Sunday, April 1, 2018

Toad Suck. Yes, I said that!

We’re in Toad Suck, Arkansas.  We left Louisiana a day earlier than planned because of predicted heavy rain and winds.

The origin of the name Toad Suck is disputed.  Some say it received the name when idle river men would congregate at the local tavern where they would "suck on the bottle 'til they swell up like toads", while others believe it is a corruption of a French phrase meaning "a narrow channel in the river.”

We’re staying at the Toadsuck Park.  We’ve seen it spelled Toad Suck and as one word Toadsuck.  It’s a very nice park operated by the Army Corps of Engineers on the Arkansas River.  

Our site is right across the river from the Kerr/McClellan lock and dam.  There used to be a ferry across the river that could haul two or three cars across. The ferry ended when the Kerr/McClellan lock and dam was completed sometime in the late '60s.

Our site from the dam 
(Our RV is the one on the left)

The dam from our site.

Looking down at the locks from on top of the dam.

Our first day here it rained all day.  Mostly we sat inside the RV.  We did get out to walk around the park some between rain showers.  As far as we could tell the gates on the dam were about 2/3 closed when we got here.  The second day we were here the gates were fully opened and the river had risen 14 feet on the other side.

The second day we drove about an hour to the Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge in Dardanelle.  There is a very nice 8 mile driving loop.  It took us about 3 hours.  The day was mostly cloudy and rainy but we wanted to get out and do something and the driving loop seemed like fun.

There were a couple of short trails we were able to walk between rain showers.

One of the levee hiking trails.

We saw a few birds. Most common were dozens of White-throated Sparrows.

White-throated Sparrow

There was a very nice observation tower.

The sun came out toward the end of our visit, and the butterflies started flying. We saw several different species in a short period of time. Largest was an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, though the Pipevine Swallowtails are not much smaller.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Pipevine Swallowtail

Pipevine Swallowtail

We saw several Falcate Orangetip butterflies. They fly only in early Spring, and spend the rest of the year as eggs or in the larval stage. 

Falcate Orangetip

Falcate Orangetip

Continuing with this month's theme of butterflies that are well camouflaged when closed but bright when open, consider the Red Admiral:

Red Admiral closed

Red Admiral open

Birds seen at the Wildlife Refuge:  Pied-billed Grebe, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker (H), Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Meadowlark, Brown-headed Cowbird.

Next time:  More from Arkansas.
We're still working on the Panama Journal too.


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  2. Ok. Is this an April Fools post? My guess is it's legitimate.

    I will let Serene decide if she wants to visit Toadsuck.😀

    1. No joke! How would you like that to be on your return address labels?!