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  • Our Next Event is on August 14, 2014
    Monthly Meeting
    Starts:August 14, 2014 - 7:00 pm
    Location: Little Rock Audubon Center

Landscape Planning and Management for Waterfowl Habitat

Speaker: Luke Naylor, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

Arkansas is arguably the most important inland wintering area for waterfowl, especially Mallards. As a result, hunters come from around the country to experience our bottomland hardwood forests and flooded fields. The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission is charged with managing waterfowl populations through habitat management and hunting regulations. Learn about how these important decisions are made.

Luke Naylor received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Kansas State University.  While attending K-State, he worked as a seasonal aid for Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and spent a summer in Manitoba working as a research assistant for Delta Waterfowl. He earned a M.S. in Conservation Ecology at the University of California–Davis in 2002 studying management of wintering waterfowl habitats. Then he worked for USGS and with the California Waterfowl Association and Ducks Unlimited delivering private lands wetland management programs for the California Department of Fish and Game. He has been the Waterfowl Program Coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission since 2006.

Location: Litte Rock Audubon Center.  Time: 7 PM.

 

Members of the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas left Little Rock at 7:15 a.m. and headed to the AGFC’s Delta Rivers Nature Center at Pine Bluff. At the Nature Center, we met up with several of our Pine Bluff birding friends for a total of 20 people. We were slow to make it into the Nature Center because the parking lot was full of Baltimore Orioles, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and Great-crested Flycatchers.

After admiring the 10 ft. alligator Game and Fish personnel had captured Friday in McGhee, and the three enormous Alligator Snapping Turtles, we paid a quick visit to the resident male and female Bald Eagles, who after being injured, now have a safe home at the Nature Center. We also saw the female Bald Eagle’s new roommate, a Barred Owl, who sleepily peeked out at us from his log home cavity. We walked the primitive trail, which skirts the bayou and back waters of the Arkansas River, and saw a number of summer residents. At one spot, two male Wood Ducks were perched on a snag only yards across the slough. Our photographers fell all over themselves trying to get the best shots. At the final boardwalk, a very cooperative Northern Parula circled just above our heads, giving our beginning birders great looks. We were briefly distracted watching two deer wading across the backwater.

On to Lake Saracen, where we saw a lone Double-crested Cormorant on the lake. We also had Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, plus a cooperative first year male Orchard Oriole claiming a stretch of the canal as his territory, a shy, singing Common Yellowthroat, and a Yellow-breasted Chat. Delos showed us two Baltimore Orioles’ pendulum nests, plus an Eastern Kingbird nest with parents in residence.

Final stop was Wilbur West Road. As we approached the wetlands, we spotted a soaring female Anhinga. Everyone jumped out of their cars to watch as it circled with several Mississippi Kites. Next to the road, we watched a young Green Heron feeding on crustaceans just a few feet from us. The photographers again went into photo overload snapping tons of action shots of the feeding heron. Further down the road we found a great group of birds. There were Little Blue Herons in all phases of breeding plumage, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, a Great Blue Heron, Least Terns, and Forster’s Terns. We also had Dickcissels, Indigo Buntings, and more singing Common Yellowthroats.

We had a total of 57 species. With good birds, low humidity, a surprising lack of mosquitoes, plus great birding friends, we had a wonderful day.
Karen Holliday
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator
Maumelle/Little Rock

Pictures by Delos McCauley

Anhinga 20140614_0005_ppDeer in water 20140614_0030_ppGreen Heron 20140614_0041_pp

Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the Dixon Road commuter lot, Exit 3 off I-530 South. We’ll arrive at the Delta Rivers Nature Center around 8:15 a.m. for anyone who wants to meet us there. The Nature Center opens at 8:30 a.m. We will walk the nature trail, which winds through diverse habitats, including a cypress/tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwood forest. At Lake Saracen, we’ll scan the reed beds and open water. Song-birds, water-birds, raptors, and herons will be our target species. Bring water, snacks, and lunch. Moderate walking on level ground. If time permits, we’ll walk the short trail at Byrd Lake Natural Area.

Directions to the Delta Rivers Nature Center—From Little Rock, take I-530 south 35 miles to Pine Bluff until I-530 becomes Hwy. 65B (Exit 35). Go 6 miles. Turn left at the light just past Lake Saracen (Lake Pine Bluff) onto Regional Park Drive. Continue on Regional Park Drive 1.2 miles. Turn right onto Black Dog Road. Follow the signs to the Nature Center. GPS: 34.239870,
-91.991100. Byrd Lake—From Interstate 530 in Pine Bluff, take Exit 43. Travel north on Olive Street approximately 0.5 mile to Main Street and turn right. Travel 0.2 mile to 52nd Street and turn right. Travel east on 52nd Street 0.2 mile to the parking lot on the right.