Posts Tagged ‘parthenon arkansas’

A few photos from this morning of the results of yesterday and last nights ice sand snow storm; same location as before in the Murray Valley Only this Redtail hawk was moving and missed whatever prey he was after because of the camera click:







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Yesterday was a rainy and cool day; over an inch of rain and 66F almost all day. That was so nice for a change !! It cleared last evening about 5 PM, and I spotted a Red-tail Hawk in one of the trees in the yard; got close enough to get a few photos too. No red tail visible. This hawk is as “high-color” as any I have ever seen; maybe a juvenile ? I don’t this a Harlan Red-tail.  I used my Canon 1DS Mark III with a Canon EF 400L DO IS f/4.0 lens:






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It is very rare to see a Rufous Hummingbird here in Arkansas. The last one I saw and also photographed was two years and one month ago. This mature adult male came in on Tuesday and I have seen him at the feeder about 2 dozen times since. I have not seen him this morning though so far. He is larger than Ruby Throat hummingbirds and much more aggressive. They are a “sight to see” but I’m sure the western US birders would love to see a Ruby Throat, too. I have about one hundred hummingbirds at four feeders and Im sure that is the attraction. I understand, but have not seen these “out of range” hummingbirds as late a December here in Arkansas.

I am rebuilding a deck that I fell through in June, and he has found a lookout from which to chase others on a new post. Taken up close with a Canon 1DS Mark III and a Canon EF300L f/4.0 IS lens @ 1/2000 of a second, coming very close (within 10 feet) to me:


Male Rufous Hummingbird

Male Rufous Hummingbird



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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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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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Yesterday was a beautiful day; temperatures in the mid-70’s; tomorrow brings severe thunderstorms again. What a cold start to June ! Not exactly swimming weather. Looked for Elk and Deer fawns yesterday; saw a few. Got a few photos; one of a newly dropped Elk calf; one of a raccoon, and one of a nice Whitetail Deer buckin velvet. Saw a few fawns and decided it might still be a few days early given this cool weather:



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A severe thunderstorm hit the Murray Valley at 2:21 AM this Saturday morning with intense lightning. At 2.23 AM a EF-2 Tornado hit near Asia Point about 5 miles east of here. We got about 2 inches of additional rain, also hail, and wind. Lost power for 5 hours also.There was a cute Eastern Wood Pee Wee singing about an hour ago; got a quick photo:


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An ongoing series about the redheaded woodpeckers near Parthenon, Arkansas:



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An ongoing series on the Mating of a pair of Red-headed woodpeckers near Parthenon, Arkansas:



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Jasper Cave changed names to Diamond Cave in the late 1920’s, I believe; the entrance now located just off County Road 20 about 1.5 miles west of Highway 327. Highway 327 runs south out of Jasper towards Parthenon, Arkansas. The cave has been closed for a good while now; but, the old outbuildings of the Tourist Camp remain and the old relocated Hudson log home remain at the base of the hill which contains the entrance to the cave:





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