30 people met at the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge Saturday morning for the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas’ (ASCA) field trip. We were determined to find the Red Phalarope that had been hanging out at the Refuge for the last three days. A call from an early arriving birder gave us the good news that he was looking at the Phalarope. Just before we arrived at the pond where the birder was waiting for us, a Bald Eagle strafed the pond and flushed all the shorebirds, including the Phalarope. We briefly relocated the Phalarope, which allowed a few people to see it before we lost it completely. We then spent the rest of morning sorting through the shorebirds. Best birds were 4 Buff-breasted Sandpipers, an American Golden-Plover, several Semi-palmated Plovers, 3 Wilson’s Snipe, 8 Northern Pintails, 20 Bank Swallows, plus two singing Bell’s Vireos and a Field Sparrow near the Refuge’s headquarters building. There were lots of Black-necked Stilts, Cattle, Great, and Snowy Egrets, Great Blue and Little Blue Herons, one Green Heron, both Dowitcher species, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least, Pectoral, and Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Mallards and Shovelers, and a big flock of Canada Geese.
Unfortunately, there were no Pelicans, no Roseate Spoonbils, no Wood Storks Even the Avocet who’s been around for weeks was nowhere to be found Around noon a rain shower moved in and most people left. A few stayed to to make a last effort to find the Phalarope. Very shortly we found it. It had settled in with a bunch of Dowitchers and Pectorals and was happily paddling around in a small pool of water. It was in the third pond to the west of the grain bins. This seems to be its favorite spot and it was in very close to where we were parked on Huntsman Road. We got great looks through scopes and binoculars. By then it was 1:30 p.m. so we called it quits. We had to work for our good birds, but were pleased with our morning’s efforts. We saw a total of 44 species.
ASCA Field Trip Leader
Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge
Bald Knob, AR
Meet at 7:00 a.m. in North Little Rock in the Other Center parking lot, on the east side behind McDonald’s. Take Exit 1 west off US-67/167. The Other Center is on McCain Blvd. across from McCain Mall. We’ll arrive at Bald Knob NWR around 8:30 a.m. for those who want to meet us there. Look for the line of cars parked on Coal Chute Road. 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