I was out visiting the Crabtree Farms family this morning. It's pumpkin time, and they grow hundreds. They have a stand on Westville Road, not far from where we see migrating shorebirds on the sod farms. The ones Joe writes about. I made friends with them a couple of years ago. They know me now when I show up and they're always ready to talk birds.
One of the women who was working delivers mail for the folks who live around King's Ranch and the Alma Waste Treatment Plant. She spoke very highly of all the birders she met as she was making her rounds. Some of you talked to her about those spoonbills and the kite. And you showed her photos. She was very impressed. I showed the guys photos of both species. Some had seen spoonbills. But none of them had seen a Swallow-tailed Kite. I told them about where their range used to be, and how clearing of the land/loss of habitat is what diminished their range, and numbers.
The Crabtree guys always have a bird story for me. Farmers are very observant. One of them blurted out, "bluejays are migrating". Well yes, they are. They all know Rick Carson. He owns Alma Feeds. He's my friend who, at his home, grabbed his camera and took a picture of Arkansas first juvenile Sooty Tern not hurricane driven. It landed on his gravel driveway. I told them that story. They were amazed. The father of the clan asked me about some hawks he was seeing. Said he'd never seen the kind before. I had no idea from his description. But we had a good talk about them anyway.
These folks, the Crabtree clan, are really birders. Maybe not like us. But they are aware and observant. And I think they really do care about the natural world.
Thanks to all of you who came to western Arkansas, and were a positive influence on these "non-birders". And go buy a pumpkin or two if you're this way. They have some amazing ones.