Month: April 2009

A Week of Firsts….

This week I observed three different species making their grand spring entrance into my backyard, all a part of ushering in the season of course.

One of my favorite birds, the Brown Thrasher, is back. Every year I have what seems to be the same one show up and sets up housekeeping in mine and the surrounding yards. Although they are supposedly native to Arkansas and reside here year round, this one disappears in early winter and only reappears in early spring and remains until early winter. Got a couple of nice shots of him and he is quite the handsome one.

Brown Thrush 1(Click on image to enlarge)

Brown Thrush 2(Click on image to enlarge)

Also this week a number of Indigo Buntings have arrived. I got one small photo of one although I have seen at least three at the same time along with a female. They seem to like to hang-out with the Goldfinches.

Indigo Bunting 1(Click on image to enlarge)

Last but not least, I got a quick photo of the silhouette of my first resident hummer. I have had a couple of transients over the past three weeks but this one has been around for a few days now. It is a female.

Hummingbird - 10(Click on image to enlarge)

And of course they aren’t by any means new spring arrivals but there are always the Mourning Doves. It has been fairly warm this week and I got a sneaky candid photo of this one literally soaking in the pool (birdbath of course). I thought he might be going to take a bath but he just sat in the birdbath for the longest before finally leaving.

Mourning Dove in Bird Bath(Click on image to enlarge)

Monarch Butterflies and Goldfinches….

Guess what? I just by chance walked to a window a few days ago in the back of the house to peer out and see if there was any action in the backyard and what a stroke of luck…..a Monarch Butterfly was flying by the window just as I peered out. Could not believe I had seen one. In their yearly migration they are in the middle of giving birth to the new generation who will then continue the Monarch yearly migration north towards Canada. Being so caught up as I am in following their migration, it was quite the thrill. I immediately went to the Monarch Migration Tracking Site and reported my sighting. My previous post addressing their mind-boggling migration is here.

As for the seeing my first hummingbird of the season, I still have not seen one. Both of my sisters who live in the area have seen at least one. Surely it won’t be long. I did have around twelve or so Goldfinches hanging out around my patio last week. Most were males so there was bright yellow all over the place.

American Goldfinch(Male American Goldfinch courtesy of Wikipedia)

Finally got all my “dying papers” pretty much completed and in order. Also got a good going over by my doctor last Wednesday along with chest x-rays and EKG’s. Being an ex-smoker, I always am apprehensive as to the outcome of the old chest x-ray so when you hear that the old “lungs look fine”, it is always a welcome relief. Looks like I will be around a little longer. However, he did say I needed to exercise more. Damn the exercise….and bring on the “salt” and “red meat”!

The “White-Tailed Tree Rat” and more….

If you are someone who is interested in ’wildlife’ then you are probably aware of all the hoop-la surrounding the supposed sighting of the thought-to-be extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker which occurred here in Arkansas in 2004 in the White River bottoms. Well, yesterday my recent discovery may eventually trump all that media coverage over some silly bird.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker(Ivory-Billed Woodpecker courtesy of Wikipedia)

Yesterday as I was walking past my patio door something quite strange caught my eye. There was a “what-the-hell-is-that” scavenging for seeds underneath one of my bird feeders. It took a moment for my brain to compute what I was seeing. But there it was….a White-Tailed Tree Rat. Now in some zoologist circles they are referred to by their more commonly known name as ‘squirrel’ but those of us with more expertise in these matters know they are just your common run-of-the-mill “tree rat”! So let’s not try to over glorify them with some fancy, sophisticated name.

Fortunately I keep one of my little cameras right by the door for occasions such as this. And within moments I was trying to capture this little critter on film pixels. Apparently these critters have been sighted elsewhere around the United States but it is a rare occurrence. Below I have submitted the photographic evidence of my discovery.

White-Tailed Squirrel 01(Click on image to enlarge)

White-Tailed Squirrel 02(Click on image to enlarge)

White-Tailed Squirrel 03(Click on image to enlarge)

Now….in all confidence I have to say that I have not a clue as to why Mother Nature has chosen me to be the bearer of the news of this most recent discovery. These little varments have to be the least favorite of mine. I would have personally much more preferred Meerkats running around my backyard digging holes than these tree rats. On the other hand – perhaps the “white tail” is there way of letting me know they have surrendered and are ready for a peace deal! 🙂