Date: 5/10/17 2:58 pm
From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...>
Several hundred northbound sandpiper migrants were exploring the mud and algae-covered flat in a drained fish pond at Craig State Fish Hatchery in Centerton this morning. I assume this is one of the ponds recently home to the popular game fish, Walleye, destined for stocking in area lakes. Now the mud aids bird migration.

It is a big pond. My count or actually an informed estimate is based upon about two hours of watching: Semipalmated Plover (1), Killdeer (2), Lesser Yellowlegs (~40), Spotted Sandpiper (5), Semipalmated Sandpiper (~40), Least Sandpiper (~60), White-rumped Sandpiper (~30), Baird’s Sandpiper (1), Pectoral Sandpiper (~60), Wilson’s Phalarope (1). In addition, Blue-winged Teal (4). When I first got there, and behaved myself by sitting quietly in the car, the birds still acted a little spooky. After I’d been there an hour or so, in one spot, the whole crowd took sudden flight. In swooped a Peregrine Falcon (Tundra), with several serious passes low over the flat. The peregrine took a long flight to the north and many of the shorebirds drifted back in.

As Emily Dickson wrote, “The Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind –“ The meaning inherent in life itself, out there on a drained fish pond, to dazzle us all.

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