Brown Snake or De Kay’s Snake (Storeria dekayi) in my backyard

I was doing my first mowing of the year and thankfully I had it set as high as it would go (grass was tall in a few places, wet everywhere) because i did not see this little guy until he disappeared under the mower.  Luckily he reemerged unscathed but vary wary of me.  I pondered the identification and finally asked Jeremy Chamberlain.

unidentified snake Little Rock March 2015 2268

Rufous Hummingbird March 2015

This Rufous Hummingbird has been hanging out at a friend’s house all winter.  He survived some brutal weather and was counted on a CBC and a GBBC but can he survive the return of “Atilla the Hum” in a few weeks?  I certainly hope so. Click image for a larger view.

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Rufous Hummingbird Little Rock March 2015 2261

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Rufous Hummingbird Little Rock March 2015 2263

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Rufous Hummingbird Little Rock March 2015 2260

New State Bird (for Everyone) the Great Black-backed Gull

This bird first seen by Kenny & LaDonna Nichols on Thursday. Friday, Karen, Doris, Dottie and I made a speed run to lake Dardanelle to see it but was foiled.  Saturday, the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas on their monthly field trip spent a lot of time looking for it.  I had to take off around noon and missed its recovery at about 4 PM. So Sunday morning, Dan Scheiman and I went one more time and found it within about 15 minutes.  Third time charm.  Common on the east coast, never seen in Arkansas before. I saw one on the east coast 29 years ago so this is only a half-life bird and a great state bird #340.

Great Black-backed Gull Lake Dardanelle January 2015 2198 Great Black-backed Gull Lake Dardanelle January 2015 2210

Christmas bird counts

Just finished the last of five Christmas bird counts this season, two more than my previous record. First it was Lonoke on December 14, then Little Rock and Conway on the 20th & 21st. Then Hot Springs (in a constant drizzle) on January 4th and Holla Bend on the 5th. I was supposed to do six but let the threat of ice from the sky and the crud that’s going around keep me from doing that one. Fun but exhausting and glad its over.

Notable sightings from the five counts:

  • A Screech Owl at Holla Bend (I’m usually lucky to hear one once a year) that I somehow surprised.
  • 14 Harris Sparrows along Country Loop Road south of Holla Bend.
  • Two Great Horned Owls (one outside my territory) at Lonoke.
  • Merlin at Lonoke.
  • Bewick’s Wren in Conway.
  • 300 Smith’s Longspurs also in Conway.
  • 3 Brown-headed Nuthatch in what is reportedly a new location in Conway. Although I have them at my feeders, they are apparently uncommon in Conway.

Frog Bayou WMA 10/4/2014

The Audubon Society of Central Arkansas visited Frog Bayou Saturday. We saw plenty of good bird, Merlin, Laughing Gull, Sora.  I managed to get a few butterflies too. Click for a larger image.


Monarch Frog Bayou WMA October 2014 1605

Checkered White

Checkered White Bayou WMA October 2014 1616

Variegated Fritillary

Variegated Fritillary Frog Bayou WMA October 2014 1592

Green Heron

This guy was looking for breakfast this morning.  I guess he was hungry enough that he didn’t fly off after looking at me.

Green Heron Two Rivers Park August 2014

Green Heron Two Rivers Park August 2014

Big Bluet – First State Record in Arkansas

I posted this picture about a week ago under the mistaken identification of Double-striped Bluet. My friend David Arbour recognized it instead as a Big Bluet. What is significant about that is there has never been a reported sighting of a Big Bluet in Arkansas. Thanks to David who sent the picture to several experts and submitted it to OdonataCentral, this picture has been accepted as the first state record for a Big Bluet damselfly in Arkansas.

Big Bluet Lake Dardanelle August 2014 1289

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill seen today in water along side the road in Desha County Arkansas with Sam Dixon, Dottie Boyles, Doris Boyles, Cindy Franklin, Bill Burnham, Karen Holliday, and Justin Brand> Other cool birds seen – Glossy Ibis, White-faced Ibis, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Wilson’s Warbler.Roseate Spoonbill Desha County August 2014 1319

Audubon Arkansas Butterfly Walk

Uta & Dan from Audubon Arkansas hosted a Butterfly Walk at the Central Arkansas Water Sod Farm (formerly Winrock Sod Farm) today. The conditions were cool and cloudy, very much not July weather, which kept the bug activity but we saw a few. Here are some.Passionflower CAW Sod Farm July 2014 1226 Virginia Meadow Beauty CAW Sod Farm July 2014 1224 Pearl Crescent CAW Sod Farm July 2014 1238 dark skipper CAW Sod Farm July 2014 1235 Swarthy Skipper CAW Sod Farm July 2014 1234 gray masked beetle CAW Sod Farm July 2014 1232