Eureka Nature

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

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Leatherwod birding report

Spent about three hours doing the weekly bird survey, which is usually Sunday morning, but went early on account of the rain forcast. I usually start at 8 or so, and welcome anyone that wants to come along. Most interesting was the Gray Catbird, still present and calling. It doesn't seem disabled in any way, and flies around the perimeter of the meadow campground overlooking the shallow end of the lake. I reported it to the e-bird facility at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and they sent back an error message saying, "are you sure?" It took some puzzling to figure out how to confirm the report, but now it's in there.

Otherwise the usual suspects, 37 species. Notable were at least ten Purple Finches, and no House Finches. The two species compete for the same niche, and the House, from Europe, generally wins, so that Purples have become uncommon. The winter duck numbers haven't peaked yet, and I expect to see some more kinds become more common as the season progresses. Currently a lot of Pied-bill Grebes, Buffleheads, and Mallards. Lake Leatherwood is a very good place to observe ducks, they become somewhat used to people, are generally close enough to see well, and can be present in large numbers and variety, especially in January when the weather gets very cold and ponds freeze and the big lakes are windswept. When Leatherwood is about half frozen is ideal.


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