Date: 5/3/18 9:41 am
From: Mitchell Pruitt <0000000b4ac30a99-dmarc-request...>
Subject: Lake Leatherwood, Carroll County, AR
On Tuesday, I went on a herpetology class field trip to Lake Leatherwood, led by Dr. J.D. Willson and Jason Ortega. Lake Leatherwood is one of northwest Arkansas’ gems, owned by the city of Eureka Springs. It showcases some really nice upland forest, complete with riparian areas, extensive historic glades (that need a little work), and a CCC-era limestone quarry. The goal was to find herps in various forms (snakes, lizards, frogs, toads, salamanders), but the birders in the group couldn’t help but get distracted by the sounds around us. Our list got pretty long, but notables included: several flocks of Cedar Waxwings, Scarlet Tanager, Acadian Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, Pine Siskin, and Swainson’s Thrush.

Some of the notables worth mentioning as stand-alones were 2 Spotted Sandpipers, enjoying floating logs along the dam and 4 Prairie Warblers in 3 separate locations along the trail. The only habitat that looked slightly Prairie Warbler-esque was at the old quarry. Otherwise, they seemed a bit out of place, yet were singing loudly despite it. Maybe they're hold-outs in what is left of the old glades, now mostly choked with red cedar. Imagine the possibilities if controlled burns were restored to this incredible place! We would be up to our ears with collared lizards and Prairie Warblers!

Herpetological notables included eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos) that obligingly played dead, a single juvenile eastern collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris), and a juvenile black racer (Coluber constrictor), just transitioning into its adult plumage…er…scale patterning.

Good birding!

Mitchell Pruitt

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