Date: 11/3/18 2:48 pm
From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...>
Subject: Loons and grebes on Beaver Lake this morning
We managed to get in our second loon cruise on Beaver Lake this morning. Wind was coming up, but we managed the 2-hours ok. Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area boat was full. Fall leaf color remains spectacular, especially on sugar maple bluffs. Most people on these boat trips are not birders as such, but Hobbs provides good loaner bins on the boat for those who need them. Volunteer boat staff today: Bob Ross, Cathy Ross, Joan Reynolds, and me.

Water birds this morning were similar to those on the trip October 27. We saw one flock of Common Loons (4) from the shoreline before we took off from Rocky Branch Marina, then picked up a few singletons. Horned Grebes (~175) still numerous, especially on the north side of the lake in the cove at old Glade (below Lost Bridge). Double-crested Cormorants (55) were concentrated in a cedar snag patch in a single cove. American Coots (~50) balled up in an area where we flushed a small flock of Gadwalls. Gull tribe was stingy, represented by one Ring-billed – but enjoyed by all of us.

It is always quite a pleasure to see Bald Eagles from a boat like this. We saw 2-adults and one first year juvenile. We saw them perched in snags and flying dramatically over water. Presence of eagles provides this closet Southern Baptist preacher golden opportunity to remind everyone that eagles were almost all gone from Arkansas by the early 1980s. Then made a comeback because biologists documented why they were disappearing (DDT) and then the public demanded that politicians do their jobs – of all things -- including protecting our national bird. There are now 6 eagle nests around Beaver Lake alone -- 6X times what there was in the whole Natural State in the early 1980s.

Politicians are almost always loath to go against big money, but sometimes they can’t help themselves from doing the right thing. As in this morning’s sermonette, they can either do the right thing, or we can find representatives who will. That’s how our system of government works.

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