Date: 5/10/18 10:06 am
From: Alyssa DeRubeis <alderubeis...>
Subject: Benton Co. (Swainson's Hawk, Bell's Vireo), belated W. Tanager, L-C Sparrow, S-S Hawk reports (Washington Co.)
This morning Vivek Kumar and I checked out Stump and Chesney Prairies
(Siloam Springs) from about 6:50am until 10:30am.

Highlights from Stump: Bell's Vireo (at least one, possibly up to three
spotted by Vivek), flyover Bobolink, Loggerhead Shrike (getting chased by
the vireos), and two Dickcissel nests found! This officially marks the
start of my summer field work, although I am still doing spring transect
surveys. I did hear Bell's Vireo occasionally near Stump last summer, so I
imagine they nest there.

Highlights from Chesney: Swainson's Hawk (pair flying and calling over
riparian zone, including one bird carrying sticks in her talons (nesting
material?)), Sedge Wren (1 singing), Sora (1), Olive-sided Flycatcher (1),
and two more Dickcissel nests. This puts me at about a tenth of what I
found last year (43), and this is only the first day. We spotted another
Swainson's Hawk on the north side of Highway 412 a few miles east of Siloam
Springs.

Savannah Sparrows were present at both Stump and Chesney. The Dickcissels
were nest building, so no eggs or chicks yet. Some were close to complete,
so there should be at least one egg laid within the next few days.

While working at Wild Birds Unlimited on Sunday, a customer came in
excitedly telling me that his mom had a tanager visit her feeder just a few
days prior (around May 3 I'm guessing). Needless to say I was a bit
surprised when he showed me a photo his mom took, not of a Scarlet or
Summer, but of a male WESTERN Tanager! This was off of Broyles Avenue in
Fayetteville. I presume that it is gone by now, although I wonder if it was
the same one Karyn Dillard's son had visiting his feeders?

On May 4 a field volunteer and I kicked up a Le Conte's Sparrow at Callie's
Prairie (Springdale). Although late, it is not absurdly so, as there are
records from May 2, 3, and 11 from previous years. I got good looks, and
it's from a spot where I regularly flush one during my transect surveys. A
couple birders and I briefly searched the area again on May 6 and did not
find any.

Lastly, I observed a pair Sharp-shinned Hawks on April 20 at Callie's
Prairie. The both flew into a tree together and never acted aggressively
toward each other. There was a clear size difference, and when I first saw
the male I thought it was a Blue Jay. Albeit backlit, I could still make
out the diminutive and circular head shape (compared to the more
"loggerhead" and larger head shape of a Cooper's Hawk). The female was
perched and preening while the male would make a short flight to perch in
an adjacent tree, then to another adjacent tree, then fly back to near
where the female was. Looking through Arkansas spring/summer records, the
majority indicate nesting birds. I have been to Callie's Prairie several
times since and have not seen them, but I still suspect that they could be
nesting. So if you're out there, keep your eyes out for them!

If you are at Woolsey, Stump, or Chesney Prairies, keep your eye out for
nesting dickcissels. If you see one, take detailed notes and take a GPS
coordinate and let me know. But please give the birds space so that they
don't abandon their nests. If you see any tall flags, keep your distance,
as these may be active nests that I have already found. If you have any
questions on them, or would like to join me sometime in the field, feel
free to contact me. Thanks!

Alyssa DeRubeis
Fayetteville, Washington Co.

 
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