Saturday, May 10th twenty-two birders, both novice and veterans, spent International Migratory Bird Day exploring the edges of Lake Maumelle. At the marina, we dodged a frenzy of fishermen launching their boats, eager to take advantage of the perfect weather. An adult Bald Eagle did a leisurely fly-by and an Orchard Oriole perched in the top of a nearby tree, showing off his fresh plumage. Purple Martins and Barn Swallows swooped and circled overhead.
Next, we walked the Bufflehead Bay trail. Central Arkansas Water (CAW) has done a wonderful job improving this trail, with help from ASCA members. It is now paved out to the point, with numerous informational signs scattered along the route. Blooming white daisies lined the whole length, giving our walk a splash of color. Several in our group had not been on the trail and were excited to know about its existence. Best birds were a Yellow Warbler, an American Redstart, a Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroats, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Cedar Waxwings, Yellow-headed Vireos, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. On the way back to our cars, we spotted a Red-headed Woodpecker, then two cooperative and very squeaky Brown-headed Nuthatches.
On to Sleepy Hollow, another location that CAW has vastly improved. The Maumelle River flows past the Sleepy Hollow boat launch and empties into Lake Maumelle. The backwater is flanked by Bald Cypress trees and water lotus were beginning to bloom. A Green Heron crouched low and still on a cypress branch giving our novice birders great looks at its striking mix of colors and yellow legs. We were able to coax in Black and White Warblers, Northern Parula, Pine Warblers, and an Indigo Bunting. The newbies were thrilled to see these colorful birds up close. Our final stop of the day was the intersection of Hwy. 10 and Higginbotham Rd., a reliable spot for Prairie Warblers. Two males were vocalizing and one perched close enough for everyone to admire his gorgeous markings and watch as he threw his head back to sing. What a treat! We had hoped to bird the CAW Grass Farm, but heavy rains made the dirt roads too muddy and the water levels at the low water bridges too high to safely traverse the route through the farm. We ended mid-afternoon with 58 species.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator