Arkansas & Louisiana: Spring 2020

Spring 2020: 1 Mar–31 May

Lyndal York

Recommended citation:

York, L. 2022. Spring 2020: Arkansas Region. <> North American Birds.

Seasonal highlights include Cinnamon Teal, Red-necked Grebe, Long-billed Curlew, Brown Booby, breeding Roseate Spoonbills, Swallow-tailed Kite, Lesser Goldfinch, and Scott’s Oriole.

Waterfowl through Shorebirds

Very rare transient Cinnamon Teals were at Hiwasse, Benton 17 Apr (Patti Bertschy) and Dardanelle, Yell Co 25–26 Apr (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols. Notable lingering waterfowl included: a Greater Scaup at Bald Knob NWR, White Co 9 May (Glenn & Michelle Wyatt); a Common Goldeneye at Russellville, Pope Co 7 May (Araks Ohanyan); a Common Merganser at Lake Ouachita, Garland Co 29 Apr (Pam & Greg Weedman); and Red-breasted Mergansers at Hot Springs, Garland Co 27 May (Vic Prislipsky) and Greers Ferry Lake, Cleburne Co 29 May (Tamalyn Wortham). Very rare and a first for the Ozarks region was a Red-necked Grebe at Beaver Lake, Benton Co 10 Mar (Joe Neal, Peter Shaffer).

Rare so far north and east in the state, an Inca Dove was at Searcy, White Co 25 Apr (Jane Wiewora). White-winged Dove sightings continue to increase; notable was a pair at Smoketree 12 May that marked a first for Baxter Co (Gary Graves). Rare migrant Black-billed Cuckoos were at Wapanocca NWR, Crittenden Co 10 May (Richard & Donna Smith) and Camp Robinson, Faulkner Co 20 May (Michael Linz, Patty McLean). Unusual in a residential neighborhood in the middle of a large city, a Greater Roadrunner was in the mid-town area of Little Rock, Pulaski Co 26 May (Carolyn York). A female Rufous Hummingbird that overwintered at Little Rock, Pulaski Co was last seen 12 Apr (Cecilia Bernheimer).

Quite rare away from the southern third of the state, a Common Gallinule at Bald Knob NWR, Co 18 May (GW, MW) was just the fourth for White Co. Two Sandhill Cranes were at Gala Creek WMA, Pope Co 28 Apr (Leif Anderson). An estimated 10,000 American Golden-Plovers at Atkins Bottoms, Pope Co 28 Mar was the highest count ever recorded for the state (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols). Rare shorebirds for the season included: a Piping Plover at Lake Columbia, Columbia Co 12 Apr (Jeremy Chamberlain, Heather Leferte); a Whimbrel in Little Rock, Pulaski Co 13 May (Doug Zollner); a Long-billed Curlew at the St. Francis Sunken Lands, Craighead Co 20 Apr (Rhett Raibley, Tim Joe Neales, Kent Freeman, Kevin Krajcir, Em Donahue); two Marbled Godwits near Bentonville, Benton Co 25 Apr (Vivek Govind Kumar , Joe Neal); and a Sanderling at Kibler Bottoms, Crawford Co 21 May (Vivek Govind Kumar, Joe Neal). A Lesser Black-backed Gull photographed at Arkansas State University 18 Mar represents a first for Craighead Co (Jacob Wessels) while another photographed at Lollie Bottoms the next day marked a first for Faulkner Co (Micheal Linz, Patty McLean). A Brown Booby photographed at Lake DeGray, Clark Co 24 May (Kayla Gomance) represents just the tenth documented occurrence for the state. Very rare in the northwest corner of the state, an Anhinga soaring over the Alma WTP, Crawford Co 23 Mar (Vivek Govind Kumar, Todd Ballinger) was a county first.

Cormorants through Buntings

A Tricolored Heron at the Alma WTP, Crawford Co 20–21 May was just the second for the county (Sandy Berger, Jim Neiting, Bill Beall). A single Glossy Ibis was in the company of 81 White-faced Ibis at Atkins Bottoms, Pope Co 7 Apr (Kenny & LaDonna Nichols).

Two Roseate Spoonbills were discovered sitting on nests near Montrose, Ashley Co 24 May. On 18 Jun, eight adults and two nests containing seven nestlings were observed while additional birds were seen carrying nesting material. This is the first time this species has ever been documented nesting in the state (Karen Rowe, Jami Linder, Craig Sackelford, Jason McCallie).

Rare but annual in Arkansas, two Swallow-tailed Kites were spotted soaring over Warren Prairie Natural Area, Bradley Co 25 Mar (Gabrielle Hargrove, Glenn Manning, Jakob Fuchs). Of the many Swainson’s Hawk reports submitted, notable was the 24 counted at Kibler Bottoms, Crawford Co 11 May (Joe Neal). Now quite rare and seriously declining, an adult and one fledgling Bewick’s Wren were observed near Maysville, Benton Co 23 May (Joe Neal). Six Red Crossbills were at Shores Lake Recreational Area, Ozark NF, Franklin Co 23 Mar (Vivek Govind Kumar, Todd Ballinger). Quite rare elsewhere in the state, this species has now become regular at this location.

A Lesser Goldfinch photographed at Little Rock, Pulaski Co 13 May (Ellie & Scott Williams) was just the eighth for the state. Single Clay-colored Sparrows were noted at Harmony, Perry Co 18 Apr (Keith Hawkins, Harriett Miller); Sunnymede Park, Ft. Smith, Sebastian Co 21 Apr (SB); and Kibler Bottoms, Crawford Co 5 May (Vivek Govind Kumar, Joe Neal). A Harris’s Sparrow in rural western Lonoke Co 5 May was a late surprise, especially so far east (Guy Luneau). Rare but annual in Arkansas, a Spotted Towhee was near Lake City, Craighead Co 10 Mar (Timothy Joe Neales). Rare so far east, two Yellow-headed Blackbirds were at Bald Knob NWR, White Co 15 May (Glenn & Michelle Wyatt); a single at Leola 23 Apr was a first for Grant Co (Matthew & Darla Bolding). The 2500 Bobolinks near Conway, Faulkner Co 7 May were the highest number ever reported in the state (Guy Luneau). A Scott’s Oriole photographed visiting a feeder at Arkadelphia, Clark Co 26 Apr represents just the third occurrence for the state (Donna Worrell). Less than annual, a surprising three Cape May Warblers were reported for the season: singles at Pangburn, White Co 4 May (Terry Butler, David Finch, Landon Huffman, Caden Huffman); Bella Vista, Benton Co 10 May (Quin Warsaw); and Romance, White Co 13 May (Tamalyn Wortham).

Report processed by José Ramírez-Garofalo, 24 Oct 2022.

Photos–Arkansas & Louisiana: Spring 2020

The photographer was surprised when a very rare Brown Booby lifted off the surface of Lake DeGray in the DeGray Lake Resort State Park near Arkadelphia, Arkansas on 24 May 2020. Photo © Kayla Gomance.

A very rare Cinnamon Teal was found floating with three Blue-winged Teal on a farm pond near the corner of Fielding and Dickson Roads at Hiwasse, Arkansas on 17 Apr 2020. Photo © Patti Bertschy.