Date: 4/29/17 7:42 am
From: Herschel Raney <herschel.raney...>
Subject: Bell Check
Yesterday, the main entrance at Bell showed the impending flood. The
bridges are under already. But walking in yesterday morning, I
considered going on through. You would need calf high boots with more
water to come this weekend. I am sure some Prothonotarys have had to
move nests already in this spring water onslaught.

A loud Northern Waterthrush was calling at the bridges. I heard at least
six for the morning in the semi-flooded woodlands. This is a very
variable warbler in its callings. Distinctive though. And reliable at Bell.

I drove over to Bell’s second entrance at the gate. Inside: apparently a
Catbird flock arrived in the night. Cats calling everywhere. Flashing
across the pathways. And Blackburnian Warblers in the cypress trees. In
my opinion one of the two loveliest Eastern warblers. Also Indigo
Buntings must have dropped en masse suddenly. They were calling
everywhere in the open scrub borders. It seems half of them dropped
there randomly in the dark, took a look around, and decided “I think I
will just stay and live here” and the other half said ”the hell you
will”. Skirmishes abounded.

Chats talking. Lincoln’s Sparrows skulking. And far across the shale
beds a Lark Sparrow singing and singing.

In the broad wet leveeland of Bell the Red-wings abounded. And out there
some scattered Bobolinks. I am not sure I had seen them in Bell before.
But this means they have surely descended on the fields of Lollie.

I decided to go to Camp Robinsons WDA just because maybe the Bachman’s
Sparrows are calling. This is a sound worth finding when you think of
it. But into the open there and I have Chats and Prairie Warblers in
song. The Dickcissels are now warming up. And this may be the first year
I have had Prairie Warblers there. One came up to show itself off. And
above this: a Chat in the open. This bird, every year, makes me laugh.
Those whirs and chucks, those spinning wheel noises, that expanding
buttery throat. I laughed again.

No Bachman’s though. I may have been too late in the morning. But I was
rewarded anyway by a walk out of a Bobwhite pair. And I know, it always
seems most likely that these Camp birds are transplants or released
birds. But still, the decoration of the Bobwhite, the feathering
extraordinaire. I looked. They calmly fed until running off into the
grass. I see only about one Bobwhite a year anywhere else.

At home, in the afternoon, the birds were quieter, but there in the tree
gap, the first Mississippi Kite. Late, I think, by several weeks, I am
glad to see them. Too many memories with this bird. I always wish them
well and welcome. The trees and I made finer by their return.

We will see what the rest of the weekend holds.

Herschel Raney

Conway AR

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