Twenty-six birders joined the ASCA field trip to the Bald Knob NWR Saturday morning. Cool and very windy conditions made it a bit challenging to scan for shorebirds through jiggling scopes. Everything was very muddy due to heavy rains the night before. We were lucky the rain had ended before we arrived at the refuge. We found good numbers of ducks, with a nice mix of Gadwalls and Shovelers, a lot of Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Coots, two Buffleheads, and one Pintail. Best shorebirds were the 20+ American Golden Plovers and 5 Black-necked Stilts. Other shorebirds included Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral, Least, and Solitary Sandpipers, plus a few Wilson’s Snipe. A Bald Eagle, 40+ American White Pelicans, and a Northern Harrier were also spotted.
It was birdy at the refuge’s headquarters building. We saw or heard Field, Song, and Savannah Sparrows, Bluebirds, Brown Thrasher, Meadowlarks, Flicker, Carolina Wren, and a Cardinal.
Towards the end of the morning, we found a hefty-sized Cottonmouth who was sunning itself curled up on a leafy bush. It was right at the edge of the pond where we had stopped to scan for shorebirds. We admired it from a respectful distance until it decided we were annoying and it slid off into the water. By noon the wind had increased significantly, so most birders called it a day and headed home. We totaled close to fifty species.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator