Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Bird Count in Northwest Arkansas 2011

Please click on individual images to ENLARGE.

 Snow Goose    1                                 (1 white  --blue   )
Cackling Goose --
Canada Goose 563
Wood Duck (Count Week – 2)
Gadwall 262
American Wigeon 17
Mallard 298
Northern Shoveler 27
Am Green-winged Teal 15
Canvasback --
Redhead --
Ring-necked Duck 40
Greater Scaup --
Lesser Scaup 36
Bufflehead 39
Common Goldeneye (Count Week)
Hooded Merganser 4
Ruddy Duck 29
Wild Turkey --
Northern Bobwhite --
Pied-billed Grebe 29
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Blue Heron 19
Black Vulture 21
Turkey Vulture 77
Bald Eagle  8                           (mature 5  ; immature 3  )
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3
Cooper's Hawk  5                          (Accipiter  species --)
Red-shouldered Hawk 20
Red-t Hawk:  67                   (1 harlani --calurus --kriderii)
American Kestrel 26
American Coot 31
Killdeer 57
Least Sandpiper --
Wilson’s Snipe 10
Ring-billed Gull 204
Rock Pigeon 350
Eurasian Collared-Dove 25
Mourning Dove 204
Greater Roadrunner 1
Eastern Screech-Owl 2
Great Horned Owl 5
Barred Owl 2
Belted Kingfisher 10
Red-headed Woodpecker 7
Red-bellied Woodpecker 67
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 33
Downy Woodpecker 62
Hairy Woodpecker 5
Northern Flicker 27
Pileated Woodpecker 19
Eastern Phoebe 4
Loggerhead Shrike --
Blue Jay 188
American Crow 391
Horned Lark --
Carolina Chickadee 131

Tufted Titmouse 78
Red-breasted Nuthatch --
White-breasted Nuthatch 28
Brown Creeper 8
Carolina Wren 51
Winter Wren 3
Sedge Wren --
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Count Week)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 178
Hermit Thrush 12
American Robin 561
Northern Mockingbird 98
Brown Thrasher 2
European Starling12,000
American Pipit --
Cedar Waxwing 80
Orange-crowned Warbler --
Yellow-rumped Warbler 52
Pine Warbler 1
Spotted Towhee--
Eastern Towhee 14
American Tree Sparrow --
Chipping Sparrow 1
Field Sparrow 27
Savannah Sparrow 199
Le Conte's Sparrow 5
Fox Sparrow 14
Song Sparrow 109
Lincoln’s Sparrow 4
Swamp Sparrow 25
White-throated Sparrow 454
Harris's Sparrow 5
White-crowned Sparrow 187
Dark-eyed Junco 966
Lapland Longspur --
Northern Cardinal 342
Red-winged Blackbird 530
Eastern Meadowlark 200
Western Meadowlark 2
Rusty Blackbird 33
Brewer's Blackbird --
Common Grackle 23,000
Great-tailed Grackle --
Brown-headed Cowbird 25
Purple Finch 2
House Finch 171
Pine Siskin 1
American Goldfinch 289
House Sparrow 118
blackbird species 312
OTHER: Greater White-fronted Goose 1; Northern Pintail 1; Inca Dove 1; Vesper Sparrow 1; Vulture species 150; Horned Grebe-count week

Monday, December 26, 2011

THE NEAL REPORT CHRISTMAS DAY 2011 and from Dec. 22, 2011

It's hard not to visit Oklahoma when we make our Maysville birding  
rounds. Most stops are in Arkansas fit and proper, but we like to  
drive an Oklahoma county road a brief mile as a falcon flies WEST of  
State Line Road. On Christmas Day we had a small flock (4-5 birds) of  
Harris's Sparrows just EAST of the state line, and a couple of  
America's Favorite Tree Sparrows along State Line Road, but on the  
Arkansas side. Mike Mlodinow and I both distinctly heard a Purple  
Finch while we were standing in the middle of State Line Road, but in  
terms of state boundaries where it began and ended overhead flight is  
mystery. We are very sure we had impressive (50+) flocks of Savannah  
Sparrows and meadowlark species in both Arkansas and Oklahoma,  
including Western Meadowlarks in both states. We saw scores of Bald  
Eagles during the day, including 20+ on the Arkansas side and at least  
15 in Oklahoma. At one point Joanie Patterson and I heard this  
wonderful bubbling chorus ahead and we eventually tracked down  
meadowlarks, in trees. At least a few were Westerns, and maybe 20  
birds flew away. How many Westerns? How many Easterns? They headed  
toward Arkansas. On the same walk, we heard then spotted a flicker,  
and Jacque Brown was soon in full blown picture-taking stalk, because  
this one was the western form of the Northern Flicker. A red-shafted  
flicker it was, in almost (but not quite) Arkansas.
In case all of this worry about the location of the state line seems  
silly, it is ... in a way. But since Joanie puts field data into  
ebird, assigning this bird to Arkansas, and that bird to Oklahoma, is  
required. You can't have a bird, even a good one like red-shafted  
flicker, in what amounts to almost Arkansas. In our strange world,  
it's all about formal state lines and there's no such place as say,  
calling all of this Beatie Prairie, which it is and was before there  
was either an Arkansas or an Oklahoma. But I digress. The flicker was  
cooperative and that's good enough gift for Christmas Day.
Common Goldeneyes tend to be the most numerous of the ducks present on  
Beaver Lake in winter, but they are never really common. I spent a  
long day on Beaver December 22. Duck-wise, the day amounted to 33  
goldeneyes in one far away flock (more than 0.6 of a mile!) visible  
from Lost Bridge North park. But the sun was bright and I could  
plainly see both males and females vigorously diving in that hungry  
sort of way.
I have no idea what foods they seek, but Birds of North America  
indicates they probably aren't catching fish, since most diet studies  
indicate they consume aquatic invertebrates including insects,  
mollusks, and crustaceans. Combining data from a variety of studies,  
their groceries appear to be crustaceans (32% by volume), insects  
(28%) and mollusks (10%). Whatever it is the ducks find, Bonaparte's  
and Ring-billed Gulls know what's up, because when goldeneyes dive on  
Beaver, gulls are often attendant and soon focus where ducks swim and  
dive. I assume the ducks dislodge food then made available for gull  
Watching through my spotting scope, I see them suddenly rise and race  
low over the water, coming my way. I hear the distinctive whistling  
produced by wing beats. They plop down less than a tenth of a mile  
out, with an illuminating sun behind. The effect is electric.
There is no white that compares to that on flanks and chest of a male  
goldeneye, no contrast so striking as that big roundish white spot on  
the face set as it is midst a deep, rich blackish-green head. No deep  
chestnut-reddish pattern more distinctive than the female's. No eyes  
so brilliantly yellow, so golden, as those within backgrounds of deep  
black-green and chestnut, illuminated like cathedral glass in a  
brilliant afternoon winter sun: birds stirring water with their dives,  
gulls fluttering and settling, ducks paddling forward across the  
lake's winter quiet expanse.
JOSEPH C. NEAL in Fayetteville, Arkansas
"I loaf and invite my soul..." -- Walt Whitman

Friday, December 9, 2011

Joe Neal's presentation with slide show based on his new book, 'In the Province of Birds: A Memoir from Western Arkansas,' draws full house at Night Bird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville on December 9, 2011

Please click on images to enlarge.
Susan Young of the Shiloh Museum was among the several writers on hand for Joe Neal''s 'In the Province of Birds.' She wrote  a wonderful book on Tontitown that was published about a year ago.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Joe Neal previews 'In the Province of Birds at 7 p.m. December 9, 2011, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville AR

Hi Aubrey -- just wanted to let you know that Half Acre Press has a new book out from Joe Neal, In the Province of Birds, in case you'd like to mention it on your blog. There will be a booksigning and slideshow/bird talk by Joe at Nightbird Books on Friday, December 9 at 7 pm. Hope to see you there!


Liz Lester
Liz Lester Design

Half Acre Press

Please click on image to ENLARGE.