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Life on the Arkansas River with Deb

Updated on September 21, 2014
Arkansas River
Arkansas River | Source

Welcome to Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Arkansas River begins high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and flows lazily these days into the fine state of Arkansas, where I was born. This nearly 1,500 mile waterway has had its share of problems over the years, but I’m not going to discuss any of that. I will touch upon the fact that in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a navigation system through locks and dams allows this river to function as efficiently as possible. At this stage, there isn’t much water in it, but there is enough to satisfy wildlife, and as you know, that is what I like to discuss. So welcome to the Arkansas River in Oklahoma and may you enjoy it as much as I have and will in the future.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret | Source

My Surprise For the Day

I was transported to this area through the kindness of an Audubon friend, who always manages to find a way to scratch my birding itch. She could not have chosen a better area for me to be while she bicycled the area. As a matter of fact, I was so busy with birds and butterflies, I never noticed that she was gone, and felt that she returned too soon.

Juvenile Snowy Egret
Juvenile Snowy Egret | Source

Snowy Egrets Galore

The mighty Arkansas didn’t look so mighty, but the first thing that I really noticed was the large population of both adult and juvenile Snowy Egrets. Snowies are some of the most beautiful water birds that I have ever seen, and they have a few quirks, just like anyone else. These are relatively small water birds, part of the heron family, like every other egret. These birds move rapidly in the water, stirring up fish and other life in the mud. They will even move their beautiful yellow feet around on the top of the water to entice the curious, then snatch them up before they even realize what happened.

Great Blue Heron(right) and Great Egret(left)
Great Blue Heron(right) and Great Egret(left) | Source

Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets

Alongside these beautiful Snowy Egrets were just a small handful of Great Blue Herons and about double the Great Egrets. While I was there, every bird was busy seeking sustenance in the estuary, save for a few of the Snowy Egrets that came closer to me, which was an added bonus.

Learn More About the Arkansas River

Variegated Fritillary
Variegated Fritillary | Source
Black Form of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Black Form of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail | Source

Butterflies of Oklahoma

There was also a wide assortment of butterflies that would please any discriminating lepidopterist. With all the flowers near the riverbank, none of them was wanting for nectar, which naturally allowed me prime real estate for getting these winged wonders in my lens.

Red Eared Slider
Red Eared Slider | Source

Turtles, Too

Turtles were upon every available rock sunning themselves, and there were plenty of red eared sliders and a few of the painted variety. What is a body of water without turtles? It's an unhealthy situation, as it also takes turtles and other freshwater life to show the health of the river, lake or pond that one is visiting. It is a good ecological balance to have an assortment of life.

A Tulsa Resident, the coyote
A Tulsa Resident, the coyote | Source

Bald Eagles and Coyotes, Oh, My!

A number of eagles were partaking of the fish that was offered, but sadly, I was not in the best area to photograph them. The sun was nearly overhead, which washed out the photos that I attempted to obtain, but there should be better luck next time.

Fortunately, a couple of coyotes crossed my path, passing right by the herons and egrets on their way to better things. No other animal was disturbed by their presence, which worked out very nicely for all concerned.

The Verdict Is In

Even though it was a very short visit, I had plenty to show for my endeavors, and I must give this section of the Arkansas River a thumbs up for providing a wonderful opportunity for this Lady of the Lake.

Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding, and I hope that you enjoy this major tributary of the Mississippi River as much as I did.

Where is Tulsa, OK?

"I'm Not a Girl!"
"I'm Not a Girl!" | Source
Checkered White
Checkered White | Source
Monarch
Monarch | Source
Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Always something, eh Moeisha? I think that we could do well by not being so closed minded sometimes.

    • profile image

      Moeisha 2 years ago

      Dexter is awesomeness. I see a renblemasce but you are much hotter. Deb is a transvestite, I'm convinced. And HELLO she's married to Dexter in real life who plays her BROTHER on the show. It's incest. One time someone told me I looked like Jenny McCarthy (not so much) and I hold on to that with every fiber of my being because at one point she was hot and not all "I cured my son's autism and you can too!".

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Pamela. I named my photo that, as juvenile birds feel their oats, so to speak, and practice what they should be doing in the future. Since it is not breeding season, this would not have happened during the life of a normal adult. This was a place that a birding friend from Audubon dropped me off so she could get a little biking in. Naturally, I took full advantage of the sights.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      I'm happy for you that you're young and limber enough to pick up and explore a new birding area for a day. Great photos, Deb.

      I hadn't heard of the Arkansas River. I had no idea there was one -- and a long one it is. I'm going to look it up on some internet maps and sites.

      I like your caption, "I'm not a girl." Your hubs are always fun to read.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Suhail, there is a LOT of wildlife here! I haven't even touched upon the prairie birds, that I still need to find.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Never knew OK is such a wonderful place to see wildlife. All I knew and followed were the Sooners.

      Beautiful pictures and great intro of the river!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, teaches! That must be something to see the snows in the neighborhood. I'll bet they enjoy private koi fish ponds, just like Great Blue Heron has been known to do!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, favored! It was a fabulous time, and I got to see so much in just an hour. Who would have believed it?

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Kevin! I was actually still in OK on the Arkansas River in Tulsa. Thanks for the shares!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      We see the snowy egret around the ponds here and they seem to be at peace with the environment. They walk the neighborhoods on some days, usually poking holes around the flower beds. I hope the Arkansas River project provides enjoyment for wildlife for years to come.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

      You were able to get some interesting and beautiful photographs. I have wanted to visit there, but haven't yet. I'm glad your visit turned out so nice.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      Beautiful animals and butterflies Deb. That Hub seems pretty useful if you are ever visiting Arkansas and want to see what you have described in here. I voted up, shared and G+ it.

      Kevin

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Riz.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Midget, I am so glad that you enjoyed it. I wonder why you have a lack of different birds? Perhaps I should look into that.

    • Rizwana Yasmin profile image

      Rizwana Yasmin 2 years ago from Lahore

      the best ever PHOTOGRAPHER...is Deb xx

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      I wish we had a bigger variety of wildlife here in Singapore, especially with birds. This was wonderful, Deb!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for all those votes, Dave. Since we are now in fall, a river is truly an appropriate place along with the wildlife that it hosts. I hope to go to different places periodically to share in their splendor and give the reader a taste of what bounty we have in our own areas of the world. Thanks for your continued support, and may your fall bounty be plentiful!

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Deb, all who love nature and her glorious scenery owe you a debt of gratitude for this excellent article. You take the reader right there, one can almost here the water and its amazing inhabitants. A Very enjoyable visit which will be book marked for further use. Voted up , interesting ,beautiful and useful.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Susan from Audubon? Heck, no. It was hot out there, with the sun beating down. Glad that you liked the pics, Leslie. I think that I got a few winners.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 2 years ago

      What a GORGEOUS shot of the river (?) I've seen something almost that glorious is the high mountains of colorado..

      stunning...

      your poor gf - lol...i hope she doesn't read that you felt she returned too soon..

      glorious photos as usual

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, tazzytamar! I'm still waiting on my HP cup that I won.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      That was the first coyote that I have ever seen, manatita. There is so much wonderful wildlife out there for us all to enjoy. We just have to give it the gift to keep on living…It would be so nice to see plastic bags outlawed in the rest of the states that haven't done so.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      ChitrangadaSharan, stars will always be born through my lens, when it comes to interesting wildlife….

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Sha! There's still a number of things that you have that we do not, and one day soon, I hope to get to FL in the spring and find some Roseate Spoonbills!

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 2 years ago from chichester

      I voted for you as best photographer for the hubbies! You definitely should get recognition for such beautiful work!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Turtles and coyotes for a change, Deb. The Akansas river is certainly beautiful. Beautiful birds as usual.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Wonderful hub with beautiful pictures as always! You catch such beautiful moments through your camera. And thanks for the tour of Arkansas river.

      Thanks!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I love water birds. They're so graceful and beautiful. You seem to have many of the same wildlife we have here in Florida, with the exception of coyotes. I love these journeys you share with us, Deb.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I don't try to be one of the last to comment. I am just so BEHIND…Glad that you're enjoying the pics. I have so much enjoyment finding those wonderful things to see.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      It was such fun, too, Alicia. The only thing that concerned me a bit was the fact that the Arkansas River was so low. Birds shouldn't be standing in the middle of a river like that and coyotes certainly shouldn't be walking downstream.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I guess I am following your pattern of being one of the last to comment, although you get many more "lasts" than this humble Hubber. I could visualize brushing aside the cattails to get to peek over your shoulder and see the same things with you. Once again a wonderful photo essay.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It was very interesting to see the wildlife in another area by way of your camera, Deb. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos and descriptions.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Glad that you enjoyed my view of the Arkansas River, but I am so sorry for your loss.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Small world. My daughter and son-in-law flew into Tulsa, last night, and drove to our cabin here in MO (for a funeral in Arkansas, today!). Brought back many memories of flying in and out of the Tulsa airport, over the years. Thanks for sharing, interesting and useful information, as well as fun experience!! ;-)

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Faith Reaper. We are surrounded by beauty. We just need to open our eyes and pay attention to what is around us...

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Mel! As they say, you have to be there to see it for yourself!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Deb,

      Thank you for taking us along on your trip to the Arkansas River! Wow, you did get some amazing shots there in your brief visit. What a beautiful area to visit.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      My Dad spent his youth fly fishing the Arkansas where it flows down from the Rockies around Pueblo, Colorado. Magnificent river and magnificent hub!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Glad you're enjoying the educational experience, Riz. In times like these, with global warming, GMOs and other negative impacts on our natural resources, now is the time to know what to do so we can try to save it.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Billy, you know that I want to get as many birds and animals as possible, and EDUCATE worldwide, if I can!

    • Rizwana Yasmin profile image

      Rizwana Yasmin 2 years ago from Lahore

      I have always seen your work and instantly say WOW , butterflies are amazing shot and others are as well ! thanks Deb to bring for us beautiful nature so close to see , might if you were not in my life, then i deprived the view i can see with your eyes to mine. thanks a lot

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Expanding I see. Well done, Deb! I can see a national column in the future, and well-deserved when it happens.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Jackie. I always have a blast, and today was a superb day!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Just no words good enough to describe these photos. I always shake my head in wonder. Beautiful to say the least.

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