Date: 5/3/17 5:10 am
From: Bill Thurman <bill.masterofmusic...>
Subject: Re: CRANES AND OTHER MIGRANTS IN THE VALLEY
Joe,

Thanks for the mention! Your trip to Alma and Frog area has just the
right amount of timing. :) I'm glad you saw the least threatened of the
cranes along with all the shore and waterfowl. They're important too.
They're ALL important.
I plan to get around somewhere in Pulaski County today and list as
many birds as possible. I figure I'm around here most of the time so why
not report on this area. Hopefully I'll see some species not just seen any
old time. Maybe even a migrant or two.

Bill Thurman
On May 3, 2017 5:12 AM, "Joseph Neal" <joeneal...> wrote:

> ARBIRDs has lately been full of discussions about who did, and who did
> not, see Whooping Cranes in eastern Arkansas recently. I am in the larger
> group who did not, but yesterday had the pleasure of the other crane
> species – Sandhill Cranes (2) – at Frog Bayou WMA, or at least a field
> adjacent, 3 miles southeast of Alma.
>
>
> Turns out that distance between where I live in Fayetteville and Alma
> equals 16 fiddle songs, starting with “Sugar in the gourd” and ending with
> “Danny Boy,” the new CD, “Nothin but fiddle & a Sarcoma Survivor,” by our
> confederate in birding, Bill Thurman. “Danny Boy” was just wrapping up as I
> headed for Frog at the Alma exit, escorted overhead by Cattle Egrets (20),
> and on my way to what turned out to be nuthin but northbound migrants.
>
>
> Frog Unit 7 on Sharp Chapel Road was the International Migratory Bird Day
> t-shirt featuring a Charlie Harper print with dozens of migrants. Besides
> the cranes, there were Short-billed Dowitchers (~30), Lesser Yellowlegs
> (42), Wilson’s Phalarope (2), Pectoral Sandpiper (~80), Upland Sandpiper
> (2). I was just trying to count peeps (Least -?) when I spotted White-faced
> Ibis (4) in the field. Then Swainson’s Hawks (4) soaring overhead. Bobolink
> flocks kept popping up from somewhere. Plus Blue-winged Teal (35), Snowy
> Egrets (15) and Little Blue Herons (9).
>
>
> After Frog, I made a brief stop at Alma Wastewater Treatment facility and
> had my mind further blown by a compact flock of 93 Wilson’s Phalaropes
> happily foraging on the surface of the facility’s finishing pond,
> accompanied by at least 500 swallows of mixed species. Driving out, I had
> close views in excellent light of a Semipalmated Plover – did you know they
> have a fine ring of gold around that big dark eye?
>
>
> Final destination, the sod farms south of Kibler. That whole area of the
> valley south of Kibler is one enormous former channel of the almighty
> Arkansas, an old oxbow full of storm water and functionally re-connected to
> the Arkansas. A mud lump was crowned by peeps (at least White-rumped
> Sandpipers and Semipalmated Sandpipers), Pectoral Sandpipers (20), Lesser
> Yellowlegs (5), and the day’s only Stilt Sandpiper.
>
>
> More Swainson’s Hawks (6) were chasing large grasshoppers in fields along
> Arnold Road. Trees were full of Dickcissels around the UA Vegetable Station
> on Thornhill. The flocks (500?) kept swarming down into a ripening wheat
> field. When I got to a decent place to observe, I noticed Yellow-headed
> Blackbirds (20? 50?) mixed in with Dickcissels.
>
>
> In terms of Whooping Cranes: many years ago I like thousands of other
> Arkansans benefited from Professor Doug James’ spring break ornithology
> field trip to Aransas NWR, including a boat trip out to see the Whoopers.
> That has made many seekers into lifelong birders, which is the threat posed
> by those allusive realities called facts.
>
>

 
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