Date: 3/1/18 2:32 pm
From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...>
Subject: Western Meadowlarks migrating in the Valley
Arkansas River Valley south of Kibler was foggy with a slight, cool north breeze this morning. Out of the fog: songs of Western Meadowlarks. Eventually, sunshine and 50-100 meadowlarks in a field of bean stubble. The only calls were westerns. There were westerns in at least two other fields, but I also heard easterns in these fields. I had almost the exact situation in the Maysville area March 1, 2013 – a big meadowlark flock with mainly Western songs and calls. I suspect from all of this they are heading west now, though we may still find westerns all the way into May.

The valley is flooded after a week of rain. The big old oxbow south of Kibler (Thornhill Road cuts it in half) is now a big lake with lots of birds. A flock of Snow Geese (white and blue) passed overhead, trying to head north. The oxbow was a diverse duck pond: Gadwall (most numerous), American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback (at least 35, a high number for me), Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup.

Horned Lark are singing all over. I found singing birds in at least 5 separate places. They would fly low right in front of me, then drop into the wet soil, disappearing. One flock of Savannah Sparrows must have had at least 50 birds. I also picked up Lapland Longspurs in two places – single birds. This is pretty late – my latest record ever was March 4. Not too much in terms of shorebirds, until a flock of 21 Greater and one Lesser Yellowlegs stopped along the edge of the oxbow.

I passed up going to a few places this morning because of flooding. My car commendably plows valley muck pretty well, but of course it is what you can’t see that might suck you down. The old oxbow is usually also divided by East Arnold Road, but not today. The low water bridge was under the oxbow. Even big trucks turned around.

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