Tag: roadtrips

Hiking the Trails at Devil’s Den State Park: Throwback Travels

Since it looks like summer is here to stay, I’m slowly catching up on things. It is amazing how much more you can get done when it is too hot and humid to be outside (I think we have a heat advisory through tomorrow night).

So, I decided that I would try to see how many #ThursdayThrowbackTravel posts I could generate this summer and fall–both as blog posts and as pages under the travel tab.

The first entry for the ‘series’ is looking back at a trip we took to Arkansas a little over four years ago, when we visited Devil’s Den State Park. The park is located probably halfway between Fayetteville and Fort Smith within the Ozark National Forest.

The park offers three main outdoor activities: hiking (or walking), mountain bike riding, and horseback riding (as long as you supply the bike or horse). We went for the hiking/walking aspect. They also offer either camping or cabins for rent.

Cabin rental within Devil’s Den State Park

During our three to four day stay; at least half the day was spent out on different trails (that were either easy or moderate in terms fo difficulty–so not that much climbing or stairs involved).

There are approximately 13 trails within the park, with one or two being set aside strictly for mountain biking. The others you can hike, and on most of them–you also need to watch out for people on mountain bikes or horses.

Deer spotting

Taking these kind of trips take me right to one of my ‘happy places’–being out in nature. I enjoy trying to catch glimpses of different wildlife, seeing how many different birds I can spot, and taking numerous wildflower photos.

While the world is slowly opening back up–I’ve been slowly thinking of trying to plan a trip for sometime between 2022-2024 (nice time frame, right), though I know it may not be an outdoor trip (I prefer taking nature based trips with other people, safety in numbers), but possibly a trip to a new city/state or even country–if I’m feeling up to air travel (will have to see how things play out pandemic wise).

What is your favorite state park to visit? Then where is your favorite hiking trail?

No Comments bird watchingbutterfliesflowersinsectsnatureoutdoorsPhotographyState ParkstravelTurtles

The ‘game birds’ (order Galliformes) pages are up

So another series of bird pages are live under the bird section of the website.

The latest series is on the ‘game birds’ or the order Galliformes.

These are called the game birds, because all the ‘popular’ birds that are hunted such as the ring-necked pheasant, wild turkey, quails, and grouses belong to this order.

There are basically 290 species found within this order (with over half of them belonging to the family Phasianidae) that are divided into five different families.

The other four families are the Odontophoridae, Numididdae, Cracidae, and Megapodiidae.

North America is home to species found within three of the five families: Phasianidae, Odontophoridae, and Cracidae.

I’ve been lucky to capture pictures of a member of each of those families, and for the family Cracidae it is the only member of the family that is found within the United States.

Wild turkeys grazing in a neighbor’s front yard.

The wild turkey is ‘common’ throughout the lower forty-eight states, and while it’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen them in the neighborhood, we’re close enough to the woods that I’m pretty sure they’re still around. They can even be seen within ‘city proper’ of some larger cities (such as Boston,MA).

Quails are more ‘shy’ and usually can be observed earlier or later in the day foraging for food in groups. That made getting the picture of the Gambel’s quail that much more special–since it was a single quail out in the ‘semi-open’.

Gambel’s quail walking through the brush

If you can’t spot the quail (no worries)–head over to the page, and I added an additional picture highlighting where it is in the picture.

The plain chachalaca is the only member of the family Cracidae that is found within the United States, and you have to either be in southern Texas or possibly on islands off the coast of Georgia to be able to spot them.

Adult and young plain Chachalacas foraging for food

So out of the basically 290 species, 21 can be found within North America (emphasis currently is on the US–so there probably are more species that are native to Canada or Mexico that I’m not addressing), and I’ve managed to spot 3 of them (or a seventh, or 14%).

As noted on the different order/family pages, a photography goal is to get pictures of other members, including any that may be native to Canada or Mexico (and not seen within the US).

With the addition of these 7 pages, it brings the total number of bird pages to 52 (9 bird orders, 14 bird families, and 29 species). Looking at my ‘master’ list, I still have (in total) another 95 pages or so to add (8 bird orders, 26 bird families, and approximately 61 species). Therefore I may have this section ‘up-to-date’ with current pictures possibly by the end of summer or early fall.

No Comments bird watchingnatureNature PreservesPhotographyScience