ASCA Field trip-Gillam, etc. 4/26/2014

What a day we had! Perfect weather and fabulous birds. The spring warblers are here!  Forty-four birders started the morning at Gillam Park, southwest of the airport. We were joined by several Master Naturalists who were participating in their annual BioBlitz. We had warblers out the wazoo! We had mixed feeding flock after feeding flock, which put us into overdrive calling them out and helping everyone locate them.  The brand-new birders in our group were completely overwhelmed by the plethora of birds. The birds finally slowed down around 10:30 am, with a singing Wood Thrush giving us great looks as we left the park.

Off we went to the Little Rock Audubon Center to provide some much appreciated manual labor for trail maintenance and trash clean-up.  Our birders worked at top speed because they were promised Western Kingbirds and Painted Buntings as their reward. Our good deed finished, we headed to the Industrial Park area of Fourche Dam Pike Road.  At the “metal mountain” area we found two Western Kingbirds, several Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and a pair of Blue Grosbeaks.
The Kingbirds were life and year birds for all the group.

Last stop of the day was the David D. Terry Lock and Dam area to find the resident Painted Buntings. We checked the traditional locations, but no Buntings. We assumed that because it almost 2pm and quite warm, the birds were smart and taking a siesta.  Donna Haynes left the group a few minutes ahead of us and only made it about 500 yards. She called to say she was hearing a Painted Bunting. We joined Donna to watch a very cooperative male Painted Bunting patrolling his territory. Life bird for several and eye candy for the rest of us! Driving out behind the rest of the group, Lenore and I found Blue-winged Teal, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectorial Sandpipers, and Least Sandpipers. We ended the day with at least 60 species and a lot of very happy and tired birders, all who missed lunch because no one wanted to stop birding!  See the species highlights below.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
Flycatchers-Least and Great-crested
Vireos-Blue-headed, Warbling, White-eyed, and Red-eyed
Warblers-Golden-winged, Black & White, Kentucky, Tennessee, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped, Prairie, Black-throated Green, and Yellow-throated
Orioles-Baltimore and Orchard
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

Karen Holliday
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator
Little Rock

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