Saturday, April 15, 2023

An odd pairing

We found this spot in the Ozarks, not far from Rocky Falls: daffodils growing in association with yucca. Evidently some homesteader planted the daffodils here long ago—the yucca is probably native, but I was still left to imagine Wordsworth wandering lonely as a cloud somewhere on the high plains...

Friday, April 14, 2023

Rocky Falls

Rocky Falls, in the Mark Twain National Forest, was a bit out of our way but a worthwhile detour. The National Park Service has a bit on its geology here.

Thursday, April 13, 2023


We had just had lunch on the patio at Dong Phuong in New Orleans East and were walking out to the parking lot when I noticed a swallow-tailed kite soaring over the woods to the west. We all stood transfixed watching the bird's mastery of the air, until it drifted off to the northeast. Of course the camera was safely locked in the car.

Immediately after the kite's departure, a red-shouldered hawk came gliding in to perch, briefly, on a snag overlooking the parking lot before again taking flight and disappearing into the woods. Camera still locked in the car.

Happily, Jessa and I found another redshoulder on the trip back. We were perched on the observation deck overlooking Mammoth Spring in Arkansas when we both noticed a raptorial shadow gliding along the opposite bank; the bird itself we only spotted as she took her own perch in a small tree next to the spring. This time Jessa was ready, camera already in hand.

After making one hunting flight into the shallows—unsuccessful, so far as I could tell—the hawk flew almost directly toward us and perched in a larger tree to our right.

She made another hunting flight, taking a shot at something—a frog, perhaps?—on a mat of algae and duckweed directly below us...

...and then flew to another tree, even closer, on our left.

Here she scanned her surroundings actively, head on a swivel, and made a couple more prospective hunting flights, but returning each time.

She hunted in our company—fully aware of our presence—for a good twenty minutes or so. Never once did she seem nervous, just alert to potential prey—but then we are falconers, and know a thing or two about being polite to hawks. She was as comfortable in our presence as Stekoa would have been, and gave Jessa some wonderful photographic opportunities. 

Finally she departed back across the spring and began to soar over the eponymous town of Mammoth Spring. We took our leave as well; time to get back on the road. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

"It rains, and there are pelicans."

Photos and quote by Jessica, by way of a one-sentence description of what she misses most about Louisiana when we're back home in Greater Louisiana. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

A few shorebirds

Willets, more numerous and yet less conspicuous than when we last saw them on Cape Cod.


Black-necked stilt, one of a pair we saw; only this photo came out halfway decent, but cut my photographer some slack: she was shooting through a chain-link fence.