I traveled to Siloam Springs yesterday to find Common Mergansers that were reported on the Siloam Springs City Lake Park. The rare birds were spotted by the boat launch days before, and birders had reported them still being there each day. I quickly spotted them in the distance upon arrival but lost them when I drove around the lake to get a better look.
So, I decided to check out the rest of the city park. They have a pretty cool duck blind set up so people can quietly enter and watch the water birds. It was definitely worth the stop – I saw plenty of ducks, cormorants, sparrows, pied-billed grebes and the Common Mergansers. The Common Mergansers actually flew in and landed right in front of the blind, providing me a perfect look at them even without my camera.
The nonbreeding range for the Common Merganser just dips into the North-Northwest area of Arkansas, although we don’t see them often. eBird reports 356 observations of the species, although I suspect many of those are recent with this sighting. They’ve been spotted within the state from October to May.