Tuesday, February 06, 2007

MISSISSIPPI AGAIN, AND HOME

Feb 4, 2007

I crossed into Mississippi around dark, and got frustrated by some campgrounds being closed, it being winter and nobody wanting to empty the empty trashcans, or something. I finally spotted a state park near Noxubee NWR and wandered back to the primitive area. It really was, no lights, no paving, no tables, no water, classic outhouse. But dark and quiet and empty, so it was OK.

Feb 5, 2007

Out early enough to get to Noxubee at first light. It was cold too, maybe 25F with wind. But the birding was good. I'd made a brief stop there once before, and had been impressed. I really wanted to find Red-cockaded Woodpeckers which they had. And this time I found them. There was also a great overlook for a nice pond and wetland that you reached across a high bridge. I'm an aficionado of blinds and such. This one was exceptional. So I got a good selection of ducks to go with the good selection of woodpeckers. Hiked several trails, one an upland that had recently been controlled burned, and another along a bottom-land creek. At 8am the visitor center was open, something new since my last visit, also top notch, with a ranger who gave me the name of a good local birder at the University (MSU) in Starkville.

I was watching some Great Blue Herons along the bank of large impoundment when one caught my eye. It seemed significantly lighter than the others, and reminded me of reading about Grey Herons, European, rarely vagrant. I took some pictures, but wasn't able to get close enough to get any really good images. Still I was jazzed. Called Jeff Wilson in Memphis and quizzed him, he didn't seem to think it was impossible, and encouraged me to call the local guy, Terry Schiefer, and see if he could get a look. We talked on the phone, he couldn't get away immediately, but he told me of several good birds in town. That's how I got a Rusty Blackbird and LeConte's Sparrow. Also stopped at fast food places to find a McDonald's Sparrow (House) which I had somehow managed to never see in MS. Ended the day with 47 species, eleven being new state tics. I was satisfied.

Decided it was time to get home and take care of some job stuff. North through Memphis without stopping, and then to Dagmar WMA near Brinkley, AR, in Ivory-bill country. The road was closed, I'm guessing high water, so I went down a side road atop an abandoned railway dike, and crashed at the end of that, right on Bayou de View.

Feb 6, 2007

Didn't head straight home, there were reports of good birds on Lake Maumelle, so I swung by there and found my Arkansas Red-throated Loon. Went down to Dardanelle dam and met Dan Smith. We found two new gulls also. Then since he hadn't been there we went back to Kenny Nichols place on Lake Dardanelle where endless good birds get found. We were looking for Clark's Grebe, but couldn't find it. Seemed like half of the gazillion waterfowl there were resting with heads tucked in, so it might have been there, but not so you'd know it. Looked for the Tufted Duck too, also no luck.

I went home. The mail was there. The fridge had defrosted, but no harm done. For the whole trip I'd found 185 new tics, surprisingly 5 in AR. Also broke 100 in three new states.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Arabela said...

Thanks for writing this.

6:05 PM  

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