September 12, 2015 Bona Dea and Illinois Bayou Park Wildlife Trails

13 turned out to be the lucky number for the September ASCA field trip.  13
was the number of happy birders who had a great day birding the Bona Dea
Trails and the new Illinois Bayou Park Wildlife trail.  Kluie, the non-human
member, a really BIG Malamute/Wolf mix, was very patient with our starting
and stopping as we followed birds flitting around in the understory and
upper canopy.  We spent the entire morning slowly walking the trails,
carefully checking the interesting mix of birds we found.

What a diverse group of birds we found!  Water birds included a large mix of
juvenile and female Wood Ducks (the only American duck species to have two
broods per season), plus 25 Gadwalls, 2 Pied-billed Grebes, Great Egrets,
Great Blue Herons, and 2 Kingfishers.  Best species hugging the lower
vegetation were Kentucky Warblers and Catbirds, plus numerous, vociferous
White-eyed Vireos everywhere.  Winners of the mid and upper canopy, which
caused the dreaded “warbler-neck”, were an Olive-sided Flycatcher, a
Blue-winged Warbler,  Brown-headed Nuthatches, Northern Parulas, Summer
Tanagers, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, a Baltimore Oriole, and a
Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  Sky birds netted us Fish and American crows,
Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, and a Cooper’s

At 12:45 p.m., the group had to choose between lunch and birding the new
Illinois Bayou Wildlife trail.  Ten intrepid birders opted to continue the
birding adventure, which was encouraged by the wonderfully mild
temperatures.  As we crossed the Lake Dardanelle inlet, a significant number
of Double-crested Cormorants were gathering on the big power-line towers.
We continued on to the new Illinois Bayou trail, which is an easy walk
through a varied wooded habitat, with off-shoot trails down to several lake
observation areas.  The views of the lake were interesting and we picked up a
couple of new birds.  Adding to the day’s count were Pine Warblers,
Yellow-shafted Flicker, and one lonely Mourning Dove.

At 3:00 p.m., we called it a day and headed to the revered Russellville
Whatta-Burger Restaurant for lunch.  This traditional lunch stop was a new
experience for some of our newbie birders and they gave the experience a
high-five.  Following our late lunch and congratulatory hugs all around for
a fun, long day of birding, everyone headed for home.
Karen Holliday
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator
Maumelle/Little Rock