February 16, 2019 Two Rivers Park Field Trip

It was frigid Saturday morning for ASCA’s Feb.16 field trip, which was held the weekend of the 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count.  We started at the bridge at the east end of Two Rivers Park.  For the first part of the morning, the land birds wanted nothing to do with us.  Pishing, playback; no birds moved or responded in the cold.  Try pishing with frozen lips in 28 degree weather-it is tough!  But our fifteen birders persevered, slowly walking the trail.  A juvenile Bald Eagle glided by overhead; an adult sat quietly in a tree watching us.  The water birds were scattered around the river inlet, mostly in large groups of Gadwalls, Scaup, and Cormorants. The 100+ group of Ring-billed Gulls stayed close together on a sandbar, with another large group spiraling overhead.  Nine American White Pelicans huddled together sleeping soundly.  A much larger group of Pelicans glided in then circled overhead.  We flushed two female Goldeneys who flew over to hang out with the Canada Geese.  Circling back to the bridge, we played the Carolina Chickadee alarm call which finally stirred up the birds.  Chickadees, Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, and two Red-breasted Nuthatches responded enthusiastically. Walking to the end of the park’s peninsula, we located four Fox Sparrows, several Field Sparrows, Cardinals, Savannah Sparrows, and lots of Juncos foraging under the trees, including a couple of Yellow-rumpled Warblers.

The group then drove to the west end of Two Rivers Park.  The morning was finally warming up and birds began to stir.  At the “swamp”, we called up three very vocal Winter Wrens, all chiding us at the same time.  The group then headed to the big, open field where the group spread out to walk in a long line, hoping to flush sparrows.  It took a third pass through the field to finally flush our target bird, the LeConte’s Sparrow.  We flushed at least four.  Two cooperated beautifully by teeing up in one of the small bushes, then sitting side by side for several minutes.  Cameras were being fired at lightning speed getting lots of great shots of the posing birds.  Very pleased with our morning and the 47 bird species we saw, we headed back to our vehicles, then home thaw out.  Critters seen were deer, cottontails, and an opossum.

Karen Holliday

ASCA Field Trip Coordinator

Field Trip – February 16, 2019 Two Rivers Park, Little Rock AR

Participate in the 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) by joining ASCA’s February field trip.  Meet at 8:00 a.m. in the parking lot of the Two Rivers Park Bridge (also known as the “Little” Dam Bridge) at the start of the walking trail located at 4468 River Mountain Road at the southeast end of the Two Rivers Park peninsula.  We’ll scope the river from the parking lot and bridge, then walk the dirt and paved trails as far as people wish to go.  You can turn around at any point and head back to your vehicle.  After returning to our cars, we’ll drive to the west entrance of Two Rivers Park and walk the big field and horse trail.  Both areas have a diverse population of sparrows and provides a great opportunity to work on identifying those “little brown birds”.  Knee-high rubber boots are recommended because of copious sand burrs.  Bring water, snacks, and your scope if you have one.  We should finish around noon.  If any rare loons are being reported, we can continue on to Lake Maumelle.  Loons, mergansers, ducks, and grebes are easily found on the lake this time of year.  If you can’t join the field trip, participate in the GBBC by counting the birds in your own backyard and submitting your sightings to the GBBC website at www.birdcount.org.

Directions-take Exit 9 west off I-430 onto Cantrell Rd.  At the first stop light, turn right (north) onto River Mountain Road.  Go to the bottom of the hill then bear right to the main parking lot.  GPS coordinates are 34.797458, -92.383017.