Date: 4/29/17 3:56 pm From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...> Subject: OF FLOODING AND HEAVY SHOREBIRD MIGRATION
Today was one of those “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” events, bird-wise. I knew the rain would be heavy -- probably my yard in Fayetteville would flood -- but also, very likely, so would the shorebird migration. And it was. Craig State Fish Hatchery at Centerton was closed, but flooded fields – in normal times, pastures -- a mile or so south of the hatchery were full of shorebirds. When I got up there, Jacque Brown and Butch Tetzlaff were already at work.
We eventually came up with 16 shorebird species: American Golden-Plover (2), Semipalmated Plover (3), Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs (4), Lesser Yellowlegs (~60), Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper (6), Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper (4), Baird’s Sandpiper (1), Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin (3), Long-billed Dowitcher (63), Wilson’s Phalarope (10). We also picked up Forster’s Tern (3), Yellow-headed Blackbird (2), and Bobolink (at least 12).
When I got back to Fayetteville I went out to Agri Park and was shocked to hear a really LOUD chorus, DICK CIS SIS – more than 100 Dickcissels on the ground and at least that many in trees above.
Today’s significant rainstorms in Northwest Arkansas City (6-8+ inches in some places) illustrate exactly how our former Tallgrass Prairies function, ecologically-speaking. Heavy rain and flooding is misery for many people, but for birds headed north for nesting, they are life blood.