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Top 10 Arkansas Wildlife Watching


Arkansas is the natural state but it's easy to forget that we share the state with a variety of wildlife. You can watch everything from the nation's national bird to the American alligator in our backyard. Please note that I listed the animals commonly seen in the area. You shouldn't expect to see them all or even any of them. September through November are the best times to go wildlife watching.

1) The Buffalo National River

Pruitt - Wildlife observers have recorded 55 species of mammals, 250 species of birds and 59 species of fish in and around the Buffalo National River's pristine waters. Herons, elk and white-tailed deer, wild turkey, bobwhite quail, raccoon, opossum, bobcat, mink, bear and beaver are commonly seen. The visitor center has checklists for wildlife that may be found in the park.

2) Holla Bend

Dardanelle - Over 240 species of birds have been recorded on the refuge. Mammals native to the area are also abundant including white-tailed deer, raccoons, opossums, foxes and bobcats. The refuge protects 7,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods and wetlands and provides habitat for wintering waterfowl, bald and golden eagles and migratory song birds. It's a wintering spot for Canada and snow geese.

3) Felsenthal

Crossett - Felsenthal has AR's largest population of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Other birds include raptors, bobwhite quail, wild turkeys and mourning doves. It's also home to mammals: raccoons, mink, river otter, gray and red foxes, bobcats, black bear, coyotes and white-tailed deer. The native reptiles include American alligators and four species of poisonous snakes to name a few.

4) White River

DeWitt - The White River has one of AR's highest populations of American black bear. You can also find salamanders, frogs, turtles, water snakes, beavers, ducks, bald-eagles, white-tailed deer, minks, raccoons, otters, belted-kingfishers, bald eagles and least terns. The water itself is alive with many fish, crustaceans, insects, amphibians, reptiles and plants.

5) Cache River

Augusta - Cache River has the largest population of American black bear in Arkansas. It is the single most important wintering area for mallards in North America and some of the most important for pintails, teal and other migratory waterfowl. The refuge is also home to bald eagle, geese, wading birds, deer, turkey, raccoon, bobcat and river otter.

6) Lake Chicot State Parks

Lake Village - In the late Summer, this park is filled with water fowl including great and snowy egrets. The swampy habitat also makes it the perfect place for American alligator. There have also been sightings of wood stork and American bald eagle in the park. Of course, there are raccoon, deer and other wildlife common to Arkansas.

7) Wapanocca

Turrell - The refuge with the funny name is the prefect place to see water fowl and marsh birds. Many ducks, geese, blue heron, anhingas and egrets winter here or make a stop on their migration. You can also see raptors (including Bald Eagles), warblers and songbirds at certain times of the year. Wapanocca is also home to reptiles, otter, deer, beaver and bobcat.

8) Bald Knob

Bald Knob - This is also a great place for birds. You'll find blue-winged teal, wood ducks, Canada, white-fronted, and lesser snow geese and mallard and pintail ducks. Deer, turkey, raccoon, bobcat and river otter also call the refuge home.

9) Pond Creek

DeQueen - Pond Creek is a bottom land wetland ecosystem. You'll find migratory and resident waterfowl, neotropical migratory birds, wading birds and other wetland-dependent wildlife. Deer, muskrat, nutria and beaver also call the refuge home.

10) Big Lake

Manila - Big Lake is famous for it's osprey nests. They also provide shelter for bald eagle, duck, deer, raccoon and migrating birds.
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