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Posts Tagged ‘Joseph C. Neal’

  1. A New Bird for Arkansas


    May 22, 2012 by Joseph C. Neal

    Gray Crowned Rosy Finch

    “You are going to think I am crazy, but I just saw and photographed a GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH next to the visitor center parking lot here at Mount Magazine State Park!!!!”


  2. Three Teal Species, Plus Golden Plovers


    April 10, 2012 by Joseph C. Neal

    Greater Yellowlegs at Frog Bayou WMA, April 2, 2012.

    Down around Fort Smith old cut-off Arkansas River meanders refilled after heavy rain in late March. Meanders are the big bends in the natural river as it winds its way toward the Mississippi.


  3. Loon Fever


    February 24, 2012 by Joseph C. Neal


    Loons migrate through Northwest Arkansas during spring and fall. But Common Loons, scientific name Gavia immer, are never common. A productive November day is 10, and in winter, a single bird or two. It was a big deal when a single loon wintered on Lake Fayetteville last year. I’ve seen zero on Beaver Lake this winter. Tenkiller Ferry Lake, Okla., is in the Ozarks, an impoundment of the Illinois River that rises near Fayetteville. It does not have this problem. Common Loons are common at Tenkiller. I expect to see 100 a day without special effort. Common Loons are joined by much lower numbers of Pacific Loons, Red-throated Loons, and the occasional Yellow-billed Loon. Distance wise, it’s like a run up to Beaver dam. Tenkiller’s winter birding fun-o-meter is activated in big open spots like Snake Creek Park. Fifty Common Loons parade on Feb. 1, but a single bird far away on the other side swims with its neck extended and bill sometimes pointed up, rather than on the level. It could be a Red-throated or even a Yellow-billed Loon. It is almost a half-mile away. My operational rule of thumb is that the further away the bird, the more …


  4. The Snowy Owl’s Occasional Southern Trip


    January 20, 2012 by Joseph C. Neal

    snowy owl

    This is a winter when Snowy Owls that nest in the far, far north, come south for at least part of the winter. It’s not every winter, either. There are Snowy Owls in northern Missouri and north-central Oklahoma. For the past few weeks, I have included the Snowy Owl pursuit as part of my routine around Northwest Arkansas. These are big owls, mostly white with dark accents. At a distance, lots of com- mon things can make this impression: Walmart bags in brush, bleached cow bones in a pasture, white Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission boundary signs around Chesney Prairie Natural Area, a white five-gallon bucket in weeds next to a pond, a light-colored ball of baling string hung up on a fence, a big white stump, Walmart bags in trees, even a very pale, young Red-tailed Hawk with its head tucked. I’ve never seen a Snowy Owl except for an injured bird in the Portland zoo. Back there someplace in my mind that I don’t know well — the expansive terra incognita from which wells the magma of so many hard-to-describe feelings and desires – from that place, I feel the swells and exploratory energies of desire. Then comes the …


  5. What Rails Remember


    October 30, 2011 by Joseph C. Neal


    Birds remember landscapes fundamentally invisible to us non-birds. I am reminded of this by a telephone call on Saturday night from a gentleman who lives at Garfield north of Beaver Lake. He is an experienced outdoors person, but near his home he has encountered a stranger: in size and general coloration, reminds him of the Northern Bobwhite, or quail, but the bill is longish and pointed rather than short and conical. The eyes are dark and large. When he walks toward the bird it doesn’t just fly away like a quail, but sort of pops up and then down with short awkward flights.


  6. Kite-Spotting in Clifty


    September 11, 2011 by wcobserver

    Stephen Marquardt from West Fork called me August 22 about a Swallow-tailed Kite, a black-and-white hawk with a forked tail. He was on highway 12 a few miles east of Clifty in northern Madison County. I was incredulous. Northwestern Arkansas has one record in a half-century, and that by birding expert Mike Mlodinow, at Lake Fayetteville on July 28, 2009.