Date: 5/10/18 4:54 pm
From: Daniel Mason <millipede1977...>
Subject: Re: Benton Co. (Swainson's Hawk, Bell's Vireo), belated W. Tanager, L-C Sparrow, S-S Hawk reports (Washington Co.)
Speaking of dickcissels...  I thought about emailing someone a few days
back... hmm, looking at my list it was a week ago.  I guess you'd be a
good person to talk to about this, replying "all" just in case someone
else has some productive thoughts.
I was at City Lake in Siloam enjoying a decent birdy day... lots of
dickcissel singing... Based on just what I heard, without even walking
the whole field, I put down 5 in my notebook as that's how many I'm
certain were singing.  I may be too late to be asking about this but who
knows.
Normal years it would be surprising to see more than one or two there.
The habitat just isn't maintained for them. But, that's the problem this
year... right now, or at least a week ago, it was looking good. A good
chunk of the property was growing in and, it's not the part they plan on
leaving alone.  If they haven't mowed yet, I imagine they will before
long. So with all of these birds there, I was fearing that they were
finding the place attractive enough to stick around.
There's one lower wet prairie like area that they will leave alone but
that's not the area the dickcissels are favoring there. Different
vegetation.  The un-mowed weedy grassy area, they seemed to be loving it
that day. But, again, I fear that will all be mowed.  At best, if I'm
lucky, I can't get out there before the weekend to check on it. My
wife's work schedule is still a bit chaotic  so my birding has been
limited. For the field trip in a couple weeks, I either have to come up
with the money for the scooter I've been looking at or find a ride from
a friend...
Anyway, I thought I'd pass along this observation in case anyone had any
thoughts on it. My guess is that it would be better if they already did
mow... hopefully before any started trying to nest or anything. I really
don't think they'll leave it long and I'd hate to see birds start
nesting just to have it all mowed.
If nobody else has a chance to go investigate before then, I may try to
swing by there Saturday or Sunday.
I've been trying to get out there once in a while to keep it scouted
ahead of the field trip. The lake is becoming even more popular with
people fishing and boating which is sometimes bad for the birds, and
birders...  Gets a little crowded(for my liking) at the main lot but the
field is not as popular. The trail they've put in is still a little
rough in some places and has been washed out by the rain at times but it
is usable and may encourage a little more birding (longer walk) than
past trips. I guess we'll see.
Looking forward to the trip but still making the best of our yard.

Side note/question. A couple years ago, I looked into birding stump
prairie. I think I contacted the ANHC and they informed me that it was
privately owned and that I should contact the property owners before
just walking around out there. I don't know if that has changed... but
with the TINY parking spot, that uncertainty, and no trails, I'm
hesitant to bird the place myself... though the reports I see sure have
me wanting to head that way sometimes.

Daniel Mason

On 5/10/2018 12:06 PM, Alyssa DeRubeis wrote:
> 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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