Eureka Nature

For posting information about natural history events in and around Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Here's the bird list

Click on the link in the title to get web access which will get a properly formatted copy. Blogger has my formatting screwed up.

Lake Leatherwood bird-list

199 species seen, incl 49 with one or two records

Seasons are Spr=Mar-May, Sum=Jun-Aug, Fall=Sep-Nov, Win=Dec-Feb
C common, U uncommon, O occasional, R rare, X single sighting (* breedeer)
note: probability of detection, seen or heard, not rigorous population measures
Sightings of R,X species should be reported to the park office, also any unlisted

W woods, F field, T thicket, M marsh, S shallow & D deep H2O, O flying, B bldg area

Habitat S S F W

__ Common Loon D X
__ Pied-billed Grebe SD U C C
__ Horned Grebe D X
__ American White Pelican X
__ Double-crested Cormorant DO R R

__ Great Blue Heron * SM C U C U
__ Great Egret M O O R
__ Tricolored Heron X
__ Little Blue Heron M O R
__ Snowy Egret X
__ Green Heron M C C X
__ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron MW R X

__ Trumpeter Swan O X
__ Greater White-fronted Goose SM X X
__ Snow Goose O R U
__ Ross's Goose O X
__ Canada Goose * FS C C C C
__ Cackling Goose SMf x
__ Wood Duck * WS C C U
__ American Wigeon DSM X
__ Gadwall SD O U C
__ Green-winged Teal MS O U C
__ Mallard * MS U X C C
__ Northern Pintail S R
__ Blue-winged Teal MS C O
__ Northern Shoveler MS O O R
__ Canvasback DS X
__ Redhead D O R
__ Ring-necked Duck DS U U C
__ Lesser Scaup D O O U
__ Common Goldeneye DS X
__ Bufflehead DS C C C
__ Ruddy Duck D R R R
__ Greater Scaup DS X X
__ Hooded Merganser DS X
__ Red-breasted Merganser DS X
__ Common Merganser DS X X

__ Black Vulture O O O U
__ Turkey Vulture * OW C C C C

__ Osprey DO R
__ Bald Eagle DW O U U
__ Sharp-shinned Hawk W O O U
__ Cooper's Hawk * W O O O O
__ Red-shouldered Hawk * WS C C C C
__ Broad-winged Hawk W U O O
__ Red-tailed Hawk O U U C
__ Golden Eagle O X X X
__ Rough-legged Hawk O X
__ American Kestrel OF X

__ Wild Turkey * WF O O O O

__ Sora M X
__ American Coot SD C C C

__ Killdeer MF C C C O
__ American Woodcock W R O
__ Wilson's Snipe M X
__ Willet SM X
__ Semipalmated Sandpiper SM X
__ Least Sandpiper SM X
__ Pectoral Sandpiper SM X
__ Lesser Yellowlegs M R
__ Solitary Sandpiper M R X
__ Spotted Sandpiper M U X

__ Ring-billed Gull OD X
__ Franklin's Gull OD X

__ Rock Pigeon FB X X
__ Mourning Dove * WF C C U
__ Yellow-billed Cuckoo * W C C R

__ Eastern Screech-Owl * W O O O
__ Great Horned Owl * WF R R
__ Barred Owl * WF R O R

__ Chuck-will's-widow WF X
__ Whip-poor-will WF X

__ Chimney Swift * O C C U
__ Ruby-throated Hummingbird * WB C C
__ Belted Kingfisher * SDW C C U U

__ Red-headed Woodpecker WB X X
__ Red-bellied Woodpecker * W C C C C
__ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker WB U C C
__ Downy Woodpecker * WT C C C C
__ Hairy Woodpecker * W U U U U
__ Northern Flicker W U C C
__ Pileated Woodpecker * W C C C C

__ Olive-sided Flycatcher W X
__ Eastern Wood-Pewee W C C C
__ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher W X
__ Acadian Flycatcher * W U U
__ Willow Flycatcher T O O
__ Least Flycatcher WT O R O
__ Eastern Phoebe * FTM C C C U
__ Great Crested Flycatcher * W C C
__ Eastern Kingbird * WF C C

__ Purple Martin O U U
__ Tree Swallow OM C R
__ Northern Rough-winged Swallow M U R
__ Bank Swallow SM X
__ Cliff Swallow SM O
__ Barn Swallow * MFB C O

__ American Pipit M R R
__ Golden-crowned Kinglet WT O O C
__ Ruby-crowned Kinglet WT U U C
__ Cedar Waxwing WO U X U C

__ Carolina Wren * WT C c c c
__ Bewick's Wren W U U
__ Winter Wren WT U U C
__ House Wren FT U u
__ Sedge Wren MT X X
__ Marsh Wren MT X

__ Gray Catbird * TW U U O X
__ Northern Mockingbird * FB O R O U
__ Brown Thrasher * FTW U R U

__ Eastern Bluebird * WFB C C C C
__ Veery W X
__ Gray-cheeked Thrush W X
__ Swainson's Thrush WT C
__ Hermit Thrush WT O U C
__ Wood Thrush * WT U U U X
__ American Robin * WFB C U C C

__ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher * WT C C U
__ Carolina Chickadee * WTB C C C C
__ Tufted Titmouse * WTB C C C C
__ White-breasted Nuthatch * WB C C C C
__ Brown Creeper

__ Blue Jay * WFB C U C C
__ American Crow * FBO C C C C
__ Fish Crow * FBO C C U

__ European Starling FB U U

__ White-eyed Vireo * WT C C U
__ Bell's Vireo FT X
__ Yellow-throated Vireo * WB U U O
__ Blue-headed Vireo WT O O
__ Warbling Vireo WB O
__ Philadelphia Vireo WT O R R
__ Red-eyed Vireo * WB C C R

__ Purple Finch FB X R U
__ House Finch * WFB U U R R
__ American Goldfinch * WFB C C C C

__ Blue-winged Warbler * WFT C C R
__ Tennessee Warbler FT U
__ Orange-crowned Warbler WT O
__ Nashville Warbler WT U R
__ Northern Parula * W C C R
__ Yellow Warbler WT U R
__ Chestnut-sided Warbler WB O X
__ Magnolia Warbler WT O X
__ Yellow-rumped Warbler FTB U U C
__ Black-throated Green Warbler WT O O
__ Blackburnian Warbler WB X
__ Yellow-throated Warbler WB O U O
__ Pine Warbler * WB U O R R
__ Prairie Warbler * WT U U
__ Palm Warbler FT X
__ Bay-breasted Warbler WB X
__ Blackpoll Warbler WBT X
__ Cerulean Warbler WD X X
__ Black-and-white Warbler * WTB C C R
__ American Redstart WB O
__ Prothonotary Warbler TS R
__ Worm-eating Warbler WT R R
__ Swainson's Warbler * TW X X
__ Ovenbird WT U U R
__ Northern Waterthrush WT U R
__ Louisiana Waterthrush * WT C C R
__ Kentucky Warbler * WT C U
__ Mourning Warbler WT R
__ Common Yellowthroat * ST C U R
__ Hooded Warbler WT X
__ Wilson's Warbler WT U R
__ Canada Warbler WT R
__ Yellow-breasted Chat * T U U R

__ Scarlet Tanager W X X
__ Summer Tanager * WFB U U R

__ Eastern Towhee WT U U U
__ American Tree Sparrow TM R O
__ Chipping Sparrow * TFB C U C
__ Field Sparrow * FTB U U U R
__ Vesper Sparrow FT X
__ Lark Sparrow FT U R
__ Grasshopper Sparrow FT X
__ Savannah Sparrow FT O R R
__ Fox Sparrow WFT U U U
__ Song Sparrow SFT C U C
__ Lincoln's Sparrow ST U U U
__ Swamp Sparrow ST U U U
__ White-crowned Sparrow WFT U U U
__ White-throated Sparrow WTF C C C
__ Dark-eyed Junco WFB C C C

__ Northern Cardinal * FTB C C C C
__ Rose-breasted Grosbeak WB O R
__ Blue Grosbeak F R
__ Lazuli Bunting FW X
__ Indigo Bunting * WFB C C O

__ Red-winged Blackbird * ST C C O R
__ Eastern Meadowlark F X
__ Western Meadowlark F X
__ Common Grackle * WB C C O
__ Great-tailed Grackle FB R
__ Brown-headed Cowbird * WFT C C
__ Baltimore Oriole WFB U R
__ Orchard Oriole * WFB C C

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Commentary - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This table is based on approx 9000 sightings resulting from regular surveys for a five year period. Coverage was best in spring and fall, less so in summer and winter. Breeding status is based on known evidence, some listed birds do breed in the region but I haven't any evidence in the park. The habitat list isn't exhaustive; in particular, the B designation covers the open canopy woodland around the developed part of the park. S for land birds includes the bird blind area. More observers covering some areas more remote from the upper end of the lake could easily pick up more records of the accidentals, and maybe some other species not seen as yet, eg Painted Bunting, Red-breasted Nuthatch. I did very few night hikes, and some time spent then would show many more owls and Whips.

J Pat Valentik 479 981 0901 9/10/2011

Possibilities awaken at Lake Leatherwood

I've been talking with Bruce Levine at the Parks Department about his vision for more birding and wildlife viewing at the park. The fantasies/visions are fueled by the possibility of receiving some substantial grant money focused on improving wildlife viewing opportunities in Arkansas. So far I've worked up a checklist of the birds seen at the lake during the five years when I regularly walked around on Sunday mornings and counted everything seen. I'll put the draft in the next post. We're also talking about building two more blinds on the far side of the lake, one located near the cove across from the boat dock, and another along the shoreline near the quarry. Also possible are handicap access improvements at the existing blind, something I had envisioned when we first built it. Ran out of money then. Also possible are some focused and informative signs at various points along the trail that would connect the various facilities. This is exciting for me, like finally the seed planted with the first blind has sprouted. Wish luck to the park and the public that will benefit.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lake Leatherwood detailed birding directions

Lake Leatherwood City Park located about a mile west of Eureka proper at the foot of the Leatherwood Curves. Go to the second entrance, not the ballfields. There's 1600 acres of mixed habitats in the park, including the 160 acre lake itself. I've documented around 190 species over the course of ten plus years. That's about half the species ever seen, even just once, in Arkansas. The area around the bath-house and cabins, with widely spaced mature trees, is excellent for passerine residents and migrants. The lake shines in fall and winter as a duck attractor, and during the spring and summer can be very good for herons, and a few shorebirds. The rocky parts of the lakeshore are good for Spotted Sandpiper in spring migration, also the small sandy beach area.

Two side detours from the cabins can also be productive. One is a short loop from the boat launch ramp. Follow the shore until another path cuts back to the left returning shortly to the launch. The tangled thicket between the two paths has been very productive for warblers, sparrows, and kinglets. If you follow he shore further it's possible to see a lot more of the lake, including the deep water which has had an occasional loon, also mergansers, cormorants, and other divers. The second side trip is an old road to the side of the gate leading to the dam. It's an open path into a classic cedar glade, grown up some from fire suppression. The sandy soil has a great patch of pennyroyal in late spring, as well as wild orchids if you're lucky. It usually has several pairs of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and sometimes Prairie and Blue-winged Warblers.

Going from the cabin area down the gravel lane to the large meadow allows access to the bird blind. But first a productive side-trip is to go right to the far end of the meadow, staying left as you approach the gate, then edging around the maintenance yard to the outflow pipe of a good spring. Residents and migrants find this very attractive, especially in hotter dryer weather. Return through the meadow, (I follow the creek bed on the right listening for Louisiana Waterthrushes), and then cross the creek into the small meadow. Stop right at the crossing. If the little meadow has no folks camping, and you're early, you can often see a variety of ducks or waders before they flush as you cross the meadow. The bird blind is to the left, and the start of the Beacham Trail is to the right. Large trees along the lakeshore attract several pairs of Orchard Orioles, and Eastern Kingbirds. The area of the bird-blind is very good for seeing these, as well as some herons (it's a good place for Green Herons in summer) and Wood-Ducks. Approaching the blind quietly and slowly can pay off with some real close up views through the ports. Note that Woodies are very shy, arriving early and quietly is the key to good views. Luck helps. Worth the effort since they are one of the most beautiful critters in North America. Linger in the meadow, especially watching the brushy lake edge and the large sycamores and a dense cedar thicket.

At the inlet end of the lake where the Beacham Trail starts, is an area of mature bottomland hardwoods, which attracts migrant and breeding warblers and such. When the trail branches to the right, follow it for about two hundred yards. This is a reliable place for Blue-wing Warbler, Northern Parulas, Kentucky Warblers, Worm-eating Warblers, Chats, Acadian Flycatchers, several Vireos including Yellow-throated, and a general selection of woodland species. There are also numerous Cedar Thickets, which can be deserted or hosting foraging mixed flocks. The cedars are also a good place for sparrows, and White-eyed Vireos. Thrushes like them too, especially Hermit Thrushes in winter. Listen for their "chup" call note. Brown Thrashers make a very similar sound and are present but seldom seen. When you reach the creek, either return or wade, or walk the creekbed if it's dry. When you've studied the area thoroughly, return to the trail fork where you turned right initially, and turn right again so the you continue on the Beacham Trail.

The trail quickly climbs a wet north slope before starting it's return loop on the far side of the lake. It's usually not very birdy, but occasionally has half a dozen Golden-crowned Kinglets in late fall. The real attraction along here is in the spring when the wildflowers bloom. It's the spot for trout lilies very early in spring, then bloodroot and trillium, followed by Jack-in-the-pulpit. A very occasional bloomer along here is the False Hellebore. It's one of the few places in the state where it's found, it being a relict from populations that retreated north following the glaciers. When you descend to the small inlet, you're in another warbler zone. Look for Louisiana Waterthrush along the creekbed, also Black and Whites and Ovenbirds. Scarlet Tanager is a possibility here. On the far side of the inlet stop and listen for Prairie Warbler on the hillside above. Sometimes it's possible to find them by following their calls into the cedar thicket up there. If you've been birding intently, it's probably been around three hours since starting. You can continue on around the lake for another mile and a half, crossing the quarry for the historic stone dam and the dam itself. If lunch beckons it's quicker to retrace your way back to the cabin area where you probably parked.

To get a more detailed knowledge of the park, attend one of the several public hikes put on locally or by Northwest Arkansas Audubon.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rogers Homeschoolers at Lake Leatherwood

Rose Nystrom brought her three homeschooled sons, Arthur, John and Charles, and their friend Jordan to find some birds at Lake Leatherwood. WE got great looks at Indigo Bunting, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Parula, Mourning Dove and others. Heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo really well, but couldn't get it to give us a look. We spent about two hours wandering around, ending at the bird blind, and then sat at the CCC picnic pavilion and went over the Arkansas checklist and learned some ideas about the pattern of bird migration and seasonal occurance.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Home schoolers at Lake Leatherwood

On Wednesday and Thursday, 5/21 and 22, I took a group of Home Schoolers around the City Park at Lake Leatherwood. On wed, we focused mainly on the area around the cabins and bath-house, down to the bird blind and then back to the CCC pavillion for a short talk on migration. I gave all the folks copies of the official Arkansas Audubon Society Checklist and explained how to interpret the various codes.

We had good looks at several birds, Indigo Bunting, Northern Parula, Pileated Woodpecker, and such. About 26 species were seen or heard, but not all by all the folks.

On Thursday, a slightly larger group walked mostly around the big and small meadows, including the Hyde Hollow Spring, with a short foray into the bottomland hardwoods along the Leatherwood Trail. We had great luck at the spring, with looks at Yellow-throated Warbler, American Redstart, and Blue-winged Warbler. Best bird was the first Yellow-billed Cuckoo seen by the parents while the kids raced ahead to the blind where I repeated the talk of the previous day. There was a calling Willow Flycatcher there, and a female Orchard Oriole sang for us at the end. They said they had a good time, and the parents said they'd learned something. We saw or heard 30+ species.

We hope to do it again in the late fall when there will be quite a few different species, especially ducks and sparrows.

SPECIES SEEN by homescholars from Eureka Springs area
From 5/21/2008 to 5/22/2008 ~ in Lake Leatherwood ~ 40 seen

Great Blue Heron - both days
Green Heron - both days
Canada Goose - both days
Turkey Vulture - Thurs only
Red-shouldered Hawk - heard Thurs only
Spotted Sandpiper - seen from blind, Thurs only
Mourning Dove - both days
Yellow-billed Cuckoo - seen by parents, Thurs only
Chimney Swift - both days, many more Wednesday
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - Wed only
Red-bellied Woodpecker - heard both days, seen badly Wed
Pileated Woodpecker - seen both days
Eastern Wood-Pewee - heard several, Thurs
Willow Flycatcher - heard at blind, Thurs
Least Flycatcher - seen at blind, Wed
Eastern Phoebe - seen both days
Eastern Kingbird - seen barely, Thurs
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 2 seen Wed
Barn Swallow - both days
Carolina Wren - heard both days
Eastern Bluebird - seen well both days
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - heard Wed
Carolina Chickadee - Thurs only
Tufted Titmouse - heard both days, brief sightings
American Crow - both days
Fish Crow - heard Thurs
White-eyed Vireo - heard at spring and blind, Thurs
Red-eyed Vireo - heard both days, seen Wed
American Goldfinch - brief views both days
Blue-winged Warbler - at spring, Thurs
Northern Parula - seen really well both days
Yellow Warbler - seen briefly (maybe just JP) Wed
Yellow-throated Warbler - at spring, Thurs
American Redstart - at spring, Thurs
Chipping Sparrow - Wed only
Northern Cardinal - both days
Indigo Bunting - seen and heard well both days
Red-winged Blackbird - many male and female both days
Common Grackle = many both days
Orchard Oriole - both days, male Wed only

-------- STATISTICS --------
Species seen - 40

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Rosies galore

Rosies galore
Originally uploaded by Jettpakk1.
Sally Thackery sent me some pictures of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Orioles on her feeders. This is pretty amazing.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

UArk Continuing Ed group at Lake Leatherwood

Monday May 5

A group of about eight folks from the University of Arkansas Continuing Education Program came to Lake Leatherwood for some birding. There were also two video guys who were producing a promotional video. They got some good looks at Pileated Woodpecker, Prairie Warbler, Red-winged Blackbirds, and numerous others. Best bird of the day was Mourning Warbler, but not everyone saw it since it was doing its typical skulking in the undergrowth behavior.

Here's a list of all the birds I saw that morning plus some species seen the next day by Jason Luscier , an herpetologist from the U as well.

Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Canada Goose
Blue-winged Teal
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Mourning Dove
Eastern Screech-Owl
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cedar Waxwing
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
American Goldfinch
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Louisiana Waterthrush
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Summer Tanager
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole

-------- STATISTICS --------
Species seen - 58

This is pretty typical for this time of year. A little more looking, especially in the bottomland hardwoods along the creek, would probably add 5-10 more species.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Migratory bird hike at Lake Leatherwood

Cold, windy, gray. Not an attractive day. Fourteen folks was a record attendance thoiugh, some coming from Rogers and Bentonville. Species count was pretty low for this time of year, 46, opposed to the ususal around 60. There was only one migrant, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. All others were either late winter or early summer residents. Most of the breeding warblers were present and singing. Not all the usual summer birds have arrived, still no Summer Tanagers, nor Acadian Flycatchers. Vireo numbers low, and no migrant vireos. The cold weather and relentless fronts from the north have slowed down migration throughout the midwest.

But we had a great day, good company, and several people saw birds they had never seen or seen well. That was satisfying.