Date: 5/16/18 4:11 am
From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...>
Craig State Fish Hatchery in Centerton is almost always an engaging place for birding, and also for wetland plants, frogs, turtles, snakes, etc. Most exciting is late spring, when for Walleye stocking they completely drain several ponds in secession. This often occurs when shorebirds are northbound. The combination of rain, cool front, and fresh mudflats can produce memorable birding. We had about 2.5 of those factors yesterday because Arkansas Game and Fish personnel were out in force with their gear catching several hundred pounds of catfish – a Centerton specialty – for stocking kid’s fishing derbies. The Walleye drawdowns are ahead. Catfish require only a partial draining, but it still produces a nice wide edge, exposing mud that is full of aquatic insects, attractive to migratory shorebirds. Yesterday included Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper (2), Semipalmated Sandpiper (25), Least Sandpiper (3), White-rumped Sandpiper (4), Pectoral Sandpiper (7), Stilt Sandpiper (5). In the big reservoir pond there were Northern Shovelers (2) and a female Hooded Merganser. There was also a remarkable Great Blue Heron with perfect mirror reflection.

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