ASCA’s field trip was Saturday morning, February 15th, which was our Chapter’s participation in the 2020 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). We first birded the Two Rivers Park bridge area and peninsula at the east end of Two Rivers Park. The weather was cold at first, but quickly warmed up. We slowly walked the picnic area and the dirt trail that parallels the far inlet of the Arkansas River. Pine Warblers, Juncos, and Fox Sparrows were foraging on the ground in the short grass. Further down the trail, we found a Brown Creeper, two Hermit Thrush, more Fox Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow, and numerous White-throated Sparrows. Yellow-rumped Warblers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers worked the trees.
Water birds dotted the river inlet, with groups of Gadwalls, Scaup, a pair of Common Goldeneyes; plus lots of Double-crested Cormorants flying past. A huge group of Ring-billed Gulls and 23 White Pelicans shared a big sandbar. In the pine trees we called up a Blue-headed Vireo. A nice surprise ending to this part of the trip was a very cooperative House Wren.
The group then drove to the west end of Two Rivers Park. The group headed to the big, open field and spread out to walk in a long line, hoping to flush sparrows. A Northern Harrier glided past. It took a third pass through the tall grass to finally flush our target bird, the LeConte’s Sparrow. We flushed at least six. One cooperated by teeing up in a small bush, giving everyone great looks. At this point it was 1:30 p.m. with no stop for lunch, so the group broke up. Some headed to the Galloway exit off I-40 to find the flock of Great-tailed Grackles recently spotted at that location. Another group headed to Lake Maumelle to find the last of the lingering loons who have spent the winter on the lake. Finally tally for the field trip was 54 species, which were added to the GBBC for Pulaski County. ASCA appreciates the twenty birders who willing spent their Saturday as citizen scientists adding valuable bird data to the global avian species database.
ASCA Field Trip Coordinator