The 41 birders on Audubon Society of Central Arkansas’s field trip did not let rain in the morning dampen our birding spirits. We did decide the fog on Lake Dardanelle was too dense for birding so we headed to Holla Bend NWR. We picked out a Ross’s Goose among the flocks of Snow Geese overhead. Northern Harriers provided many opportunities for study including one perched on a shrub clump long enough for scope views. A perched Cooper’s Hawk also allowed scoping its distinctive shape and capped appearance. A “golf ball” in the scope was the head of a Bald Eagle sitting on its nest. We didn’t flush any Short-eared Owls from the prairie by the observation tower, but the field was aflutter with lovely LeConte’s Sparrows, many allowing long looks. On Country Loop Rd. much of the brush has been cut from between the cedars where we normally find a Harris’s Sparrow among the White-crowned Sparrows. We didn’t see the former and found only one small flock of the latter. By mid-afternoon the fog was long gone from Lake Dardanelle but so were the birds. There wasn’t much notable activity at either Delaware Recreation Area or the dam besides the usual gang of gulls and pelicans on a sandbar with a single Northern Shoveler resting among them.
The highlight for me was having 13-year old beginning birder Jake Chandler and his supportive mother Amy ride with me. Amy contacted me a few days ago asking about opportunities for her budding birder son. I told her about ASCA so they showed up. They saw many lifers and asked lots of great questions about birding and being an ornithologist.