Sunday, January 4, 2009

Adventuring Again in Arkansas
Well known for the last five years are the reports of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in Arkansas. We have been coming here for the last three years. Certainly one doesn't expect an audience with the famed bird, but just seeing where it lives, or once lived, is special enough. Our privileged group of four will spend the next six days in the land of legend, tupelo and cypress bottom lands, a place of impressive beauty, a starkness that parallels in it's poetic richness the tundra of the Arctic and the grasslands of the Serengeti. We will let the bird find us, if we are deemed worthy.

After a half day of travel, we headed north of Little Rock to take in some special birds, some that are not seen very often by many birders. Trumpeter Swans have been long time listed on the endangered species list and considered uncommon except locally. For the last fifteen years or so there has been a group of trumpeters that spends its winters in northern Arkansas on a small lake near Heber Springs, offering visitors high quality, close-up looks at this largest of North American waterfowl; truly an impressive bird with what also may be the largest bird feet in North America.

The swans were not the only treat, but the close looks at Ring-necked Duck and Bufflehead were some of the best one could wish for. Multiple species of duck, geese, sparrow, and woodpeckers will be the norm over the coming days. I hope you will enjoy the adventure with us.



Tundra (foreground) and Trumpeter Swans

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