On Saturday, June 13, the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas headed to the newly opened Sunset Trail located on Lower Lake DeGray, Clark Co. This area is relatively unknown to most people. Our 22 birders had the trail to ourselves, which meant we had a lovely, slow stroll. We skirted the lower lake which had Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and Kingfishers. The trail then veered off into a mixed wooded habitat of pines and large, old hardwoods, with some open spaces. We were able to focus on the birds and help our birders learn some of the songs and calls of species who nest in Arkansas during the summer. Our target bird was Cerulean Warbler, which was a no-show. A female Black-and-white Warbler fooled several birders into thinking we had a Cerulean, but closer looks confirmed it was the Black-and-white. A very cooperative Northern Parula perched on low bare branches giving our newer birders a terrific close-up view. Pine Warblers also put on a show. A Yellow-throated Warbler called repeatedly but wouldn’t come in close. Orchard Orioles provided good looks. Yellow-billed Cuckoos were heard throughout the morning, but only one came close for a better view. Indigo Buntings were found in the open spaces. At the picnic area, we had two Prothonotary Warblers singing incessantly, plus a couple dozen Purple Martins, two Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Kingbirds, and an Eastern Phoebe. The trail holds a lot of promise for a future ASCA spring migrant field trip. This trail along the shallower, lower lake area will be a great field trip for the Arkansas Audubon Society’s fall conference November 13-15, which is being held at the Lake DeGray State Park Lodge.
Speaking of the Lodge, we ate lunch there after the field trip. The food was good and the parking lot was full of birds. Best birds to finish the trip were chattering Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, an Orchard Oriole, and Chipping Sparrows. All were fun to see, plus our lunch break helped us dodged the rain showers that rolled through around noon.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator
Little Rock, AR