Arkansas Region: Spring 2021

Spring 2021: 1 Mar–31 May

Lyndal York

Recommended citation:

York, L. 2023. Spring 2021: Arkansas Region. <> North American Birds.

Seasonal highlights include: Black-necked Stilt, Dunlin, Dark-eyed Junco x White-throated Sparrow Hybrid, Evening Grosbeak, Lesser Goldfinch, Lazuli Bunting, Bobolink, Yellow-headed Blackbird.

Swans through Doves

Trumpeter Swans are rare outside of the Magness Lake, Cleburne Co area where they have been regular in significant numbers in winter. This season there are only two reports of Trumpeter Swans outside the afore mentioned area: three at a small pond near James Trail, off AR90 in Randolph Co 6 Mar (Dottie and Doris Boyles, Karen Holiday); a single in rural Craighead Co 8 Mar (Rhett Raibley, Heath Garner).

Surprisingly, Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are moving into the Ozarks with seven being reported at the Alread Farm pond, Van Buren Co 16 May (Robert Halter) and two at Moon Farms in Bergman, Boone Co 5 May (Lisa Sparrow).

A late Cackling Goose was reported at Cadron Flats off of Highway 25, Faulkner Co 8 May (Michael Linz and Patty McLean). A rare Cinnamon Teal was found at Bald Knob NWR, White Co 29 Apr (Michael Linz and Patty McLean, Glenn Wyatt). A Blue-winged Teal x Cinnamon Teal hybrid was seen at 35.4566904,-94.1474421 in Frog Bayou WMA, Crawford Co 23 Apr (Mitchell Pruitt). A late migrating Greater White-fronted Goose was at Cadron Flats off of Highway 25, Faulkner Co 8 May (Michael Linz and Patty McLean). Surprisingly 406 Horned Grebes were located on the north side of Beaver Lake in a cove off Slate Gap Road, Benton Co 1 Mar (Joe Neal).

Very early nesting Mourning Doves was reported from the Hillcrest area of Little Rock, Pulaski Co 6 Mar (Dan Scheiman). Fledgling Mourning Doves were present on 6 Mar suggesting hatching occurred around 14 Feb during a very cold snowy period. White-winged Doves first moved into Arkansas through the SW corner although recent reports are few with one White-winged Dove being sighted off Arkansas 32, Foreman, Little River Co 10 May (Janine Schutt). Another was seen in the Hillcrest area of Little Rock, Pulaski Co 9 May (Dan Scheiman) while two were spotted off Ridgefield Street, Little Rock, Pulaski Co 16 May (David and Susan Williamson). A single White-winged Dove was noted in Fort Smith, Sebastian Co 25 Mar (Patty Frala).

Cuckoos through Eagles

Two Black-billed Cuckoos were heard calling to each other at Frog Bayou WMA, Crawford Co 25 Apr (Michael and Christy Slay).

A Virginia Rail was present on the north side of Lake Fayetteville, Washington Co 23 Apr (Jeremy Cohen and Erin Sauer). The first report of a Purple Gallinule at Bald Knob NWR, White Co was 24 May (Glenn and Michelle Wyatt). The first Limpkin ever seen in Arkansas was photographed in a backyard with a creek and an old forest canopy on Stillmeadow Lane, Hot Springs, Garland Co 5 May (Gene Sparling). Five Sandhill Cranes flew over the Jonesboro Shooting Sports Complex, Craighead Co 8 May (Rhett Raibley, Heath Garner). Black-necked Stilts have expanded their range into the hill country as one was seen at Lake Balboa, Hot Springs Village, Garland Co 16 May (Vic Prislipsky). It was a surprise to find two Upland Sandpipers near Bearskin Lake Road just east of Walker’s Corner Road, Lonoke Co 1 May (Cindy Franklin, Donna Haynes). Nine Dunlin were at Lake Balboa, Hot Springs Village, Garland Co 10 May (Vic Prislipsky). A single Red-necked Phalarope was photographed at Bald Knob NWR, White Co 26 Apr (Michael Linz, Patty McLean) while a pair of Red-necked Phalaropes were at Cadron Flats off Highway 25, Faulkner Co 8 May (Michael Linz, Patty McLean, Allan and Kathleen Mueller). Hudsonian Godwits are becoming a yearly occurrence but the high number of 16 found at the West-Ark Sod farm near Dyer, Crawford Co 16 Apr is a spring record (Joe Neal, Bill and Toka Beal). A single Hudsonian Godwit appeared wearing a red flag band on the left leg at the sewer oxidation ponds (restricted access) near Arkadelphia, Clark Co 10 Apr (Renn and Terry Tumlison). A dozen Common Loons were in their summer plumage and ready to migrate when observed on Beaver Lake, Highway 12 boat ramp east of Rogers, Benton Co 30 Mar (Joe Neal). Two Glossy Ibis were feeding at the Bald Knob NWR, White Co 21 May (Glenn and Michelle Wyatt). It is unusual for a Roseate Spoonbill to be in SW Arkansas, but one was on an island south of Kidd Landing on Bois d’Arc Lake, Hempstead Co 10 May (Betty Evans, Heather Cook). First nesting of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons was established in Benton Co when four were seen flying over and later two were found at a nest in Logan Springs Preserve adjacent to Logan Cave NWR, Benton Co 27 Apr (Mike Slay, Vivek Govind Kumar, Joe Neal).

A very late to migrate Northern Harrier was gliding over the grassland at Rick Evans Grandview Prairie WMA, Hempstead Co 4 May (Jerred Seveyka). The only other hawk report was a Swainson’s Hawk in Lollie Bottoms, Conway, Faulkner Co 29 Apr (Michael Linz, Patty McLean). A Golden Eagle, out of season, was seen along I-49 N, Winslow, Washington Co 11 Apr (Erin Sauer).

Vireos through Warblers

A couple of early migrating Yellow-throated Vireos were noted on Crane Fly Trail, Logoly State Park, McNeil, Columbia Co 19 Mar (Jeremy Chamberlain, Heather Laferte). It was surprising to find a pair of increasingly rare Loggerhead Shrikes nesting at Robert’s place just east of Chesney Prairie Natural Area, Benton Co 22 Apr (Vivek Govind Kumar, Joe Neal). An adult Brown-headed Nuthatch was seen at a nest with two nestlings at the USFS office in Hector, Pope Co 16 May (Leif Anderson). Two weeks later two fledglings were seen begging for food from the adult female.

A rare hybrid Dark-eyed Junco x White-throated Sparrow was photographed on Linwood Street, Greene Co 13 Apr (Kelly Panneck). Clay-colored Sparrow, a rare migrant in Central Arkansas, was found on Hilger Rd in the Providence Community, White Co 1 May (Michael Linz, Patty McLean). A lingering Dark-eyed Junco was on Sanford Drive, Little Rock, Pulaski Co 29 Apr (Gary R Morris). Only two reports of Evening Grosbeaks this season: the first was two individuals at East End, Hensley, Saline Co 6 Mar (Brett, Rose Anne Cato); the second was a single female Evening Grosbeak visiting a feeder in Cleburne Co 7 Mar (Cayce Guy). A rare Lesser Goldfinch visited a feeder in the Hillcrest Neighborhood, Little Rock, Pulaski Co 20 Mar and was last seen 4 Apr (Lance Runion). An early arriving Indigo Bunting was seen at a residence in Vilonia, Faulkner Co 16 Mar (Tracie Lemarr).

It is a rare event when four Lazuli Buntings are found in three different counties: a Lazuli Bunting at a residence off of county road 105, Dallas Co 1 May (Karen Moore); a pair was present for three days at a feeder in Crosses, Madison Co 4 May (Brenda Nazarali); an individual was at a residence on E 5th St, Fayetteville, Washington Co 22 May (Vincent Edwards).

A Spotted Towhee was present at the Arkansas State University farm, Craighead Co 14 May (Emily Donahue, Alex Worm). The only report of Bobolinks was an observation of two birds on Danville Road, Saline Co 13 May and again on 18 May (Vic Prislipsky. An adult male Baltimore Oriole spent the winter in a yard in White Hall, Jefferson Co. It was first seen 15 Jan and off and on until 16 Mar (Margie Nanak).

Yellow-headed Blackbirds are becoming more common with a high count of 8 individuals scattered around the state: Lavaca, Sebastian Co 11 Apr (Jim and Susan Haulmark); alongside the road on South Loop, Little Rock, Pulaski Co14 May (Deborah Trickett); on Hunter Wood Dr, Bryant, Saline Co 23 Apr (Bob and Karen Brewer); Camp Nine fish ponds, Desha Co 22 Apr (Gabrielle Hargrove, Dick Baxter); Wapanocca NWR, Crittenden Co 1 May (Judy Dorsey); at a residence on Narrows Rd, Lonsdale, Saline Co 3 May (Morris Boyd); Moon Farms, Bergman, Boone Co 30 Apr (Lisa Sparrow).

The only early arriving warbler seen this season was a Nashville Warbler at the observation deck at Beard’s Bluff Recreation Area on Lake Millwood. Hempstead Co 13 Mar (Jeremy Chamberlain, Heather Laferte).

Report processed by Jose Ramirez-Garofalo, 01 May 2023.

Photos–Arkansas Region: Spring 2021

It was a surprise to find a Black-necked Stilt at a Lake Balboa in the Ouchita Mountains on the 16 May 2021 as they are normally associated with water in a low land habitat. Photo © Vic Prislipsky.

It is unusual to find nine Dunlin at Lake, Balboa, in the Ouachita Mountains on 10 May 2021 although they are fairly common migrants in lowland areas. Photo © Vic Prislipsky.

A very rare hybrid Dark-eyed Junco x White-throated Sparrow was photographed in Greene County on 13 April 2021. Photo © Kelly Panneck.

It has been about 20 years since an irruption of Evening Grosbeaks occurred in the state; however, in the last couple of years a number have been reported like this female photographed at a residence in rural Cleburne Co on 7 Mar 2021. Photo © Cayce Guy.

A very rare Lesser Goldfinch was photographed in the Hillcrest Neighborhood of Little Rock on 20 Mar and again on 4 Apr 2021. There are only 12 records of this species in Arkansas. Photo © Lance Runion.

It was a banner year for Lazuli Buntings with seven being reported. A pair spent three days beginning on 4 May 2021 around a feeder in Crosses. Madison Co. Photo © Brenda Nazarali.

Surprisingly only two Bobolinks were reported this season as Bobolinks are regular migrants. The bird pictured was photographed on Danville Road in Saline Co on 13 May 2021. Photo © Vic Prislipsky.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds are becoming more common in the western areas of the Arkansas as eight individuals were seen this season. The bird pictured was in a yard at Moon Farms in Bergman, Boone Co on 30 Apr 2021. Photo © Lisa Sparrow.