Field Trip Report – Two Rivers Park Field Trip February 15, 2020

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.

Karen Holliday

ASCA Field Trip Coordinator

Field Trip – Lake Dardanelle and Holla Bend NWR – Jan 25, 2020

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.

Submitted by

Karen Holliday

ASCA Field Trip Coordinator