Monday, March 18, 2013

Joe Neal's latest waterfowl report from Frog Bayou: Amazing list

  • Something about teal‏

joe neal (
8:54 PM

Cc:, David George Krementz
The shallow pools at Frog Bayou WMA are full of water again, and now also full of both Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal. Nearby, on Blackland Road, shallow pools have formed in rice fields. They too are full of teal. There was also a nice raft of mostly diving ducks out in the Dyer bay area of the Arkansas River adjacent Frog.

Just off I-40, after a drive from Fayetteville, I was sitting in my car in Frog's Parking Area A. I thought I could hear spring peepers, even in that dazed state I always feel after running the freeway gauntlet and even with windrows up. But it wasn't peeper frogs I heard, but excited teal. WHEE WHEE WHEE. Whole ponds of teal, come from the south. Brought spring with them.

Here’s a rough list: Wood Duck (6), Gadwall (26), American Wigeon (15), Mallard (36), Blue-winged Teal (383), Northern Shoveler (45), Northern Pintail (3), Green-winged Teal (299), Redhead (4), Ring-necked Duck (100), Greater Scaup (3), Bufflehead (4). I also saw one flock of Greater Yellowlegs (12) and one flock of American Golden-Plovers (10).

There were American White Pelicans (26) in Dyer bay and big swirling flocks of swallows, including at least Tree and Barn. A subadult Bald Eagle (looked like a third year bird, with light cheek and dark eyeline) perched on a snag in the water, and I image longingly watching the raft of diving ducks (mostly Ringed-necked).

Unfortunately, I have once again dented in the top of my poor old Toyota. I swore the last time I did this I wouldn't do it again. In its present state it too could be a duck pond.

The only way to see ducks out in the rice field was to get on top of it, with my spotting scope. It was a bit on the precarious side, humorous really, in a Charlie Chaplinesque sort of way. You can just image his tramp standing on top like that, trying to manage the scope in a good wind and besides that, trying to collect digiscope images of all those ducks. 

I wanted to see ALL (442 ducks as it turned out). I didn't have the tramp's big shoes, but I did have a convincing layer of slick black muck on my boots from what makes that area so good for rice, and for birds. It's all in the name: Blackland Road.

Please click on image to see bird not included in the story.
If Joe Neal would send a photo to go with his essays, I would have to use mine!
It worked out, as it usually does, even if my car is more of a mess than usual. There is something to be said for being a bird tramp, if that's what it is. Something about teal that just brings it out in me.

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