Arkansas, known for its diverse wildlife and natural beauty, has long been home to an array of fascinating creatures. However, in recent years, one adorable woodland dweller seems to have become increasingly elusive—the chipmunk. As an avid nature enthusiast who frequently explores the Ouachita National Forest, I have noticed a significant decline in chipmunk sightings over the past few years. This blog post recounts my quest to locate and photograph these charming rodents, culminating in a delightful encounter at the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center.
The Decline of Chipmunks in Arkansas:
Having spent countless hours in the Ouachita National Forest, I once had the pleasure of encountering chipmunks regularly. These small, lively mammals with their distinct stripes and bushy tails used to be a common sight during my excursions. However, to my disappointment, their presence has noticeably dwindled over the past three to four years. Even in the heart of the forest, where they were once abundant, chipmunks have become increasingly scarce.
A Journey to Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center:
Motivated by my fond memories of observing chipmunks in their natural habitat, I embarked on a trip to the renowned Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center. My hope was to catch a glimpse of these elusive creatures and, if fortunate, photograph them in their element once again. With my camera in hand, I eagerly set off, filled with anticipation.
Upon my arrival at the nature center, I wasted no time in exploring the trails near Wells Lake—a spot that had yielded chipmunk sightings in the past. As luck would have it, I spotted a chipmunk darting among the underbrush, its agile movements making it challenging to track. Though the chipmunk mostly remained hidden in the shadows, its presence alone rekindled my excitement and determination.
Refusing to be deterred, I decided to venture toward the visitor’s center, where bird feeders were known to attract a variety of wildlife. To my delight, I caught sight of another chipmunk near the feeders, meticulously foraging for food. Seizing the opportunity, I found a comfortable spot on the ground, patiently positioning myself for a photograph. As the chipmunk perched atop a nearby rock, I captured a series of images, documenting its captivating presence and natural grace.
My quest for chipmunks in Arkansas may have required patience and perseverance, but it ultimately rewarded me with a memorable encounter at the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center. While the overall decline in chipmunk sightings across the state remains a cause for concern, moments like these remind us of the importance of preserving and protecting the natural habitats that house these remarkable creatures. As I cherish the photographs from this outing, I’m filled with hope that future generations will also have the opportunity to appreciate the playful antics and vibrant beauty of chipmunks in the wild.
Here is a photo of the last Chipmunk I photographed which was back in 2009. This was also near the location as the above Chipmunk: Chipmunk Under Bird Feeder
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- Location: Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center (Arkansas)
- Date and Time Taken: May 30, 2023 (08:13 A. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f9
- Shutter speed: 1/320
- ISO: 8000 (Auto)
- Exposure Compensation: +0.3
- Focal Length: 500 mm