Date: 4/29/18 8:05 pm
From: CK Franklin <meshoppen...>
Subject: A Meander from Bentonville to Little Rock
Rather than make the trip to Ninestone this morning, Bill B and I opted to get ourselves on over to Lake Dardanelle to the see the Bullock's Oriole. We'd both seen Bullock's twice before some years ago so we were happy to get this opportunity so close to home. I have to say the sheer pageantry of orioles on display was the earthy kind of magic Joe Neal describes on a daily basis. How could you not be wowed by 40 or 50 or 60 black and orange bodies gleaming in the sun, red and black punctuations marks scattered among them, and the yellow green females a cool balm to your dazzled eyes? The best moment of the viewing--watching the house butler & maid deliver a tray of cut oranges and a bottle of grape jelly while trying to not spook the orioles too much. Maximum time elapsed from human withdrawl from the feeding station to the arrival of the first bird--15 seconds. Yes it was a moment deserving of Dr. Dan's happy dance.

From there we went on to our Banh Mi sandwich at Linh's & then we were off to Atkins Bottoms. Some of the fields are planted and corn is up a couple of inches. Some of the fields were being disked when I went through there about a month ago. It appears nothing further has been done to them. We didn't see a Merlin nor a Curlew, not that we expected to. There was a small flock of Bobolinks in the grass along Wilson Road. They got up on stalks and watched us watching them until they grew concerned and flew off down the grassy dyke.

Out on the fields and out on the meadows the Dickcissels hold sway. Every twig sufficient to hold one up had a male Dickcissels singing from it. We saw well in excess of a hundred and most of them were proclaiming their presence. After a while you almost wish the circadas were singing. We didn't see any spectacular birds today. We saw one Lark Sparrow in the pecan orchards along Willow Bend Road. Lots of Eastern Kingbirds. Some really well defined Swamp Sparrows. And lots of Indigo Buntings. No Yellow-headed Blackbirds. We saw many Red-winged Blackbird females and not many adult males. Not sure what was up with that.

We had a good time. When we got home, we discovered Baltimore Orioles had drained our hummingbird feeders. I did an emergency refill and put out some cut oranges. Seven Baltimores promptly showed up along with a Downy Woodpecker with a sweet tooth. The cats have forgiven us for leaving them.


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