Date: 5/12/17 5:27 pm
From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...>
Swainson’s Hawks – an amazing 16 – were perched on the ground, in the rain, in muddy fields mainly along Arnold Road, about 3 miles south of Kibler, this morning. I saw 7 in this same area on May 2. The big hawks look at the same time bedraggled and indomitable. It’s part of migration. The flooded fields in the area were full of shorebirds, including American Avocets (4) and Stilt Sandpipers (5). “In the valley,” short hand for in the Arkansas River Valley.

Before the rain started, I had been on Sharp Chapel Road adjacent Frog Bayou WMA. Picked up an Alder Flycatcher, my first of spring, and saw a Least Bittern as it flew low over the cattail marsh along the road.

This was all BEFORE heading down to the prairies around Charleston for this afternoon’s Arkansas Audubon Society meeting field trip to Flanigan Prairie Natural Area. It had been raining in the area for almost 3-hours. Stopped at 1:50, 10 minutes before official field trip start time. Just right at 2, around 18 people suddenly appeared – for elegant Pale-Purple Coneflowers, Carolina Larkspurs and Bastard Toadflax -- and walked the prairie. We picked up Bell’s Vireo and Painted Bunting for the effort.

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