Eureka Nature

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Birdwatching technology, April birding hikes

An article in the environmentally clueless WSJ, interesting. I use recordings sometimes, especially when trying to make a difficult bird see-able by a group, but avoid using recordings often or in the same places. It's handy to have them in the truck for quick reference too. I enjoy getting a good picture too, but having the camera along really hampers my concentration, so I usually leave it behind. I haven't gotten my hands on a good pointer laser, but have seen them used well by Doug James, a prof at UArk. I'll probably use recordings on the public hikes in April. Her's a first draft of the announcements.

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Saturday, April 28

Eleventh Annual International Migratory Bird Day Hike at Lake Leatherwood

We'll meet at the bathhouse at Lake Leatherwood City Park at 8:30 am. Some folks will probably be there earlier so come as early as possible to catch the dawn chorus and early activity and birdsong. Dress in duller colors, no whites or brights. Wear decent walking shoes, but this isn't strenuous hiking. Maybe bring some water since we usually go about three hours. Definitely bring binoculars. Some, a few, loaners will be available, but don't count on them. Children less than twelve should be accompanied by an adult. No pets.

We usually see between 50 and 60 species of migratory and resident birds, as well as the spring wildflowers and some butterflies and dragonflies, and general natural whatnot. Over the years we've seen 102 species on these hikes, so some pretty unusual things are possible. This is the early part of the peak of northbound migration, and the trees don't have a thick covering of leaves, so the birds are easier to find. We usually get lots of warblers, flycatchers, vireos, orioles, and tanagers making for a very colorful selection of critters.

There is no charge, the public is welcome, and in case of rain we'll try the same time on Sunday April 29. For more information please call (479) 981 0901 during reasonable hours.

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Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15

An exploration and tour of local birding areas near Eureka Springs.

In order to help folks plan for birding around Eureka during spring migration and throughout the year, we'll drive around to several local areas that have proven productive in the past. Most of these are highlighted in the article on local birding opportunities, but it's not possible to see them all in a day and a half. We'll meet at the Little Bread Company on Hiway 62/23 and decide how to organize transport. I'm hoping we can get several folks in a few cars to make traveling in a group easier. If anybody has FRS radios they can really help. We'll also try to plan out a reasonable sweep of places folks want to see. Three or four hours at Lake Leatherwood City Park will be reserved for Sunday morning at 8:00 am, so Saturday will be a little farther ranging, up to thirty plus miles from Eureka. Likely spots are places near Beaver Dam, Roaring River State Park in Missouri, Withrow Springs State Park south on Hiway 23, the Ozark Natural Science Center, and the prairies north of Grandview.

This is a rain-or-shine event, since we'll mostly be touring. If the weather is inclement, bring rain gear and we'll do our best. No white or bright clothes, wear good walking shoes, bring water and binoculars. This is the beginning of spring migration, but the trend has been for the birds to begin moving earlier than was historically the case, so we could find some notable species. Children under twelve should be accompanied by an adult. No pets. There is no charge and the public is welcome. For more information, please call (479) 981 0901 during reasonable hours.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Great Backyard Bird Count starts today

Friday through Monday Feb 16 - 19. Count birds in your yard, or at a nearby good place. I'll be doing Lake Leatherwood, but someone could check out Black Bass Lake, or the Cemetery. Who knows what else? Then report your results at the GBBC site.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lake Leatherwood - cold and fewer birds

I had been away for a couple of weeks to the Gulf Coast, birding of course. I'll get a report up on the Bird Traveling blog. Got some pretty good pics, mostly waders. But I made it to Leatherwood yesterday. Apparently the long cold spell has taken its toll. Not a single Grebe. Buffleheads about average, Ring-necks way down, six Mallards, no teal. Only a single sparrow, but still many Juncos. Other residents seen in low numbers. A mature Eagle flew in and landed in a far side tree.
The best birds were six Golden-crowned Kinglets.

The good news? I think my Bluebirds at home are pairing up. Spring is coming. Persevere.