Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Posts tagged “Arkansas Birds

How I became a Birder

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In 2009 when I began my foray into Nature photography I was not a birder.  When I began hiking in Hot Springs National Park during the winter of 2009-2010 Birds became my companions.  Even in the harshest weather Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Sparrows, Mockingbirds and Pine Warblers were with me along each trail.  In those early days of hiking I only had my 5-year-old Sony Cybershot and each clear shot of a moving bird felt like a miracle.  I used to call my camera the “Magic Box” as often I had no clue what I had captured until I returned home and scoured the Internet for bird identification.

To get better shots of the many beautiful birds I would stand out-of-sight in the pagoda on Hot Springs Mountain.  One morning in February of 2010 as I was looking out over the valley when I heard loud squawking on the lawn below.  I glance down and saw a flock of Robins grabbing at seeds and in the melee were smaller Birds holding their own. The Lovely Creatures of the Forest on the Hot Springs Trails  I realized they were the same type of Bird I had seen briefly in January.

The exotic markings on the Cedar Waxwing made me take a second look all Birds.  I began to see them all with a greater appreciation for their unique and individual beauty. Nature’s winged artistry.

Love to ALL!
Lee

 


New Forest Friend – Eastern Wood Pewee

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I am an inconsistent whistler.  Until today the birds I could imitate with answering results were Hawks, Mockingbirds and Thrashers.  The later two basically taking pity on my lame attempts, plus they imitate everything. I saw a Hawk fly over and did my classic impersonation.  Instead of an answer from above a slightly different call rang out from the Trees to my left.  I scanned the canopy and came up with no sighting.  In an attempt to find the bird with the clear voice  I did my best imitation.  To my amazement it answered back getting closer with each exchange.  In the fading light I was  finally able to spot the sweet little olive brown bird and took several photos.  after a few minutes of musical exchange it flew down toward the trail, turned and hovered within inches my face.  It sang, I sang and then it returned to the branch high above my shoulder.  I thanked the lovely Eastern Wood Pewee for a lovely duet in the fading light.

Love to ALL!
Lee

 


Beautiful Beings On An Early Soul Day Hike

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July is the birthday month for both myself the 4th and my husband the 16th.  So we celebrate our special Soul Day on the 10th of July.  This year we took an early morning hike and were blessed with the beauty of seeing many beings in the Forest.

Breakfast was stuffed in the mouth of a chipmunk as above a pair of warblers (Vireos I think) collected nesting materials.

A lovely Whitetail Doe pick at us from the brush then stepped fully out into the open.  We did not want to startle her as it was clear she is nursing at least one fawn.  She turned several times on the trail pausing to eat and then leap up a small rise.  I sprinted down the trail once he was gone to a rock look out and saw her in the ravine below with a fawn and a juvenile Doe.

Near the end of our hike a flash of red in the pines alerts us to the presence of a family of Summer Tanagers.  A vibrant male in transitional colors, a tiny buff green chick and a female in her green.

It was a perfect start to our Soul Day!

Love to ALL!
Lee


Twin Fawns and Beautiful Birds

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Often we are focused on the obvious like a Male Summer Tanager as he distracts us from seeing his mate.  Female Tanagers are a pretty green and usually  blend into the dense spring and summer foliage.  It was a blessing to look up and see a Lovely female Summer Tanager a few branches away from her bright red mate.

A week ago I saw a flash of red and gold diving between the Trees at the top of of North Mountain. It looked like a tiny fireball darting from limb to limb.  Finally I got a glimpse of a vibrant juvenile Male Scarlet Tanager.  His transition from yellowish green to red gives him a dazzling fiery appearance.

As we came out of the trail head and on to the road I spotted a Whitetail Doe and her twin Fawns.  It was the perfect end to a marvelous evening hike.

Love to ALL!
Lee


The Wildlife Comes Out At night

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As the heat and humidity rise we have begun enjoying lovely early evening hiking.   We were delighted to see a flock of juvenile Robins that still had speckling on their chests and a lovely Whitetail Deer stepping out onto thepath ahead of us. A colorful Indigo Bunting and Summer Tanager sang beautiful songs above us in the Trees. Fungi and Wildflowers painted the Forest floor attracting mollusks (snail) and Insects (False Bee).

There is no better Soul therapy than escaping in to the Mountains and communing with the Trees and beings who call the park home.

Special thanks to my husband Rick for spot the lovely Whitetail Doe quickly enough so I could get these photographs without startling her.

Love to ALL!
Lee


The Blue Bird is an Indigo Bunting

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The lovely Indigo Buntings have been teasing me since late April.  Only allowing tantalizing glimpses of their beautiful blue feathers as the lush foliage emerged. I took a few photos many weeks ago, but shooting into the sun meant I had to over lighten the image to see his colors.  This time two let me see them out in the open.  A larger male stalked through the grass looking for breakfast as a younger male perched in a dead tree say a lovely mating song.

I need to apologize to my beloved husband for bumping him out of my way as I raced up and down the trail tracking these lovely birds. When I am in my photography zone nothing but the subject has my attention.

Love to ALL!
Lee


A Subtle Pallet of Color Paints the Edges of Each Trail

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Our curiosity leads us along the path of discovery, often to find ourselves. ~ Lee Hiller

Love to ALL!
Lee


I Love My Office in Hot Springs National Park


Juvenile Male Summer Tanager in his Transition Colors

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This beautiful juvenile male Summer Tanager landed on a branch overhead.  He proceeded to show off his breakfast catch and sang a lovely song before flying deeper into the Forest.  Soon he will resemble the lovely adult male Summer Tanager pictured below.

We are blessed to see many spectacular winged migrants in our Forest.

Love to ALL!
Lee

HSNP Male Summer Tanager

HSNP Male Summer Tanager

Love to ALL!


Lee


Forgotten Folder of Natures Spring Beauty

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At some point May became a busy month and I lost sight of a folder of photographs.  May 4th 2014  was a beautiful spring morning and my beloved husband and I had a lovely hike in the Forest of Hot Springs National Park.  I saw my first Indigo Bunting and shot into the sun trying to capture even a hint of its beauty within the blinding rays.  A lovely Red Spotted Purple Butterfly land on a leaf above my shoulder and bathed in the early warmth of the sun.  Green enveloped my senses and I was sure each breath carried a taste of spring.  Daisy Fleabane danced in the breeze as a Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly drank nectar from cascading blossoms.  How could I have forgotten these photos?


Beautiful Beings in the Awakening Springs Forest

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Morning light illuminates the path toward Dreams remembered in silent slumber. ~ Lee Hiller

Love to ALL!
Lee


Spring Wings and Wildflowers

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Each moment holds a Universe of life waiting to be seen. ~ Lee Hiller


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