Arkansas & Louisiana: Fall 2016

1 Aug–30 Nov 2016

Paul Conover

Kenny Nichols

Recommended Citation:

Conover, P. and Nichols, K. 2020. Fall 2016: Arkansas & Louisiana. <> North American Birds.

The weather for the region was generally typical for the season. No tropical weather systems  impacted the region during the period; however, a persistent low pressure system over south central Louisiana produced 20–30 inches of rain across inland south-central Louisiana over the 48-hour period of 12–13 August, and caused massive flooding in that area. Significance for Arkansas records is based on Arkansas Birds, their distribution and abundance (James, D.A., and Neal, J.C. 1986. University of Arkansas Press) and the Arkansas Audubon Society (AAS) online bird record database (for records since 1986). The significance of Louisiana records is based on trends derived from the database of bird record cards submitted to, and archived at, the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science (LSUMNS); records are taken from rare bird reports submitted to the Louisiana Bird Records Committee (LBRC) and to the Louisiana birding listserv (LABIRD).

Abbreviations: *= specimen to Louisiana State Universty Museum of Natural Science. Lake Dardanelle (Lake Dardanelle, Yell, AR), B.K.N.W.R. (Bald Knob N.W.R, White, AR),  Bundrick Farms (Bundrick Farms, Lafayette, AR), Nichols Fish Farms (Nichols Fish Farms, Lafayette, AR), Millwood Lake (Millwood Lake, Hempstead, AR).

Observers (subregional editors in boldface): Leif Anderson, Nina Bai, Dick Baxter, Jim Blackwell, Sasha Bowles, Matthew L. Brady, Paula Channell, Chris Clark, Paul E. Conover (Louisiana), Jim Dixon, Danny Dobbs, Robert C. Dobbs, Cindy Franklin, Joan M. Garvey, Jennifer Gibson, Bob Harden, John Carter Hennessy, Hubert Hervey, David Hoge, Karen Holiday, Erik I. Johnson, Oscar Johnson, Daniel F. Lane, Michael Linz, Stephen M. Locke, Charles Lyon, Cody Massery (CoM), William Matthews, Gail Miller, Charles Mills, Devin Moon, B. Mac Myers III, Joe Neal, Nancy L. Newfield, Kenny Nichols (Arkansas), LaDonna Nichols, Dave Patton, Steve Pagans, Mitchell Pruitt, David Ray, J. V. Remsen, Janine Robin, Randy Robinson, Lance Runion, Dan Scheiman, Samantha Scheiman, Jessica Schulz, Rosemary Seidler, Elizabeth Shores, Don Simons (DoS), Kim Smith, Melyssa St.Michael, Kenneth Thaxton III, Claire Thomas, Jean Trahan (JeaT), Jeff Trahan (JefT), Locke Vaughn, Porter Vaughn, Phillip A. Wallace, Mike Weber, David Whipple, Tamalyn Wortham.

Waterfowl through Cranes

Of the numerous Black-bellied Whistling-Duck reports, exceptional were confirmed breeding in Lonoke, AR 5 Aug when two adults and eighteen young were observed at Anderson’s Minnow Farms near Lonoke (K&LN) and a very high count of 157 birds at Nichols Fish Farms 16 Sep (CL, JefT, JeaT). An impressive 56 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks were counted 10 Sep at Choctaw Island WMA West Unit, Desha, AR (CF, DS, LR, m.o.b.). An amazing 12,004 Greater White-fronted Geese, 600 Ross’s Geese and 13,500 Green-winged Teal were tallied at Bundrick Farms 16 Nov (CL, JefT, JeaT). Very rare in fall, a single adult male Cinnamon Teal was discovered 7 Sep at B.K.N.W.R. (K&LN). Rare but annual in Arkansas, a transient Surf Scoter was observed from Mulhollan Blind on Lake Fayetteville, Washington 20 Oct (JN), while one on 28 Aug at Wind Lake, Ouachita, LA, was early (WM, SP). Rare, early and an unusually high count for Arkansas, 3 Black-billed Cuckoos were seen and heard near Marianana, Lee 1 Aug (LA). A Rufous Hummingbird was observed visiting a feeder in Faulkner, AR 25 Nov (LV, PV, GM, ML). Louisiana hosted three Broad-billed hummingbirds during the period: One adult female from 7 Oct in Houma, Terrebonne (JG, SML, NLN), an immature male beginning 3 Nov in Metairie, Jefferson (NLN, DW), and an immature female in Covington, St. Tammany, from 20 Nov (JR, CT); all three were present through the end of the period. Rare, local and very secretive in Arkansas, both King and Virgina Rails were noted at Bundrick Farms 12 Oct (CL, JefT, JeaT). Rare and very local, 23 Common Gallinules were at Bundrick Farms 30 Sep (CL, JefT, JeaT, RS). The Louisiana status of the elusive Black Rail is coming into better focus as details of its habitat preferences become better known; 2 were recorded calling on 28–29 October at Broussard Beach, Cameron (EIJ, DFL). There were four Arkansas Sandhill Crane reports for the season: an interesting sighting of five birds flying below the observer high atop Mount Magazine, Logan 10 Sep (DoS); a single west of Morrilton 14 Oct (CoM) was a first for Conway; two at Bundrick Farms 23 Oct (CL); and five birds in a now traditional location just east of Little Rock, Pulaski 23 Nov (DM).


Formerly considered quite rare in the southwest corner of Arkansas, small numbers of Black-necked Stilts were noted throughout the season in Lafayette, with a high count of 43 at Nichols Fish Farms 21 Sep (CL, JefT, MW). Uncommon to rare in fall in Arkansas, 27 American Avocets were counted at B.K.N.W.R. 14 Aug; a single was oberved roosting with a flock of gulls on Lake Dardanelle 11 Nov (both K&LN); and 20 were seen at Nichols Fish Farms 26 Oct (CL, HH). Just the sixth occurrence for Arkansas, a Snowy Plover was photographed at Camp Nine, Desha 7 Sep (DB). Rare and endangered, two unbanded adult Piping Plovers were at Saul’s Fish Farms, Prairie 17 Sep (K&LN); another unbanded individual was studied at Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery, Lonoke 18 Aug (JN. m.o.b.). Only the eighth occurrence for the state, a Long-billed Curlew was at B.K.N.W.R. 5 Sep (TW). Marbled Godwits are rare fall transients in Arkansas; two were at B.K.N.W.R. 13 Aug (K&LN, BH); one was at Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery, Lonoke 21 Aug (LR); and one was north of Arkansas City, Desha 9 Sep (K&LN). Rare Arkansas migrant Ruddy Turnstones were at B.K.N.W.R. 13 Aug (K&LN) and west of Mayflower, Faulkner 16 Aug (TW). Rare anywhere in the US outside of Alaska and a first for Arkansas, an adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was photographed at Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery, Lonoke 15 Aug (K&LN). Rare in fall in Arkansas, a Sanderling was at Nichols Fish Farms 21 Sep (CL, JefT, MW). An amazing 93 Buff-breasted Sandpipers were counted at West Ark Sod Farms, Crawford, AR, 25 Aug (JN). Very uncommon in migration in Arkansas, a Willet was at B.K.N.W.R. 13 Aug (K&LN). Rare but annual in the state, a single Red-necked Phalarope was at B.K.N.W.R. 27 Aug (DS, SS, KH, m.o.b.); three were present at the same location 3 Sep (DR, JD); and a single was photographed at Boyd Point WTF, Jefferson, AR 1 Sep (CL).

Jaegers through Spoonbills

Very rare and just the ninth for the state, a juvenile light-morph Parasitic Jaeger discovered on Lake Dardanelle 10 Sep (K&LN) was videotaped the next day (SB) and continued through 21 Sep. Another ligh-morph juvenile was found 20 Sep on Millwood Lake (CM). Louisiana’s fourth Long-tailed Jaeger was documented on a 10 Sep pelagic trip out of the mouth of the Mississippi River, Plaquemines (RCD, OJ). Sabine’s Gull is a rare and nearly annual fall migrant in Arkansas. A juvenile was on Millwood Lake 24 Sep (CL); another juvenile was below Dardanelle Lock & Dam, Yell/Pope 16 Sep and yet another juvenile was on Lake Dardanelle 13 Oct (both K&LN). A second-cycle Laughing Gull was at Millwood Lake 25 Sep (CL, CM); another was photographed at Dardanelle Lock & Dam, Yell 5 Oct (CoM). Just the eight occurrence for Arkansas, a Royal Tern was at Cook’s Landing, Little Rock, Pulaski 19 Aug (JD, KH). 23 Cory’s Shearwaters observed on a 10 Sep Louisiana pelagic trip out of the mouth of the Mississippi River, Plaquemines were somewhat expected (RCD, OJ); however, 5 Great Shearweaters on the same trip were more of a surprise (RCD, OJ). Interesting Arkansas Wood Stork reports were that of 52 birds seen 9 Sep near Geridge, Lonoke (K&LN) and 341 counted 16 Sep at Nichols Fish Farms (CL, JefT, JeaT). Adult Brown Boobies were photographed on Lake Hamilton, Garland, AR 14 Aug (JCH) and Lake Greeson, Pike, AR 23 Sep (JB). Respectively, these represent the sixth and seventh Arkansas records for this rare tropical seabird. Brown Boobies are no longer considered a rarity in Louisiana; the species continued its recent strong showing with at least six reports during the season from both offshore and inland waters. Rare in Arkansas but increasing, lone Neotropic Cormorants were found in Desha 9 Sep at Camp Nine (LR, m.o.b.) and just north of Arkansas City (K&LN). Another adult was at B.K.N.W.R. 2 Aug (K&LN). One of the highest Arkansas counts, 2400 American White Pelicans were observed at Bundrick Farms 16 Nov (CL, JefT, JeaT). Louisiana’s second “Great White” Great Blue Heron was discovered on Isles Dernieres, Whiskey Island, Terrebonne on 16 Nov and seen again on 2 Dec (JS, RCD).  Another impressive Arkansas count, 208 Snowy Egrets were noted at Nichols Fish Farms 19 Oct (CL, HH). Rare in any season in Arkansas, an immature Tricolored Heron was at B.K.N.W.R. 2 Sep (K&LN). Rare and nearly annual in Arkansas, two Glossy Ibis were carefully identified at Alice Sidney Fish Farms, Chicot 11 Sep (RR, ML). Rare but apparently increasing, White-faced Ibis were noted in small numbers throughout the season in Lafayette, AR with the highest count being 41 birds seen 9 Nov at Bundrick Farms (CL, HH). Most interesting of the numerous Arkansas Roseate Spoonbill reports was that of 16 birds at Anderson’s Minnow Farms, Lonoke 9 Sep (K&LN); a single bird on the county line north of Swifton 16 Sep (KT, CC) that marked a first for both Jackson and Lawrence; and 34 birds at Nichols Fish Farms 11 Sep (CL, RS).

Kites through Warblers

A Swallow-tailed Kite soaring over Benton 21 Aug was a first for Saline, AR (NB). Once again, researchers from the University of Arkansas banded Northern Saw-whet Owls at Ozark Natural Science Center, Madison. Overall, an incredible 19 birds were netted with the first capture 20 Oct and the last 2 Dec (MP, KS, MSM). What was presumably Louisiana’s second Ringed Kingfisher returning for its third consecutive year to Lake Martin, St. Martin, was present beginning 30 Sep (DD) through the end of the period. A Western Wood Pewee at Johnsons Bayou, Cameron, LA on 17 Sep (PEC*, PAW) was the state’s first accepted record since 2010 and surprisingly only the third since 1986. Brown-crested Flycatcher is almost unknown elsewhere in the state, but is annual in SE Louisiana; one reported from Bayou Sauvage NWR, New Orleans, Orleans beginning 12 Nov fits into the species’ pattern of occurrence there (JMG, JR, JVR). Great Kiskadee is now considered a breeding bird—albeit in low numbers­—in Louisiana; among other sightings of the species during the period, fledglings were photographed at Grand Chenier, Cameron on 4­–5 Aug (EIJ). A Couch’s Kingbird in Lafayette, Lafayette, LA was confirmed by voice and documented with recordings (RCD, DP) 2–5 Nov. An incredible 10,000 Purple Martins were observed coming to a roost at the Port of Little Rock, Pulaski, AR (DH, CF). Rare in Arkansas but now regular and steadily increasing, a single Cave Swallow was at Millwood Lake 20 Sep (CM); an impressive 17 were counted southwest of Ashdown, Little River 23 Sep (CL). Rare and declining, single Bewick’s Wrens were at B.K.N.W.R. 5 Nov (PC) and east of Bear Lake, Little River, AR 22 Oct (CL, JefT, JeaT, RS). Two Swainson’s Thrushes, near Marianna, Lee, AR 1 Aug were a month early (LA). Rare, local and sporadic, five Red Crossbills were observed at Moccasin Gap Rec Area, north of Dover, Pope, AR 7 Oct (LA). A Nelson’s Sparrow photographed at Bundrick Farms 7 Oct (CL, JefT, JeaT) was the season’s only report of this rare and difficult to find sparrow. Rare in fall, a female Yellow-headed Blackbird photographed at Nichols Fish Farms 11 Sep was a first for Lafayette (CL, RS). A Great-tailed Grackle at Nichols Fish Farms 21 Sep was just the second for Lafayette (CL, JefT, MW). Late warblers were a Tennessee and a Bay-breasted at B.K.N.W.R. 5 Nov (PC), and a Palm at Woolsey Wet Prairie, Washington, AR 12 Nov (CL, JefT, JeaT, RS). 3 Black-throated Gray Warblers were reported in Louisiana during the period: 1 on 10 Sep (PEC) and a different individual on 21 Oct (BMM III) were at Peveto Woods Sanctuary, Cameron, LA, while 1 was at Grand Isle, Jefferson, on 11–12 Nov (MLB, JMG, OJ). A Black-throated Green Warbler visiting a bird bath in Little Rock, Pulaski 3 Nov (ES) was late.

Report processed by José R. Ramírez-Garofalo, 21 Dec 2020.

Photos–Arkansas & Louisiana: Fall 2016
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.