Date: 11/22/20 4:49 am
From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...>
Subject: Sami longspur influx
Kibler bottoms:<>. This is one of Vivek Govind Kumar’s eBird submissions for yesterday’s trip to Arkansas River Valley area south of Kibler. Includes photos. We met Jim Nieting down there. (We all wore masks and maintained social distancing.)
We saw almost 200 Lapland Longspurs in Kibler bottoms, near Alma. Or something like that – and even many more if you include American Pipits and Horned Larks in these massive flocks – or “clouds” – of small birds in the harvested bean and young wheat fields. Whatever the actual number – we did try to count – it reflects a considerable influx. Longspurs were all over, but biggest flocks along Crawford Road (about halfway between Westville and Thornhill roads).
I got to thinking about song writer and performer Donna Mulhollan, of the duo Still on the Hill. She and Kelly have for years taught ornithology at Arkansas Audubon Society’s Halberg Ecology Camp. A few years ago she told me, in a mostly humorous vein, that “Lapland” is a kind of perjorative for the Sami homeland. According to Wikipedia, “The Sámi people are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses large northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula within the Murmansk Oblast of Russia.” I think Donna has Sami relatives.
So Sami Longspurs have in high numbers now arrived in the river valley. Count them if you can. Besides that, when we got over to Orrick Road, across from Alma Wastewater Treatment plant (closed on Saturday), we saw a flock of 135 Canada Geese, that also included White-fronted Goose (1), Ross’s Goose (1), and Cackling Goose (3). Since we earlier had an overflight of Snow Geese, we “swept the geese.”
Finally, Joe Woolbright told me this week he saw his first Short-eared Owl of the season on one of the Cherokee prairies near Charleston. We saw Northern Harriers (4) along Sharp Chapel Road yesterday. This suggests these big fields, now part of Frog Bayou WMA, may again be a good place to see these open country owls.


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