Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wildflower Season Will Arrive Early in 2013

Harbinger of Spring Wildflower
Coming Soon to Buffalo National River
Spring wildflower season is on the the great natural events of the year. It will probably arrive early in 2013. Recent warm weather mixed with cold has stimulated wildflower growth. A recent monitoring hike in Lost Valley revealed the first sprouting plants. There are no blooms yet, but the first are just weeks away.

Plan to visit Buffalo National River a few times to see all the wildflower species. Some bloom early, and some late. Many wildflowers only bloom for a week or two. Others last much longer.

This year the Buffalo River Chamber of Commerce will provide expanded wildflower coverage with species guides. We will publish a map identifying wildflower hotspots in every area of the Buffalo National River.

Wildflowers line area hiking trails in the spring. Our online guide will help you identify the main species, and some of the rare one's too.

This blog will identify the species as they bloom. Blooming dates are different in different places, but do fall in pretty predictable date ranges.

Make 2013 the year that you learn about wildflowers. This a great way to teach kids about nature.  Get them started early and make them nature lovers for life. It is a perfect family activity.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pictures of the Day 1/26/13

This morning in Lost Valley was enchanting. I have the place to myself. I am sure that has changed now, but I want to share the sunrise experience in Lost Valley. It is magic even in January. The picture below was taken just east of the natural bridge. Today I saw the first signs of wildflowers -- I think they will be quite early this year.

January Sunrise at Lost Valley Trail
January Sunrise at Lost Valley Hiking Trail
Of course in Boxley Valley there is always more for wildlife watchers. The elk did not disappoint today. I get there quite early and today one of my favorite bulls "Twinforks" was posing in front of an old barn. In 2012 he was the bull that seemed to be jumping in front of my camera all year.

Twinforks at Sunrise, Boxley Valley
Twinforks at Sunrise, Boxley Valley

1/26/13 Elk Viewing Very Good

Elk viewing is very good in Boxley Valley. There are herds now from Ponca until just past the Buffalo National River in the south end of the valley.

Why not complement your visit with a hike in Lost Valley and a visit to the Elk Education Center. It is perfect weather to be outside.

Elk Herd Locations 1/25/13

Friday, January 18, 2013

1/18/13 Great Weekend Elk Viewing

This morning there were 4 herds spread from one end of Boxley Valley to the other. 2 large herds were close to the fences. 1 was in the Ponca fields, the other north of Cave Mountain Road.

Outstanding weather for the next week translates to outstanding viewing. Be sure to check out the mill pond for ducks, trumpeter swans, beaver and the occasional bald eagle.

1/18/13 Elk Herd Locations

Friday, January 11, 2013

1/11/13 Elk Herd Report & Location Map

Boxley Valley elk remain in a south valley pattern. Viewing opportunities are from just north of the mill pond down to the Buffalo River at the south end.

Today seemed like one of those days when the wildlife were everywhere, finally getting a break from rainy, cloudy weather. Saturday afternoon rain is predicted, and weather becomes cold again on Sunday. This kind of weather is elk weather. If the predictions hold, viewing could actually be a bit better this weekend.

Otherwise, all the usual advice holds. To see bulls, get out early. They are north of the mill pond and generally gone just after sunrise except on very cold days. Watch the edges of the mill pond for bald eagles -- they are now in season. The pond has a very active beaver colony now, and occasionally there are otter. Also, always check the Ponca Access, it is a very good area for birds, and occasionally you will see an otter there.

As always, drive slowly in Boxley Valley.

January 11 Elk Herd Location Map

Sunday, January 6, 2013

1/6/13 Elk Herd Location Map

Elk herds have moved back to a south valley pattern now. The herd that was in the Ponca fields is now in mid valley next to one of the bull herds. The best and safest viewing is in the south end next to the Upper Buffalo Wilderness trailhead. Expect to see straggler elk elsewhere.

Remember to park on the shoulders outside the white line. Drive slowly through the valley and be safe.

1/6/13 Elk Herd Locations

Friday, January 4, 2013

1/4/13 Elk Herd Locations

Plenty of elk to see in Boxley Valley now. There are 4 regular herds and one bull herd in the mid valley.

This morning there was a herd with a big rutting bull at the Elk Pullout. This is pretty rare, not even a 1% chance. I would not expect them to persist there for very long. They probably will move to Lost Valley or back north into the Ponca fields. If you visit, be sure to check Lost Valley.

The elk herd locations are below:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

1/2/13 Elk Celebrate the New Year with 4 Herds

 Happy new year.

4 elk herds open the 2013 elk viewing season. They are all located from the Highway 43/21 intersectoin and north to the Ponca fields. I would estimate the total number of elk at over 100. The two biggest herds are at the 21/43 intersection and in the Ponca fields.

I saw a bald eagle hunting the river just upstream from the Ponca access. Always check the Ponca Access not only for eagles, but otter. Occasionally you will catch the elk in the river.

2013 Elk Herd Locations in Boxley Valley