Saturday, November 23rd was the ASCA field trip to DeGray Lake State Park. It was cloudy, windy, and the temperature hovered in the low 40s all day. With a small group of six people, we were able to tuck into several inlets and sheltered areas to view the lake out of the wind. Not much waterfowl was present. Seen were a raft of 70 Gadwalls, a couple of groups of Mallards, one including a female Common Goldeneye, several big groups of Canada Geese, 15 Pied-billed Grebes, a few Horned Grebes, and surprisingly, no Coots. One group of geese had a juvenile white morph Snow Goose transiting into adult plumage, which took us a bit to figure out what it was.
Highlights were several Bald Eagles, including a strongly mottled second year Bald Eagle up close, standing on the shore feeding on a dead fish with a group of crows waiting at a respectful distance to dash in and grab any leftovers. Common Loons were at every stop with one who called, a first for a couple of birders. A very cold, puffed-up Brown-headed Nuthatch was a life bird for the couple from Bentonville.
After lunch at the lodge, we headed to the fields near the Arkadelphia Oxidation ponds to look for the Sandhill Cranes recently reported. No Cranes unfortunately, just lots of Great Egrets and Great-blue Herons, American Crows, a Kestrel, Northern Harriers, and a mix of sparrows. With it getting to be late afternoon, the group headed back to Little Rock having seen 44 species for the trip.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator