ASCA field trip report – Bell Slough WMA

Saturday’s field trip was scheduled to walk into the Bell Slough WMA entering at the main entrance (south). Heavy rains on Thursday had flooded that area with water up over the boardwalks.  So, we switched to going into Bell Slough at the north spillway entrance.  With gusty wind and the temperature at 78 degrees at 7:30 a.m., the birds were the quietest I have ever experienced at Bell The few we did hear refused to come close even when we used play back.  Best birds of the day were an adult Bald Eagle flying low over our heads and an Osprey carrying a large fish back to its nest.  Their nest is in the top of a Bald Cypress tree in the lake near the Hwy. 89 bridge.  A pair of Green Herons were hanging out at the spillway in their usual spot.  The few birds we did hear were Yellow-throated, White-eyed, and Red-eyed Vireos, Kentucky, Hooded, and Prothonotary Warblers, and Northern Parulas.  We enjoyed seeing Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Summer Tanagers, and our FOS Mississippi Kites and Great-crested Flycathers.  The twenty-one birders had a good time in spite of the lack of birds. We managed 54 species for the morning.

Seven birders decided to go to Bell South to see if the water had subsided enough for us to walk in.  The water was just below the bottom of the boardwalks, so in we went.  We spent a couple of hours walking the trails and were excited to find two Northern Waterthrushes, a Gray-cheeked Thrush, several Swainson’s Thrushes, cooperative Prothonotary and Kentucky Warblers, a Warbling Vireo, a Hairy Woodpecker, a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, a Yellow-breasted Chat, and approximately 50 Bobolinks in the open field.  A nice end to a rain-free morning.
Karen Holliday
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator