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Speaker: Uta Meyer, Youth Program Manager, Audubon Arkansas

Topic: Connecting kids to nature

Audubon Arkansas connects kids to nature through a variety of outdoor and classroom activities at the Little Rock Audubon Center and other natural areas. Throughout the year, Audubon Arkansas serves students from Pulaski County and Little Rock School Districts, as well as after-school and home-school groups, boy and girl scout troops, and more. Last year, over 2500 students participated in Audubon programming. Come hear how Audubon teaches kids about birds and the environment. You might just learn something.

Uta Meyer joined Audubon Arkansas as Youth Program Manager in February 2013. Uta develops and implements environmental education programs and activities for K-12 students and the general public. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Central Arkansas in 2011 and her M.A. from New York University in Environmental Conservation Education in January 2013.

February 14, 2015

 

Perfect weather and 46 enthusiastic birders made for a terrific ASCA field trip.  We started at the Jolly Rogers Marina on Lake Maumelle.  Several Common Loons stayed up long enough to give everyone good looks.  The Red-throated Loon was a nice bonus and a life bird for many.  Three male Towhees put on quite a show in the bushes.  The always adorable Brown-headed Nuthatches refused to come to play-back, much to everyone’s disappointment.  A juvenile Bald Eagle coasted by.

 

Our second stop was Loon Point.  We saw several Horned Grebes, Pied-billed Grebes, more Common Loons, a couple of Common Goldeneyes, plus lots of noisy Canada Geese.  Our new birders really enjoyed the bright yellow, singing Pine Warblers.  A pair of Belted Kingfishers were spotted hanging out along the shoreline.

 

At Vista View, our third stop on the lake, we had 2 cooperative adult Bald Eagles, more COLOs, Horned Grebes, Buffleheads, and DC Cormorants.  Eagle-eyed Shelby, our talented young birder and photographer, spotted a Red-headed Woodpecker hanging out with a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  The Winter Wren was a no-show, but a Hermit Thrush popped up for a brief look.

 

Next, we caravanned to Two Rivers Park.  In the “swamp”, several male and female Northern Shovelers, three Gadwalls, and a pair of Mallard’s glowed in the sunlight.  They did their dabbling thing, rumps pointing sky-ward.  Boots on, we took off through the high grass and immediately started flushing sparrows.  Lots of Savannah Sparrows scattered ahead of the group.  Then, we started flushing Le Conte’s after LeConte’s Sparrow.  They teed up, or froze on the ground, giving everyone great looks.  We had an amazing total of at least 9 confirmed LECO Sparrows.  Vesper Sparrows flew, with one teed up so long everyone admired him through the scope.  Several birders were fairly positive they found a Henslow’s Sparrow, but we couldn’t relocate it for a positive id.  At the river, we had American White Pelicans, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes, DC Cormorants, Ringed-billed Gulls, Turkey Vultures, and 2 American Kestrels.  Field Sparrows were the group found of those “Little Brown Birds”.  A final stop back at the “swamp” and we called in a Hermit Thrush; plus a Winter Wren, who scolded us quite severely.

 

The UCA ornithology students totaled up a nice list of birds before they headed back to Conway.  The rest of the group were also quite pleased with the variety of birds found.  The day was great fun for all.

 

Karen Holliday

ASCA Field Trip Coordinator

Little Rock

February 13-16 is the world-wide Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).  Participate in this annual event by joining our field trip and helping count birds.  Meet at the Jolly Rogers Marina on Lake Maumelle at 8:00 a.m.  Loons, mergansers, ducks, and grebes are easily found on the lake this time of year.  We’ll then caravan to Two Rivers Park and walk the big field and horse trail.  This area has a diverse population of sparrows and provides a great opportunity to work on identifying those “little brown birds”.  Knee-high rubber boots are recommend because of the copious sand burrs in the field.  Bring water, snacks, and your scope if you have one.  We should finish around noon.

If you can’t join the field trip, participate in the GBBC by counting the birds in your yard and submitting your sightings to the GBBC website at www.birdcount.org.

Directions to Jolly Rogers Marina—the marina is approximately 10 miles west of Little Rock on Hwy. 10.  Turn right at the white and black Jolly Rogers Marina entrance sign and drive down to the boat launch area.  The marina address is 11800 Maumelle Harbour Rd., Roland, AR.