January 25th, the ASCA sponsored field trip took twenty-four birders on an all-day birding adventure to Lake Dardanelle and the Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge. The day was quite pleasant with sun, mild temperatures, and little wind. First stop was the Delaware Recreation Area. Birds were a bit sparse, but we had nice views of male and female Goldeneyes, Bald Eagles, two Herring Gulls mixed in with Ring-billed Gulls, Buffleheads, Lesser Scaup, and several American White Pelicans. A massive raft of Double-crested Cormorants and Ring-billed Gulls was seen in the far distance. Closer in was an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull sitting on a channel buoy. Next stop was the Russellville side of the Dardanelle Lock and Dam hoping to find the Rock Wren that had been reported during the previous week. To everyone’s disappointment, the wren was a no-show.
The group continued on to the Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge. Seen along the highway were Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, Red-headed Woodpecker, Rock Pigeons, Eurasian Collared Doves, and European Starlings. The first raptor at the refuge was a Bald Eagle sitting on a nest, with two additional eagles seen later, along with Northern Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks. Five species of woodpeckers were spotted including Hairy, Downy, Red-bellied, Pileated, and Northern Flickers. We flushed a lot of sparrows as we drove the refuge, with the most common being Savannah and White-throated, plus a nice group of Vesper Sparrows. At the observation tower, the group spread out in a long line and walked the large field across from the tower. We were excited to flush Le’Conte’s Sparrows with three who perched up for good views. A flock of 60 American White Pelicans circled overhead. As it got late in the day, our last stop netted a Hermit Thrush, a Winter Wren, and a flock of American Robins, completing our final trip tally of 65 species.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator