Fair weather feathered friend

The weather here in the Mid-South has been so gloomy. Fog and more fog and rain on top of rain. Not that we don’t need the rain, but at some point, you just want to believe the sun will show its face again. Yesterday was that day.  The sun shone for a few hours, enough time to bring out the birds, get the rock knockers calling to their mates and to do some long overdue car washing.

1-21-2017Cardinal 2.jpg
Mr. Cardinal out enjoying yesterday’s brief few hours of sunshine. 

 

Henpecked?

Saw an unusual red bird during a lunchtime walk. A scarlet tanager? A summer tanager, or something else?  A closer look showed him to be a cardinal — a bald cardinal. One colleague suggested this poor fellow’s condition the result of an extreme case of henpecking.

HENPECKED? — A cardinal without headfeathers picks off some lunch on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The great weight of ornithological ignorance

In keeping with our lazy naturalist philosophy, we couldn’t ever really be called serious bird watchers. We don’t keep a log, but do have the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America handy, to see just who it is flitting about in the trees. (And a friend of our Minnesota uncle and aunt who is a serious authority on birds.)

QUIET MOMENT -- Phoebe rests for a minute.

Today, we discovered how little we really know about ornithology as we struggled to figure out some of these birds. Below are terrible pictures taken today. (one of these days will have to take out the “real” cameras with the real fast glass to shoot.)

Seen yesterday or  today, but not captured in pixels: Eastern bluebird, tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, Eastern towhee, a Carolina or black-capped chickadee, dark-eyed junco and a big red-tailed hawk.

What was captured was a cardinal, and we think, a western wood peewee, downy woodpecker, an eastern phoebe, a hermit thrush and a lone female bufflehead.

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MYSTERY NEST -- About 30 feet up in a deciduous tree. We're not sure what this is.

Feb. 9 snow storm

The National Weather Service at Little Rock was calling for up to 8 inches across most of  Arkansas, with locally heavier amounts possible. The forecasts for this storm were enough to prompt schools, churches and businesses to keep closed for the day, except for essential personnel.  Mother Nature isn’t taking any breaks on this snow day.

Cardinal in the snow
Cardinal plucks what berries he may as the snow falls.
Deer crossing the driveway
One of a group of four deer, making the morning rounds cutting through the driveway.
Deck chairs filled with snow
The deck chairs show their white cushions during a snow cease-fire. I'd say Ferndale falls into the "locally heavier amounts" category.

This storm follows one that dumped about two inches on the Ouachitas two days ago. All this snow is a bit of a novelty in the South. Just 20 years ago, Little Rock owned one snow plow. We take comfort in knowing that even the county now owns sand/salt trucks — a blessing out in the middle of nowhere. Real four-wheel drive helps too.

snowy scene on the road
Could be Bavaria in the spring, but it is the Ouachitas in winter.