Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Yesterday some friends of ours showed us Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge, an amazing natural area that I had never heard about before even though it is only about 50 miles from us.

The Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1994 and is located about 30 miles north of Texarkana, Arkansas and 10 miles southeast of De Queen, Arkansas. Pond Creek is made up of various oxbow lakes, sloughs, and bottomlands hardwood areas along the Little and Cossatot Rivers.

Pond Creek was created in order to protect the wetland and bottomland hardwood habitat and to serve as a habitat for neo-tropical migratory birds. It also serves as an important nesting habitat for wood ducks and wintering habitat for other migratory waterfowl. It is located where the Mississippi and Central Flyways intersect.

The forested wetlands of the refuge are used by migrating and wintering waterfowl during the fall, winter and spring. Mallards, gadwall, American wigeon and wood ducks are among the over 15 species of waterfowl that traditionally use the seasonally flooded wetland habitats of the refuge. Other species seen less often include northern shoveler; blue and green-winged teal.

The Pond Creek Refuge provide outstanding habitat for an abundance of birdlife, particularly neotropical migratory songbirds. Neotropical birds use the refuge as a rest stop during fall and spring migration to replenish energy reserves for the long journey to and from wintering areas in Central and South America. This habitat is also used for breeding and nesting during the spring and summer for many of these species.

We spotted a Cooper's Hawk  an American Kestrel, and a number of Kinglets, but I couldn't tell if they were Golden-crowned or Ruby- crowned.  Our friends had seen an alligator on a previous visit but we didn't see any on this trip.

This was our first visit to Pond Creek, but it definitely will not be our last.  The day was cloudy, cool and a bit rainy.  I want to return on a day that will be a bit better for photography.

If you love quiet secluded natural places, I highly recommend a visit to Pond Creek Natural Wildlife Refuge.

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