding their hatchlings. Going to be a very hot day; Thursday, but a Cold Front is on its way and may bring some storms tonight but a real cool down for 4-6 days with highs in the lower 80’s to about 85 and much lower humidity.

I was lucky to get this shot invery low light with a Canon 1DS and an of 2400. He was about to enter the house with a grub when I got the shot off. I was using a Canon EF600L IS at f/4.0.:

 

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