Date: 5/10/17 5:51 pm From: Daniel Mason <millipede1977...> Subject: blackpolls
Seeing Mitchell's report from cave mountain makes me want to go. But, my wife gets annoyed enough when I just bird locally a few days a week. That's a bit of a drive so unless I can talk someone into having the whole family head that way, I can't push that. That has me wondering where I can find some of those birds more locally. I live in Siloam Springs. Joe Neal, any thoughts on blackpolls and blue-winged warblers in Benton county? Last year I heard a blackpoll in a nice wet forest near my house... bird did NOT respond to playback... stayed out in the woods where I never got a look. Just a little while ago I decided to bird the yard and I heard one off in the distance... played the song on the phone a few times. It came closer but it was still off in my neighbor's yard or beyond. No luck on seeing one. My daughter and I have a strong disagreement on counting unseen birds. If I KNOW without a doubt what it is(like a veery we heard in the yard one spring) I'll count it. She thinks that's SO wrong and wont. So, us hearing this blackpoll just out of reach was quite frustrating for her. Me as well but to a lesser extent. Their time in this area is so brief, I'd love to be able to help her hunt one down in person. The blue-winged warbler would be awesome as well but we have more time to hunt for those. It's so odd that the blackpolls migrate through here in the spring but in the fall, they have a completely different route.
Got to see a decent bird out in the yard while hunting the blackpoll though. We saw something just past the neighbor's yard... I thought it had a forked tail and something about the way it flew reminded me of a pigeon... my daughter thought we were looking at a grackle. It finally flew further over our yard and I realized it didn't have a forked tail but it was carrying something... bird of prey for sure. As we looked up into this gloomy sky we both pondered kite... felt strongly about it for a minute. High enough and poor lighting to make that difficult and neither of us are experts on those. Got a few pictures and had enough detail on one to see the markings on the head of a peregrine falcon. Not a lifer but a first for us in Arkansas... Which is also funny because just before that I was complaining about how people like Joe Neal(just today) see these falcons at places I bird at and I never find them. HA. As this falcon flew and even circled over the yard a few times, fairly high, I'm not sure if it was a bird or a rodent or what that it was carrying but chunks of fur or feather were being tossed about. It finally flew off out of view. Gotta keep looking up :) So much to see and migration is just flying by. It's been a good year so far. A few birds I'm still lacking but others seem more abundant this year than previous. You just never know...
Anyway... any thoughts of blackpolls, blue-winged, and even prairie warblers(or any other rarities or anything) in Benton county would be appreciated. :) Thanks.