Bald Knob, AR
Meet at 7:00 a.m. in North Little Rock at the Other Center parking lot on the east side of the lot behind McDonald’s. The Other Center is across from McCain Blvd. from McCain Mall. Take Exit 1 West off US-67/167. We’ll arrive at Bald Knob NWR at around 8:30 a.m. for those who want to meet us there. The federal refuge is also a National Audubon Important Bird Area. We expect to see shorebirds, herons, night-herons, egrets, and possibly Wood Storks and Roseate Spoonbills. It will be very hot so bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and a hat. If you have a scope, bring it. Very little walking will be involved. There is no bathroom on-site. There is a McDonald’s just off Hwy. 67/167 at Bald Knob Exit 55. Go to www.fws.gov/baldknob/ for driving directions and more information about the refuge. GPS: 35.260233, -91.571903
Why Transit, Why Here, Why Now?
Speaker: Jarod Varner, Central Arkansas Transit Authority
Central Arkansas citizens, employers, and prominent institutions are beginning to recognize the benefits of investing in a robust transit system. Whether it’s due to a need to attract and retain young talent, to allow an aging population to age in place, to reduce congestion and the exorbitant cost of commuting, or to improve the health and environment of our communities, Central Arkansans are seeking more efficient modes of transportation. The Central Arkansas Transit Authority, CATA, is in the final stages of developing a strategic plan, MOVE Central Arkansas, with the goals of articulating a vision of a new transit system with services that make riding transit more desirable for more people in the community. Additionally, MOVE will include a dedicated funding strategy that allows CATA to grow and change in response to community needs for transit service. Learn more about CATA’s plans and provide critical input.
Jarod Varner is Executive Director and CEO for CATA. Jarod began his public transportation career with the Denton County Transportation Authority in Lewisville, Texas and held a number of positions within the organization including Vice President. He holds a B.S. in Public Administration from Harding University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Texas. Jarod was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 transit professionals by Mass Transit Magazine. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Metroplan, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce as well as the Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Public Transportation Association.
July 11, 2015
Dr. Lester Sitzes, III Bois D’Arc Lake WMA
Saturday, we had twenty-five enthusiastic birders who met at the Bois D’Arc Lake WMA area just outside of Hope, AR in Hempstead County. The group included a birder from Zimbabwe who picked up at least 6 life birds. We found our first good bird of the day at the McDonald’s in Hope. Great-tailed Grackles have moved north and are now seen on a regular basis at this location. We saw both male and female grackles.
At the WMA, we found a plethora of species common to south Arkansas. Throughout the morning, we saw and heard Purple and Common Gallinules. They were everywhere, picking their way across the Water Lotus plants. At several locations we watched juvenile birds tottering along on long legs and giant feet, hopping from lily pad to lily pad, following their parents. One momma bird was standing above her babies, who were resting underneath, sheltering in the shade of her body. A shout went up when the first alligator was seen. Soon after, a second gator was spotted.
Dozens and dozens of Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, and Green Herons all nest around the lake. We watched both adults and juveniles feeding and being fed. A Caspian Tern and three Forster’s Terns swooped and dove along the far side of the lake, along with dozens of Tree, Cliff, and Barn Swallows. A Least Bittern responded to playback but was reluctant to show itself. Only two Anhingas were seen on this visit.
In the back water below the lake, we found several White Ibises and two cooperative Painted Buntings. We then traveled to the far side of the lake to the egret rookery. At least 200 hundred Cattle Egrets fussed and fought for space. Noisy and stinky, the trees full of birds and nests, it was a great opportunity to observe rookery behavior. Mixed in were three nesting Black-crowned Night-Herons, which were life birds for several in the group. Another large alligator was spotted and photographed.
With enough shade throughout the morning and great birds, we stayed at the lake until around 1:00pm. On a recommendation for THE hamburger place in Hope, many of the group headed to Tailgaters for a fun and delicious end to another terrific ASCA birding trip.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator