Date: 2/26/17 6:00 am
From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...>
Subject: HARVEY’S BUTTERCUP TO AMERICAN WOODCOCK: They don’t make better Saturdays
One of the earliest flowers around the Ozarks in western Arkansas, Harveys Buttercup, is named for a 19th Century UA-Fayetteville professor, Francis Leroy Harvey, who provided its first scientific description. That first Harveys was blooming pretty-as-could-be Saturday morning on a bluff at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area.
By Saturday afternoon the scene shifted to Wedington Unit, Ozark National Forest, west of Fayetteville. Dr David Krementz shared American Woodcock displays with Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society all 15 of us on a cold but productive evening. We met in the field at 5:30 and saw a Bald Eagle disappear over Wedington Ridge. Then first one, then two, Great Horned Owls flew into the field -- followed by monkeys -- Barred Owls. Then the first star at 6:30. Then 2-3 woodcocks.
The morning hike at Hobbs also yielded bounty: white trout-lilies thriving in a glade that is now in process of restoration with removal of Eastern Red Cedars that tend to shade out and crowd out other native plant and animal species. The top of a big rock slab was covered with trout-lilies, but these appear to be not the widespread and common one Erythronium albidum, but E. mesochoreum, the prairie tout-lily, or as I prefer to call it, the glade version of E. albidum. We also had several Golden-crowned Kinglets.
Dr Douglas James, to whom Arkansans owe so much ornithologically-speaking, made the woodcock trips, with wife Elizabeth and two of his graduate students, Pooja Panwar and Anant Deswhal. Doug enjoyed woodcock peent calls, the cackles of chasing males, and heavenly twitters of birds in their display flights. These were the first woodcocks hes heard in years. This is a result of new hearing aids that he had especially tuned to pick up specific bird calls.
Our Earth is interesting and diverse, if we just let it. On Saturday, Earth pulled out all of her stops. Pump organ players out there will know what I mean by all the stops.


 
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