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‘Outdoors’ Category

  1. ‘I Don’t Like People Taking Pictures of My Cows’

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    December 10, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    Common Grackles and European Starlings appear to be the main components of large blackbird roosts developing in my Fayetteville neighborhood. This is an annual event, as soon as we begin to have nighttime freezing. The birds roost together for various reasons, but a key one is that they are warmer in mass than individually.

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  2. The Eagle Has … Returned

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    November 24, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    We have Bald Eagles every year in Arkansas, including nesting birds. But there was a time, 25 years ago, when Bald Eagles were all but extinct in the state. Just to remind everybody: these eagles plus many other kinds of large birds, including many hawks and pelicans, were hard hit by the widespread use of certain chemicals on crops. The most infamous was DDT. When DDT began to show up in human mother’s milk, protective laws were finally enacted. What was designed to protect mother also protected big birds, like Bald Eagles. They bounced back from a single nest in the entire state in the early 1980s, to over 100 now. There are at least three known nests around Beaver Lake. ​ The take home message: sensible laws that protect our health and well-being can also protect the health and well-being of creatures with whom we share earth. Well, this is a long-winded introduction to the arrival in Northwest Arkansas of eagles that nested up north. They have come south for winter. Folks who spend a fair amount of time watching water birds in Arkansas know that as American Coots begin arriving here in big numbers, eagles come in on about …

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  3. ‘Ducks on the Pond’

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    November 12, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    ​The above is a phrase that Arkansas native — and in past days, an extremely famous and highly successful St. Louis Cardinal pitcher — Dizzy Dean employed in reference to runners on the base. He also stated, among other things, “The Good Lord was good to me. He gave me a strong right arm, a good body, and a weak mind.” Ole Diz is long gone, but there are still ducks on the pond, especially this month, when the feathered type that nested up north are now migrating through western Arkansas. There are now ducks on every large pond and lake in western Arkansas. Of course, green head Mallards are everywhere. They must be out on your pond, even now as you read. So too perhaps are the less famous but also numerous Gadwalls, Green-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers. These are all referred to as dabbling ducks, because they feed in shallow waters by tipping bottom up for food in the shallows. As we begin to have colder weather – which means much colder weather north of us – it’s like November’s heavens have suddenly opened. Claiming for avian royalty a new land as young-of-the-year ducks make their first trip south. Masses of Polar air add …

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  4. Fall into the Park’s Busy Season

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    November 11, 2011 by Devils Den

    By Tim V. Scott, Park Interpreter ​October is one of the busiest times of the year at the park. Visitors are always amazed that the park is at 100 percent capacity every weekend and close to that during the week. Everyone is here for the same reason. The weather for camping is perfect. We open the fireplaces in the cabins. It is ideal weather for a morning hike. The area is also bustling with craft fairs, but most of all, visitors are here for the fall colors.

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  5. What Rails Remember

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    October 30, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    Birds remember landscapes fundamentally invisible to us non-birds. I am reminded of this by a telephone call on Saturday night from a gentleman who lives at Garfield north of Beaver Lake. He is an experienced outdoors person, but near his home he has encountered a stranger: in size and general coloration, reminds him of the Northern Bobwhite, or quail, but the bill is longish and pointed rather than short and conical. The eyes are dark and large. When he walks toward the bird it doesn’t just fly away like a quail, but sort of pops up and then down with short awkward flights.

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  6. The CCC’s Voice of Satan

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    October 27, 2011 by Devils Den

    By Tim V. Scott, Park Interpreter ​The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp at Devil’s Den printed a newsletter named the “Voice of Satan.” It gives a unique insight into life at the park in 1936. The Voice of Satan was published every Friday. The below articles were included in the October 30, 1936 (VOL. 1 NO. 13) Halloween edition.

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  7. Spirits of Arkansas Still Roaming the Land

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    October 20, 2011 by Devils Den

    By Rebekah Sprulock ​Children will always be afraid of the dark, and men with minds sensitive to hereditary impulses will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate in the gulfs beyond the stars or press hideously upon our own globe in unholy dimensions which only the dead and the moonstruck may glimpse. — H.P. Lovecraft, “Supernatural Horror in Literature”

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