Arkansas & Louisiana: Spring 2018

Spring 2018: 1 Mar–31 May

Paul Conover (LA)

Kenny Nichols (AR)

Recommended citation: Conover, P., and Nichols, K. 2021. Spring 2018: Arkansas & Louisiana. <> North American Birds.

Seasonal highlights include Long-billed Curlew, Sage Thrasher, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Western Tanager, and Black-headed Grosbeak.

Contributors (sub-regional compilers in boldface)

Jeff Barnhill (JBa), Rose Ann Barnhill, Greg Bass, Susan Bass, Dick Baxter, Stacey Benson (StB), Sandy Berger (SaB), Jodi Brannam (JBr), Jerry Byler, Rhonda Byler, Lynn Christie,  Paul Conover (Louisiana), Robert C. Dobbs, Ron Duvall, Ted Drozdowski, Maureen Ellis, Karen Hammond, Bob Harden, Sheena Hare, Jay Huner, Tim Jones,  Justin Lehman, Michael Linz, Margaret Morgan, David P. Muth, Joe Neal, Kenny Nichols (Arkansas), LaDonna Nichols, Michael Nicodemus, Pooja Panwar, Rhett Raibley, Joan Reynolds, Kathy Rhodes, Randy Robinson (RRo), Cameron Rutt, Sam Saunders, Vicki Sensat, Julie Speaks, Danny Townsend, Rhonda Townsend, Candace Ware, Gwen Wiggins, Tammy Wortham, Casey Wright (CWr).Abbreviations: Significance for Arkansas records is based on Arkansas Birds, their distribution and abundance (James and Neal 1986) 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). More detailed information on Louisiana rarity reports can be found at County and parish names are italicized. Identifying state abbreviations are used in the accounts only in the first mention of a place/county/parish name unless confusion is otherwise unavoidable.

Waterfowl through Shorebirds

Very rare in winter in Arkansas, an adult Cinnamon Teal south of Morrilton 9–10 Mar was a first for Conway (RD). A Long-tailed Duck was in Cameron, Cameron LA 27 Mar-4 Apr (JH). A White-winged Dove was photographed in North Little Rock, Pulaski AR 5 Apr (GW); this species is quite rare away from the Ft. Smith area. A Lesser Nighthawk was photographed on Whiskey Island, Terrebonne LA 26 Mar (RCD). Until recently almost a ghost in Louisiana, a more focused search image for Black Rail resulted in up to 15 individuals being reported and several banded in various locations in Cameron during the season (JL). On the heels of Louisiana’s first record of Limpkin mere months before, breeding was documented in the state when seven chicks were discovered at Houma, Terrebonne 1 Apr (KR, m.ob). Very rare in spring in Arkansas, a single Whimbrel was photographed at Saul’s Fish Farms, Prairie 20 Apr (ML, RR); an impressive nine photographed 28 May were a first for Desha (DB). Just the ninth for Arkansas, a Long-billed Curlew was discovered south of Blackwell, Conway 21 Apr (RD). Rare in spring in Arkansas, a Marbled Godwit was at Saul’s Fish Farms, Prairie 19 Apr (K&LN); observers searching for this species found a Hudsonian Godwit the next day (ML, RRo).

Gulls through Thrashers

A Black-legged Kittiwake was present 16-23 Mar in Buras, Plaquemines LA (MP, JR), and another was on the other end of the state’s coast at Rutherford Beach, Cameron 24 Apr (SS). Just the second occurence for the Ozarks, a Lesser Black-backed Gull was discovered at Beaver Lake, Benton AR 2 Apr (JN, JR). Rare and almost annual in Arkansas, a Pacific Loon was photographed on Lake Maumelle, Pulaski 21 Mar (TW, SH). An Anhinga photographed at the Nature Conservancy’s King’s River Preserve, Carroll AR 29 Apr (RAB) was just the second for the Ozarks. Rare but annual in Arkansas, two Glossy Ibis were discovered in a flock of 110 White-faced Ibis at Overflow NWR, Ashley 14 Apr (R&DT, SB). A Golden Eagle was near Mer Rouge, Morehouse LA 17 Mar (JBa). A White-tailed Hawk was photographed at Sabine Pass, Cameron 18 Mar (CR). There were three Arkansas Swainson’s Hawk reports for the season: two at Rick Evans Grandview Prairie, Hempstead 4 Apr (CW); three south of Dardanelle, Yell 14 Apr; and eight south of Blackwell 20 Apr were a first for Conway (both K&LN). A Burrowing Owl was discovered on the Caminada Pass Bridge, Jefferson LA 25 Apr (ME). A Gray Kingbird was photographed on Whiskey Island, Terrebonne 2 May (RCD). A Black-whiskered Vireo was at Grand Isle State Park, Jefferson LA 29 Apr (CWr). A very late Brown Creeper was spotted in Searcy, White AR 2 May (MN). A Hermit Thrush photographed in Fayetteville, Washington AR 11 May (JB) was late by nearly two weeks. A Sage Thrasher photographed at Scatter Creek WMA, Green 22 May was just the third for Arkansas (TJ, RR), while one photographed near Sulphur, Calcasieu 4 Mar (VS) was Lousiana’s eleventh.

Crossbills through Buntings

Of the five Red Crossbill reports from Arkansas for the season, most interesting was a flock of 11 birds at Hobbs State Park, Benton 21 May that recording analysis later revealed were birds of Call Type 2, 4 and 5 (JN, PP). Rare but annual in Arkansas, there were three Spotted Towhee reports: single birds at Cabot, Lonoke 26 Mar (KH, MM); near Lake Hinkle, Scott 24 Mar (TD); and Wapanocca NWR, Crittenden 20 Apr (BH). Yellow-headed Blackbird is a very uncommon to rare spring migrant in Arkansas. Five counted south of Blackwell 20 Apr were a first for Conway; two were noted south of Dardanelle, Yell 25 Apr (both K&LN); and a single at Camp Nine, Desha 14 May was remarkable so far east (DB). A MacGillivray’s Warbler discovered 9 Mar stayed at least to 16 Apr at City Park, Orleans LA (DPM, m.ob). Very rare in any season, a female Black-throated Blue Warbler was at Hobbs State Park, Benton 27 Apr (LC). Only about the tenth for Arkansas, an “Audubon’s” Yellow-rumped Warbler was identified in Alexander, Saline 18 Apr (RT). A Western Tanager photographed at a feeder in Farmington, Washington 29 Apr (RB) was only about the 13th occurrence for Arkansas. Very rare in spring, a Black-headed Grosbeak was photographed at Hector, Pope AR 16 Apr (JBr). Rare and less than annual in Arkansas, Lazuli Buntings were reported from Van Buren, Crawford 10 May (SaB, JS) and Springdale, Washington 11 May (S&GB).

Report processed by Randi Minetor, 9 Feb 2021.