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Posts Tagged ‘bird notes’

  1. ‘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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  2. Birding the Wheel of Fortune

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    October 15, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    ​If you’re going birding, you’ll have to turn off the TV and today’s Wheel of Fortune rerun. I play it every day myself, planning out my bird watching adventures. This involves one of my most jealously guarded secrets. How do I decide where to go birding today? This is something I only started asking myself seriously about three years ago when the U.S. Forest Service and I parted company after many years of mostly happy marriage. I have devised a foolproof system for figuring out my days. It begins with a checklist. Should I go birding today? Possible answers: (1) YES, and (2) YES.

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  3. Birding Opportunities In The Dogdays

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    July 28, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    If the dogdays are getting you down, consider shorebirds or sandpipers. I know this may sound strange, but by late July it is possible to find around a dozen different species of sandpipers making the transit south through western Arkansas. Even non-birders know at least one: Killdeer.

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  4. Creek Walking

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    July 17, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    In early July there are serious questions about moisture. All is wilt in my yard. But as I head toward the Buffalo River’s upper valley, the sun is an iridescent orange mass pulsating pinks through a jagged green tree canopy, moisture-laden blue clouds scattered above. A cardinal sings fresh and new at the rise.

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  5. Lost Between the Lines

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    June 30, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    If you have some vacation time this summer, it’s inexpensive and not so far up to Pea Ridge National Military Park northeast of Rogers. There’s lots of pioneer and Civil War history and for me, productive birding. My first stop is along Sugar Creek, clear water flowing over attractive yellowish-red chert rubble. An Acadian Flycatcher gives the PIZ-ZA! call. When I stop to see it, I notice a snapping turtle up on a high sandbar where it has dug a hole and appears to be laying eggs. Union soldiers expected attack from Confederates, so they constructed protective works of log, soil, and rock on the ridge overlooking Sugar Creek. I park, and from a thicket comes the song of a Kentucky Warbler. Soldiers cut big virgin hardwoods and made them into breastworks. Today, towering white oaks re-own the place, as do Red-eyed Vireos. And the trail? Water has been busy eroding it away. Roots are pushing up through asphalt. Leaf-cup and wild hydrangea are blooming along trail sides, with patches of Christmas fern. Shady bare spots are colonized by bottlebrush grasses. A Louisiana Waterthrush walks and bobs on the once battlefield. Along Arkansas 72, open fields stretch east and west …

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  6. The Mother Ship Has Landed, or Something

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    June 18, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    Have you been hearing a powerful low hum, like the mother ship has landed, unseen? In waves of rising and falling, a shrill hiss has joined hum. It’s like the earth has taken on new breathing.

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  7. Avocet in Northwest Arkansas

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    June 5, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal

    From the perspective of those interested in birds, one of the gifts of living in northwest Arkansas is contained in that word “West.” We are not in the Great American West, exactly, but neither are we in the true East. Speaking biologically, we are at a crossroads.

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