May 11, 2019
Gillam Park, Little Rock Port Authority, & Terry Lock and Dam
Hoping for a break in the rain this morning, Saturday, I went ahead with the field trip in case anyone wanted to sneak in some birding in between rain cells. Seven plucky birders met at the entrance to Gillam Park at 7:00 a.m. to find poor light and misting drizzle. We had several warbler-sized birds flitting high in the trees at the first parking lot, which were almost impossible to identify in the dim light. Thank goodness for Dan’s excellent ears as we were able to see/hear Kentucky, Chestnut-sided, and Tennessee Warblers, White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireos, Summer Tanagers, Blue Grosbeaks, and Indigo Buntings.
With it starting to rain harder, we pulled up stakes and headed to the Little Rock Port Authority area and Fraizer Pike. With no Western Kingbirds anywhere near Custom Metals, we crossed the railroad tracks over to the big open fields and found some good birds. Western and Eastern Kingbirds were working the fields along with Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Cliff and Barn Swallows. In the flooded areas we were excited to see two Black-necked Stilts and two Wilson’s Phalaropes, plus Green Herons, Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, and Killdeer. On our way to David D. Terry Lock and Dam the big surprise was two Black-bellied Whistling Ducks sitting in a small flooded area on Thibault Rd. Life birds for two birders! No Bobolinks anywhere but lots of Dickcissels.
The hot spot of the morning was the Dam Rd. leading in to the Terry Lock and Dam park. As soon as we turned off Frazier Pike Rd. we found several Hooded Mergansers in the flooded pit and a Peregrine Falcon in a tree nearby, plus Baltimore Orioles, and Red-headed Woodpeckers. Eastern Kingbirds were everywhere. As soon as we got to the wooded area, we hit the warbler jackpot! We had several of Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Bay-breasted, Black-and-white, Tennessee, Magnolia, Yellow, and Kentucky Warblers, plus a fairly certain Cerulean Warbler, Scarlet and Summer Tanagers, American Redstarts, Northern Parula, Warbling, Philadelphia, White-eyed, and Red-eyed Vireos, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Great-crested Flycatchers, Cedar Waxwings, Kingfishers, Woodpeckers of all kinds, and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. By 11:15 a.m. the rain really set in and we weren’t able to rustle up any Painted Buntings, but did have a calling Yellow-breasted Chat. At this point our little troop of plucky birders were quite damp and decided to call it a day and head home to their dry and warm roosts very pleased with netting approximately 70 species on a rainy, but certainly not dreary day!
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator