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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS AUDUBON SOCIETY

The Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society is a registered non-profit organization serving the four-county region of northwest Arkansas -- Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties, committed to Preserving the Natural World in Northwest Arkansas through Education, Environmental Study and Habitat Protection.

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NWAAS News:



NWAAS MEMBERSHIP REPORT DECEMBER 2016




NORTHWEST ARKANSAS AUDUBON SOCIETY

2016 FIELD TRIPS & BIRDING CALENDAR



Jackie Guzy and  Mitchell Pruitt banding a Northern Saw-whet Owl at Ozark Natural
Science Center, November 3, 2015. Mitchell and Jackie are both UA-Fayetteville
graduate students. Mitchell's thesis work centers on Northern Saw-whet Owl.


All NWAAS field trips are free and open to the public. We always welcome new members, but membership in NWAAS is not a requirement for participation. We try to make our field trips accessible to everyone, all ages, abilities, interests. Beginning birders are always welcome. We have field trips on Saturdays and Sundays to accommodate different schedules. We try to arrange carpools where possible.


For maps and more information about these places, check the Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society web site http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/index.html and the section “Places to bird in northwest Arkansas” (on the left side of the home page). (currently not there-will be rebuilt)


If you are interested in being added to the NWAAS email list for updates on field trips and other society events, please send a message to: joeneal@uark.edu. Some of the information on the trips below can change, so additional details & updates about trips are sent via the email prior to the announced date. Also, check our NWAAS facebook page for all the latest on the local birding scene.


SAFETY FIRST, ALWAYS! Our field trips are open to everyone. We try to warn about any special dangers that might be encountered, but neither NWAAS nor individual field trip leaders assume responsibility for personal safety. If you have special needs, or special concerns, please ask the field trip leader before the trip starts. We do not knowingly place anyone in danger on any field trip. We count on those who attend to keep trips safe for everyone.



JANUARY

Saturday January 16, 2016. Rocky Branch Park on Beaver Lake. Meet at 10 AM at the Rocky Branch marina parking area. Species typical of the lake in winter include Pied-billed and Horned Grebes, Bonaparte’s and Ring-billed Gulls, Common Goldeneyes, Bald Eagle, possible Common Loon. We will also look for land birds in cedar glades and upland shortleaf pines (like Pine Warbler). In the past, the Army Corps of Engineers has waived the park day use fee ($4) for this field trip (we will post a note on facebook before the event about this fee). NOTE: Before traveling to Rocky Branch, check the NWAAS facebook page. If the trip is NO GO, a notice will be posted by noon on Friday January 15. You may also call the trip leader (479-521-1858) on Friday evening for an update if you do not have facebook access. This trip will be cancelled ONLY it is too windy for observing birds on the lake, just too bitterly cold, or for obviously unsafe driving conditions. For more information, check out Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area and Rocky Branch Park here: http://www.nwarkaudubon.org/id17.html


FEBRUARY

Saturday February 6, 2016. Eagle Watch Nature Trail on SWEPCO Lake just west of Gentry. Meet in the parking lot at 9 AM. Co-leader is Terry Stanfill, who manages EW. There is a short walk on the trail through open field habitat to a viewing platform with good potential to see Bald Eagles, various species of hawks and sparrows, ducks and other water birds. After this walk, we may travel a short distance to find more wintering eagles wintering on former Round Prairie. More information about Eagle Watch Nature Trail at: 


Friday-Monday February 12-15, 2016. Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). You can participate in this count anywhere. For details, check here: http://www.audubon.org/content/about-great-backyard-bird-count.


Saturday EVENING (TBA) 2015. American Woodcock field trip, likely to Wedington Wildlife Management Area (Ozark National Forest west of Fayetteville). Woodcock expert Dr. David Krementz is the leader. There will be a woodcock trip, but we are still working on the details. Ccheck for the latest before making plans.


MARCH

Saturday March 19, 2016. Trip to mature shortleaf pine habitat in the Shores Lake-Fern area of Ozark National Forest, then down into the western Arkansas River valley, including visits to Frog Bayou WMA and Arkansas River. Leader is Bill Beall, veteran birder from Ft Smith. We will be seeking Brown-headed Nuthatches and other birds typical of pine forests and later, birds of ponds, river, and agricultural fields in the valley. Meet at 9 AM at the Shores Lake picnic area entrance on the west side of the lake. You can show up earlier if you wish. It will be easy to tailor this day to your own time schedule. As always, you are welcome to leave or join whatever suits your schedule. 


APRIL

Saturday April 9, 2016. ALL welcome to a unique place, Wattle Hollow Retreat Center in the scenic Boston Mountains near Devil’s Den State Park. Early spring migrants, wildflowers, and a fun, social pot luck on the deck. Bring something to share. Meet up along highway 170, where you turn into Wattle, by 9 AM for the leisurely & birdy stroll on a graded road downhill to the retreat center. More information including directions will be provided prior to this event.


Sunday April 24, 2016. Ninestone Land Trust in Carroll County. Meet at Ninestone by 9 AM. Fun casual hike where we will identify birds and wildflowers, enjoy Piney Creek and soaring birds, picturesque bluffs, visit glade restoration areas, identify rare flowers, and stop for a relaxing potluck at noon overlooking the famous waterfall. This can be a peak time during spring bird migration.

April 29-May 1, 2016. Arkansas Audubon Society Spring convention will be held April 29-May 1, 2016 at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain. There are many field trips associated with this exciting meeting. Check out more details here: http://www.arbirds.org/


MAY

Saturday and Sunday May 14-15, 2016 (probable dates). International Migratory Bird Day in Benton and Washington counties, with additional counts in at least Carroll County. Coordinated by Mike Mlodinow for Washington and Benton counties. For more information or to participate, contact mamlod@hotmail.com.


Saturday May 21, 2016. Siloam Springs City Lake. Meet 9 AM in the parking area off Dawn Hill East Road on the lake’s south side. Nesting Baltimore Orioles, Warbling Vireos, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and other birds. Numerous native flowers. Slow easy walk to explore this approximately 60-acre lake, an impoundment of Flint Creek.


JUNE

Sunday June 5, 2016. Cave Mountain and the upper Buffalo River in Newton County. Get ready for your annual “warbler neck.” The focus is on nesting birds in Ozark forests, including warblers: Cerulean, Hooded, Black-and-white, Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Parula, and many others. We will inspect an amazing flora, too, like Pawpaws and Umbrella Magnolias. Meet at the Boxley Bridge at 9 AM.


JULY

Saturday July 9, 2016. Chesney Prairie Natural Area near Siloam Springs. See the mid to late summer flora of the Tallgrass Prairie, including blazing stars, other flowers, always fascinating pollinating insects that crowd the flowers of Rattlesnake Masters and various milkweeds, plus open country birds like American Kestrels, Dickcissels, and probably Loggerhead Shrikes. Meet at Chesney at 9 AM.


NWAAS membership meeting (to be announced).


AUGUST

Saturday August 27, 2016. Craig State Fish Hatchery at Centerton. Meet in the parking lot at the hatchery at 9 AM. The hatchery has been designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Arkansas. Numerous shorebird species are headed south at this time of year after nesting in the far north. Many species stop on mudflats provided by drained fish ponds. Most folks will be on foot, but those with mobility impairments are welcome to drive along with the group.


SEPTEMBER

Sunday September 11, 2016. Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area. Meet at 9 AM in the parking lot for Sinking Stream Trail and Historic Van Winkle Trail. Both share the parking area on highway 12 east of Rogers. Spotted Jewelweed is dense along the spring runs, especially in Van Winkle. As this is peak for southward migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, they are expected to be quite numerous in the flowering jewelweed. Other interesting native flowers here, too, including Great Blue Lobelia. These are both relatively easy and often birdy walks (each about 0.5 miles) with numerous interesting native plants. Historic Van Winkle Trail is accessible for those with mobility impairments.


OCTOBER

Sunday October 9, 2016. Ninestone Land Trust in Carroll County.  No finer spot to see fall in the Ozarks plus birds typical of the region. Meet at Ninestone by 9 AM. Easy hike, bluffs, waterfalls, fun social pot lunch at noon in front of waterfalls.


Wednesday October 26, 2016: Dedication of the Paige and Mary Bess Mulhollan waterfowl observation blind at Lake Fayetteville Park. 1:30-2:30 at the blind. Bring your binoculars. There will be brief presentations and comments from Mayor Lioneld Jordan.



Saturday, October 29, 2016: Field trip to Mulhollan blind. Meet in parking area at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, 9 AM. Easy walking on a loop of 1.3 miles with a stop at the blind. Everyone is welcome. Bring your bins.


NOVEMBER


Saturday evening November 5, 2016. Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society will host a
field trip to Ozark Natural Science Center<http://www.onsc.us/index.php> north of
Huntsville for trapping and banding Northern Saw-whet Owls. Everyone is welcome. We
are invited to join UA-Fayetteville graduate student Mitchell Pruitt (see photo above) and his
advisor, Dr Kim Smith, and others working on this owl project. This may be the
migration peak, based upon existing records. There is no way to guarantee we will
see owls, but chances should be pretty good, based upon data already collected this
fall north of Arkansas.


EVERYONE PLEASE BE ON TIME OR A LITTLE EARLY at the meeting place, just off highway
23, on MC 1250, or at the gate at ONSC. We all need to be at the ONSC gate at 7 PM.
Please don't make this trip if you cannot be on time.


Trapped birds will be brought into the center for banding and other measurements.
This will provide a good chance for everyone to see them and a chance for photos.
Everyone should bring a flashlight. Trapping will continue throughout the night
(often past midnight), but participants can leave when they wish. Overall, it would
be best to consider remaining until 10ish. Nets are checked on about 45-minute
intervals. There are bathrooms in the center.


If you are interested in this project or ONSC, why not consider helping with
financial support, if you can afford it? Follow the Arkansas Saw-whet Owl Project
here on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/581310355366803/. If you would
like to help fund some of this research, please contact Mitchell
mlpruitt24@yahoo.com<mailto:mlpruitt24@yahoo.com>. ONSC is a generous host for this
research project. Essential conservation education programs depend upon generous
public support http://onsc.us/


DIRECTIONS:

Directions if you are traveling from the south (Huntsville area): at the
intersection of Highway 412 and 23, travel N on 23 about 9.1 miles. On 23, note the
large, brown sign for Ozark Natural Science Center (ONSC). Turn right on to Madison
County 1235, a graded road. I will be parked there and lead on to ONSC.

Directions if you are traveling from the north (Rogers, Eureka Springs, etc): From
the intersection of Highway 23 and 12 (note convenience store), travel S on 23 about
4.3 miles. Note the large, brown sign for Ozark Natural Science Center here, where
there is a turn onto Madison County 1250, BUT continue S for about 0.2 miles to the
left turn onto Madison County 1235, where I will be parked and lead on to ONSC.

If you want to do this completely on your own, make either turn (onto 1235 or 1250)
and head on to the front gate for ONSC. Here are some directions from intersection
of 23 and MC 1235. All of the following mileage starts at the turn off 23. Travel on
MC 1235 for about 0.1 miles, to intersection (with MC 1250). Turn right - notice the
ONSC sign. Travel to 0.9 miles to intersection with MC 1305. Note ONSC sign. Take MC
1305 to the gate at ONSC - total of about 2.3 miles since you left the pavement at
highway 23.


If you use Google Earth, you can map this by typing Ozark Natural Science Center
into the search block.


EVERYONE PLEASE BE ON TIME OR A LITTLE EARLY at the meeting place, just off highway
23, on MC 1250, or at the gate at ONSC. We all need to be at the ONSC gate at 7 PM.
Please don't make this trip if you cannot be on time.


DIRECTIONS:

Directions if you are traveling from the south (Huntsville area): at the
intersection of Highway 412 and 23, travel N on 23 about 9.1 miles. On 23, note the
large, brown sign for Ozark Natural Science Center (ONSC). Turn right on to MadisonNorthern Saw-whet Owls
County 1235, a graded road. I will be parked there and lead on to ONSC.

Directions if you are traveling from the north (Rogers, Eureka Springs, etc): From
the intersection of Highway 23 and 12 (note convenience store), travel S on 23 about
4.3 miles. Note the large, brown sign for Ozark Natural Science Center here, where
there is a turn onto Madison County 1250, BUT continue S for about 0.2 miles to the
left turn onto Madison County 1235, where I will be parked and lead on to ONSC.

If you want to do this completely on your own, make either turn (onto 1235 or 1250)
and head on to the front gate for ONSC. Here are some directions from intersection
of 23 and MC 1235. All of the following mileage starts at the turn off 23. Travel on
MC 1235 for about 0.1 miles, to intersection (with MC 1250). Turn right - notice the
ONSC sign. Travel to 0.9 miles to intersection with MC 1305. Note ONSC sign. Take MC
1305 to the gate at ONSC - total of about 2.3 miles since you left the pavement at
highway 23.


Trapped birds will be brought into the center for banding and other measurements.
This will provide a good chance for everyone to see them and a chance for photos.
Everyone should bring a flashlight. Trapping will continue throughout the night
(often past midnight), but participants can leave when they wish. Overall, it would
DIRECTIONS:

Directions if you are traveling from the south (Huntsville area): at theNorthern Saw-whet Owls
intersection of Highway 412 and 23, travel N on 23 about 9.1 miles. On 23, note the
large, brown sign for Ozark Natural Science Center (ONSC). Turn right on to Madison
County 1235, a graded road. I will be parked there and lead on to ONSC.

Directions if you are traveling from the north (Rogers, Eureka Springs, etc): From
the intersection of Highway 23 and 12 (note convenience store), travel S on 23 about
4.3 miles. Note the large, brown sign for Ozark Natural Science Center here, where
there is a turn onto Madison County 1250, BUT continue S for about 0.2 miles to the
left turn onto Madison County 1235, where I will be parked and lead on to ONSC.

If you want to do this completely on your own, make either turn (onto 1235 or 1250)
and head on to the front gate for ONSC. Here are some directions from intersection
of 23 and MC 1235. All of the following mileage starts at the turn off 23. Travel on
MC 1235 for about 0.1 miles, to intersection (with MC 1250). Turn right - notice the
ONSC sign. Travel to 0.9 miles to intersection with MC 1305. Note ONSC sign. Take MC
1305 to the gate at ONSC - total of about 2.3 miles since you left the pavement at
highway 23.


be best to consider remaining until 10ish. Nets are checked on about 45-minute
intervals. There are bathrooms in the center.


If you are interested in this project or ONSC, why not consider helping with
financial support, if you can afford it? Follow the Arkansas Saw-whet Owl Project
here on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/581310355366803/. If you would
like to help fund some of this research, please contact Mitchell
mlpruitt24@yahoo.com<mailto:mlpruitt24@yahoo.com>. ONSC is a generous host for this
research project. Essential conservation education programs depend upon generous
public support http://onsc.us/


If you use Google Earth, you can map this by typing Ozark Natural Science Center
into the search block.


Saturday November 12, 2016. Fall waterfowl migration at Lake Fayetteville. Meet at 9 AM in parking lot on the north end of the dam (near ball fields and entrance to the boat dock). We will also visit the Mulhollan waterfowl blind.


DECEMBER

NWAAS annual membership meeting will be held Saturday December 3, 2016: NWAAS annual winter program (including a very short membership meeting) at Hobbs State Park Visitor Center, at 2 PM. Program is a presentation by UA-Fayetteville graduate student Mitchell Pruitt (See photo above) featuring his ongoing research involving Northern Saw-whet Owls in Arkansas. No charge and everyone welcome.


Fayetteville Christmas Bird Count Sunday December 18, 2016: