Saturday’s field trip was scheduled to walk into the Bell Slough WMA entering at the main entrance (south). Heavy rains on Thursday had flooded that area with water up over the boardwalks. So, we switched to going into Bell Slough at the north spillway entrance. With gusty wind and the temperature at 78 degrees at 7:30 a.m., the birds were the quietest I have ever experienced at Bell The few we did hear refused to come close even when we used play back. Best birds of the day were an adult Bald Eagle flying low over our heads and an Osprey carrying a large fish back to its nest. Their nest is in the top of a Bald Cypress tree in the lake near the Hwy. 89 bridge. A pair of Green Herons were hanging out at the spillway in their usual spot. The few birds we did hear were Yellow-throated, White-eyed, and Red-eyed Vireos, Kentucky, Hooded, and Prothonotary Warblers, and Northern Parulas. We enjoyed seeing Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Summer Tanagers, and our FOS Mississippi Kites and Great-crested Flycathers. The twenty-one birders had a good time in spite of the lack of birds. We managed 54 species for the morning.
Seven birders decided to go to Bell South to see if the water had subsided enough for us to walk in. The water was just below the bottom of the boardwalks, so in we went. We spent a couple of hours walking the trails and were excited to find two Northern Waterthrushes, a Gray-cheeked Thrush, several Swainson’s Thrushes, cooperative Prothonotary and Kentucky Warblers, a Warbling Vireo, a Hairy Woodpecker, a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, a Yellow-breasted Chat, and approximately 50 Bobolinks in the open field. A nice end to a rain-free morning.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator
Mayflower, Faulkner Co.
Meet at 7:30 a.m. at the main entrance to the Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area (WMA) off Hwy. 365. Our target birds will be spring migrants. Bell Slough is a mix of ecosystems consisting of 2,040 acres of woodlands and wetlands situated between Little Rock and the Mayflower/Conway region. There are 117 species of birds documented for the area, including the adjacent waterfowl resting habitat. The Bell Slough Kenny Vernon Nature Trail consists of three connecting trails, each ranging in length from about a half-mile to 2 1/4 miles. The WMA also has a nice mix wildflowers that attract numerous butterflies. Wear study walking shoes. This will be a morning trip.
From Little Rock, go west on I-40. Exit I-40 at Mayflower (Exit 135) and turn east (right) at the light onto Hwy. 89. Then turn south (right) just past the commuter parking lot onto the service road. Follow the service road paralleling I-40, then veer right at the fork. Follow this road until you cross the Palarm Creek bridge. Turn left into the WMA parking lot.
Speaker: Cindy Franklin, ASCA & Master Gardeners
Cindy and her husband Bill Burnham spent 24 days in southern South America on a Wings tour sampling a variety of habitats from Iguazu Falls in northeastern Argentina to Ushuaia in Terra del Fuego to the high Andes east of Santiago, Chile. They traveled approximately 6,000 miles by air, land, and sea from Buenos Aires to Valpraiso, Chile. They added 286 birds to their life list including 4 species of penguins and 7 species of albatross as well as many mammals and several species of whales & dolphins.
Cindy Franklin has had a lifelong interest in gardening and bird watching that began when she was growing up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania. After she retired from a VA nursing career she became a Pulaski County Master Gardener. She and her husband Bill are members of the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas and the Arkansas Audubon Society. Cindy maintains a pollinator garden both on her front patio and in her front yard, and is endlessly fascinated by the insects that visit her plants throughout the growing season. She also maintains an active hummingbird feeding station during the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds’ breeding & migration seasons.