Charlie Craig Fish Hatchery 8/16/2009

Six members of the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas joined the Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society for a field trip to Charlie Craig Fish Hatchery in Centerton today (8/16/2009).  We had a great time and want to thank our hosts.

The hatchery was kind of slow with a single Solitary Sandpiper (is that redundant?), one Least Sandpiper, and about 20 Killdeer as the only shore birds that I saw.  Later, Joe Neal was gracious enough to take us to the nearby community of Vaughn to look for Swainson’s Hawks and Great-tailed Grackles which would be state and/or life birds for several of us.

We soon spotted both.  Since most people will find the Swainson’s Hawks more interesting, I’ll fore go the grackle details but the Swainson’s Hawks make for a good tale.  We spotted the hawk about a mile south of the fish hatchery. We chased it east another half mile until we got to a just started housing development. Once there, we saw not one but two Swainson’s and it was clear that one was a juvenile and the other was frequently returning to one particular tree.  Joe suspected there was a nest there so we moved closer.  There we found two more younglings who didn’t seem to want to leave the nest but eventually they did and soon we had four Swainson’s flying around us.
In addition to the four Swainson’s we had a single very pale Red-tailed Hawk at that location.  To my eye, he looks very much like the picture of the Southwestern race in the big Sibley’s.  Perhaps an expert can look at my picture and say.

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Species seen or heard:

Craig Fish Hatchery:

  • Canada Goose
  • Mallard
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Great Egret
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Killdeer
  • Solitary Sandpiper
  • Least Sandpiper
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove
  • Chimney Swift
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • Blue Jay
  • Bank Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Carolina Wren
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Common Grackle

Nearby Community of Vaughn

  • Swainson’s Hawk
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Great-tailed Grackle
  • House Sparrow

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