February 14, 2015
Perfect weather and 46 enthusiastic birders made for a terrific ASCA field trip. We started at the Jolly Rogers Marina on Lake Maumelle. Several Common Loons stayed up long enough to give everyone good looks. The Red-throated Loon was a nice bonus and a life bird for many. Three male Towhees put on quite a show in the bushes. The always adorable Brown-headed Nuthatches refused to come to play-back, much to everyone’s disappointment. A juvenile Bald Eagle coasted by.
Our second stop was Loon Point. We saw several Horned Grebes, Pied-billed Grebes, more Common Loons, a couple of Common Goldeneyes, plus lots of noisy Canada Geese. Our new birders really enjoyed the bright yellow, singing Pine Warblers. A pair of Belted Kingfishers were spotted hanging out along the shoreline.
At Vista View, our third stop on the lake, we had 2 cooperative adult Bald Eagles, more COLOs, Horned Grebes, Buffleheads, and DC Cormorants. Eagle-eyed Shelby, our talented young birder and photographer, spotted a Red-headed Woodpecker hanging out with a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The Winter Wren was a no-show, but a Hermit Thrush popped up for a brief look.
Next, we caravanned to Two Rivers Park. In the “swamp”, several male and female Northern Shovelers, three Gadwalls, and a pair of Mallard’s glowed in the sunlight. They did their dabbling thing, rumps pointing sky-ward. Boots on, we took off through the high grass and immediately started flushing sparrows. Lots of Savannah Sparrows scattered ahead of the group. Then, we started flushing Le Conte’s after LeConte’s Sparrow. They teed up, or froze on the ground, giving everyone great looks. We had an amazing total of at least 9 confirmed LECO Sparrows. Vesper Sparrows flew, with one teed up so long everyone admired him through the scope. Several birders were fairly positive they found a Henslow’s Sparrow, but we couldn’t relocate it for a positive id. At the river, we had American White Pelicans, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes, DC Cormorants, Ringed-billed Gulls, Turkey Vultures, and 2 American Kestrels. Field Sparrows were the group found of those “Little Brown Birds”. A final stop back at the “swamp” and we called in a Hermit Thrush; plus a Winter Wren, who scolded us quite severely.
The UCA ornithology students totaled up a nice list of birds before they headed back to Conway. The rest of the group were also quite pleased with the variety of birds found. The day was great fun for all.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator