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Bob, thanks for the report from The Big Woods area.  Sounds like they need 
some of the rain Kansas City has been experiencing.  It's great to hear 
they're doing research on Swainson's Warbler and hopefully the nesting 
success is related to the absence of song.
For birders traveling there expecting to see an Ivory-billed Woodpecker, 
think of it as a lottery without money to win!

Chris Hobbs
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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "R Bailey" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 3:40 PM
Subject: my visit to Big Woods, AR


> Was in The Big Woods, Arkansas, on Monday and Tuesday, just to check out 
> the area. The Cache River NWR office is only about a 5  hour's drive from 
> St. Louis. The White River NWR office is about another 1  hour's drive 
> south. No, I didn't see the Ivory-billed, but I did see one of the search 
> team member's "unofficial, #8-#14" sighting area where it was seen from 
> the HWY 17 Bridge between Cotton Plant and Brinkley.
>
> I checked both office registers, and surprisingly few people have been in 
> the offices inquiring about the Ivory-billed. I spoke with the Deputy of 
> the Cache River NWR and he said the IBW search closed down after the news 
> reports and will start up again in the fall. According to him, the search 
> team will be heading back to the Big Woods in a couple of weeks to begin 
> their planning for the hopeful recovery of the Ivory-billed, and will 
> decide what areas will be restricted. They also plan on expanding the 
> search area in hopes of finding more of the birds.
>
> Presently, the Big Woods swamp is hot and humid and alive with venomous 
> creatures. The dry spell has also made much of the area more mucky than 
> swampy. As a result, I don't think hardly a soul is kayaking anywhere near 
> the restricted area.
>
> Officials are expecting the curious to arrive in the fall when things cool 
> down, the leaves open up viewing, and the snakes are hibernating. There 
> are no outfitters in the area yet to supply folks with kayaks or canoes, 
> but people there expect this to change. They get a lot of fall rain which 
> raises the water level for good floating then. The people I met seemed to 
> be encouraging birders to come and visit this place they've always 
> appreciated.
>
> I camped at Alligator Lake at the southern most edge of the White River 
> NWR because there is a team of students researching the Swainson's Warbler 
> there. Although they reported numerous nests in the area, with pink flags 
> hanging from trees along a gravel road marking the nesting sites, and all 
> of which were reported to be occupied at present, I heard only one singing 
> male, and saw none. There were more Prothonotary Warblers than you can 
> shake a stick at, and they seemed to me the most numerous bird in the Big 
> Woods. I also saw a Mississippi Kite soaring above the White River, and 
> directly after this, ran into a graduate student who was there to study 
> Miss. Kites. Oddly enough, I appeared to be the only birder in all the Big 
> Woods on these two days, except for the university research students.
>
> Well.that's my report.
>
> P.S. The NWR offices are selling a nifty T-shirt with the IBW on its front 
> and back.
> Yes, I bought one.
>
>
> Bob Bailey
> St. Louis, MO
>
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