Eureka Nature

For posting information about natural history events in and around Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Wood Ducks and a Woodcock

I birded Leatherwood on Saturday morning, seeing the forcast for rain on Sunday. A vast improvement from last week; I had as many species within fifty feet of my parking space as I'd had the whole previous trip. The best birds of the day were four returning Wood Ducks. These may not end up being the actual summer residents, but they are the front edge of that movement. Woodies must be the most beautiful bird in North America, and always a pleasure to see. Several pairs breed up the creek from the Lake, and then bring their babies out on the big water as they mature. They're pretty shy, and often hide when they see the first human of the day, so if you want to see them, you have to get there early. A scope helps get a good view since they seem to favor the far side of the lake.

Another good surprise was a Woodcock, aka Mud Hen, which I flushed along the lakeshore. I've seen them at Leatherwood once before, a great look since they didn't flush but just continued probing the deep mud for earthworms.

The fragrant patch of pennyroyal on the trail behnd the parked Forest Management bulldozer was starting to sprout.


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