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Annual Trek for the Birds

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Thursday, February 27, 2020

Members of the Connecticut Audubon Society have been visiting Arkansas for winter birding tours since 2007. One of their routine destinations has been Warren Prairie Natural Area (NA), located in Bradley and Drew counties, between the cities of Warren and Monticello. Warren Prairie NA is home to the red-cockaded woodpecker (Dryobates borealis, RCW), listed as federally endangered, and the Henslow’s sparrow (Centronyx henslowii), a rare grassland bird that regularly winters in the saline barrens of the natural area.

ANHC Aquatic Ecologist Dustin Lynch was able to lead this year's group on a tour, and once again, the birds did not disappoint our visitors, despite drizzling rain. A total of 27 species were observed, including four Henslow’s sparrows, six brown-headed nuthatches (Sitta pusilla), and an American woodcock (Scolopax minor). The group was also surprised to spot a swamp rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus) and to hear singing of Cajun chorus frogs (Pseudacris fouquettei).

Warren Prairie NA provides critical habitat for the RCW, a keystone species for the area. Where the RCW makes a comeback, northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and Arkansas’s state butterfly, the Diana fritillary (Speyeria diana) flourish.

A recognized Globally Important Bird Area, Warren Prairie NA is visited by birders from all over the country. As well as being home to many species, the natural area also offers traditional outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, birdwatching, hiking, and nature photography. To learn more about this natural area, visit our website.

Photos:

Top - Members of the Connecticut Audubon Society and ANHC Aquatic Ecologist, Dustin Lynch, pose in front of the entrance sign at Warren Prairie Natural Area during their recent visit to the natural area. Photo by Leslie Patrick.

Middle - ANHC Aquatic Ecologist Dustin Lynch was able to lead this year's Connecticut Audubon visitors on a tour of Warren Prairie Natural Area. Photo by Leslie Patrick.

Bottom - A Henslow's sparrow (Centronyx henslowii) at Warren Prairie Natural Area during the Connecticut Audubon visit. Four Henslow's sparrows were observed during the visit. Photo by Dustin Lynch.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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