Date: 7/31/20 2:54 pm From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...> Subject: Upland Sandpipers in Kibler bottoms
Last couple of days of stormy weather raised my hopes for Upland Sandpipers, especially in the expansive fields of Kibler bottoms. I got down to West-Ark Sod early today, with cool temps (low 70s), overcast, and a west breeze. It was way too comfortable for late July in Arkansas.
I listened and listened – nothing. But finally saw one Upland Sandpiper in some tallish grass on the sod farm. Fortunately, they weren’t rolling sod today. (In fact, I think they were harvesting watermelons since a big flatbed trailer full of them, and a bunch of people, passed by me on Westville Road.) I had the sod farm to myself.
The Upland was looking around, then began calling. Then, from out of nowhere, here they came. A whole a flock of them, at least 13 birds, wheeling back and forth. Then they dropped down on the sod farm RIGHT in front of me. I just about fell over. I reached into the car for my camera and, of course, off they went. That was the end of that. That could have been a photograph worth having, for sure.
An hour or so later I was on Arnold Road and saw two more. They were out in one of the fields where water used in poultry processing plants is injected into the soil. There were several hundred Barn and Cliff Swallows flying low in the field, I assume scooping up flies.
From the same field: an adult Swainson’s Hawk, chased by swallows. It soared right over me.
Still on Arnold Road: I saw a couple of Horned Larks. Looked like an adult and a fledgling. When I moved in for a closer look, I realized, too late, it was actually a flock of at least eight birds. A couple of adults, the rest in juvenile plumage.
I figure today’s Upland Sandpiper haul at 16 birds. We always see Uplands in Kibler bottoms in the fall, but numbers like this not until August. I guess today is close enough.