Eureka Nature

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

Monday, March 14, 2005

Numbers up at Lake Leatherwood

A great day after what wasn't a very promising start. It was cold, gray and windy, and nothing was singing when I got out of the truck. Still, it seemed worth walking just to have a record for the database. Before long a flock of fifty Robins showed up. Then Cardinals and Juncos joined them. A small flock of Fox Sparrows was digging through the duff in the woods. Woodpeckers started calling, and before too long things had improved considerably. As noon approached, after 3.5 hours of birding, I'd found 40 species, the first time this year to break that mark. Some good birds were a Field Sparrow below the bath-house, a Coot when I thought they were all gone, then twenty Tree Swallows worked their way down the lake. They were taking advantage of the wind, which allowed them to stay virtually still above the weed mats. They would slowly work their way about a hundred yards toward Weems Island, then blow back toward the creek with the wind, and turn around and repeat the slow grazing approach toward the Island. I watched them do this a half dozen times.

Good news on the unusual bird front too. For only the second time, I had a Pine Warbler, two actually mixed in with Yellow-Rumps, which were numerous, maybe 40 or 50. The Pine is a bird I'd expect to see more often at Leatherwood, but even when I've searched out prime habitat, I never find them. A single Greater White-fronted Goose was hanging with the Canadas, the first ever seen on the ground and water. Their flocks have gone over but none ever stopped. Best bird of the day was an American Pipit, the first I've ever seen there, and number 179 for the Lake list. It was working along the edge of the small beach at the swimming area below the bath-house. There was a good variety of woodpeckers, including four Hairys, normally hard to find, and also three separate Brown Creepers. Kinglets were common, especially Golden-crowned.

On the vegetation front, the Spicebushes were setting flowers, smal and not showy, but great little pea-green accents in the still barren woods. A few of the tiny lawn flowers were blooming in the meadows, and an occasional Daffodil lost in the woods.


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