Purple martins spotted in Pine Bluff

Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog Day, according to national media reports, indicating that Americans can expect six more weeks of winter.

Pine Bluff residents have their own harbinger of spring, however, and a Sulphur Springs resident reported Monday that he has seen the first purple martins of the year.

Scott Spharler said he saw one of the birds — which he described as a scout — checking out the martin houses on Spharler’s property over the weekend. On Monday, he said, he spotted three more purple martins.

Spharler has several martin houses on his property, which he said also includes a pond. According to Spharler, the purple martins prefer to be near water.