Saturday, members of the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas (ASCA) headed to Pine Bluff for their March 24th field trip. 38 birders gathered at the Gov. Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center and were treated to hot coffee and homemade muffins provided by the members of the Three Rivers Audubon Society. What a lovely way to start the birding day! Lori Monday, Education Specialist for the Nature Center, gave an informative overview of the programs, exhibits, critters, and goals of the Nature Center. Lori asked if we would share our eBird list so she could post our sightings in their lobby. It was a little early for most spring migrants, but we did manage to spot 30 species when we walked the Discovery Loop trail. At the feeders we saw our first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the season. The Nature Center has an excellent gift shop and birders lined up to purchase the new Game & Fish front car plate that reads “Bird Arkansas”.
The group then headed to Lake Saracen to look for Soras and Virginia Rails in the reed beds. A chilly wind was blowing hard across the lake, making it difficult to hear anything. We thought we heard something after a quick playback of both Sora and Virginia Rail. We listened for several minutes then did playback again and a Virginia Rail clearly responded. A life or state bird for many participants! We watched an adult Bald Eagle teetering low in the wind, fooling us into thinking it was a Turkey Vulture at first.
Last stop was the wetlands at Wilbur West Road. There was some water and mud still present which held a nice mix of Gadwalls, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, and Northern Shovelers, plus Great Blue and Great Egrets, and FOS Little Blue Herons. The Pectoral Sandpipers and Wilson’s Snipes were life birds for a couple of our birders. We finished the day with 37 species. Not a high count, but a very fun day with a great group of birders, and no rain.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator