Continued from Hiking in Hot Springs National Park and The City Pt 1 … After our hike on the Sunset Trail I dropped my husband Rick back at our apartment with four gallons of our treasured FREE spring water. One of the best perks of living surrounded by Hot Springs National Park After I parked the van we would meet up and hike on Hot Springs Mountain as see what wildlife had returned since the big storm last week. On my way back to meet my husband a sweet Juvenile House Sparrow lands in front of me. It looks at me with cautious curiosity.
Heading to the park our first encounter is with a Crow that is still recovering from molting. Some of it’s head feathers are coming in white rather than black, I wonder if this is part of aging. Along the Promenade are patches of lovely blue Asiatic Dayflowers decorating Hot Springs Mountain. We hike up to the Carriage Road looking for the Eastern Cottontail couple, but today there is no sign of them. As I am changing my camera battery a battered Common Buckeye Butterfly lands near my feet. Further along above us a nimble Squirrel is moving in the high canopy.
Back on the promenade we discover House Sparrows have moved from the Magnolia Trees on Bath House Row. They have taken over the Trees and territories once occupied by several families of Mockingbirds. On a Bath House below Racing Pigeons have free reign as the once fiercely protective Mockingbirds no longer are on the roofs doing the territorial hop. In the weeks before the summer storm I had documented 5 adults and multiple offspring (Juveniles and chicks). Today no one Mockingbird showed itself to sing with Rick’s whistling… they love to sing with him. I did not see any Brown Thrashers, Cardinals or Blue Jay either.
As we were about to leave the park my husband spotted one of the Pileated Woodpecker brothers on the old oak below the promenade. It was a joy to watch him moving from Tree to Tree feasting on the insects. We enjoyed his activities for 30 minutes and it was the perfect way to end our time in Hot Springs National Park.
Special thanks to my beloved husband Rick for letting me be pushy when we are hiking.
Love to ALL!