Eureka Nature

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

Sunday, April 30, 2006

View from lower deck

BB Day5 3
Originally uploaded by Jettpakk1.
Looking toward the stairs

Lower portion decked

BB Day5 1
Originally uploaded by Jettpakk1.
Lon Dell and Jerry helped out and made quick work of decking the lower platform. I think we're about halfway done. The ramp still has to be done, and I'm waiting for the fencing to be delivered. Next project is framing out the walls to receive the fencing.

Salt and Pepper Kingsnake

Kingsnake 3
Originally uploaded by Jettpakk1.
That's what I always called them, but I don't know if that's the official name. When I found him (?) he was down the hole where the little pebble is. I was afraid he'd go through and fall in a well. It was about three feet long, maybe a little less.

Spicebush Swallowtails

Spicebush ST 2
Originally uploaded by Jettpakk1.
Seen at the birdblind site. The group at left is females, which have greenish coloring and are larger than the male at upper right, which has an almost pure blue coloring. The behavior of gathering at shallow water puddles is called "puddling". Isn't that strange.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Flowers and a Question Mark

New bloomers include Spiderworts, Milkweed almost, Comfrey (known locally as Lamb's Ear), Purple Asters, the blooms have appeared on the Wild Ginger, Wood Sorrel is blooming, the Pennyroyal is up enough to be fragrant, and there are some very well done Wild Geraniums.

A Question Mark is a butterfly. The one I saw was gunmetal blue-gray on the hindwing, outlined with white, much nicer than the photo in the link. I also had an Eastern Pondhawk, one of the few dragons I've learned so far.

After the Flood

I had three inches at my house, and I think Eureka may have been over four. Leatherwood Creek was bank-to-bank again, with lots of flooding over trails and re-arranging of flotsam. I ended up wading, wet to my knees, hoping for some fallout. That's when the north-bound birds hit heavy weather and go to ground in unusual concentrations. It didn't happen. But I did find a number of new birds for the year. The following is just the things not seen on Sunday.

Chimney Swifts
Many Tree Swallows
Cliff Swallows, a few
Magnolia Warbler
Pine Warbler
Gray Catbird
Broad-wing Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Common Yellowthroat
Tennessee Warbler
Baltimore Oriole

That makes another ten species in the last three days

Monday, April 24, 2006

Journey North Monarch Butterfly Spring 2006

Journey North Monarch Butterfly Spring 2006

This is a great site, lots of nuances. The Monarchs have been here for a couple of weeks, and I'm seeing milkweed about a foot tall. Haven't checked for eggs.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Today's bird list, with comments

I've added some links on the more interesting critters, and some notes

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Great Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron - this was a treat, I see one or two every year

Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
American Coot - seems late
Solitary Sandpiper - flying with wing flicks, unususal here
Spotted Sandpiper - two together
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker - a real treat always, but hardly ever at Leatherwood. There are a coupleof places in town where they are relaible.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo - sounds like a red-eye, but some phrases are extended, loud too

Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow - two males in conflict, maybe we'll get a nest
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Carolina Wren

Bewick's Wren - this is special, they've nested sucessfully at Leatherwood, but only seen a couple of times last year. Hoping for another nesting. They look like Carolina's but have white bellies instead of orangeish.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler - saw two males chasing, with a female watching
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula

Yellow Warbler - a singing male, gorgeous. I think they could nest here, I have a record from near Ozark, but they head on north every year.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Prairie Warbler - in its regular place on the far side of the lake
Black-and-white Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush - numbers seem to fall, maybe because of dryness
Kentucky Warbler - they're back
Summer Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow - a pair with bright orange legs
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting - the electric blue blessing, first one at Leatherwood
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird

Orchard Oriole - suddenly there are five or six, singing and claiming trees. Leatherwood is one of the best palces around to see them.

American Goldfinch

Number of Species: 60

Saturday results

BB Day4 1
Originally uploaded by Jettpakk1.
This shows most of what we got accomplished on Saturday. Lon Dell came by and we set four more posts, hung some rim joists and built the stairs, which are still needing some treads and railings. I'm hoping to get that done today (Sun). Bird report coming too, 58 species this morning

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Good morning on the blind, birds too

Birds first. Sally Thackery called and said she had Scarlet Tanager, Summer Tanager, the one that goes "chicky-tuck", and Rose-breasted Grosbeak in her yard yesterday. Now that's three of the showiest species in Eastern North America. Too bad Wood Ducks don't show upon feeders. There's also been a rumor for years that Painted Buntings stay at Holiday Island in the summer. If anyone has specific info about them, I'd love to know.

I had an email and comment on the Falcate Orange-tip butterfly from Don and Judy of Nine-stone. Apparently they have seen them there as well. So heads up, it's a single brooded spring flyer, so now is the time.

Lon Dell came again and we got four more posts cemented in the ground, the lower deck rimmed, and the stairs to the upper deck mostly done. Should also be able to get some pics up tomorrow. I'll be out there tomorrow morning for the bird count starting at 7, then will work on the blind railings in the afternoon. Anybody is welcome for either or both events.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Blind under construction

Blind under construction
Originally uploaded by Jettpakk1.
This is the view down the little path to the stair location. The height of the wall will be six feet, so some of the posts seen here will be shortened. We hope to get the stairs built on Saturday, which will make everything a lot easier with acces to a flat work area on the platforms.

Blind under construction

Blind under construction
Originally uploaded by Jettpakk1.
This gives some idea of the visualimpact from the path of the wheelchair ramp. The lower paltfrom will be decked this weekend.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Work on the Blind

Lon Dell came out again, and we got some rim joists bolted and the inner joists hung, then decking applied. That makes the upper platform able to be stood on, and the view is great. LD was surprised at how much four-plus feet added to the view. Next work party is Saturday morning, any help is appreciated. Kate from the Carroll County News came by and took a few pictures and is working up an article. I'll get a couple of my pix up tomorrow. I didn't see any new migrants, but birding was not very good with the generator running, but it sure did make a difference in ability to use tools.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sunday 4/16 Bird report

First of year this weekend were Lots of Red-eyed Vireos, and two Warbling Vireos. There was one Indigo Bunting on Sat, but I couldn't find any on Sunday. Hawks were good, Red-shoulders that live there, a great look at a Sharp-shinned that will be gone soon, and a Broad-wing. I had the first Chimney Swift on Sunday, so they should be doing their crepuscular dances downtown soon. I had a couple of Ovenbirds too and a small flock of a dozen Cedar Waxwings hanging around the cabin area. There are still Ruby-crowned Kinglets, but they should be leaving soon, along with the single White-throated Sparrow that is still skulking.

The wildflower report

While birding at Lake leatherwood I took notes on the wildflower bloom too. Buckeyes and PawPaws are blooming, the pawpaw bloom being one of the wonders of our local nature. On the ground I had lots of the plants previously mentioned and several new ones.

Two colors of Larkspurs
Wild Onions
Blue-eye Grass
Yellow Star Grass (I think that's the right name)
Shooting Stars
White Violets
Wood Sorrel (it was out last week)
A few Trilliums
A few Mayapples
The Wild Ginger leaves are up, but I couldn't find any blooms yet

Many Monarch Butterflies, and several others that I didn't get IDs on, and several Dragonflies that I couldn't even get good looks at, they seem disinclined to rest much in the morning.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Bird Blind progress and new critters arriving

LonDell Williams came out this morning and helped for four hours, so we got up five additional posts and some rim joists. Big progress there. Saw DonnaKay and Leona, super birders of Berryville, who said they'd seen first of year Indigo Buntings and Red-eyed Vireos. They also reported Pine Warblers and Yellow-throated Vireos seen. We had a singing Yellow-throated Warbler over the blind site, and a Louisiana Waterthrush at the yard. I've had Whip-poor-wills a home for at least a week. Blind pictures coming soon, next work party is Wednesday morning at 8:30, we'll get some bolts run in and joists and decking going. Ron of Seligman dropped off the generator he's generously allowing us to use. A good looking machine too.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday report, GREAT butterfly

Well I got fifty species of birds, but the best find was a beautiful butterfly, a Falcate Orangetip. Check the range map to see why this is quite a find. It was along the trail from the Beacham loop to the ball fields, right where the big sycamores open into a little meadow. Same place where the first Blue-Winged Warblers showed up today. Only new flowers I noticed were Orange Hawkweed, and White Violets. Also new were Northern Rough-wing Swallows, Green Heron, Barn Swallows (but this group must have just been passing through). That's all I can remember.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sites for following migration

Some sites for following migration

eBird at Cornell allows you to call up all kinds of maps. You can also register and have your own observations become part of the database.

Journey North is a site aimed at students, but is interesting to almost all skill levels.

There are sites for Purple Martins, Hummingbirds, Monarch Butterflies, and probably others.

During the winter Ducks Unlimited keps tabs on waterfowl migration.

Global Warming and Arkansas Wildlife

Here's a report from the National Wildlife Federation.

NWF report: Global warming will damage Arkansas wildlife
Bulletin Sports Writer

The National Wildlife Federation recently sent out a report predicting the effects of global warming, and how the forecasted warmer temperatures are projected to alter Arkansas wildlife and its habitats.

Lisa Madry, a regional representative for the NWF, was particularly concerned by the potential decrease in the migration of waterfowl to the state.

The NWF report predicts extreme drought in the Prairie Porthole Region — an area where ducks breed in North and South Dakota and southern Canada. If that's the case, Madry said we "could see declines of as much as 70 percent of the duck population in the central and Mississippi flyways."

"So that's something that we are really interested in following — and are very concerned about how that would impact Arkansas," she said. "The models aren't clear if Arkansas would be a little more wet or dry, but in that (Porthole) region it's pretty clear there's going to be more drought, and that could have a huge impact on Arkansas."

According to the report, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that if global warming continues unabated, by the year 2100 "average temperatures in Arkansas could increase about two degrees Fahrenheit in winter and summer, and about three degrees Fahrenheit in spring and fall."

The NWF report listed three potential problems for Arkansas:
· warmer fall and winter temperatures in northern regions would make it unnecessary for waterfowl to fly as far south to find ice-free water and suitable food, seriously affecting Arkansas' waterfowl hunting industry.
· global warming could cause 40-60 percent of Arkansas' forests to be replaced by grasslands as slightly warmer temperatures push trees currently suited to the state's climate northward.
· loss of wildlife and habitat could mean a loss of tourism dollars.

Global warming occurs when coal, gas and oil are burned, producing carbon dioxide "that builds up in the atmosphere and traps the sun's heat," the report stated. Much of this greenhouse gas released today remains in the atmosphere even after 100 years, trapping more and more heat, the report continued.

Arkansas is located in an area where Gulf, Pacific and Arctic air masses often meet, which makes the state "highly sensitive to extreme weather changes," the report concluded.

Rising temperatures, according to the report, "will likely change the makeup of entire ecosystems, forcing wildlife to shift their ranges or adapt."

Arkansas has 312 birds, 69 mammals, 64 reptiles, 203 fish and 49 amphibians, and the report said these animals are subject to the following risks:
· as the temperature warms, the makeup of forests in Arkansas is expected to change dramatically.
· the breeding range of 31 species of songbirds could shift out of Arkansas forever due to climate factors and changing food sources.
· higher temperatures and drought during summer months could reduce the productivity of bobwhite quail by limiting the availability of insects necessary to keep hens and chicks healthy.
· global warming has the potential to expand the range of imported fire ants into the northern regions of the state; wildlife at particular risk to ant attacks include newly born fawns, hatchling quail and ground-nesting waterfowl chicks.

Temperatures on Earth, according to the report, could climb between two to 10 degrees this century unless changes are made to reduce the pollution. "Such a rapid rise in temperature would fundamentally reshape the planet's climate, forever changing the landscape and water resources people and wildlife depend upon," the report stated.

Madry said it's up to each individuals to make changes in his or her energy consumption.

"Simple things like getting fluorescent light bulbs and things like that," she said. "It doesn't seem like a lot, but it really does add up."

She encouraged Arkansas residents to impress this issue on the lawmakers.

"We need to reduce the global warming pollution, and we need legislation at the federal level that's going to help us do that," said Madry.

"This is where folks in Arkansas have a key role to play — to work to get the Arkansas senators to help support legislation that would commit the country to better alternative energy technologies that are cleaner and more sustainable, and reducing and requiring cuts to our carbon-based emissions," she added.

To read more about the NWF's report, go to .

To learn about The Climate Stewardship Act, a bipartisan plan in Congress aimed at reducing global warming pollution in the U.S., visit the Web site .

"Sometimes it seems like a big and overwhelming thing and the solutions are really far away from us," said Madry. "In one sense it is a big problem, but there actually are solutions.

"There are things people can actually do to make a difference on this," she added. "I would just encourage people to learn more about the issue, because it's not something that's going to go away."
Originally published February 25, 2006


Thursday, April 06, 2006

For the Birds Podcast

Laura Erickson is based in Duluth Minnesota, and has radio programs on a number of NPR stations, as well as several books. The link here is for the soundtracks of the programs.

She was in Arkansas for a month after the new year, and searched for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The other portions of her weblog cover a lot of ground, not just birds. Go and dig in her links. I particularly like her solace page when I'm taking the news of the Kali Yuga too much to heart.

For the Birds Podcast

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Quigs help with strings

BB with strings
Originally uploaded by Jettpakk1.
Marc Quigley and his mom came by on Tuesday and we got the string lines set for getting the posts in the right place.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Leatherwood blind site 1

Leatherwood blind site 1
Originally uploaded by J Pat Valentik.
This is an experimental post to see how the photo posting works in Flickr. The picture was taken by Joe Neal, and shows the area where the viewing platforms will be located. Looks like you may have to clickon the image, though that's a problem I have sometimes with this computer. If anyone gets the picture immediately on this post, please send a comment so I'll know it's working right. Thanks.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sunday Report April 2, 06

Between Sat morning casual counting and the regular Sunday morning survey, I've had 47 species at Lake Leatherwood this weekend. I was very pleased to find a Spotted Sandpiper at its regular place on the sandy wading beach below the bath-house. The last Buffleheads must have left. I had the first Yellow-throated Vireo this morning, plus several each of Parulas, Black-and-Whites, and Louisiana Waterthrushes.

On the wildflower front, there were blooms on some Sorrel, wild Onions, Rue Anemone, Johnny Jump Ups, and Dandelions. Also the first bloom on a Buttercup. There were Spicebush, Tiger and Zebra Swallowtails flying, and the first Dragonfly, a big green one that I haven't figured out an ID on yet. I never got a really close look.

By the way, here's a URL for vulture information.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

First of Season (FOS), while working on the Blind

Seen from the site of the blind or nearby. Also had first blooming Jacob's Ladder.

Canada Goose - 8 or 10
Wood Duck - 10 in pairs, far side of lake
Blue-winged Teal - 19 at least
Bufflehead - 1 pair
Pied-billed Grebe - many, maybe 20 +
Red-shouldered Hawk - 1 calling, then seen
American Coot - dozen near the dam
Kingfisher - 2 flying together
Eastern Phoebe
White-eyed Vireo - FOS
Hermit Thrush - calling
Cedar Waxwing - several
Northern Parula - 2 FOS
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 2
Black-and-white Warbler - 1 FOS
Louisiana Waterthrush - 2
Song Sparrow - checking me out
White-throated Sparrow

Number of Species: 18