Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Posts tagged “Arkansas Birds

White-Eyed Vireo, A Pair of Chickadees and a Chipmunk

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Every action ripples across the Universe to recreate the future. ~ Lee Hiller

Along each trail Nature reveals her spring secrets… A pair of Chickadees collecting greens for their nest, a glorious White-Eyed Vireo, a lovely Chipmunk, Pearl Crecent Butterfly and Wildflowers.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Hello Spring!

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My Soul seeks to see life through the lens of Nature’s perspective. ~ Lee Hiller

I love early morning light in the Forest.  Slowly rising the sun awakens a sweet song of life which echos across the Tree tops.  A song to my Soul as I move gently along the trails in Hot Springs National Park.

Love to ALL!
Lee


The Elusive Tiny Flying Zebra of the Forest

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When you Free your Soul to the song of the Forest Nature transforms your Heart. ~ Lee Hiller

It is is difficult to blend into the Forest when you are a flying Zebra. They blend with ease into the bare Tree limbs awaiting the opening of the leaf buds poised on the tips of each branch.   As the bare winter Trees are painted in spring leaves their black and white will diminish as the perfect camouflage.   The tiny Black and White Warbler is as beautiful to the eyes as it’s song is to all who listen with their Heart.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Happy Spring 2014 – Sparrows Dance of Life

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I went in search of the last delicate pink Cherry Blossoms of 2014 in the Historic District of Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Recent storms battered the pink blooms and buds before they were all completely open. What I discovered instead was a lovely dance of life.

The city is nestled in the middle of Hot Springs National Park so the urban Wildlife often migrates between Tree lined streets and Forest trails.  Beautiful House Sparrows have nests in many of the historic building near the double row of the glorious Japanese Cherry Trees.

Searching the storm ravaged Trees for the last of their spring blossoms I discovered a female Sparrow among the sparse pink.  As I was taking her photograph she bowed slightly and a male landed on her back.  The balance did not hold and he flew to another branch.  Seconds later he again landed on her back and they performed a successful “cloacal kiss” (How Birds Mate).  I witnessed at least 5 successful attempts before he flew off to his own branch higher within the Tree.  Their mating was a beautiful acrobatic coupling (see youtube posting below that includes both stills and video).  Witnessing the creation of life is always a wonderful way to begin spring.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Ice Coated Branches Sprout Frost Shavings

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Nature sings of Love to open Hearts with a melody that heals the Soul. ~ Lee Hiller

Are these my last photos of winter this March in Hot Springs National Park?  I am not sure if Nature has yet to speak her last freezing word as we near spring. Each ice storm transforms the Forest bending branches and toppling Trees.  Nature re-sculpts her own art with each new weather event.  Sun and rain will soon bring glorious Wildflowers and Butterflies.

During the late winter storm last week the ice coated branches sprouted frost shavings. As the breeze caressed the branches they would fall like a light flurry of snow. They reminded me of of the metal shavings in my childhood magnet set.  I found them on the east side of North Mountain on two different trail.  Is it caused by the morning sun?  Nature always has something new which inspires investigation and education.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Another Wave of Ice and Snow in Hot Springs National Park

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Each note of Nature’s symphony renews my Soul. ~ Lee Hiller

Winter made another visit to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  The have open Cherry Blossoms froze and tiny Sparrows puffed up to hold back the 11 degree F temperature.  As I head up into Hot Springs National Park the ice covering the branches and the trails becomes thicker. Lovely ice jewels hang from evergreen fronds and yet to fall autumn Leaves.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Carolina Wren feeding Among the Icicles and Snow

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Nature’s song of Love sings softly to those who listen with their Heart. ~ Lee Hiller

I was mesmerized watching this little Carolina Wren hanging off the lichen covered rock face. It dove under icicles, shoved its head into the snow and presses his beak into the cracks in the rock.  My favorite maneuver by far was when the little sweetie laid on its side in the snow to reach behind an icicle.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Hiking in a Winter Wonderland

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Snow swirls softly around me, Nature’s dance, lovingly caressing me. ~ Lee Hiller

Hot Springs National Park is not known for its snow.  When the light white falls I can’t wait to get into the park and be the first to hike the pristine snow covered trails.  Ice and snow change the landscape transforming the familiar into a fantasy world.  I hope you will sit back and enjoy my slideshow journey and escape with me into the Forest.

Love to ALL!
Lee


A Fantasy Forest in Icy Hot Springs National Park

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“Nature is a portal that lifts our Soul into the Universe.” ~ Lee Hiller

The Hot Springs Mountain Trail is often a tail of two worlds in the winter.  The North side is always cooler, often Ice and snow covered it is a place where the frost flowers bloom. The South side thaws quickly in the morning and afternoon sun.  This hike revealed the beauty of both winter worlds on Hot Springs Mountain.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Birds Flock to Hot Springs Spa During Southern Freeze

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“I take flight on the wings of my Dreams to greet the new day.” ~ Lee Hiller

At the entrance to Hot Springs National Park is the hot water cascade.  During sub freezing winter days the local birds visit the hot spring to drink and keep warm.  The recent deep south freeze brought multiple flocks of birds to Hot Springs National Park.  The pushed out the regulars and took over the outdoor spa.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Kicking the Kids Out of the Nest

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Yesterday I stepped out for a quick (2  1/2 hours) afternoon hike and witnessed a Mom kicking the kids out of the nest.  For about 20 minutes she chased, barked and nipped at her kits to keep them in the Trees on the opposite side of the trail.  Tough love from a Squirrel mom.

Further along the trail a tiny Yellow Rumped Warbler was singing a sweet song as Male Cardinal was photo bombed by a White-Throated Sparrow. Vibrant orange Leaves glowed in the winter Forest lightng my way home.  It was a perfect winter hike!

Love to ALL!
Lee


Cedar Waxwings – Beautiful Masked Bandits Return

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Fleeing the storms in the north a favorite flock of visitors arrived in the Forest. Lovely bandit masks of Cedar Waxwings are always a wonderful sight for bird watchers and photographers. They softly coo as they await the sun in the half light perched high in the leafless Trees.  As first morning light arrives their buff and yellow colors are ignited by each ray reaching over the mountain ridge.  I hope they will stay for many months in our Forest.

Love to ALL!
Lee


A Glorious Morning with Woodland Creatures in the Winter Forest

“I take flight on the wings of my Dreams to greet the new day.” ~ Lee Hiller

SONY DSCWinter Serenade: Woodpeckers and Warblers appear throughout the Forest this morning.  Pileated, Sapsucker and Downy provide a rapping tapping rhythm section as Vireos, Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and Mockingbirds sing a sweet melody. The Trees sway and groan to the glorious song carried by the breeze.  The symphony of life carries me along each trail.

HSNP Lower Dogwood trail Chipmunk The Stud Muffin

HSNP Lower Dogwood trail Chipmunk The Stud Muffin

The Stud Muffin: Ice, snow, drought, prolonged extreme heat , floods and tornadoes have ravaged Hot Springs National Park the past 18 months.  The number of small mammals has greatly diminished.  Squirrels, Rabbits, Chipmunks, Fox etc. have now become rare sightings.  About 20 minutes into my hike I spotted this little Male Chipmunk chasing Female Chipmunks. Racing across logs, hopping onto rocks and popping in and out of numerous burrows for half an hour this athletic little stud muffin hooked up, made booty calls and knocked up the female population along the Lower Dogwood Trail.  He was so busy he nearly ran me over twice crisscrossing the trail to keep the ladies happy. His amorous endeavors are sure to help rebuild the decimated Chipmunk population in Hot Springs National Park. For his selfless entrepreneurial spirit Nature photographers salute this Forest Hero for his re-population efforts!

HSNP North Mountain Deer Tracks

HSNP North Mountain Deer Tracks

Signs of Life:  Although I know there are several herds of White-tail Deer roaming Hot Springs National Park they are elusive and I am always delighted by any sighting.  Heading home I hike down North Mountain it is wonderful to see fresh Deer tracks in the soil.  I make a slow 360 turn to see if I can catch a glimpse of an ear tip or  vanishing white tail.  I will have to hike up a bit earlier to catch them on their morning migration across the mountain in Hot Springs National Park. I love finding these delicate reminders of Forest life.

HSNP Sunrise on the Trail

HSNP Sunrise on the Trail

A Dance of Light: As the sun rises to illuminate the trail I am bathed in the beauty of a new day.  Mornings rays dance among the Short Leaf Pines and the tangle of Deciduous limbs.  Delicate splash of color appear as the first light kisses each surface of the Forest.

I embrace the beauty of the winter Forest!

Love to ALL!
Lee

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Opening My Soul to the Beauty of Winter

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Nature speaks to my Heart awakening my Soul to her secrets. ~ Lee Hiller

It often takes me a few days to adjust my eyes to see the subtle beauty of the winter Forest.  Autumn color rages for months with vibrant hue changes.  Suddenly the dynamic Leaves vanish from their perches on the Deciduous Trees sprinkled among the Short Leaf Pines. It challenges my perception when the autumn color has been ripped from the landscape. Eyes closed I open my Soul and inhale the oxygen of the Forest sentinels. Exhaling I slowly lift my lids to see the new beauty. A sublime delight as the delicate muted tapestry fills my vision.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Below the Iced Forest Little Birds Feast on Berries

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I hear the Universe within each moment of silence on the Forest trail. ~ Lee Hiller

At the base of the mountain beautiful birds feast on the exposed berries.  Competition is fierce as the ice storm has forced our winged winter residents to congregated at the lower elevation. A light crust of ice touches only the edges of the trail and has melted from the trees.  Only 250 feet higher up the mountain nearly half an inch of ice still coats the branches, berries and remaining leaves. A shimmering world wrapped on a glassy coating.  The beauty of winter has arrived.

Love to ALL!
Lee


When CLOSED is only a word #DontShutMeDown

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I am not prone to unlawful acts, but the idea of my local National Park being “Closed” to hiking and photography is a punishment I am not willing to accept.  These images are a protest against the irrational government shutdown by the Republican Party…  #DontShutMeDown #ShutDown  For those outside the US our National Park are closed and the National Park Service (NPS) employees have all been place on furlow.