The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder, but that doesn’t mean the birding has to slow down! It is Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season again. Audubon’s CBC is a citizen science program and the nation’s longest running bird survey – this is the 114th year!
On count day participants count all birds they encounter within their assigned section of a 15-mile diameter circle. Birders of any skill level are welcome. It’s a great opportunity to learn from experienced birders. You can bird for as long as you like.
I organize two counts: Little Rock is Saturday, December 14, and Lonoke is Saturday, December 21. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-366-0840, and specify the count. There are many other counts across the state. Contact State Compiler Leif Anderson at Leanderson@fs.fed.us or 479-284-3150 ext. 3151 for more information. Participation is free. Make your birding count for the birds!
Sixteen birders braved the fog, wind, and chilly temperatures at DeGray Lake Resort State Park. We started the day with a mixed flock at the parking lot: Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Pine Warbler, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Downy Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a Brown Creeper. The first of several Bald Eagles was seen just as we were leaving.
Driving over the dam, we stopped to admire a Common Loon at close range. On the other side of the dam we spotted three more Common Loons, several Pied-billed Grebes, and a Horned Grebe. A Great Blue Heron surveyed the lake from atop a party barge, while an immature Bald Eagle soared high overhead.
At Caddo Point the wind made finding waterfowl among the waves a little difficult. Bufflehead, Gadwall, and more Pied-billed Grebes were seen riding the waves. The highlight was a Red-breasted Merganser very close to shore. Unfortunately it did not stick around long enough for everyone to get a good look. The only gull we saw was too far off to identify.
We also stopped by the boat ramp, which gave us a nice break from the wind. There we had a great look at two Horned Grebes and a few more Pied-billed Grebes. We ended the day with 25 species. –Dottie Boyles