Coleman Creek

Coleman Creek is  an urban creek, encompassed in parts by the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the neighboring Cooperative Extension Service headquarters. There’s a fairly broad bit of woodlands on either side of the creek at the extension service side. The green areas support small populations of foxes, coyotes, raccoons, red-tailed hawks, kingfishers, various rodentia, stray dogs, bobcats, and at times, camps set up by the homeless.

The creek itself supports fish, turtles, freshwater mussels and crawdads. It is a welcome oasis and a tremendous natural resource right in the middle of town.

Fish in creek
SCHOOLING — Cardinal shiners swirl around in the clear water.
Open shell on stone.
REMAINS OF THE DINNER – Open freshwater mussel shell is all that remains of some raccoon’s dinner.
vertebra, crawdad shell on rock.
LEFT ON THE CREEKSIDE – A vertebra and the bleached shell of a crawfish on a rock in Coleman Creek in Little Rock.

Urban hawk

One of several red-tailed hawks that make the green belt along Coleman Creek in Little Rock’s University District their home. This fellow was probably looking for lunch.

Red-tailed hawk in a tree.
KEEPING WATCH — Red-tailed hawk pauses in a sweet gum tree.
Hawk in tree.
LOOKING DOWN — Hawk checks out possible lunch int he brush below.

Rising above

It’s so good to see our campus hawk cruising the thermals during a lunchtime photo safari.

SOARING SPIRIT -- The campus hawk spirals above the parking lot and green spaces on a beautiful, overcast spring day.
SOARING SPIRIT — The campus hawk spirals above the parking lot and green spaces on a beautiful, overcast spring day.

The waxwing tree

The phone rang. A colleague upstairs called to see if I’d seen the flocks of cedar waxwings sweeping and swirling from tree to tree around the office grounds and adjacent campus. The birds moved almost as one; stripping the hollies of their berries and continually finding new places to roost. Waxwings are beautiful birds with their masks and crests. Look closely and you can see accents of bright yellow and pink in tips of their wings and tails.

TREEFULL - Birds outnumber blooms on the branches of this tulip tree.
TREEFULL –  Masked birds outnumber blooms on the branches of this tulip tree.
DOWN -- Injured waxwing seeks rest in the grass.
DOWN — Injured waxwing rests in the grass. He fell in a sort of spiraling flat spin like an autumn leaf. Perhaps he was dazed after a collision? Sadly, an hour later, his head tipped forward. His beak to the ground, he expired.

Another redhead in the parking lot*

Theparking lots between the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Cooperative Extension  Service headquarters are ringed with a mix of old, tall hardwoods and pines that rise to somewhere in the 50-70 foot range. This thin forest is home to an abundance of life including hawks, raccoons and coyotes. There are several types of woodpeckers too; red-bellied, pileated and this fellow, the red-headed woodpecker.

ON HIGH — Red-headed woodpecker enjoys the view from atop a large, leafless pine tree.

(*The earlier redhead in the parking lot was a spectacular red maple)

The higher ed hawk

It’s not uncommon for the thrum of traffic along South University Avenue in Little Rock to pierced by the shriek of a hawk. Folks who work at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and the adjacent extension service offices have observed a female hawk nesting in the same place for at least five years. Her landings near high office windows or railings are a delight to watch.  It’s also a relief to her fans that despite the rise of new campus buildings and the demise of some of the higher pines, she continues to make the university her home.

Below, some hawk shots taken during morning strolls around campus.

WATCHING — Hawk perches some 60 feet above campus.
WAITING — Juvenile red-tailed hawk waits out the harassment doled out by blue jays, catbirds and other smaller birds. It eventually flew back toward its nest.
HAWK’S NEST — Described as being “big as a La-Z-Boy.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

A bicycle rider is a blur as she moves through time and space relative to the camera’s eye.

FRIDAY RIDE DAY -- A rider sets out on a sunny Friday as part of a workplace effort to get people exercising at the University of Arkansas's Cooperative Extension Service state headquarters in Little Rock. The rides are held at lunchtime and will run eight weeks, culminating with the city's Ride to Work Day. 

Some favorite renderings of the theme (so far!) can be found at:

http://windagainstcurrent.com/2012/03/23/weekly-photo-challenge-through/
http://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/scenic-through-a-mirror-weekly-photo-challenge/
http://brokenlightcollective.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/close-but-far-away-photo-challenge-through/
http://northernnarratives.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/weekly-photo-challenge-through/
http://fourdeeroak.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/weekly-photo-challenge-through/
http://felixrsv.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/wpct/
http://fluffyflurries.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/weekly-photo-challenge-through-2/