Date: 5/7/17 4:02 pm
From: Herschel Raney <herschel.raney...>
Subject: Thoughts on Connecticut Warblers
Looking at the Connecticut records in AR in the past, I note there have
not been any recorded in AR in 32 years. And the Birds of Arkansas book
records do not correlate with the ones on the electronic database.

Go here:

http://www.arbirds.org/species_out.asp

And click new search and choose Connecticut Warbler.

The book has two records for Union county, a record for Garland county
and a record for Washington county. And only three records for Arkansas
county. There is no record for Conway county in the book. It would seem
to me a record for Washington county is remarkable. I don’t have the
details.

However the last record on the online database is 1985 in Craighead
county. Notably it is from Norm Lavers, my friend. This is before I knew
Norm. But either Norm was without Cheryl on this date and on this
sighting or Cheryl was there and she is not mentioned on the record. I
think it likely after this email that Norm is getting a beating. But
that is just my opinion.

The first records are from 1953 on the online database. From Brooke
Meanley, who I do not know. This was before I was born. But I would
think that Crittenden, Lee, Phillips and Mississippi counties are the
ones to look for these things in. There are no records from these
counties. It is possible that the Connecticut Warbler does not migrate
through Arkansas at all in many years. Though it is clear that they
migrate west of the Appalachians in spring and essentially never appear
here in fall. In fall they must creep down the coast and launch towards
Brazil from there.

1963 was a big year for Connecticut in Arkansas. Either because people
were looking in the right place or it truly was an event. None of the
records online mention aural events. They appear to have all been
sightings. And seeing this bird when it is not calling must be a truly
miracle moment.

The Halbergs found them four times in the state. I still remember
sending Edith cards in the 70s for my sightings of other birds. I recall
her fine hand written thank you letters. It appears the Parkers never
saw one in the state.

The call of the Connecticut is aurally related to the Northern
Waterthrush. And this morning I was listening to several Northerns when
this bird called and stopped me in my tracks. I have been listening for
a Connecticut in Bell for over fifteen years. I have heard as many as 25
Northern Waterthrushes in one walk at Bell in spring. I was convinced
that if you weren’t where you could hear Northerns you probably were not
going to find a Connecticut.

Here are the two best recordings of Northern Waterthrush from Macauley
and the two best Connecticuts. See what you think.

https://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/203152#_ga=2.225574682.1493671106.1494196950-891790955.1486731179

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/30622331#_ga=2.35713184.1493671106.1494196950-891790955.1486731179

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/30380891#_ga=2.204012688.1493671106.1494196950-891790955.1486731179

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/30380891#_ga=2.2709424.1493671106.1494196950-891790955.1486731179

I think that if you are not paying attention they could just be written
off as another Northern Waterthrush. It may be that Connecticuts don’t
call that much in spring migration. They are walkers, like the two
Waterthrushes and like Ovenbirds. They put one foot in front of the
other and stay near the ground. They are skulkers. Tough to get up in
sight for viewing. Shy of us Hominids perhaps. All the things that make
them hard to see.

I am convinced this bird at Bell was out on the uplift, the little
hillock on the trail that this morning was an island in the flood. I
considered stripping off pants and socks and shoes and just wading over
in my Jockeys. But I did not. The next chance I will get to go to Bell
is Wednesday morning early. The water levels should pull back some by
then. I will wear shorts and my wading shoes this time.

Enjoy the rest of the spring.

Herschel Raney

Conway AR


 
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