Date: 7/9/18 4:56 pm
From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...>
Craig State Fish Hatchery at Centerton was over 90 degrees this afternoon with LOTS of heat shimmers. A perfect mid-summer blazer, except fall was already in the air, in terms of birds. For one thing, just up the road I picked up my first of season Solitary Sandpiper, no doubt fresh from Canada. It was working shallows of an almost dried-up farm pond. Driving into the hatchery, I saw 50+ Purple Martins on the wires and more flying over ponds. Sure, martins nest in the area, but now is when they start forming flocks. By third week in July, small aggregations like those today will become really huge thousands of martins, roosting together, before they head south. (Example: at least 5,000 nearby in a roost at Rogers in mid-July 2017). Finally, there were strong flying young and adults of Barn and Cliff Swallows. I was surprised to see them perching in a tree, out of the sun, no doubt defense against overheating in the afternoon blaze.

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