Field Trip – June 1 – Gillam Park and the Little Rock Audubon Center (LRAC)

Due to weather, the May Birdathon activities were postponed to June 1st and since only 7 people showed up for the May field trip, we’ll redo the trip as one of the BirdLR Birdathon teams, a fun, friendly competition to raise money for bird conservation in Arkansas, sponsored by Audubon Arkansas.  The ASCA team’s fundraising is to collect donations based on per species seen or a straight contribution.  You can donate to the ASCA team by going to ar.audubon.org and click on the donate button.  Click on Birdathon for more information about the planned Bird Bash activities for June 1st.  It will be a great day to be outside enjoying nature!

Meet at 7:00 a.m. in Gillam Park at the second parking lot.  Gillam has great habitat for summering warblers and other species.  There will be moderate walking on fairly level, but possibly muddy trails.  When finished at Gillam, we’ll drive to the LRAC and walk the wildlife observation trail.  Last, we’ll head to Industrial Harbor Road and Terry Lock & Dam to look for nesting Western Kingbirds and Painted Buntings.  Bring water and snacks, the trip can last into the early afternoon.  Wear sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. 

Directions—Gillam Park is in southeast Little Rock near the airport.  Address is 5300 Gillam Park Road, Little Rock.  Take I-30 West heading south from Little Rock.  Then exit onto I-440 going towards the airport.  Take Exit 1-Springer Road.  At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left onto Springer Road.  Go approximately 1 mile to just past the LRAC.  Turn right onto Gillam Park Road.  Follow it into the park to the last parking lot.

ASCA May Field Trip Report

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!

Karen Holliday

ASCA Field Trip Coordinator

Pulaski Count