Date: 5/3/18 6:05 am
From: Anderson, Leif E -FS <leanderson...>
Subject: Pope county migration count... ramblings
Greetings all,
Pope Co did their migration count Wens.
My area is south of the interstate and North of the Arkansas River.

I spent a quite pleasant 15 hrs wandering the river valley.
Song diminished, but persisted well into the afternoon, which was nice.
I didn't get big numbers of individuals... only 1,945.
It seemed like I wasn't seeing a lot of birds. Probably because many species were only 1 individual. But I was mistaken... When I counted up my species it was 150. So a much greater day than I expected. I missed at least 15 common species (including Red-tailed Hawk!), so I suspect that county-wide we might end up at 170+ species.

Highlights:
Franklin Gulls in their breeding finery.
A cooperative Lincoln's Sparrow in really fresh feathers, and good light. This was a catch-your-breath moment. Definitely not a little-brown-job.
It's been 3 years since I've seen a Golden-winged, so an evening bird in full song was awesome.

Atkins Bottoms:
The bottoms were really dry... Usually there is a flooded field for shorebirds - not this time.
Most of the time someone has planted Winter Wheat - but not this year.
I expect to see 4-800 Dicksissels and < 50 Bobolinks. This year I only found 55 Dickcissels and 174 Bobolinks.

The farmers of the bottoms have had a lot of theft.
So it might be best to stay on the county rds.
Bird from the vehicle and don't get out, especially near a house or equipment.
Or if you do get out, be sure to park far enough over so the tractors can get by you.
I'd avoid stopping in front of houses, equipment barns, or irrigation pumping material.
There is a difference in the attitude of young versus old rednecks... I consider myself an older redneck. The Bottoms has a few younger country boys. So expect them to drive past you fast, slinging gravel. Then they might turn around and come by again. I suspect they love to share stories with their buddies on how they scared all the birds away from me. This behavior is uncommon, but it happens. (Except today when I didn't see a single pickup.)

If you drive enough roads you should find the Bobolinks.

Siskin Musings:
The AAS checklist list the last normal departure as May, week 2, with some records past that. Today I saw 3 flocks with > 30 birds. So this this seemed like a lot of birds for early May.

Johnson migration dance on Mon.

Cheers, Leif at Hector






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