Friday, November 1, 2013

Winter is coming ....

Winter is coming. As I looked out over the lake Saturday, lines of white appeared on the blue horizon. As the apparitions started came into focus flying in my direction, I knew what I was seeing.  During the winter migration, our lake system of Barkley and Kentucky Lakes, The American White Pelican visit Western Kentucky.

The bird primarily visits Lake Barkley during migration to (Oct-Nov) and from (March) the Gulf of Mexico.  They can have a wingspan over nine feet and weigh up to twenty pounds, making them one of the largest birds in Kentucky.

I had a hunch that morning that local birds would show their presence that day. Around an hour later as the Pelicans sat in the water. One can only wonder if they were feeling, annoyed by the Sea Gulls darting above their heads.  The gulls were darting into water to eat fish beside them.

I knew this was too tempting for the local predator of water birds. An American Bald Eagle appeared out of nowhere flying low upon the water, talons extended. I felt a rush and began to think was he hunting the pelicans?  I rushed down the stairs to see what his prey had been. Only a fish was in his talons as flew to the tree line for his reward of hunting.

Nick Edmonds

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hummingbirds Refuel at Lake Barkley State Resort Park

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been abundant at the park this week.  They can be seen darting from the flowers and feeders around the lodge pool as they try to fatten up before continuing their migration to Mexico and Central America.  Most of the birds that we are seeing around the park are not ones that nested here, but more likely ones that nested further north and are stopping over at the park to refuel for their migration south.  
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird refuels at a feeder
Ruby-throated hummingbirds weigh about the same as a penny and can double their weight in preparation for migration.  Males tend to migrate first and the females and young from this year follow shortly after.  You can keep your hummingbird feeders up through October or until the threat of freeze, and that way you can feed any stragglers headed south.  Keeping your feeders out longer will not prevent the birds from migrating, their migration is triggered by shortening day length not food availability.   

Over the next week or two we should see a dramatic decrease in the number of hummingbirds in Kentucky as more and more make the perilous journey across the Gulf of Mexico to their wintering grounds.  After spending a few months at their wintering grounds, the birds prepare to migrate again and usually return to Kentucky in April.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Butterflies Abound at Lake Barkley SRP

This week at Lake Barkley we have seen an abundance of butterflies around the park.  Over the past two years, Lake Barkley has been converting some of its landscaping to native wildflowers and those native plants seem to be attracting lots of butterflies.  Tiger Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails, and Red Spotted Purples seem to be the most abundant this week and we have seen them visiting Butterfly Milkweed, Purple Coneflower, Blazingstar, and Buttonbush.
This Tiger Swallowtail butterfly was spotted on the Wilderness Trail

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wildflowers and Birds at Lake Barkley

This is the perfect time to make your way to Lake Barkley State Resort Park.  The rain will make it's way out of western Kentucky today and the forecast for the weekend will be warm and sunny.  The flowers and birds are abundant this week too.
Wildflower highlights include Fire Pink, Lyre-leaved Sage, phlox, and columbine.
Columbine blooming in one of Lake Barkley's wildflower gardens
The Columbine is blooming in abundance in one of our wildflower beds located on the east wing of the lodge.

The symphony of birds has been outstanding this week too.  Wood Thrushes can be heard in the morning and early evening hours around the cottage loop and campground, and hummingbirds can be seen darting back and forth between feeders.  A number of warbler species  can be heard on the park too including Tennessee, Prothonatary, Black-and-White, Yellow-throated, Chats, and Northern Parulas.  Our Birding on Barkley event is sold out for Saturday but I'll post our sightings.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Friends of Lake Barkley Golf Tournament - June 8th

The Friends of Lake Barkley State Resort Park is a non-profit organization that supports  Lake Barkley through community involvement, volunteerism and fund-raising. Last year they donated over 4,000 hours on trail maintenance, decorating, special events, gardening projects,and fundraising.  

This year they are again hosting a golf tournament at Lake Barkley's Boots Randolph Golf Course on June 8th with a start time of 1p.m.  For more information click here  

Colors and sounds at Lake Barkley SRP

Pink Dogwoods in bloom around the lodge at Lake Barkley
This week has been a great one to get out and enjoy the sights and sounds at Lake Barkley.  The weather has been warm and the colors vibrant.  Dogwoods (including the pink ones around the lodge), redbuds and an abundance of wildflowers are colorful now.  Wildflowers in bloom include Rue Anemone, Cut-leaf Toothwort, Blue Phlox, Pennywort, bluets, Prairie Trillium, and a variety of violet species.  The Mayapple leaves have also popped up on the forest floor creating a nice green covering.

The birds have been singing up a storm this week too.  I heard an Orchard Oriole singing just outside the front desk a few days ago, and Wood Thrushes can be heard in the campground and around the cottages.  Yellow-throated Warblers, Northern Parulas, Chipping Sparrows, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers continue to be abundant around the park and can be heard near the lodge.  Prothonotary Warblers, Purple Martins, and Chimney Swifts have also returned to Lake Barkley.

If you would like to see and hear the warblers and returning migrants in western Kentucky, then join Lake Barkley and Land Between The Lakes NRA for Birding on Barkley on May 11th.  Experienced guides will take you to hot spots around Lake Barkley and Land Between The Lakes. More information can be found here

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Birding on Barkley event - May 11th

Lake Barkley State Resort Park and Land Between The Lakes NRA are pleased to again present a wildlife viewing opportunity dedicated to birding.  Experience the peak of songbird migration, as our birding guides offer identification and viewing tips and help search out prothonotaries, parulas, and pewees.  Many non-breeding warblers venture along Lake Barkley at this time, so we will keep our binoculars ready for that special life lister.  Discover birding hot spots around Lake Barkley and Land Between The Lakes by joining us on one or both of our hot spot tours.  Tours are $10/person and depart at 8a.m. to explore the northern end of Land Between The Lakes, and 1p.m. to explore the southern end.  Tour sizes will be limited to allow the best viewing opportunities, so make your reservations early by calling 270-924-2020. 

In conjunction with Birding on Barkley, Lake Barkley will be hosting Birding and Beer, an evening of bird trivia, beer, and an opportunity to meet fellow birders.  Birders and non-birders will both enjoy this event as topics will range from bird ID to birds in sports. Bird related beers will also be available for purchase during this event.   This event is free to attend, but reservations are required.  Teams can be from 2 – 8 people and prizes will be awarded to the winning team, trivia starts at 7p.m. at Lake Barkley Lodge.