Saturday morning 15 very hardy birders showed up in spite of the 100% chance of rain and chilly temperatures predicted. We met at the east end of Two Rivers Park at the bridge. It started raining even before we got out of the parking lot so we headed to under the bridge and sheltered there for almost 45 minutes. There was a lot of bird action, especially on the river. Flocks of Ring-billed and Bonaparte’s Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants, and a large raft of Coots were working the water. Two RBGU’s harassed a Coot trying to steal it’s food and they won. A very wet adult Bald Eagle was spotted in the top of a bare tree fluffed out with wings raised like an Anhinga trying to dry out. Since the humidity was 90% it wasn’t having much luck. The rain started to slack off a little so we crossed the bridge over to the peninsula and headed down the dirt side trail jumping puddles of water and mud as we walked. Along the way there were groups of 5-8 Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets foraging from up in the trees to down on the ground. It’s not often you see them on the ground. Two Hermit Thrushes and lots of White-throated sparrows joined them. We found White Pelicans, Gadwalls, Buffleheads, and more Cormorants in the inlet.
Because the vegetation was so wet and we were soggy and cold we decided not to walk the fields at the west end of the park and instead headed to Lake Maumelle. There was virtually no wind so the lake was like glass, perfect for looking for loons. Had several Common Loons at every stop, some transitioning into breeding plumage. At Hundley Causeway we hit the jackpot with two Red-throated Loons. They rested together on the lake’s surface giving us great looks. Life bird for several! A group of Ringed-necked Ducks were spotted in the inlet across the highway from Hundley. Last stop was Vista View overlooking the lake. Had more COLO seen up close and several Horned and Pied-billed Grebes. At 2:00 p.m. we called it a day and headed home to dry clothes and warm houses. We saw close to 50 species, not bad considering the weather. The credo is true…bad weather means good birds. The group declared it a fun day! I awarded them the Tough Ducklings gold medal for their Olympic perseverance!
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator