In spite of dire predictions of rain for the day, forty-two birders gathered at the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge in White County Saturday morning. Thankfully the rain held off until noon and the heavy cloud cover kept the temperature at a very comfortable mid-80’s range. The group’s first stop was west of the grain bins and just south off Huntsman’s Road and produced two of the best birds of the trip- great looks at a cooperative Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Common Tern. In the nearby mud flat and short grass were over 400 Canada Geese, plus Blue-winged Teal, Mallards, Great Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Wilson’s Snipe, Pectoral Sandpipers, and Killdeer.
Next stop was the pond just before the low water bridge where seven American Avocets were busy working the muddy water next to the road. The rest of the pond was full of American White Pelicans, Black-necked Stilts, more adult and immature Little Blue Herons, plus two Gadwall’s, Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers, and a small group of swooping Bank Swallows and Northern Rough-winged Swallows. A Caspian Tern circled, then sat on the mud for great looks through everyone’s scopes.
The back side of the pond held more shorebirds with Semipalmated Plovers, Stilt, Western, Semipalmated, and Least Sandpipers, plus Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Northern Shovelers, and a few Cliff Swallows. Mixed in with the numerous Great Egrets were Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons, plus a Spotted Sandpiper.
Last birds of the trip were a Green Heron, a Black-bellied Whistling Duck, and a very cooperative Sedge Wren. At that point, the looming rain clouds opened up and the rain moved in. Since it was lunch time, the group said their goodbyes and headed home with to close to 45 species on their day’s trip list.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator